Originally, the name for "Five and a half dog squad" came having foster dogs in mind...
We have an "extra" dog most of the time, so it felt like, our squad is expanded by ever changing dogs. I thought it's a smart idea!
Once it went in motion, our family was extended by a rescue bunny. And suddenly it became half and a 1/5.
IT ALL STARTED ONE SUMMER DAY...
Triu is short for "Triushis (Triušis), in Lithuanian meaning - bunny. The story of how I got her, em....where to start!
It all started from one cold summer day, when a car rolled into my back yard and an elderly gentleman stepped out of the car, carefully observing my house. Thinking this is utterly weird, I stepped out to greet the gentleman. The gentleman was lead to us by the free flowers available at our gates. It quickly turned into long talk about everything.
Several months later, after this interaction was forgotten, the man appeared again asking for some help with some things for sale. In exchange he offered a bunny cage, for free. I agreed to help, but with no need for anything in return, certainly not a cage, that I had no intention filling.
Turns out, two bunnies were left, at a property of a sold house, with no one to care for them. Luckily, the gentleman I befriended, found out about it and brought the bunnies to someone, who was interested in keeping them, thus - leaving one empty cage, free to give away.
I was asked multiple times about the bunny cage and in the end this lead to conversation to take in the bunnies as well. I hesitantly said, that I will take in the bunnies, if they will have no other option, at the time, believing, they are already settled into a home. I eventually also said yes to the empty bunny cage, JUST IN CASE. I planned to repair it and maybe sell online or donate to a shelter.
THE DAY OF...
The day of, when I was politely talked into getting the bunny cage, finally came. It was delivered and it seemed that, that was it. But the same day, late at night, I received a message saying, another cage, with one bunny, will be delivered to me within an hour. Apparently one of the bunnies died, because of lack of proper care and the fate of Triu would have been the same. So, the man wanted to avoid that and brought her to me.
I had no choice, but to prepare myself - with the help of Google and Youtube - as much as I can, for the arrival of a pet, I have never really had before. A pet, my dogs knew only by the ear smell, as they often snacked on dried rabbit ears and also as someone they chase in the fields around us...
It took several months, random stranger and many small events, for this bunny, to end up in my home. PRECISELY THIS BUNNY - with the colour and gender fitting into our squad "standarts".
Innitially, it was planned to find Triu a new home. But, as I am a strong believer in "what's meant to be...", after meeting Triu, I could not give her away anymore. It was decision made, despite knowing, that not all of the dogs will take it lightly.
TRIU'S "CRIB" DEVELOPMENT
At first Triu, was given a whole room to explore, but as it seems, she spend her life in that cage I got her in, which doesn't have much space to move, so she is not used to moving freely. She is also not walking on any surface that doesn't have hay on. And, she uses any and all spaces as a WC. I still didn't want to leave her in that old cage, so I got her into another room in an outside storage area. That's where slow socialising started.
Turns out Triu is super badass, with an attitude and strong character. She slowly started really loving me and looking forward for me to come in daily with fresh treats. Sjuzi and Popsi were accompanying me, from the beginning, to start integration into the pack. Soon it started to feel very wrong leaving her outside alone, so - I build a small inside "barn" in the kitchen, out of fence leftovers and some euro pallets, for her to be closer to the family.
INTEGRATION WITH THE SQUAD
Let's be honest - all of my dogs have hunter genes and if they would meet creatures like Triu outside, they would hunt, for several kilometres if needed, even if it makes me super angry. They never catch anything, but that's not the point. At home, they used to get to enjoy dried treats made out of creatures like Triu. I stopped giving them anything made out of rabbit, to avoid big moral dilemma and out of respect to Triu. But still, when they were introduced to her, Josie and Lucy kinda went bananas...not even exaggerating!
Josie totally lost her mind, could not sleep, had to spend every minute by the door, behind which Triu was. For her, it seemed like one of those fluffy toys she likes to destroy, but one that also smells great and moves! I knew, Josie will be the biggest challenge.
Lucy, the biggest hunter in the family, wanted politely carry Triu in her mouth, maybe remove few coat layers. Which off-course, she was not allowed.
LU, well...LU couldn't see Triu so she didn't had any reaction, for quite a while. Now she likes to stand by the cage, but I don't think she fully comprehends, what is that, that she is smelling.
Sjuzi and Popsi handled it quite well, since I have been having them with me and Triu from the very beginning. When Triu moved inside, they were already ok with that.
The biggest suprise was Triu, who had no care in the world about the stalker psychos around her. I knew, if Triu can handle the dogs, the rest of the gang will calm down eventually. And they did. Eventually.
Triu is still not a playmate to any of the dogs, but, they all live happily together and with time, pretty sure she will understand that she is allowed to be happy bunny here and that she has friends. Different than her, but still friends.