Sharon Hsu first found Peanut on Craigslist more than four years ago when she was searching for a coffee table. A friend suggested she check the site’s free section, and while she was there, she was intrigued by an ad for a free bunny who had been found wandering around outside.
“Two days later, I picked her up and took her home.”
You might think it was love and rainbows at first sight, but owning Peanut didn’t come without its troubles in the early days.
“When I first brought P home, the fur on her butt was all matted from sitting in a cage for months,” Sharon wrote on her Instagram page. “The first time I picked her up, she kicked so hard she ripped my sweater. The first time she licked my face, I braced myself for a bite.”
Sharon was also taken aback by all the destruction such a small animal could cause.
“It’s been a long time since I had bunnies, and the bunny I had before Peanut was like an absolute angel, never chewed on anything,” Sharon recalls.
Bunnies are natural-born chewers and love to rip up carpets, baseboards, and anything else they can get their teeth on. Peanut, in particular, is also a mischievous little escape artist, ruining Sharon’s plans to keep her contained in one room. And as she unintentionally became more of a free-roam bunny, she caused even more destruction to the house.
And then the situation got worse in an unexpected and terrifying way.
“She started losing her balance a lot, and she would try to do normal things, and she would fall and start rolling like she couldn’t get up,” Sharon recalls.
The bunny also seemed to be having seizures, although these were difficult to diagnose since Sharon’s videos were all the veterinarians had to go by. For months, Sharon took Peanut back to the vet for testing and examinations. Peanut was diagnosed with ataxia, a condition in which poor muscle control contributes to clumsy movements, poor coordination, and poor balance.
“She could barely move. She didn’t play. She didn’t binky. She became a perfect, well-behaved, sad bunny.”
The cause of Peanut’s ataxia has never been found. However, the vets suspect raccoon roundworm, a rare infection that is almost always deadly to bunnies in the wild. Sharon was informed that there was no treatment or cure. All she could do was take Peanut home and keep her as comfortable as possible and see what happened.
But the illness came with a silver lining as well. “I think that’s when she kind of bonded with me, because I was pretty much the only one taking care of her at the time,” Sharon says. “That’s what connected her to me.”
Sharon kept Peanut gated in the kitchen for several months so that she could not fall off furniture and injure herself. It was a nerve-wracking few months, but eventually, Peanut started to become more confident and steady, although she still has terrible balance.
Sharon was overjoyed to have Peanut mostly back to her old self. Of course, with the restoration of her confidence also came the renewal of her sassy and naughty personality.
“She lost that when she first got sick, for the first few months, because she was too scared to do anything, really,” Sharon recalls. “But once she started like normalizing everything, her full personality was completely back, and she’s super confident, to the point where she’s a little bit reckless sometimes, and she jumps on everything.”
Sharon and her partner, Rene – whom she met during a cross-country move with Peanut a couple of years ago – also have a foster bunny. But Peanut, who is about six or seven years old now, is their only permanent pet. She certainly acts the part of the only child who can get away with whatever she wants to do.
“She loves to do things that she knows she’s not supposed to do so. She would get in trouble for, you know, jumping on the couch. I’d go and pick her up and put her down. And so that became a thing; she wanted to do it more because I wouldn’t let her.”
Sharon also reports that Peanut is not allowed in her bedroom because of the destruction she knew the bunny would cause. But as soon as Peanut figured out that territory was off limits, she started sitting in front of the door and waiting for her chance to get inside.
“She’s not a perfect, well-behaved bunny anymore,” Sharon admits. “I think her favorite words are ‘stop’ and ‘get down.'”
Peanut’s most recent hobby is hopping up on the windowsill to bite the window frame and beat on the glass with her paws. “The more I don’t want her up there, the more she wants to go up there,” Sharon says.
But for all her “excessive rabbitude,” Peanut has a charming side too. Aside from just being all-around adorable, she has some cute little quirks that will melt your heart. She loves to play outside in the snow, for starters.
Peanut also has a little rabbit-sized bed that she loves to carry around on her back so that she looks like a turtle. Sharon lovingly refers to her as a “burtle” and hypothesizes that perhaps the bed feels like a weighted blanket to Peanut. Or maybe she’s channeling her inner hermit crab?
Peanut has adapted very well to her new disability, developing new ways of doing old things without the balance she had before. Sharon says most bunnies stand on their hind legs to wash their faces with their paws, for example, but Peanut has learned she’ll fall over when she does this. Instead, she leans up against a wall or another hard surface for balance when it’s time to wash her face.
Sharon and Peanut have now been together for more than four years. They’ve traveled over 3,000 miles together and lived at six different addresses.
Sharon hopes Peanut’s story will help inspire other people to adopt pets rather than buy from a breeder. Even special-needs animals like Peanut have lots of love to give.
“She still falls. She still has seizures. But this little creature is the epitome of resilience, and I’m glad I could finally give her the patience and love she needed to become her bad bun self.”
We wish Peanut many more happy bunny years of hay-eating, cord-chewing, burtling, and other mischief!Whizzco