|Birthday:||June 22, 2004|
|Adopted:||June 22, 2008 (4 years old)|
|Age:||4 years old|
|Weight:||7.5 (he should weigh between 8-10 pounds so he's actually underweight!)|
|Likes:||Radish greens, blueberries, being gently petted, walnuts|
|Dislikes:||People trying to touch his nose, change|
|Talents:||Balancing objects on his head|
|Motto:||Sitting is good|
|Pictures:||Go to Lake Rufus|
|History:||Rufus was among 132 rabbits that were seized from a farm in Olmstead County, Minnesota at the end of May 2008. After the sheriff reported finding a number of dead and decaying animal carcasses strewn about the property, the Animal Humane Society was brought in. They found the farm to be a puppy mill setting with deplorable and unsanitary conditions. The rabbits were being raised for human consumption. Unfortunately, the court allowed some of the animals to be returned to the woman who owned the farm (about a dozen dogs and two dozen bunnies). Rufus was one of the lucky ones who was put into foster care.
No one knows quite how old Rufus is other than he's an adult. I made his birthdate the day we adopted him and aged him to four years. It seemed about right. As you may see from his pictures, Rufus is missing a chunk from the center of his nose. He also has some divots in his ears as well as some scars on his ears and eyes (and other places I won't mention). These injuries were most likely sustained in a fight - but with what type of animal (whether a dog, another bunny, or a human) caused the damage is quite unknown. Rufus was raised in a barn, possibly caged. He had never had hay or vegetables before he was confiscated from his previous owner. He is incredibly shy and very calm. He is perfectly content to sit. He's not a hopper (so far). He doesn't play. He isn't what you would call a frisky bunny. Loud noises and other animals don't seem to bother him. A couple of hours after he was brought home, Fenn ran around the room uncaged and kept hopping on his cage to see her new roommate. He seemed completely unfazed by this. He doesn't like people trying to touch his nose (or rather, the remains of his nose).
At the Humane Society, I sat in Rufus' playpen for over an hour. He let me pet him but was not keen on getting his chin scratched or being picked up. His foster mother told me that Rufus must like me because he was actually purring while I petted him. Not knowing anything about rabbits, I was unaware that a). bunnies could purr and b). what a purring bunny sounds like. I was afraid he didn't like me but I guess if I could make him purr, he probably does. His foster mother said that she suspects Rufus' first purr in his lifetime came about a week ago. Any human interaction he had prior to his confiscation was probably not a bonding experience (well, positive bonding).
Although it's only been a couple of hours since we brought Rufus home, he has told us that he loves blueberries (ate four within a couple of minutes) and radish greens. I've learned to interpret what "I'm hungry" sounds like - he sniffs VERY loudly as he searches the entire cage looking for food. And at this point, if Rufus' hungry, Rufus' going to get fed.
Jeff has called Rufus' introduction to our menagerie a "pity" adoption. My heart went out to the animals from the farm when I heard on the news what had happened. I immediately told Jeff that we were going to adopt someone and when I heard that the rabbits were being raised for meat, I emphasized my statement. I imagined a more lively, friendly, and affectionate bunny than Rufus. It was a bit tough for me to get over that. But Rufus has had such a hard life already - missing part of his nose, his ears, being raised for food - that I couldn't just pass him up. In time, Rufus could break out of his shell and be Mr. Social. Fenn and the cats are pretty friendly animals (and they didn't all start out that way). But, of course, if Rufus wants to be a bunny to himself, that's perfectly fine. At least he's not going to be someone's dinner.
Rufus got his name almost 24 hours after he was brought home. At first, he was Ben, which is the name his foster mother gave him. Jeff liked it. I didn't. I called him "Benny." Jeff didn't like that because it reminded him of the Benny on LA Law. I explained to the bunny that he, like all the other animals before him, had to pick his own name. I wrote down a bunch of names of pieces of paper. I placed them in his cage. The bunny sniffed the paper but did nothing else - no eating the one he liked (as Fenn did) or stepping on his chosen name (as Wensley did). He completely ignored his task. I then watched Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit to find out the name of the bunny in that. It was "Hutch." I definitely didn't like that but the name Wallace started growing on me. As I went to bed, I put on my traditional DVD of the Simpsons. I tried giving the bunny the name "Homer" but Jeff didn't think the name suited him - he wasn't a big, fat bungling idiot (that we know of yet). When I got up the next morning, I saw that George Carlin had died. In honor of such a great comedian, I decided that the bunny should be named after him. Rufus was his character in Bill and Ted. I e-mailed Jeff with my suggestion. He replied, "Most excellent."
And, incidentally, much thanks goes out to Dawn and Joel, who were the push Jeff needed to accept another critter into our lives. It was my birthday present from them this year. Thanks, guys! As Rufus would say, " ." Yeah, that's right. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't do anything. And that's perfectly fine.