Who is Woodstein and why was she chosen as a namesake for this media website?

During the bitterly cold month of January 2021, my wife and I noticed the cedar shrubs on our property looking feasted upon, and the dormant raspberry plants chewed down to dirty snow, covered in fresh piles of rabbit crap. Rabbits chewing on the remnants of our garden is nothing new, so at first, we never thought anything was out of the ordinary until we caught sight of the bunny doing the damage—a beautiful lean white rabbit with pink eyes. We weren’t experts on rabbit breeds. Was it a white cottontail? We were not sure. All we knew was it was damaging our gardens, and it did not look like it was too healthy.

The rabbit that came for the garden buffet and stayed for the health benefits. (Colin Burrowes Photo)

Its ears were dirty and looked infected, and its head was lilting on an angle. This condition was something we had seen before. One of our sons had a rabbit, showing similar symptoms when it became ill. It is not an uncommon condition for rabbits, and it is a vestibular disease known as torticollis or wry neck. We knew this beautiful little critter needed some help.

We had thought we would trap it, bring it to a rabbit rescue, and get it nursed back to health. That was the plan, at least. We trapped it and brought it to Annette Huelsmann at Mono Wildlife. We learned a few interesting facts from Huelsmann. The first was that the rabbit was female and was in heat. After a rabbit reaches the ripe old age of four months, she will spend the rest of her life in heat, so that was not a big surprise. The unexpected revelation was that this was not a wild rabbit; it was a domestic breed: a New Zealand rabbit, a species which, oddly enough, originated in California.

This rabbit was lucky to be alive and knew nothing about taking care of itself in a harsh Canadian winter. It looked like we could search for a rescue that accepted domestic rabbits or adopt her ourselves. By this time, she was growing on us. It’s not the first time we’ve taken in a pet that arrived on our property and chose us. Of the four pets that live in our house, three have just arrived at our home, and when we looked for an owner, no one came forward to claim them. This beautiful rabbit was the second animal to join our family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We brought the rabbit to Waterloo West Animal Hospital. It’s not easy to find a veterinary clinic that is savvy to the needs of rabbits. They treated the torticollis and gave us tips to nurse her back to health.

We had an excellent white female New Zealand rabbit but no name.

I have a thing for movies about journalists. I’ll watch them all from the great ones, like Spotlight, to the terrible ones, like Richard Jewell. Right after Woodstein took up residence in our home, I watched All The President’s Men. A journalism classic dealing with the end of the Nixon administration. In a fit of anger, one of the editors in the offices of the Washington Post slammed Bob Woodward’s name into Carl Bernstein’s name, creating the moniker, Woodstein. What better name for the bunny of a journalist?

So when I was searching for a name for this news website, it felt appropriate to honour this bunny that has graced us with her presence. That’s it. That’s the story, and I’m sticking to it. Why? Because, like everything else you will find on this news website, it is rooted in the truth.

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