A few years ago, one of my rabbits alerted me to a degu escape by stomping her feet like a maniac until I came into the room
As for inspirational stories, there is the story of my rabbit, Sakura. She had been an Easter bunny purchased for some young kids who quickly lost interest in her. She was kept outside in a small, wire hutch with no toys or anything. She was never handled (the woman I got her from fully admitted to this) and she gave birth when she was only about four months old. Miraculously, she raised the whole litter and they grew to be healthy, friendly rabbits (most first time rabbit moms have problems raising the kits, especially when they're that young). This neglect went on for four years
. Finally, the family decided to "get rid" of the rabbits and offered them for free with the hutches. I chose Sakura instead of her sons because she looked like she would be the hardest to adopt out (she was the "aggressive" one and was also the largest). I remember being shocked at her condition--she was severely overweight, dirty, sickly, and her feet were covered in cuts and indentations from the wires. Her fur was also falling out (probably from malnutrition since she was eating cheap, crappy corn-filled food). It had rained the day before and her food was literally mush. They hadn't bothered to change it.
I brought her home, cleaned her up, got her the needed vet care, and fixed up a nice indoor cage. She was absolutely terrified the whole time. It was to the point where I worried she'd simply have a heart attack. I left her cage door open 24-7 (it didn't feel right to confine her to a cage when she had been confined to one for the past four years) but she refused to budge. She instead hid in her wooden house all day. After a week of this, however, she finally began to get braver. Sometimes she'd stick her head out or even hop out for a second and then run back in. That was around the time I bought her a toy. It was her first toy. I got her a simple wooden carrot, I just wanted her to have something to chew on. When I gave it to her I didn't expect her to know what to do with it--but to my amazement she immediately threw it across the cage! She then ran over to it, picked it back up, and threw it again. She ended up being such a playful rabbit that she got her own toy box (her favorites were balls that she could roll around and things that jingled or dispensed treats).
Eventually, she started to come out of her cage more and more. Her favorite spot was in the middle of the hallway, right across from the door to the room. Although it was clear that she was becoming relaxed in the house, she still didn't want anything to do with people. If someone walked past her, she'd immediately run back into her cage. I never handled her or anything, I figured she'd come to me when she was ready. After about a month I noticed that she wasn't running immediately anymore. So I started giving her treats and sitting next to her in the hallway. No petting or anything, just hanging out. This went on for a while until one day she bumped her nose against me when I came over with some treats. I reached out, pet her on the head, and she lay down and let me stroke her. She had finally forgiven people
She ended up being incredibly cuddly, playful, smart, and (mostly) well-behaved. Out of all my rabbits, Sakura bonded to me the closest. She also inspired me to get involved with rabbit rescue and the HRS.
And to think that she had been tossed outside.