Well, the latest addition to our family has arrived, and the wisdom of letting The Boy choose his own best friend was confirmed.
We went to the Humane Society to find a new rabbit as an Xmas gift for The Boy (our previous rabbit passed away last Spring), and to my surprise, he did not choose the baby bunny I was sure would be his first choice, or the bunny I would have thought would be the next runner up, or any of the baby rabbits I thought he would be interested in. He chose a 2 1/2 year old rabbit named Nestle. She is a breed know as Chinchilla, and according to the info on her kennel, she is a shy rabbit in need of extra handling and socialization to bring her out of her shell. You would never guess that from watching she and The Boy together: they are getting along famously: Nestle loves being held by him, and is inquisitive and adventurerous about everything as long as The Boy is near.
I had been concerned that it might be hard to go into the shelter and not want to adopt everyone there, but we (and the critters) are blessed by the high standards of care and commitment that the Humane Society holds itself too. The shelter is clean and cheerful, and the staff commited to making te right human/animal connection. There was no pressure and little guilt. The day we were ther 48 pets went home, thats about one adoption every 10 minutes of business hours!
In 2005, Oregon Humane Society received and cared for over 12,700 animals, finding homes for 96 percent of the dogs and 80 percent of the cats - 8,534 pets found homes. Their adoptions rates are quite impressive when compared to the national average (25 percent for dogs and 20 percent for cats). Board members, staff, and volunteers are committed to placing 100 percent of the animals brought to the shelter for adoption into new, loving homes. Part of the challenge is that folks have the idea that the best way to get started with a new pet is to get them as a baby, which is not always the case.
We start with our children as new borns, and yet they grow up to be themselves ~sometimes despite their parents best efforts. Similarly, other animals grow up to be themselves, and when you meet them as adults their habbits, quirks and foybles are clearly evedent, in ways they were not as infants. Will that brand new puppy dig and bark insesantly, or be a champion frizzbe player? It is impossible to know when they are 8 weeks old; at 8 months, or 8 years, their strengths and challenges are more readily apparent. My money is on the older pet, every time.
So it is that we know that Nestle is a calm, loving and solisotous spirit, she is as big as she is going to get, and is unlikely to develope any bad habbits from here. Her "poos" will be a boon for the garden, and she will help eat the weeds we pull out of the garden, but most importantly, Nestle is best friend to The Boy.