My wonderful weekend as a rabbit sitter

Sophie Main

From their adorable long ears and fluffy cotton tails to the lovely way they hop when they’re happy (also known as binkying), I love everything about rabbits. So you can imagine how excited I was when I was invited to be the rabbit sitter for two adorable rescue bunnies, Poppy and Ivor. 

My weekend as a rabbit sitter

Just like every other TrustedHousesitters member, I house and pet sit for free. While this can be confusing for people who wonder why anyone would provide free pet care, it’s easy to understand if you’re a pet lover…

Depending on the pet, from adventurous dogs to flocks of rescue hens, spending time with animals can be full of adventure, laughs, or offer an incredibly calming experience. For me — a renter unable to have rabbits of my own — spending time with Poppy and Ivor was a wonderful opportunity to step out of my everyday, relax in their owner’s lovely home, and bond with two funny bunnies with big personalities.

Ivor and Poppy the rescue rabbits.

Ivor and Poppy preferred not to eat out of the bowls.

Poppy and Ivor’s is a real Cinderella story. After being rescued from an abandoned flat, quiet and timid little Poppy struggled to be bonded with another rabbit. With attempts often seeing her bullied and beaten, it seemed she would have to be rehomed alone (which is not recommended for such sociable animals). That was until adorable Ivor came to the same rescue centre after the pet shop struggled to sell him due to his ‘boring’ colouring.

 

Two years on, the pair are loved up and living the bunny dream in a luxurious two-story hutch. From wooden train sets and obstacle courses to piles of fresh veg waiting for them in their owner’s fridge, they are lucky and well-loved pets. In fact, I felt a real sense of pride when their owners, Belle and Josh, trusted us to look after them while they were away.

How I found a sit with my dream pets

My top saved search in the TrustedHousesitters app is a simple one; it’s a worldwide search using the filter ‘small pets’. This means that as soon as a fellow member is looking for a rabbit sitter, a notification pops up on my phone. 

TrustedHousesitters app alerts

You can get alerts to sits as soon as they're available.

With people looking for rabbit sitters in London, New York, and Berlin, I’m often notified to exciting sits around the world. But working Monday to Friday, my boyfriend and I are not always available for these sits. So when I saw that a couple of bunnies a few miles away needed a friend for a weekend, I had to apply.

Communicating with Belle and Josh was so easy; with a shared love of rabbits, conversation flowed straightway and before we knew it, we were accepted as their rabbit sitters for the weekend. We even learned that they’re combined members of TrustedHousesitters who were actually going away to look after two adorable dogs. 

The rewards of being a rabbit sitter

Belle had packed the Welcome Guide with great things to do in the area — from relaxing walks to local hotspots for a woodfired pizza —  so there was every reason to spend the day out and about. But I must admit, I was quite happy to simply hang around the home with our fluffy new friends….

While the lucky pair are outdoor rabbits with plenty of space to hop around all day, when we heard fireworks begin in the evening, we decided to bring the rabbits indoors. We sat with them in the kitchen, giving them a few cuddles and even receiving the occasional ‘boop’, so we were sure they were at ease. And then it happened — Ivor flopped. 

What’s a flop? Throwing themselves onto their sides, closing their eyes and stretching out their limbs, it can be nerve racking seeing a bunny flop for the first time. But for such a flighty prey animal, an exposing flop is actually the ultimate sign that a rabbit feels safe and relaxed in your presence; we were flattered.

Rabbit named Ivor chewing on cabbage.

Ivor before 'the flop'.

While we only spent two days with the bunnies, it was a special weekend away and we were so grateful to have met like-minded pet lovers who were happy to open their home to us. Thank you, Belle and Josh! 

Now it’s your turn

If you want to spend time with your dream pet too, I’d recommend downloading the app and creating a saved search. You just search the app, adding any filters you like, then press ‘save’ in the top right of your screen. 

Want to experience life as a dog owner one weekend? Set up your search with the ‘dog’ filter’. Always dreamed of looking after an alpaca? Save your search as ‘livestock’. With new sits added every day, I’m sure you’ll find a sit as rewarding as my one with Poppy and Ivor. 

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