When we selected Bailey at the pet store, he was in a cage with 3 or 4 other small rabbits. They were all cuddled together at one end of the cage, as small mammals tend to do. I realized quickly that it would ease his adjustment to his new home if he had a companion in his cage when we brought him home.
We stopped at a Dollar Tree on the way home and bought a very small stuffed animal, a brown puppy (it was almost exactly the same length as Bailey at the time.) We placed the stuffed puppy into his cage before we put him in it, with the hope that Bailey would think it was another bunny.
Sure enough, after a few hours, we noticed Bailey cuddling up to the stuffed puppy. We were always careful to keep them together — when we took Bailey out of the cage to take him somewhere, we’d bring the puppy too. Over the next few days and weeks, as Bailey grew larger than the puppy, he continued to be very attached to it. If we gave Bailey timothy hay, he’d always drop a few stalks next to the puppy. He pulls the puppy around the cage to keep him close.
We bought him a stuffed elephant yesterday from the same store where we got the puppy. It’s the same size, from the same company (so it’s made from the same fabric).
And Bailey is terrified of it.
He grabbed his puppy and took it over into the opposite corner. He’s keeping them both far away from this weird new intruder. We’re going to give him another day or so, I think, to get used to it before we give up.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.