RABBITS may be “misunderstood” by some, but for one Whitchurch teenager she has dedicated the last two years giving abandoned bunnies a loving home.

Eleanor Bell was just 17-years-old when she began fostering rabbits and guinea pigs one hutch at a time, and now almost three years later she is the founder and manager of her very own animal rescue charity.

The former sixth form student who had to drop out of school due to mental health issues, now looks after dozens of rabbits and guinea pigs under her non-profit named Furlock Holmes, based at the back of Eleanor’s family home in Micheldever Road.

The 19-year-old said: “I absolutely love it. I always loved animals and I think my parents thought I would grow out of it but I don’t think I ever will.

“I started by fostering for other rescues because then it is not such a long-term commitment, and then it took off I went from having one hutch of rabbits at a time to 46 rabbits and 25 guinea pigs.

“We are hoping in a couple of years to be big enough to pay a couple of people.”

Furlock Holmes became an officially registered charity in August, and has 25 volunteers helping out with the furry friends' welfare, as well as visits from children after school to help put them to bed.

One side of the charity Eleanor loves is taking the animals out for visits to care homes and special needs schools to interact with others.

She added: “I really, really enjoy it, it is one of my favourite bits. It’s very rewarding taking the animals and seeing the people who take part benefit with a smile. They really love it, it is good to see.”

As the charity grows Eleanor hopes to expand this side of Furlock Holmes’ efforts, as well as spreading more knowledge about rabbits which the animal lover believes are often misunderstood creatures.

While the rescue barn and paddock temporarily houses the fluffy pets, and feeds, vaccinates and neuters before they are adopted, the charity also offers services such as boarding for pets when their owners go away and grooming.

A corn snake and ferret are on the list of out of the ordinary pets requested to come and stay at the shelter, but unfortunately Eleanor has to draw the line somewhere, she said: “If they can’t live in a rabbit hutch I can’t take them.”

Despite the practicalities of the charity's operations, the family home also owns a horse, two cats and two dogs, as well as two miniature Shetland ponies Amy and Star who are "well known" around Whitchurch for their Furlock Holmes fundraising efforts.

To find out more go to furlockholmes.co.uk.