On your mark, get set, adopt!

Ashley and Winona, two Best Friends rabbits get adopted in the wink of an eye. December 9, 2009
By Best Friends Animal Society

Ever go to great lengths creating something important, only to find out in the end it wasn’t even necessary? How’d it make you feel? For Tabatha Savage of Colorado, it was like getting an early birthday present. She couldn’t have been happier! You see, her grand and important project was to create adoption posters and fliers for the two foster rabbits in her care. Then they went ahead and got themselves adopted before she could even paint the town. Of all the nerve!

A long time Best Friends supporter, Tabatha contacted Best Friends recently with the idea of fostering rabbits out where she lives. The plan was that she could promote the rabbits locally, in her more populated area since rabbits don’t go to many adoption events because they don’t do well with regular travel. Debby Widolf, rabbit manager, thought that was a terrific idea.

Back home with Ashley and Winona, two sanctuary rabbits, Tabatha had big plans for how to find them a home. Posters, fliers, word of mouth, all kinds of stuff. And yes, she even had the posters printed up and everything. First cracker out of the barrel, however, and they were snatched up into a home.

Tabatha brought the rabbits to an adoption event in Grand Junction, Colorado, where the Deusehle family walked in and fell head over heels for the pair. Still working with Best Friends throughout the process, Tabatha had them fill out an adoption application. She then did the home check and the rest was history. The first two foster rabbits made it into homes before they could even grace the nearest bulletin board. Wahoo!

It’s a good thing Tabatha promised to stay in touch with the new family, though, or they may have never solved a rather baffling mystery. You see, Tabatha had been working with Ashley and Winona on clicker training as another way to help prepare them for a new home. As part of the clicker training, Tabatha would have the rabbits touch a target — in this case, a cat ball with a bell inside — at which point the rabbits would hear a click and receive a treat. With enough practice, this technique can teach the rabbit all sorts of things. But to the rabbits, the bottom line is the treat. "If I touch that magic ball, I get a treat. Got the concept. …"

This is why Ashley and Winona were thrilled to find a cat ball with bell inside at their new home. Glorious day! And which is also why the two rabbits dutifully climbed on top of the cat ball time after time, always with an air of expectation. "Um, don’t we have a deal here, people?" Lucky for the rabbits, the Deusehles finally contacted Tabatha to figure out what the heck was going on. Now they know good and well to have treats handy!

"Finding homes for animals is kind of like a drug," Tabatha says. "You feel so excited, you’re on this high!" She’s not about to let that excitement fade. In fact, she already has her next Best Friends foster rabbits in her care. Jack and Eddie are the newest members of the rabbit poster-child campaign. Wish them luck! And with enough luck, even more unused posters will have to be tossed into the recycle bin. …

Story by David Dickson

Photo by Sarah Ause

Learn more about clicker training your pets here.

Interested in learning more about Tabatha’s newest foster rabbits? Check out

Jack and

adoption profiles.