The Safe and Sound Protocol and Rabbits

For those sceptical of the Safe and Sound Protocol, here’s a story that proves that it’s not a placebo in any way, shape or form.

Last year, I randomly adopted 2 rabbits. Please don’t even ask why – I’m not even a massive rabbit fan, but I was going through a stressful period with my children’s schooling (blog post about “progressive education” and trauma to come), and I think I felt that adopting and rehabilitating rabbits would be an easily controllable situation.

Flo and Bugsby

I spent a fortune on a large walk-in run for them to live in outdoors, a huge hutch and toys and things to hide in. They were therapeutic to watch and easy to keep in such a large space as they just do their thing happily.

However, in December, it was extremely cold in the UK – much colder than usual.  They had a large wooden hutch, and out of concern for their welfare, I bought a microwaveable heat pad designed for animals (purchased from Amazon). We used it a few times and it seemed great – held heat all night and I thought would keep the rabbits toasty.

We then went on holiday and left our trusty pet sitter in charge. She followed instructions on the heat pad to the letter. However, on our last day of holiday, I was sitting sunning myself on the beach when a text came through to say “omg there’s been a fire” – and then photos of what was left of the rabbit enclosure. Luckily the rabbits were fine as they had 24/7 access to their run, but their hutch and run were completely destroyed!

It turns out these heat pads are well known to start fires! The pet sitter kindly brought the rabbits indoors and put them in a run in our conservatory, where they stayed over Christmas until a couple of weeks ago, when we rebuilt their run having been compensated for the fire by the seller of the heat pad via Amazon’s insurance

What was left of our walk in run and hutch after the fire – aka nothing

The boy rabbit was extremely aggressive – charging at people whenever they invaded his space, and growling too. I admit I was a bit scared of him – a bit like the Monty Python rabbit.

That rabbit’s got a vicious streak!

The reason I’m telling you this is that I decided that while they were indoors, I’d use SSP with them. So I got a bluetooth speaker – just one, not one on either side or anything – and played the SSP Classical Flow at a very low volume, barely audible to me.

The male rabbit, Bugsby, sat up on his hind legs and looked a bit alarmed, but then lay down and relaxed – first time I’ve ever seen him do that, especially when anyone was nearby. We went through the whole 5 hours, and every time I put the music on, he’d sit on his hind legs and then relax. After the listening, I’d go in and talk to them both – not about anything in particular as I assume rabbits can’t really understand speech itself, but I’m assuming at least they know I’m not a threat while I’m making that noise.

Bugsby listening to the Safe and Sound Protocol

This photo shows that both rabbits are extremely relaxed. You can also tell that this is the case from their ear positions.

We returned the rabbits to their new outside habitat a couple of weeks back, and they seemed so excited to have loads of space again rather than being enclosed like they were in our house. The pet sitter commented on how Bugsby is like a changed rabbit – absolutely no more growling or lunging.

The rabbits’ new set up – still a work in progress, but better than living in our conservatory for sure.

I hope you enjoyed my story of rabbit rehabilitation.

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