(Saoirse = "sore-sha" or "seer-sha") It's an Irish name which means "freedom". Cast of Characters: Saoirse the Flemish Giant doe Stewart, neutered Netherland Dwarf His bonded partner, Zelda the spayed Dwarf/Lionhead or Angora mix "Bit players" (there's a good chance they will be in this tale somewhere) Mitsou the seal tortiepoint Sphynx - makes friends with every creature including fruit flies. Joins the rabbits to help them eat their fresh hay, occasionally samples their pellets. Zelda sometimes grooms her bald butt. Victor the sealpoint Siamese - skulks around the Zelda/Stewart pen, stealing wisps of hay. Zelda growls and chases him if he enters, so he tends to leave the bunnies alone. Yoko the ginger and white Sphynx - also enters the Zelda/Stewart domain but usually sits on the top mezzanine level and doesn't bother them. The piggies - Piggy and Carrie (guinea pigs). Piggy came as a package deal when I adopted Stewart, I separated them for Piggy's safety and adopted spayed Carrie to keep him company. The dogs - Fifi the Chihuahua and Polly the Chi/Jack/Pug mix. They don't bother the cats or rabbits, and they get me out of the house every day whether I want to go or not. Spike the albino hedgehog. Various reptiles, birds, fish and tarantulas. Yes, I have a lot of pets. I'm also home all the time (disabled) and have no human friends or family left these days. I would not recommend keeping so many pets to anyone unless they're in a similar situation to mine. They add structure to my day, give me a sense of accomplishment and of course they keep me company. However, it takes a certain amount of self-discipline to make sure they all get the care they need as it's needed. My calendar is covered in colour coded notes to keep track of who got fed or their tank water changed on which date. Most of my pets came from rescues or were not wanted anymore by their previous owners. So with all of these pets, why add rabbits? As with everything, there's a story behind that. My rabbit tale starts when I was in Kindergarten. I learned to read early and I spent a lot of time reading encyclopedias. I developed the vocabulary to match. The other kids called me "that scientific kid" because I used words they didn't understand. For my part, I didn't understand them, and had no interest in playing their childish games. So, I'd spend my days at school in the corner where the bookcase was, sitting on the floor reading with the class rabbit in my lap. That rabbit was big, possibly a New Zealand. It was dark grey and the other kids were afraid of it. I spent many hours reading with the rabbit in that corner. I still have my class photo with me sitting in the front row with that rabbit across my lap. I grew up in a family with five kids. We kept all sorts of pets, but for some reason we never had a rabbit. So I had very little contact with rabbits from Kindergarten on. But as a teenager, for several years I babysat for a family who had a house rabbit. And by weird coincidence, she looked just like the Kindergarten rabbit! I was very impressed by how good she was with a litter box, and that she made a great house pet just like any cat or dog. She would even go out in the back yard with them. I decided then that someday I'd have a giant house rabbit. Then, two years ago I had to run an errand in the north end of Toronto in the winter. It was very cold out, -20 C. There was no snow yet, but we were due for a blizzard to start overnight. I was waiting at a bus stop to go home. I had about 3 hours transit ride ahead. Then I saw something move in the bushes behind me. I turned, there was a little black short haired rabbit with a small streak of white on its nose. I thought "there's no way he's going to survive in -20 with a blizzard coming". So I approached it and it sat still. But when I got too close, it hopped away a few steps. I spent some time trying to get it to stay still so I could toss my coat over it. It just went deep under a juniper bush and I had to give up. I tried calling local Animal Control on my cell to get them to pick up the rabbit, but it was after 5 pm and they refused. As soon as I got home I went online and found a local rabbit rescue. I emailed them asking if they'd go and capture the rabbit. They wouldn't do it either. We got the snow the next day. I wanted to go and see if I could find the rabbit, but it was a bad storm and the buses were all canceled or delayed. I couldn't stop worrying about that poor rabbit outside in the cold. I decided that if I couldn't help that rabbit, maybe I could help another. So I looked through the local pound website and another humane society in Toronto. They both had plenty of rabbits, which made me feel sad. I also did a lot of research on rabbit care. I built a 4 story cc cage with ramps, shelves, and a big attached pen. Then I set off for the Toronto Humane Society (they had the most rabbits to choose from). When I got there, I saw New Zealand rabbits for the first time and fell in love, since they reminded me of that big class rabbit in Kindergarten. Unfortunately they refused to let me adopt a giant rabbit. I had brought pics of the enclosure I had built; they said it wasn't big enough. I told them I could easily take out the levels and use the cubes to build a bigger pen, but they were having none of it. They finally admitted that the only reason they wouldn't let me adopt an NZ was that I live in an apartment. :nono So I started looking at the smaller bunnies, and there was Zelda. She reminded me a lot of that bunny I found outside. The shelter staff also thought she'd be the best fit for me based on her personality. I was allowed to sit in her pen for a while and interact with her. Unlike many of the other bunnies there, Zelda was pretty calm and not very shy. So I took her home that day and settled her in the Zelda Domain (soon to be the Zelda/Stewart Domain) So that's how I got back to rabbits. Next will be Stewart's Tale.