bonding lessons #10 (aka a lesson on staying motivated)

We are about to enter month 6 of our bunny bonding experience.

To put that into context so you might gain some insight into how discouraged I’ve been feeling of late: if you follow the guidelines of bunny bonding, it should take between 1 and 2 months for bunnies to be fully bonded.

We’re about to enter month 6…

The issue we have been struggling with is called “Spring Fever”. Spring fever tends to kick in during spring, hence the name, and can continue through to the earlier months of summer due to the longer days and warmer weather. Bunnies sense these external changes which, in turn, cause a bunny’s hormone levels to rise. And this can, as we discovered, result in certain behavioural issues, behavioural issues which are natural but not favourable for a successful bonding setting. Behaviours such as digging, chasing, nipping and, our personal nemesis, humping.

According to the many sources I’ve turned to, including people who I would deem to be bonding experts, Spring Fever should calm down after a few weeks.

Let me say it one more time… we are about to enter month 6 of our bonding process.

Not only that, but we’ve experienced Spring Fever for more than the quoted “few weeks”. For us, Spring Fever kicked in in early March. And it has been relentless.

The bunny who seemed to acquire Spring Fever was Bobo. Olaf didn’t really seem touched by it, thankfully. However, Bobo’s resulting behaviour made up for the both of them. A normally placid, carefree, gentle bunny, for over 3 months turned into an obsessed, relentless humping machine. And poor Olaf was on the receiving end.

Everyone we turned to for guidance and advice, all the experts didn’t believe that it could be Spring Fever. Everyone thought it was hierarchical behaviour as bunnies tend to hump to show dominance. However, that little voice in my heart told me that whilst there may have been a little hierarchical behaviour at the start, it was Spring Fever that kept testing us.

And in a way I am truly grateful for that little voice and that I listened to it above the voices of the experts. Because it kept me motivated. It gave me the faith and confidence I needed to keep going, to keep believing that the boys would eventually bond.

If I had tuned out that little, quiet, subtle voice and chosen to listen to the experts who believed it was all hierarchical, I may have chosen to stop the bonding process, believing that our boys would and could never be bonded.

I won’t lie, during these last 3 months and more, there has been many a day when I was pulling my hair out, there has been many a day when, at the end of the bonding session, I just sat down and cried, and there continues to be many a day when I can still feel my back ache as a result of the constant bending over to stop the negative behaviour that arose from the humping.

However, quite unexpectedly, as quickly as Spring Fever entered Bobo’s hormones, it just as quickly exited. June 28th 2023 (coincidentally my Dad’s birthday) will be a day I shall remember for a very long time as that was the last day of Spring Fever for 2023. It was also the day before I left to go visit my family in Northern Ireland for a few days. I’ll remember it because Bobo’s Spring Fever had hit fever-pitch. For over 2 hours solid, Bobo was chasing and humping Olaf.

The following morning I left for Northern Ireland, feeling a tad guilty as I was leaving my husband to continue the bonding sessions and deal with Bobo’s relentless humping. However, to my astonishment when he updated me that evening, he told me that that day’s bonding session had been completely uneventful.

Not only that, the next day and the next and the next… everyday I was away, the bunnies were on their best behaviour. Only one day, the day before my return, did Olaf challenge Bobo as top bunny in their hierarchy. A challenge that ended quickly.

And since then, since my return to, again, take on the mantle of primary bunny bonder, the bunnies have spent each session, side by side in bliss and perfect harmony.

One day Spring Fever was in full swing, the next it had left the building; something I did not expect in a million years. I suspected it would be coming to an end late June/early July as we had adopted Bobo in July as a friend for Forrest, his previous partner, and their bond was easy and instantaneous. However, I had also expected the Spring Fever to taper off, not suddenly disappear overnight.

And I am forever grateful that I kept persevering with the bonding process, that I kept listening to and believing my heart over the voices of the experts. Because, now, even though the bonding process still has some way to go, I feel it will definitely happen. I know our bunny boys can and will be able to live together in peace 24/7 and have the free-roaming lives bunnies deserve.

But this has made me question… how do you remain motivated when it feels like the odds are stacked against you? How do you keep going day after day after day when you feel you’re banging your head against a brick wall?

What makes you keep persevering instead of giving up?

For me, throughout this experience, it has been the unwavering faith I’ve had in my intuition, that little voice in my heart. Every time someone advised differently to that little voice in my heart, I could feel my whole body react negatively. I just knew to heed that voice.

Listening to and having faith in our intuition isn’t something that happens naturally overnight, nor is intuition some magical power bestowed on the special few. We were all born with intuition and intuition still flows though us.

However, like any muscle in our body, if it’s not exercised it grows weak. Being told as a child that your imaginary friend wasn’t real, being urged to fit in and quieten that voice in your heart, being encouraged to live in a world where solutions and choices are made by the head, not the heart… well, it’s only natural that our intuitive muscle will grow weak.

And when it does, it’s up to us to strengthen it. But, like anything, it’s a choice. We can choose to go through life with a flabby and weak intuition, or we can choose to live a full and abundant life, thanks to a well-toned and strengthened intuitive muscle. Which choice will you make?

Whilst my intuition has gotten me through this time and encouraged me not to give up, what about the next time? Bobo has been a part of our family for almost 9 years, and I am deeply connected with him. So, it was easy and natural for me to heed my intuition this time.

However, that may not be the case every time in every situation.

There will always be times when we feel challenged, when we may doubt ourself, when we may be doing something we don’t enjoy. In those times, what can we do to stay motivated when we’re feeling discouraged? That’s the question I posed to the Universe.

Viv xx