Easter came a day early at our house. It all started in the afternoon when I went into the garden bed to clean it out in preparation for tilling and composting. In the process of pulling up hosing and stakes, I heard a rustling in the corner. I figured it was a mouse, but I kept hearing it, so I took a closer look. There, hidden in the tall grass, was the smallest baby bunny I had ever seen.

You can barely see bunny #1 hiding in the grass

I subscribe to the philosophy that it’s best to leave nature be if at all possible, so I called the Boulder County Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for advice. They suggested leaving him alone for no more than one hour. If he was still there, I was to gently catch him, put him in a shoebox with holes poked in the lid, put something in the box to keep him warm and take him to the emergency vet clinic where they could care for him until wildlife officials could collect him.

When I went back, I found the poor guy still there. I put uncooked rice in a sock, heated it in the microwave, wrapped it in one of my T-shirts and put that, and the bunny, in the shoebox. Off we went. The nurse told me they had special food to give him and that they would keep him in an incubator overnight. Whew! I drove home feeling like quite the Good Samaritan.

As soon as I stepped out of the car, my son ran up to me and said, “We found another one in the garden, but he ran behind the shed!” My heart sank. Now, instead of thinking I’d rescued a lone bunny that had gotten lost or abandoned, I had to face the likelihood that there was a nest in the garden that I’d disturbed. I went behind the shed looking for the little one, but no luck.

We decided to rake all the debris out of the garden before tilling, figuring we’d find any others that might still be hiding. Another two turned up, not alive. I thought perhaps the mother had not survived, orphaning the babies. The garden now bare, my husband fired up the tiller and got to work. All was well until he reached the center of the garden. I was in the garden with him, with my son and our dog Rocky. All of a sudden I saw a little one shoot out of nowhere, inches in front of the tiller. I screamed my fool head off and ran after him, catching him just before Rocky did. Here he is.

Bunny #2

So – another shoe box, another sock of rice, another T-shirt. In a moment of inspiration, I decided we should check behind the shed one more time before heading out. Sure enough, this time we found the little guy hiding in a clump of grass. We tucked him in the box, and the two of them burrowed under the warm sock together.

This time I let the kids come with me to deliver them.Β They were SO good about not trying to handle the bunnies. I explained to them that baby bunnies are highly stressed animals, and that they can actually die from too much stress (boy can I relate to that!). For the entire drive to the clinic, the kids spoke in whispers to each other and held the box absolutely still.

Β Once at the clinic, the nurse was nice enough to let the kids see the first bunny in his overnight home. After the vet examined the other two, they would join their sibling.

Bunny #1 in the home where #s 2 and 3 would soon join him

I snuck in some good lessons for the kids – what happens to animals when their habitat is disrupted, why you shouldn’t handle or feed wild animals (or keep them as pets!!!), and what to do in the case of a wildlife emergency.

So, was the mother still alive? Would she have returned to the nest that evening if I hadn’t come in and started digging up the garden? Had I truly saved them or endangered them first and rescued them after? I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that once they were exposed, their chances of survival were next to nothing without protection from the elements and predators, so I did the best I could under the circumstances.

After the kids went to bed, I poured myself a rather large glass of wine and took a hot bath. It turns out spending six hours either rescuing, worrying about or shuttling baby bunnies to the vet is exhausting. But I went to bed feeling good about the fact that the three of them were safe, warm, fed and together. The wildlife officials were set to pick them up on Easter Sunday, of all days, and they will care for the bunnies until they can be released back into the wild.

I slept soundly until I had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to be ….. The Easter Bunny. πŸ™‚

Categories: Dogs, Family, Garden, Holidays, I Need Wine Pronto!, Parenting · Tags: , , , , , , ,

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48 Comments

  1. Rabbits are my fave so you are my hero! I hope there was an extra special peep in your basket this morning! a story ahead perhaps?!

  2. Good job, Julie. I believe you just saved 3 little lives! Happy Easter!

  3. What a time you had! There has to be a story in that somewhere.

  4. What a fun time and I agree with Julie F. There is a story in there! Write that thing. You did good. That large glass of wine sounds exactly what I need right about now. *cheers* πŸ™‚ Have a lovely Resurrection Day, Julie.

  5. Oh, how tiny – and how cute. Even though I chase them with rakes all summer long, these babies are just too cute!

    • I chase the adult ones out too once the veggies are in! But they’re self-sufficient. These guys were clearly not. Obviously our rabbit fence doesn’t work very well – LOL

  6. I loved this post! Just as I thought, “Oh, I wish I could SEE the bunny”, there were the photos. I’m so touched that you thought of your blog/writing friends as this little rescue story was unfolding. It seems that so many beautiful moments (that could be shared) pass so quickly. By the time we realize it’s something extraordinary, it’s over and done!

    I also loved how you cleverly involved your little ones too. I could picture them with their heads together, whispering and sharing silent giggles. I’m sure this Easter will be one that they’ll not soon forget!

    • Lisa – you’re right about the special moments passing by without record. That’s why I decided to share this story today in lieu of doing a Gratitude Sunday post. Saving those three little guys was definitely the thing I was most grateful for this week.

  7. A touching tale! This was no coincidence. It was your destiny to pen this realistic, yet charming story. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Oh my goodness. Cutest tiniest bunnies ever. Such a great story! Though I’m exhausted on your behalf. How come we never get garden bunnies? All I ever get is angry woodchucks.

    Oh! Oh! Did you check if one of them was wearing clogs? If the other had perhaps left his jacket in your garden when he was frightened by the cat?

  9. They are so tiny and I’m glad you found them and helped them. Happy Easter, Julie!

  10. Eggselent Easter Story – I’m wondering HOW did you explain the Easter Bunny coming on Sunday when the babies were in incubators?

  11. Great April story. Sounds to me like a pb draft fell in your lap.

  12. I think the experience was a great and memorable Easter present for you. πŸ™‚

  13. Oh, what a wonderful story! I’m sorry the bunnies lost their mother and were possibly disturbed by the gardening (although you’ll never know about that – they could already have been on their own) but so great that you know the right things to do and were able to save them, that your kids learned such valuable lessons, and that everything turned out OK. And just in time for Easter Sunday πŸ™‚

  14. After reading all these comments, I must admit it seems like this has to be my April PB draft. I didn’t think of it yesterday, probably because I was too embroiled in all the drama. Maybe one told from the rabbits’ perspectives. Hmm, will have to think about it more, but it does seem like providence. An Easter story in April!

  15. Fabulous story and sweet experience for the kids. We’ll never know about the Mom, but you certainly saved these three lives once they were exposed. A potential PB for sure.

  16. Awwww! You saved bunnies! No matter what the circumstances, you saved bunnies! … and yes, what a great story to consider writing! Happy Easter!!!

  17. Oh, this is so cute! They are sooo tiny! Hooray for you!

    We rescued baby squirrels that were only a day or two old almost 3 years ago. We had a freak storm…a micro-burst…that downed their nest. I would have never have found them had the nest not landed on the bicycle path next to my house. I was trying to remove debris when I heard a rustling and found 3 teeny tiny hairless creatures. We went inside to research what to do. We left them for the mother to rescue, as instructed, but we found out if they were cold, the mother would not take them back. We waited until 10pm that night. The temperature had dropped significantly and the squirrels were cold to the touch, so we filled a mail carton with a neat sheet and a hot water bottle and took them in. Unfortunately, we only found 2 of the 3. We got instructions from a local Wildlife rehab and fed them diluted puppy formula several times a day until we were able to deliver them to the rehab center (storm was a Friday, we went on a Monday). The lived in our powder room for a weekend.

    It was such a great experience and lesson for the kids, who were 3 and 7 at the time. Since then, whenever we see a squirrel on that tree, we wonder if it’s a relative of “Squiggy and Curly”, who are now living a peaceful life in the North-Western NJ woods.

  18. We found many baby blue jays and baby squirrels on the doorstep! Please do write a story! I wish I had found a book about the right thing to do under the circumstances to share with the kids, and to know who to call (reference section!).

  19. You did a wonderful thing. Have a great Easter.

  20. That is such a sweet story. Definately a PB draft in the making….lol!

  21. I saw the photo you posted on facebook. I’m so glad I popped over to your blog to read the post. You were a blessing to those bunnies, Julie….You took them to a place where they could be saved. πŸ™‚

  22. You certainly did your part to save the life of the bunnies. That’s what Easter is about anyway…God saving our lives through His sacrifice. Thanks for that perfect picture portrayed through your care and concern for life!
    http://4ambassadorsofchrist.blogspot.com

  23. Now you can add wildlife rescuer to your long list of accomplishments. Bunnies like to nest in our backyard too. The boys think it’s great to have “pets.” I hope you and your family have a happy Easter.

  24. Wow! And WOW! I need a glass of wine and a bubble bath after just READING that story!

  25. Oh, I’m so glad that you found them and that they are safe! I agree with Genevieve, above – now I need a glass of wine! πŸ™‚

  26. What a lovely story Julie. They look so cute. These bunnies certainly were in the right yard to be rescued. Happy Easter.

  27. I’m so glad you took such good care of these little bunnies. Poor little guys – I hope they are doing well.

    My mom has baby bunnies at her ranch. Every spring she finds several nests in her hay barn and tack shed. She leaves them be and watches them grow. Every year its like watching little miracles. πŸ™‚

    Happy Easter!

  28. What a wonderful Easter bunny experience for you and your family, and I agree….there’s a story in there! Great learning adventures for your kids!
    Hoppy Easter!

  29. What a lovely story for Easter, Julie. Those bunnies are so cute!

  30. Reetta Raitanen

    Lovely bunnies and it’s great you could help them out. A memorable event for you kids too. Happy Easter!

  31. I think the load of comments to your post speaks volumes. We’re all suckers for baby bunnies!
    A bunny made a nest in a box planter in our back yard last year and my dog picked one of the babies out (before I knew the nest was there!). Luckily when I screamed “drop it” she did. I used a pair of rubber gloves to put the baby back in the nest (so I wouldn’t get my scent on it) with two other babies, and it was a success! They all survived and moved out about two weeks later. I had to block the area off, so my dog couldn’t get back to it, and couldn’t plant flowers there that Spring, but I think the bunnies appreciated it, even if my hostas (favorite bunny food here!) didn’t.

  32. Coleen Patrick

    So tiny and sweet! What a great thing you did Julie πŸ™‚ We had a similar story, but with a baby deer. The wildlife rehab people came and they had to blindfold the baby deer and put her in the spot we last saw the mom. Eventually the mom came and led the baby back with her. πŸ™‚

  33. Shai Stephenson

    Great job Julie. You earned that warm bath and large glass of wine. Thanks for sharing your Easter story with us. Looking forward to seeing it in book form soon.

  34. This is so AWESOME! You saved future Easter Bunnies!! πŸ™‚

  35. Sweet bunnies. We rescued a baby raccoon once . . . never did learn whether mom came back for him or not.

  36. Way to go, Julie! Gosh they are so small! You did the right thing and three rabbits are still alive because of you! πŸ™‚

  37. Well done, Julie. They were lucky you found them.

  38. Oh, Julie, this brings up two memories for me. One is of our seagull rescue here on Whidbey Island, and I won’t go into the details, but the other one is of a picture book I loved years ago when I taught environmental education classes for teachers and nature studies classes for kids. Later, when I was a school librarian, I hunted for the book, but it wasn’t easy to find things like that in those early internet days. Your post made me think of the book again, and I just ordered a copy. You and your kids would love itβ€”it’s gentle, poetic, and teaches respect for wild animals. LISTEN RABBIT by Aileen Fisher. Thank you for your gentle treatment of the baby bunnies, the wonderful lesson you taught your kids, and especially for my happy anticipation of the book!

  39. Wow, Julie! What a story!!! We are big bunny lovers in this house (we own a house rabbit)… and your story is truly incredible. It reveals a lot about your heart as a person, and carer of things smaller and weaker than you… which is really cool! And the photos are just great! Thanks so much for sharing your story… WOW!!! Definitely sounds like a possible picture book story, too! Write from experience, right? πŸ™‚

  40. You and your family are angels for taking care of the furry wonders. And Reeta’s right. Your kids will cherish the memories always. I like Kathleen’s idea, too. πŸ˜‰

  41. They are the most adorable little creatures! What an experience to set you up for Easter. πŸ˜€

  42. As a former (raptor) rehabber, I applaude you! πŸ™‚

  43. Stacy S. Jensen

    Well this story certainly had increasing dramatic tension. Glad you were able to rest some until you became the bunny.

  44. Julie – just read your bunny post today. Had the same thing happen to me – we had 5 bunnies. They got saturated because I had been digging then watering, when they all appeared, so I had to move them to under a nearby pine tree. I agonized if Mama bunny would find them – but saw them hopping days later – so happy ending. When I moved them, we snapped a quick pick of them all. We also had a cuddly, pet indoor bunny for 13 years. Now I have an obstinate, chewing, not so cuddly, but very funny replacement. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Great Easter experience! Thanks for sharing. Loved the photos – what cuties.

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