Senior bunnies find love and healing in each other

Torvi and Hope the rabbits outside with a carrot
Let the healing begin! Shy, older bunnies Torvi and Hope lost their partners but gained something even better: each other.
By Alison Cocchiara

For most bunnies, friends and family are everything. They bond strongly with their bunny buddies, and losing them can be very difficult. From kissing and cuddling to sleeping and playing, bonded rabbits live as a pair and do everything together to ensure each other's safety and comfort. Without a companion, most rabbits become lonely, depressed, and anxious. So when senior bunnies Torvi and Hope, who were already rather shy and reserved, each separately lost their partners, it was worrying.

A trying time

Hope arrived at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’s Bunny House as a shy, scared, single bunny. But that all changed when caregivers introduced her to a tall, dark, and handsome bunny named Prince. OK, he wasn’t tall, but he was dark and handsome. And very charming. Hope fell in love, and this pair of bunny royalty lived together harmoniously until Prince fell ill and passed away very suddenly.

“Hope was devastated,” says Best Friends caregiver Amy Brown. “This was especially worrying because her chronic upper respiratory infection flares up during stressful times.”

Shy sisters

While Hope faced health challenges, Torvi and her sister Siggy also struggled initially due to their distressing pasts. Torvi and Siggy arrived at the Sanctuary from overcrowded conditions and were initially terrified of people. The Sanctuary provided a safe, cozy haven (and plenty of delish treats) for the shy, bonded sisters, and they slowly learned to trust people.

However, while Torvi and Siggy were more outgoing than Hope and Prince, they were still very reserved. And Torvi became even more withdrawn after Siggy suddenly passed away just a few weeks after Prince.

Lucky in love

Caregivers were worried about both Hope and Torvi. Torvi, with a heart murmur, and Hope, with a chronic upper respiratory infection, withdrew even more from people without their bunny friends’ support.

Because of their advanced years and special medical needs, there was debate about whether it would be better for them to remain solo, so any future partners wouldn’t go through losing them. Bunnies can be particular about new faces and can even squabble and hurt each other if they’re put together with another bunny they don’t end up liking. But they both needed a friend, and the consensus was to see whether the senior ladies might like each other.

[Welcome to Bunny House at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary]

When caregivers introduced Torvi and Hope, they immediately clicked and began grooming one another, which usually indicates bunny bonding is going well. They got along so well, in fact, that they started opening up more to human friends. Hope, who’d always run away, started hopping up to caregivers for her medicine, Torvi right behind her. And whenever Hope sneezed on Torvi’s head (trust us, it’s cuter than it sounds), she helped clean her new friend right back up.

“They're more bonded to each other than either of them was with their former partners,” says Amy. “They’re much more demonstrative with each other and are always cuddling each other. They liked their former partners, but they weren't the affectionate cuddle buddies they are with each other.”

Lessons in love and lettuce

This fluffy, dynamic duo continues to grow and learn from each other. Torvi likes to grab her lettuce leaves during mealtimes and run around with them, and now Hope does too.

“They both try to get through the door with the lettuce leaves in their mouth, and they can't fit. It’s so funny,” says Keala Richter, another one of Hope and Torvi’s caregivers. “And when Hope takes her meds, she stands up on her hind legs and sometimes falls back, which Torvi now does too. They're just goofy.”

[Blind bunny and her seeing-eye brother find safety at Best Friends]

They can sit for hours now with a caregiver or visitor, eyes closing as they doze under gentle back scratches and soft petting. They devour flowers together and are always looking for more treats and attention. Potential adopters are welcomed to meet them in hopes that someone will choose them to go home, which opens up space for more bunnies in need to come to the Sanctuary. Until then, with a new friend by their side, Torvi and Hope have found, well, hope. And they are bouncing for the future.

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