Dating games

Pretend your friends set you up on a blind date. You show up, a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other. You’re all set to make a terrific impression. You ring the doorbell, spritz one last dose of breath freshener, and put on your best smile. Showtime! All at once the door flies open and your date lunges across the front stoop to bite you on the shoulder. Um … rain check? A good thing people have much tamer courtship rituals than rabbits.

As with any animal, rabbit relationships can be tricky. For example, brothers Larry, Moe, and Curly used to live together peacefully for years. Then something changed in the group dynamic. Nobody can quite figure out why, but the three brothers suddenly stopped getting along. They became so grouchy one with another — truly living up to their namesakes for once — that the caregivers had to separate them. All of a sudden there were three lonely bachelors, each looking for a new rabbit friend. Rabbits do much better with a buddy, really. Finding that perfect match, though, is a different story altogether.

One similarly lonely bachelorette up for consideration was Bonbon. She is one of the feistiest female rabbits in the entire Sanctuary. Pairing her up with the right personality is no easy task. Her last friend passed on some time ago and her caregivers were ready to find Bonbon somebody else. Since the three stooges broke up recently, they were an obvious choice. The caregivers went with Moe first.

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See Bonbon and Larry "at home." Watch the video

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Bonbon and Larry

You know, when it comes to romance there is more than one way for sparks to fly. There’s the tingly, exciting kind, and then there’s the kind that’s more like touching two jumper cables together. (Hint: this was not the good kind!) Bonbon and Moe pretty much hated each other, passionately and completely, on sight. Next bachelor, please.

Larry was second in the lineup. With Larry, Bonbon still wasn’t impressed. She tried that whole date-zilla approach of biting and smacking him around. (Somebody might want to tell her there are better ways to make a first impression!) At least Larry was much more laid back than his brother. Even so, he wasn’t too impressed either. Lucky for Bonbon and Larry, chaperones can go a long way in helping to get through first dates.

The caregivers sat right down in the enclosed area with the two rabbits, intervening whenever Bonbon tried to prove how tough she was. They also used some interesting tricks to help improve their chances of getting along. One such technique involves petting one rabbit, then the other, then the first again, thus mixing the fur up between the two animals. With rabbits, no perfume or cologne is as intoxicating as the smell of another rabbit’s fur. By helping them get used to one another’s scent, the two rabbits can relax around each other. Yes, even Bonbon.

While Larry might have wanted to bail from the very beginning, he would have missed out on a good thing. The caregivers helped the pair through that troublesome getting-to-know-you phase and in the end everything really clicked. Now Larry and Bonbon are quite the item! She doesn’t try to beat him up any more, either. It’s as if they’ve been a happy couple for years. With rabbits, forming that bond can be a delicate process but once formed, it tends to stay for a long time. Surely that’s worth an awkward first date or two.

Photos by Sarah Ause

Both Larry and Bonbon are available for adoption. Wouldn't you want this couple as part of your family?