Meet Pewter (A Foster's Tale)



Pewter Lang nibbling on clover in the gardens of her Pearland estate


Don't let the picture fool you. Princess Pewter is a HOUSE rabbit through and through. Although this picture shows her enjoying a little outdoor time, her family always watches for predatory birds and supervises her while she is out.

Flash back to July 2001. Helen Swann, one of Bunny Buddies' founding members, knows I have a soft spot for Dutches and has convinced me to foster one of the CAP bunnies. It's a grey-and-white Dutch, she tells me. I don't feel like making the 40-minute trip out to the shelter, so we agree to meet at a gas station halfway between us.

When we arrive, my husband, Wade, leaves the air conditioning of our car just long enough to retrieve a carrier from the cab of Helen's truck. I steal a quick peek into the carrier and recoil at what's inside. I've never seen anything so dingy or mangy! Wondering what we've gotten ourselves into, we drive straight home and set our newest foster up in a Neat Ideas-style cage in our bedroom, safely quarantined from our three healthy rabbits. We've never been ones for clever names — our first rabbits were a Dutch named Dutchess and a grey bunny named Shadow — so I grin and bear it when Wade suggests we call her Pewter.

A few days later, I email Helen and some of the other foster families: "Y'all, that little grey Dutch from CAP kept waking us up off and on last night. She sneezes and honks like a goose, I swear she could use a bath, and I think I saw a flea!" Later that week, I taxi her to Dr. May to be spayed. After the surgery, Dr. May calls to tell me how it went. "Did they tell you she was pregnant?" he asks. Well, that explains a lot, I think.

Over the next two weeks, with a steady supply of fresh water, safe veggies, Timothy hay, her own constant grooming, and our love and affection, Pewter not only recovered from her surgery, she transformed into one of the most beautiful creatures we have ever seen. In the months that followed, we tried every way we could think of to add her to our family, but our Dutchess would have none of it.

Then came the inevitable email. Someone had seen Pewter's picture on the Internet and was interested in her. Two or three suitors later, we were into the holiday season. It was close to Christmas when Contestant No. 3 arrived on our doorstep with her two children, eager to meet Pewter and adopt their first house rabbit. (Helen Swann and Cheryl Arena were also there to assist, meaning, to sit on me if necessary.) When they left with Pewter that day, it was all I could do not to follow them out the door pitching unwanted care and feeding instructions at them :-)

Before long, her new mom sent me photos and glowing reports (a foster family's paycheck), and it was clear that Pewter had found her dream home.

These days, when Her Majesty is not enjoying the pool and garden area of her Pearland estate, she's lounging in the comfort of her luxury INDOOR suite, complete with three full-time servants.

Dr. May, the vet who spayed her, has even opened a practice in Pearland, to be a little closer to Pewter, I suspect :-)

And what about her new mom, who barely knew anything about parenting a house rabbit? That was Kathy Lang, who went on to become Bunny Buddies' 2005-2006 president.

Debbie Campbell, Pewter's Foster Mom
Houston, Texas, July 2005

Postscript October 10, 2010: Pewter's family laid her to rest this weekend. At almost 11 years old, she was wasting away from kidney failure, and a survivor of surgery for breast cancer. Dr. May had assured the Langs that nothing more could be done for her. We just didn't expect to lose her quite so soon.

I have never seen a stronger bond between a bunny and her human. Kathy and Pewter were like soul mates. One of my fondest memories of them was when I came to visit Pewter in her new home. We were downstairs in the kitchen, and Pewter had come down to join us. After a bit of socializing, Kathy pointed out of the kitchen and told her, "Go to your room." Pewter dutifully left the kitchen, hopped up the stairs, and went back to the room where she and Kathy would go on to spend many hours watching t.v. and relaxing.

I feel so lucky to have kept in touch with the Langs over the years and to have been a part of this incredible story.