Pack, Meet Jeremy!

Hello. My name is Delaney. I'm a 34 year-old woman with lots of animals. I've always loved critters of all species. As a little kid I had teddy-bear hamsters and bunnies. We always had cats, too. I always longed for a dog but this wouldn't happen for many years. In college, I found a family giving up their Lop. I jumped in the car and picked him up and brought him back to school with me. Lloyd and I lived in my single dorm room. He was well-liked by my friends and school mates. He was always the hit of the party, too. We lived happily in that dorm room until someone saw a paw under the door and turned me into my dean. Sadly, Lloyd had to leave school and live at home with my mom. I would come home on weekends to visit him. Ironically, Lloyd passed on Easter of that year (1998). We had some great times. RIP, Lloyd...

After college, I really wanted a cat for the apartment but my then-boyfriend was very allergic to cats so hamsters were perfect.

At age 28, I was finally able to get my first dog and she was/is a beauty. I wanted a BIG dog and saw this Sheep dog/St Bernard looking thing on Petfinder. She had paws the size of saucers and was covered in mud. I thought she was beautiful. Ella was $50 and a big bag of cheap dog food. After a couple of days, I thought my heart would burst when this little girl's tail finally untucked and she held her head up high as we walked up and down Grand Avenue. About a year later, I adopted her little brother (a 50-lb terrier) from Georgia. Neil, too, was a highway runner but living in a kill-shelter. I had him flown to me. I think back at how crazy that was. He could have been an insanely high-strung lunatic. Instead, he was a very laid-back orangutan-like, black, curly terrier. Ella and Neil fell in love instantly and were the perfect duo, sparring all day long. I was so happy. A few months later, upon learning about puppy mills and the state of homeless dogs, I began fostering dogs and haven't stopped.

I adopted Jeremy from a bunny rescue in May of 2010. He was part of a 60-bunny seizure. I chose him because of his tendency to fall asleep when held like a baby. (I didn't think he was especially cute or attractive, an English Spot who even the rescue people mistook for about three other bunnies, but I was looking for temperament. I needed a bunny that would be laid back enough to allow dogs to love him, too.) I knew my dogs would eventually be fine with a bunny hopping around and I was excited for them to bond. They are, after all, used to all kinds of train-wrecks coming through the door. (We've had puppy mill dogs that have been pretty messed up. We've also had many super-hyper backyard breeded mutts that were just dumped at shelters without given a fair shake.)

I kept Jeremy in his own area the first week. I wanted him to be able to hear all the house and animal noises. I wanted the dogs to know he was there, too. I then moved him into a giant wired dog crate. Everyone crowded around Jeremy to see the newest member of the household. There was some crying and some whining (and some dashing around the cage) but after a couple of days, the pups were sort of bored with Jeremy. OK, not quite bored but not as intense. I was very excited to let him hop around the house. I put the dogs that I knew were prone to slap-happiness into their crates and let Jeremy loose! He was not shy! He happily left his crate and began inspecting the house. When my 60 lb terrier got too close while sniffing, he promptly stomped his foot. He also pottied as close to her as could! My little Shih Tzu didn't know what to think of Jeremy. He followed him around wiggling his butt and stiffened neck while grunting. Jeremy promptly pottied on him, too. All the dogs were treated while Jeremy was loose. I hoped this would give them the idea that Jeremy = good times. Right now, I'm up to four dogs loose with Jeremy (always supervised): Ella, the 60-lb terrier, a crabby Lhasa, an incredibly shy 25-lb puppy-mill terrier, and a 7 lb Bichon. Ella, likes to follow him around from time to time but loses interest. She will lie down and Jeremy will bound up to her sniffing around and even climbing on her by putting his front paws on her as he's nosing around. The Lhasa will yell at him (as he yells at everyone) and chase poor Jeremy away from "his turf" if he gets too close to his bed. The puppy-mill dog shyly follows Jeremy around. Jeremy is not afraid. He has his own room but when the door is open, he always pops out and is ready to hang with the pack. The dogs cannot wait to get into Jeremy's room and taste all the goods. They are slowly starting to respect Jeremy's room. They aren't allowed in there because I want Jeremy to have his one sacred place. The little Bichon will chase him around trying to play. Jeremy will run faster, as he doesn't know what this is about. After about an hour, Jeremy will be lying flat with his legs behind him, relaxing. At this point, I still have two dogs crated. One will slap at Jeremy (like he's a fish or something) and the other foster dog screams that awful high-pitched terrier bark at him (as if a bunny in the house is an injustice). Jeremy doesn't mind the screaming. He goes around and around this foster dog's crate. I think Jeremy is a bit of an instigator!

My local humane society hosts Hoppy Hour every other weekend for an hour. People from all over bring their bunnies to the auditorium and rescue volunteers become "bouncers" and monitor the bunnies. Jeremy is quite awkward around other bunnies. (He's had a couple of time-outs for bad conduct.) He is much more sure of himself around dogs, ironically. He will mount and de-fur other bunnies. He is still learning bunny etiquette but he sure enjoys hopping around the auditorium and throwing in some binkies.

Worrying that Jeremy might be lonely when he is alone during the day in his room, I lined up a date with another English Spot named Eliza. It was NOT love at first site! I may keep trying to find his soul mate but he may be content being the only bunny. I am completely in awe of the fact that Jeremy refuses to pee outside his litter box. This is coming from someone who puts diapers on her foster dogs. What a blessing!!

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