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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The incredible story of two wild rescue rabbits

Andy Zhu
Puffy and Fluffy growing up in a different environment than the wild.

In August 2019, due to the extreme summer heat, my family left our backyard door open, and a small creature — a lean, dark taupe-colored bunny that appeared to be no older than 2 months old — took the opportunity to take shelter in our home. My dad noticed this friendly intruder and gently led the bunny outside on the lawn, only to be left confused that it didn’t move a single inch. Looking out for the animal, he picked it up and placed it in a bush for cover hoping it would find its way back home soon.

Who ever knew that animal would become a staple memory of my childhood?

Later that day, my dad went to check if the rabbit had moved. To his surprise, the little fellow remained. It seemed that fear had paralyzed the bunny’s ability to move around, and my dad started getting worried that it wouldn’t be able to survive on its own.

After some pondering, he brought the bunny inside and kept it inside a storage box with towels for warmth and bedding. When my sister and I arrived home that day from school, the strange box caught our eyes immediately. 

Initially, I was hit with confusion. Why is there a transparent box on the floor? Wait, is something in there?

I approached the box, and the mysterious object inside appeared to be moving. My dad explained everything that happened; needless to say, we were thrilled to have our first “real” pet — one that wasn’t a non-responsive fish.

Before our sparks of hope could grow into a blaze, however, our dad poured us a bucket of cold water.

 “This is just a baby rabbit,” he warned. “We’re not even sure it may survive. We need to make sure it can live first.”

With that in mind, I promptly began my research. I investigated everything from their living conditions to what they eat and their behaviors. I was determined to keep the rabbit healthy and make sure it had a good time during its fostering.

We named the little guy Puffy. I remember the first time we witnessed it eating carrots: It was through an Arlo video camera while our family was away, and Puffy was nibbling gently on sliced carrots. My entire family was so happy and felt assured that it was going to survive.

As Puffy grew, his home grew from a small cage to a 4-feet playpen with little accessories like chew toys, ropes, hide-outs and pillows. Eventually, we bought and customized him a four-level rabbit house and his favorite place to relax was the hammock my dad made for him.

A few months later, another rescue rabbit joined the family. Its story is a bit different from Puffy’s. This one came right up our doorstep. Our neighbor — who had heard of our rescue rabbit tale — brought it to us. We named it Fluffy.

Fluffy was much different than Puffy. He was very energetic and lively, unlike Puffy, who was very reserved. I could tell Fluffy was going to be harder to calm down, but he was going to be fun to take care of.

This time around, we were more confident in our abilities to keep it safe and well after months of taking care of Puffy. Lucky for him, he never had to stay in a small rescue cage, thanks to Puffy’s old equipments. We raised Fluffy until he got bigger, and then we introduced him to Puffy. The two first acted like they didn’t see each other and cautiously stayed very far apart. But as time went on, they became comfortable and soon became good friends.

As they kept growing bigger, we realized they needed more space. It was a tough and debated decision, but we decided to let them free. However, this did not mean the end of our time together.

We continued to see Fluffy and Puffy in the areas around our house, and occasionally even fed them treats that we used to give them. Although we see them around less often now, we are still able to tell whenever they do visit us. Puffy has a darker spot on one of his feet, and Fluffy’s right ear has been slightly nipped since we got him.

This was my first experience having a real pet. The connections I made with these wild rescued rabbits will forever be one of the most special moments of my life.  I always think back to when Puffy and Fluffy lived with us, and I am reminded of the great times that I had taking care of, and growing up with them.

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