Long before the rambunctious rodent came to live here, a cute little bunny rabbit arrived. Wiley was a well known and well loved feral rabbit drifting through friendly back yards in an upscale urban neighborhood. It soon became clear that he didn’t belong to anyone, and with winter approaching, his protectors grew concerned. A friend of the Funny Farm heard about Wiley, and the next thing you know, he was at the vet being “fixed” and then he was here!
This was a big surprise for both Wiley Wabbit, and little Nosebud, the Rabbit in Residence!
She was very excited to share her palace with such a handsome gentleman rabbit.
Wiley’s adjustment to captive life was instantaneous. The few times I had him indoors he was curious and inquisitive, not panicked, so I am quite certain he once lived with a family.
He was a gentleman and a quick learner. He came to me readily and leaned into me when I picked him up.
He was in fabulous condition and was a showoff, too. Wiley took full advantage of vertical elements in the palace.
He was so relaxed he scared me half to death sometimes. (Those are Nosebud’s calling cards. Wiley was fastidious.)
He was a trickster, though, and would hide from me. Can you find him in that photo above? (The answer is at the end of the blog.)
When Wiley Wabbit first arrived, he and Nosebud would hide together under a huge rosemary bush. It died in a hard freeze, so I planted new ones, and used wire to protect the baby plants from chicken scratching and bunny bites.
Wiley Wabbit was the Gentleman King of the Funny Farm.
Until Prince Dobalob arrived. Dobby got along just fine with Nosebud and Wiley, while he was small enough to enter the palace.
The rabbits were happier when Dobby turned into a bull and I stopped allowing him into their china shop.
Time passed and Wiley seemed ageless. We didn’t really know how old he was, but only his accumulated wisdom hinted at his years. Eager to join the afternoon garden party with the poultry, he also learned to return promptly to the palace when I went in to refill the dishes.
Sweet little Nosebud would get confused about returning to their pen, and Wiley would gently get her attention and coax her in.
And just two weeks after I took her to the vet, Nosebud was gone. She had E. cuniculi, I treated both rabbits, but she didn’t make it. Wiley Wabbit was devastated.
Animals do mourn.
After about a month, he returned to his trickster ways, but it wasn’t the same without Nosebud.
Wiley had plenty of friends, if you include birds. In the photo above, he is helping to re-seed Dobby’s
mudhole back yard pasture. The chickens, geese, and ducks destroy it seasonally.
Wiley had plenty of treats. The apple tree drops enough for everyone to share, and they all love to forage.
Wiley’s palace had plenty of hopping space. Two more rabbits came, but one named Bonnie Bunny claimed Mr. Wiley Wabbit for her very own.
Wiley taught her to navigate the garden, and how to find her way back to the pen. Bonnie is very
bossy independent but was a serviceable companion for Gentleman Wiley.
When he had been here 7 years, he developed allergies and had sneezing fits, but the veterinarian recommended a supplement that worked miracles. He loved getting his “cookie” every day. He also developed cataracts and gained some weight. Wiley wasn’t running around like a maniac any more.
He had lived here 8 years when he refused his last cookie at the end of the day. Bonnie Bunny was attending him and he was very still. I knew he would be gone when I awoke the next morning and that there was nothing more I could do for him. Bonnie would have to take him the final distance.
Cute little Wiley was even in Dobby’s magazine article, a fitting memorial.
Wiley was here for so long . . . I keep expecting to see him come around the corner. I swear I heard his ghost up in the palace: there is nothing quite like the hippity hop of a rabbit. They really do make that noise, you know. So, I heard a hippity hop across the length of the palace, but turned to see Bonnie just behind me, in the garden.
A Wiley Wabbit Ghost haunts the Funny Farm. Perfect.
So, did you find Wiley in that photo way back at the beginning? He’s right smack dab in the center of the photo: