Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Move on over, the Big Dawg is coming in.

In theory, dogs taller than a foot and a half (eighteen inches) aren't allowed in the park. But as long as its a day trip, things tend to get looked the other way. I'm not sure why the dislike on big dawgs, Basset Hounds can outbark a Husky after all, but I don't make the rules.

Today Sage and I went out for our hop a little later than usual so we got to see most of the dog walkers. For the most part the dogs and humans ignored us, but a lady walking a malamute-lab (I asked ;) cross had to come see the bunny. I asked how good the doggie was with smaller animals before I let them near. She says 'Oh she loves puppies.. and everything small and furry is a puppy!' Call me cynical and untrusting, but I was ready to grab Sage in an instance.

Sage made her happy butt wiggle as the dog came closer. She loves all things furry. She tries to adopt anything smaller than her.. well, except Scout, who she just puts up with. And so, this dog got closer, and closer and Sage is looking up, and then up, and then almost falling over backwards as she's trying to periscope at this huge monstrosity of a canine whose head is twice as large as her body.

Dawgie ("Miko") let out a soft whine and put her head down to sniff at Sage. Sage gave me a look that was pure rabbit "You've got to be f'n kidding me!" she then leaned forward and tentatively licked the dawgie's nose in a "Yeah yeah, you're the alpha bunny, I'm grooming you" fashion. The dawgie thought this was great, so she licked back.

Sage was most unimpressed with a dawgies ability to groom an entire rabbit in one slurp. She thumped and dived between my legs making her "UP!" motion in a hurry. I, of course, wasn't laughing my ass off at the indignant rabbit. Miko just looked confused. "Why doesn't the puppy like me?" she whined.

Sage buried her face under my chin for the hide factor tied in with the wipe some of the dawgie germs off on the human factor. Bunnies are all about getting multiple things done at once, especially if one is punish the human. Miko didn't think pets and scratches from a human were nearly as fun, she kept whinging at Sage so we decided to make a retreat while Miko's human tried to explain why the 'puppy' didn't wnat to play..

Poor Sage!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Some days, we just want to play in the mud.

Now that the weather is cheerful once more I broke out Sage's harness and leash to see if she wanted to go walkies. She decided that she could be persudaded.. and then thumped when I didn't move fast enough. It's so hard for a bunny to get good help.

The idea here was for her to get exercise since she and Scout have had limited space due to the selling of house. I think her idea was for me to get exercise since she dragged me up and down the yard about fifteen times and it wasn't until she was starting to get tired did she give into the mint patch and flomp over. It was as a favour to me, of course, that she nibbled on some of the mint. Have to keep the human happy you know.

After deciding that was really boring, she rolled to her feet, gave me glares while I untangled her from her leash, and then decided the briar patch that is between the apple tree and the I-have-no-idea-what-it-is needed a hole in it. So she proceeded to shower dirt every which way, including at me. My grey silver and white bunny was soon covered in debris, as was I. It rained last night (how shocking in a rain forest) so only the top lair of earth was dry. Soon there was globs of mud going flying.

When the hole was big enough for her purposes; which as far as i can tell was to relocate a whole lot of terra firma, she lost interest and chewed on the apple tree for a while. She stopped to periscope around and then decided she'd had enough and hopped off into the house for a drink, a nibble of hay and a nap.

Its very hard work being a bunny you know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Every Bun is a music critic

Bunnies like music. Like people their musical tastes are widely different depending on the individual bun.

Scout, my 7.5 year old lionhead/netherland dwarf cross likes anything with base drum. She likes queen, she likes Eminem, and she likes Parliment Funkadelic. There was a period when I still had satellite that whenever the Eminem Ipod commercial came on she'd stop doing whatever she was doing, hop over to the TV and sit on her back paws and watch and listen with fascination. As soon as it was done, she was back to destroying whatever she'd previously been destroying.

Sage, my 3.5 year old silver dutch likes.. well, I'm not sure what to call it. She enjoys Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Sarah McLaughlan, Dolly Parton, Matt Dusk, Loreena McKinnett and, previous to last night, I'd thought Celine Dion. But when "I drive All Night" came on, Sage's ears flattened and she thumped at the stereo. Typically Sage and Scout just tune out songs they're ambivilant about, something really has to offend them somehow for them to display their dislike. Heck, the whistling kettle doesn't even get a reaction. The aluminum roof rattling on the deck in windstorms doesn't get an ear twitch. That Celine Dion song, however, got flat ears, three thumps and some grunts before I found the remote and hit mute.

Maybe she thinks the Cyndi Lauper version is superior. Maybe she just wasn't in a Celine mood. Or maybe she thinks Celine should spend more time being a Canadian ambassador and less being a Vegas showgirl. Its so hard to tell with a bunny.

Or maybe she just thinks "OMG, this song SUCKS!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The honk of happiness.

Dandelion season is in full swing, which means the bunnies are once again getting greens from the garden. Yes, it's true, bunny people are insane and happy to see dandelions. I brought in a handful of dandelion leaves and flowers yesterday for the buns and Scout came barrelling over and took a sniff and looked like she was about to do a binky (bunny shake/dance of happiness) and then reconsidered and instead gave a happy honk and buried her nose in yellow and green. Munch, munch, munch went the rabbit.

Sage seemed happy to sit and wait as her sister ate. It's like she read my blog post yesterday and wanted to prove me wrong. After the first couple of flowers, Scout started decapitating the dandelions to eat the stalk and let Sage have the yellow sugary goodness. Yeah, because Sage really needs the help being a hyperactive little furball, thanks Scout.

Scout made her way through a very impressive pile of dandelion leaves and then curled up for a nap, all puffed out and tooth purring away. When I picked her up for med torture this morning I swear her fur felt softer and like she'd already put some weight on her scrawny self. Our friend Laura insists dandelions are the magic bunny food, and I think this just proves her more right!

So a few handfuls of dandelions went into the bunny room again today and all that can be heard is munch, munch, honk!, munch, munch. Happy bunnies indeed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Plants and Rabbits

Some of my bunny enslaved friends grow herbs and grasses and things for their little furballs. Not me. I brought in a little thing of wheat grass once and Sage mowed it flat before Scout even got a look at it. Anything green and vaguely edible meets a similar fate. You'd think Sage, who gets to play outdoors and eat dandelions and grass Scout doesn't see, would be more willing to share with her older 'sister' but not a chance. She's a one stop eating machine.

Scout is terrified of the great outdoors. Considering she adopted me after I chased off two dogs who were trying to eat her, I can't rightly blame her. Sage, having been raised in the cat room at the SPCA is perfectly happy exploring the great outdoors. What amuses me is she, who can chomp through a computer cable in one bite, has never tried to chomp the leash. She's perfectly happy sampling the rose bushes, the grass, the dandelions, the wysteria, the.. well, pretty much anything green, leafy and rabbit edible. She has taken little nibbles of things less bunny friendly, but never seems to go back to them.

Clover is her favourite of favourites. She will roll around in it like a horse right before removing it from the existance of the planet. Of course, it's the humans responsibility to untangle said rabbit from the leash and harness without interfering with the eating of the clover. Normally I just tell her it's not going anywhere and to suffer the ten second wait. See what she has to deal with??

Today the goal is to remove all the moss from the lawn.. all so there'll be more green for Sage to mow, of course.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The New Toy

After my truck was trashed and everything inside stolen from three pennies in the glovebox to both my reading and driving glasses, I've backed up every CD I own. Of course, I own a lot less than I used to. My brother still very carefully doesn't mention the borrowed Shania Twain album he lost to the opportunists. (Note : I have the bestest big brother in the world. He knows I think so, but it never hurts to suck up.. right?)

So today I was creating "Metalliska"which is a collection of 80s hair bands redone by ska bands. I love ska, I love 80s metal, it's a good solid mix. Though, I think I enjoy the ska version of "Kiss me Deadly" better than the original, is that a crime?

This process involved going through the stack of CDs I had on my spindle and identifying which I'd failed to label, which I'd failed to burn and were now bjorked and which were actually blanks. With the true dedication of my neat freak mother, I tossed the dead CDs from the couch and towards the kitchen. After a few clatters and thuds Sage came to investigate what the heck the human was up to now. She sat and watched the flying discs with some fascination before she went to one of the fallen discs and picked it up.

Now, I will admit, for a heartbeat I was hoping she'd play frisbee with me, but alas, bunnies are not dogs. Which is probably a good thing, I never have to bring a bunny outside to potty in a class three storm. No, instead Sage picked up the disc, and it took her a few tries to combine teeth and lips in a manner that would hold the slick plastic, and batted it against the fridge. When this didn't make any satisfying loud noises, she attempted to chew on it. Now, angry bunny teeth can snip a plastic oral syringe so I was a bit concerned until I decided she wasn't going to apply enough force to cause sharp shards. She dropped the disc and gave me a LOOK. Apparently the toys I was having fun with weren't acting for her.

I picked up the latest of the dead discs and winged it towards her. She ran and hid under the kitchen table. Silly rabbit has lived with me for years and still hasn't learnt that the safest place to be is where I'm aiming. She watched the little golden and silver disc fly into the kitchen and then bounce offf a cupboard with a cluttering complaint. She scurried out across the vinyl to pick up the disc and with a toss, it was airborn. She did a binky right then and there. (That's a happy bunny hop with head shake for the non-bunny obsessed.) She'd figured out the toy.

I didn't have much doubt she could, really. This is the bunny who picked up one of my sneakers and winged it at my head when she felt her pellet bowl was approaching 'entirely too empty.' In fact, she's the reason she and Scout got moved to heavy crock bowls. Too many bowls had come dangerously near to wacking me over the years. Sage has a much better aim than me, fortunately, she rarely chooses aerodynammic weapons.

So, as I type this, I have a little silver and white Dutch bunny tossing CDs in the air and scurrying about the vinyl in the kitchen with glee. Easily entertained is a phrase that comes to mind.

She's just so cute. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hay Lady.

We are once again in the midst of hay arguments. It's yet another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest, best place on Earth to live. The sun in shining, there's a soft breeze off Cultus Lake, and the sound of lawn mowers fills the air. Not from my lawn, of course, I use a push mower; it's just easier. It's pretty hard to mow the cord of a manual mower.

But that does mean a certain human is going through the raked piles of grass looking for cover and dandelions. I'm sure most of the people who have moved in since last summer are getting the "Oh, that's just Lorna, she's the crazy bunny lady" speech. Our new land managers didn't even blink at me and just offered to let me know when they were mowing so I could pick it from the ground before they mow.

This morning started with me cleaning the bunny box. This is a cage with one side permanently propped up that they use for their litterbox and has their water bottle and food crock in. Their water bowl is in another part of their room because if I dare to put the bowl of water in the cage they flick things in it and then thump up a storm until I move it. So fill a green garbage bag with the used wood stove pellets, poop and rejected hay and fill the box with clean wood stove pellets and hay. Do my little darlings investigate the new hay? Of course not. They promptly investigate the garbage bag of hay they didn't want for the past several days and spread that all over the room. They don't EAT it of course, they just play with it. I cleaned that up while they muttered impolite things in lagomorphic. (That's "Rabbit Talk" to the normal humans.)

Once I'd cleaned everything, tided and gone for my shower, Sage came back into the room to sort it out to bunny satisfaction. I discovered what this meant post shower when I came to a bunny box completely empty of hay, hay all over the room and a look on Sage's face of "Get the good stuff now, k?"

Being the good bunny whipped slave I am, I just grabbed all the hay, which by the way consisted of three different types, and put it back in the box. "There's bunnies starving in Belgium who would love to have that hay!"

And yet people laugh at me when I call them my furkids..

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Bunny Nose.

Scout is feeling somewhat better. This means she's fighting medication. That involves peeing on me as soon as I pick her up. This lasted until I held her over Sage as I was picking her up and Sage was not happy with the shower. Scout got stuck grooming her sister after. Hee hee. *cough* I mean, the poor abused bunny.

Then she will squirm as I put the oral syringe in her mouth and try to deliever the antibiotics and painkillers. Her latest trick is to put her front paw on the syringe and shove it away. If that doesn't make me feel sufficiently guilty, she will sit and groom my hand, or face, or whatever she can reach making her "I'm sorry!" noises.

Typically, I kneel on the floor infront of the counter so we're eye level. This seems to calm Scout a bunch. She really doesn't like not being able to see the eyes of those around her. I pet her, I play with her, I am evil human and groom loose fur off her. Then I try and hold her firmly but gently while I shove a plastic tube in her mouth and push the end. That's about when we get Squirmy McGee, champion bucking rabbit. Today she did the paw on syringe shove away twice. The second time I didn't remove thumb from the end fast enough and I delievered medication even after she'd gotten it out of her mouth. It went in her nose.

Bunnies, for the record, breath through their noses.

THIS particular bunny, with banana flavoured liquid antibiotics in one nostril, flattened her ears and thumped at me. I was appropriately sympathetic and said "Its your own fault for squirming!" I then got to try and clean out a twitchy bunny nose on a twitchy bunny. We settled on her snorting it onto the dress shirt I was wearing. It's always a compromise in her favour.

Every time I walk past the bunny room, she turns her back on me and snorts. I don't think she's going to forget real quick..

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Bunnies like kids and vehicles never seem to get sick during the nine to five convienent office hours. I can't speak for kids, but my two furrballs seem to have one eye on the clock and five minutes after the vet closes, come up with a symptom. I think they have a scoring system where they get double bonus points if it's a Friday, double the double if it's a long weekend. The scoring system is found in a book called 'A guide to giving your human grey hairs by hares.'

So, most bunny parents have a bunny first aid kit. A way to (hopefully) kick over a slowing down or cranky gut, some painkillers, gas medicine, and various foul tasting things to threaten your rabbit with. "Remember this? Smell! Do you want this?? DO YOU?? EAT!"

The secret weapon in my larder is baby food. Scout adores banana flavoured baby food. She can't stand bananas, won't go near banana chips, but baby food? Nom, nom, nom. I sometimes think she goes without food all day just when she feels she deserves some baby food. Sage, of course, the walking appetite, thinks she's insane. Sage once lost a chunk of claw in a hopping accident and bled EVERYWHERE. I was chasing her arond trying to catch her, she thought it was a great game of tag. Eventually I caught her when she wanted a snack. Here's my bunny, bleeding, in theory in pain, and she wants a mouthful of pellets. Yeah, never had a stasis problem with Sage!

Scout went three days with stasis before I managed to finally get food in here. It was over a week before she started eating on her own again. She seems to think food is something to eat when she's really really bored and well rested from her after nap nap. She'll drink a small lake of water a day, and nibble of a few strands of hay, she's just not big on the whole eating thing. Probably why she's so skinny. She's the size of a guinea pig naturally, and you can feel bones under that fur. She's been checked over for everything, offered soft foods, hard foods, inbetween foods.. and no, she's just not interested. She'll even tire of baby food after a meal. "Yeah, eaten enough now."

Of course, it means when she gets sick, it's an extra emergency to get her in fast because she doesn't have a lot of reserves to fall back on. Which, all in all, means its a minor miracle that neither rabbit has gotten sick on a four day weekend. Nope, my truck blew its exhaust system instead. Fortunately, vehicles don't require nursing at 0300.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Today is Good Friday. I can never remember if it's no red meat on Good Friday or no meat at all. I suspect its the latter since the Roman Catholic school I went to in Scotland served fish on Fridays.. and many years of laziness have led to fish one day a year. Either way, I make like a bunny on Good Friday. Uh, in the food department, anyway.

The bunnies (That'd be Scout and Sage) would like to remind the masses that bunnies are not a pet to get on a whim. I would remind the masses that no pet is; if I had masses reading my blog. I think my readership is about 50 between facebook and blogger. (For those of you who want to read on Blogger and subscribe to the rss feed, the url is http://itsagoodthingyouarecute.blogspot.com/ )

Anyway - before you succumb to the "Awww, but its so cute!" Of sister, child or spouse, do your research on http://www.rabbit.org The short version is rabbits live an average of 10 years, need daily exercise and care, lots of attention and care. While they don't require shots or 'maintenance' vet care in North America (it's different in Europe and Australia) my bunnies still run me abour $500 a year in vet bills. And my little darlings are relatively healthy with a very very nice and reasonably priced vet.

I can't blame anyone for wanting to have living creatures in their lives. I know I had little purpose in mine until I had eight feet giving me (thumping) good reason to get out of bed. But you have to judge your level of responsibility, availability and enthusiasm. Fish, plants, cats, dogs, tigers.. choose your pet based on what you can give them. Personally, I think cats are less maintenance than plants, but that's probably because I spend most of my time burying plants. They don't have as many 'remind the human to take care of us!' options as animals.

Here in the Bunny Funny Farm, we're taking it easy. It's been sprinkling on and off, but its warm enough outside, so the window is open and I rigged up a ramp so Scout can get up and down the bed without help. She seems happy to sit meatloafed in the breeze from the window and smell what's going on. Though, how she's smelling anything around Sage's big butt as Sage presses her face to the screen is beyond me.

I was thinking of doing my taxes, but I think I'll clean litterboxes instead; seems much more pleasurable to me!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Picky Picky Bunnies.

Sage had 'yucky tail' again this morning. The thing is, I know exactly what's causing it - she's not eating enough hay. Ever since Peter came to visit and brought his awesome fresh Washington state hay.. my two have become even pickier when it comes to their hay. I bought them a locally grown bale, they don't even think it's good enough to poop on. I bought them a bag of Timothy from Petcetera, they barely think it's good enough to poop on. Grumbling, I decided to drive out to Petsmart in Abbotsford, a mere 40 minute drive away. Their hay selection is pretty damn good for a commercial pet store chain.

Sure enough they had some lovely fresh looking and smelling Kaytee Timothy hay. It was green, it wasn't mushed up, and it smelt good. That's enough, right? So I drive aaaaall the way home where I'm greeted at the door of the bunny room with dual looks of 'Oh yeah? What do YOU want?"

They looked comfy. Sage was flomped on her side, half of her belly exposed. In a doggie this would be screaming 'rub me!' In a cat it would be saying 'Touch my belly at your own peril, human. I have claws and you bleed.' In a rabbit, well, it depends on the mood swing of Sage and it's impossible to tell which way she's leaning before you try to touch. Fortunately for my temptation limit today, Scout was on her side, using Sage for a pillow. It's not the first time I've seen this, but it's pretty rare. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen it. I figured Scout's tummy isn't too enthusiastic with her either.

So I put down a couple handfuls of hay and they both sort of roll to their feet and come over to sniff and investigate. Scout immediately starts gnawing on the hay - happy little bunny mouth filling unhappy bunny tummy. Sage sniffs at it, moves it around with her nose a bit and gives me a look of 'Is this the best you can do?' and then leans forward and grudgingly takes a bite of the hay. 'Oh, well, if it'll make you happy. Fine, I'll eat it. But really, this is subpar.'

My bunnies - they're so good to me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My brother and father are vindicated.

Many years ago, I was cooking shortbread cookies. I'd been cooking for hours since I'd rather over doubled the recipe. On the last batch I decided I was going to go have a shower. I instructed the males of my family (Mum being at work) that the cookies were in the oven and the timer would go off when they were done and PLEASE - OMG - PLEASE take them out when the timer goes. Two hockey enthralled men agreed enthusiastically.

Of course, at the wise old age of 33, I now know two hockey enthralled men would agree to having their limbs chopped off if it meant that the woman shuts up and leaves them alone to watch the game. Little did I know THEN.

I came back down from the shower to the timer buzzing its fool head off, being one of those models that don't shut up until you shut it off. Smoke is gathering on the ceiling and it's about a foot thick, and the hockey enthralled men don't notice until I open the door and the smoke detector starts to join in the cacophony. They never quite lived that down.

Until today!

This evening having a sugar craving I decided to bake shortbread cookies. Its just sugar + flour + butter, even I have those in my kitchen. I made the dough, I put little dough circles on a cookie sheet and put them in the pre-warmed oven. The thermometer in the oven said it was 250C instead of the 350C it was supposed to be. So I turned it up 50C and waited for the light to go out again. Of course, I didn't check the thermometer a second time, I just shoved the cookies in and set the timer for 20 minutes. I then went back to the computer room and went back to playing Everquest.

After about 9 minutes I can smell smoke. "Odd," I think. And get up.

It's about then the two furry helpers start thumping up a storm. "SMOKE! FIRE! DANGER! HUMAN IS COOKING AND NOT IN THE MICROWAVE!!"

"Yes, yes, I hear you. I smell it." I also add they're lousy fire detectors if I noticed before they did. Then I wonder if maybe they've been thumping for a while and I just didn't notice.

There is smoke BILLOWING out of the stove. I turn on the extractor fan and open the door to reveal 12 hockey pucks, all pretty and black.

Sage has followed me into the kitchen, and I SWEAR she's giving me the exact same look I gave my brother and father oh so many years ago. And I KNOW she was thinking "It's a good thing she's cute."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Most mornings start the same around here. Once the rabbits have decided I've had enough sleep, I stumble into the kitchen and put the kettle on. While I'm waiting for the water to boil I pick up the whisk broom and go sweep out the bunny room. One would think that one would use a vacuum to clean up carpet, but having spent most of my natural life cleaning hay out of a jammed up vacuum cleaner I will tell you the broom is easier and faster. It's also a pretty good judge of bunny health by how grumpy they are when I try and get them out of the way. Sage has in the past grabbed the broom and yanked it out of my hands to whack me with it.

This morning Scout took a snip of corn from the broom on its way past. I took that as a sign of rejuvinating attitude. Sage just thumped and hid in the cage. Once the dry bunny poop that they leave to mark the area as their's (y'know, just in case I forget), rejected hay, shed fur and other debris is out in the hallway it's time to switch brooms to the spiffy Oscar like broom to drag the pile out into the kitchen and then a third broom and a tray to dump it in the garbage.

By this point the kettle has boiled and I dump hot water on a tea bag and grab the water jug for the fuzzy butts. Let me point out at this conjecture that I drink tap water, the rabbits drink filtered. How's that for spoilt? I then grab a few fist fulls of hay for them to dump all over the floor and not eat as well as refill their pellet bowls. Many bunny owners frown of free feeding pellets, but y'know, mine won't pig out on pellets unless they're not always available. They'll graze if there's always the option to.

That finished, I fish out the tea bag, sit down and do my daily troll through the blogs I read. By the time I've finished my tea I feel strengthened enough to medicate Scout. Prepping the oral syringe is a lot less painful that applying it. Head back into the bunny room and snag a wriggling rabbit and take her into the kitchen to shove medications down her throat. This generally involves her making a lot of gagging noises and acting like I'm killing her.. even as she licks the medication off the end of the syringe. I then give her snuggles and pats and carry her back to the bunny room.

This morning since she was wriggling so much I just let her jump onto the bed and left her there. It wasn't until I'd walked past the room several times that I realized she was still on the bed. She wasn't hopping down because she was feeling dizzy and couldn't judge the distance, so her jerk of her Mom finally came in and lowered her to the floor. She didn't even footflick in disdain, she just made a beeline for the litterbox.

Anyone tell you that bunnies are low maintenance, quiet little cage pets.. don't believe them for an instant! But they are cute.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mondays are fundays

It's been beautiful and sunny out here in the pacific northwest. The smell of spring and warmth has not bypassed the notice of two small furry animals who are pampered princess house rabbits. I gave up and got up this morning when they were using my for a stool to stick their noses against the window screen. I don't mind being clambered over, but they were digging their claws in as they kept their balance. They have blunt claws, but both have claws in need of trimming and my legs get bruised enough without bunny help.

They were both most put out that I DARED to get up when it wasn't convienent to them. The weird thing was, Sage slept up beside me last night while Scout slept on the floor. I'm guessing she is feeling a bit off balance again since she is tracking (head twitching) a little and just didn't want to hop up on the bed for something as silly as keeping a human company. Sage will normally just sleep wherever Scout is. For some strange reason she vastly prefers bunny company to human company. But then, she also vastly prefers vegetarian humans to non, and I'm definitely a non. Probably we who eat meat smell bad to her. Anyway, she slept against my legs and grumped at me each and every time I got up. I get up frequently. The last time I came back and she'd shoved my pillow on the floor and was curled up on it. I was an extra nice human and didn't steal the pillow back. The fact I had two more on the bed was compeletly irrlevant, I was just thinking of the bunny! ;)

Medicated Scout, and then got to put eye goo in her eye because it was looking dried out and yucky. The medication instructions say hold container verticly, hold lid open and apply diretly to eye. Hmm. I think that was either written for a human or for an animal you can sit on. Most people would say wrap the bunny in a towel and then just hold her how you need her. That might work if I duct tape the towel to Scout, but she's just so small and so skinny she can wiggle herself free of anything. Normally the trick is to just put her somewhere where she doesn't have secure enough footing to jump off. She can, and will, jump off anything up to five feet high if she feels she has the traction. Of course, its a bit hard to put something in her eye when she's in a squirm-sit position.

So, she got cuddled, grumbled, cursed, cuddled, and basically tortured on the ez-chair while she did everything in power to escape while I did everything in my power to apply eye gel to a squirming bunny. I think I won in the end since she did get eye gel in her eye, but she also got some on her fur, got me clawed quite nicely a few times and managed to get a smart ass 'groom the human' session in. This consisted of squirm, squirm, stop, lick my cheek, squirm, grunt, squirm. I can use clear eye instead of the gel, I think Dr. M just thought gel would be easier. I'm thinking liquid would be and she won't have goop on her eyeball. So we'll try that tomorrow if her eye is dry again.

To add insult to injury when I came home from lunch with my Dad I decided that it was yard care day. The weather people are promising at least another two days rain free so I sprayed moss killer on my lawn. I can tell it's already working a few hours later because I have growing brown patches all across the surface that used to be green .. moss green. But to run the hose I have to use the kitchen tap, so they get blocked off in the bunny room while I muck around. Every time I walk past the room there's two disapproving rabbits glaring at me. Never mind that they would normally be passed out in a sunbeam and not leaving that room at all, that's not the point. The point is I've dared to restrict their movement!

I told them there's hutch bunnies all over the world who would be happy to recieve dandilion leaves and be locked in an indoor room for a wee while. They didn't believe me.

It's a good thing they're cute!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bathing a Bunny

Rabbits should, technically, need baths about as often as cats. Some ex-spurts will tell you that this is never. However, bunnies have very delicate digestive systems and things can set them off and they will get what I politely call, "yucky tail." Bunnies digest grass/hay twice, just like cows. Cows vomit up the grass and eat it again (chew their cud), bunnies have two types of poop, one they eat again (Their cecals) and one that in theory goes into their litter box. What "yucky tail" often is is a great big gloopy mass of stinky, mucasy cecals stuck to their tail. And that's if you're lucky and catch it before it dries. AFTER it dries.. well, they could have built the Hoover Dam out of the stuff.

So. Every so often, a bunny gets a butt bath. Bunnies can die of fright (literally!) so immersing them in water isn't generally a good idea. You also have to be very careful that they don't get cold, or any other system shocks. Every so often however, you get a freak, er, I mean, ADVENTUROUS rabbit who likes water. I have one of those.

Scout, my little two pound Napolean hates water. She, of course, has complete digestion issues and is often the one who gets butt cleanings. She takes butt baths much like a duck takes baths. Water from the sink goes everywhere. Occassionally I get to refill the sink to try and get the crud off her because there's not enough water left. The human (that'd be me) is soaking wet on these occassions and thinking anyone who owns a dog is freaking insane for trying to EVER bath a fifty pound animal.

Sage, however, loves water. She once took a shower with me. She loves playing in the puddles outside and I swear can detect if there's any to jump in before the door even opens. So, today when I was about to trim her back claws I see a mucky mass glued under her tail. I didn't even smell it and normally cecal masses stink to high heaven. I look at her, look at it, look at her. "How the *&#! do you keep getting out of getting your rear claws trimmed??" She gives me the "Stoopid hooman" look. Which i always translate to "Stop questioning the rabbit and give her a treat." Too bad she rarely gets the treat.

So. Onto the kitchen table she goes, sitting on the towel that was meant to go back into their carrier post wash and dry but never quite made it that far. I start filling the sink and there's Sage sitting up on her back paws to look at the sink with interest. In recent past every time I filled the sink to do dishes, Sage peed. I eye her to make sure she doesn't think this is a great time to relearn that trick. Nope, her ears are forward, she's periscoping and I swear the expression is "WOO! BATH TIME!"

Sink filled, I pick her up and carefully put her hindquarters in the water, making sure her front paws can grasp the edge of the sink. It helps Scout feel more secure, less likely to panic and more able to soak me with water. Its habit to do the same with Sage since Sage gets so few butt baths. Sage cocks her head to one side and seems to be studying me. I put one hand on her shoulder to say "Yeah, try and escape, it won't work." and then start fishing around her tail in the water to start prying off the hardened goop. I will mention it's about this point the smell hits me. You know how cow poop makes most people's gorge rise? Oh yeah, cecal masses do the same to me. Ugh. Telling myself I won't vomit on my bunny, I work most of it free.

Sage is still sitting there most calmly. Scout would have been through the roof at this point. I would have pried her off my shoulder six times. Sage, all five and a half pounds of her seems more interested in what I'm doing than freaked out. I finally decide its as good as it's getting without a fine toothed comb and out of water and stop cleaning tail. You'd think that was a green light. Sage promptly removes front paws from the edge of the sink and is standing in the water. "Don't you -" I start saying as she promptly flops in the water.

Miraculously, she doesn't get ME soaking wet, but here she is, splattering around in the bunny cecal infested water, happy to get completely soaking wet. I, of course, now have to fill the OTHER sink to the clean the rabbit. Even better, clean warm water for her to play in. The kitchen sink isn't really roomy enough for her to swim in, but I suspect if I ever bathed her in the tub she would swim about it happily. Sorry rabbit, ain't gonna happen, too much to scrub clean. I then spoil her fun by pulling her out and placing her on the towel. Oooh, drippy rabbit. She even puts up with being toweled with good grace. She's very proud of herself, and I'm not sure I wanna know why.

Dried as well as five towels and one human can, I dump her back into the bunny room and leave her to be groomed dry by her sister. "Eeeek, your wet!" Scout thumped at me. I just gave her the hairy eyeball and said "Should I check YOUR tail while I'm at it?" Tone of voice is a marvelous thing, she thumped again and ran. Smart bunny.

I then got to go back to the kitchen and clean up the remains of the cleaning. Squooshy, wet, smelly, disgusting cecal poop that smells almost as bad as a hockey bag. Yummy. I once again chant to myself "Its a good thing they're cute."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Scout Freak Out

Okay, so Friday I went to the vet's in my PJs. Fortunately, my vet's office either know I'm a weirdo Bohemian, are used to panicking pet owners showing up early in states of weird dress, or well, probably a mix of both.

I finally got to sleep at six am. Most who knew me in my teenage years would be shocked at how "early" this is. Normally I saw the dawn from the wrong side. However, in the last couple of years I've been getting out of bed at 0630. It's frightens those who have known me most of my life. Fortunately, I'm nowhere close to coherant until 0900.

I've had about two hours of sleep when Scout, who typically sleeps curled up under my chin gets up to go investigate the foodbowl. I'm not really awake, I just notice something odd in how she lands. Opening my eyes further I watch her hop to the food bowl on three paws. She's not putting any weight on her rear right paw and it's sort of twitching as she hops. That's just not right. I sigh and get up, muttering impolite things about paying for Dr M's son to go through university yet.

See, normally when a bunny gets ill, or is injured, or just about anything, said bunny goes off their food. You typically don't get a warning of bunny illness until you notice output isn't normal. (Yes, it's true, all bunny parents are obsessed with rabbit poop.) But Scout's eating, so I'm not worried. I get up to go put the kettle on and glance at the clock to note I can phone the vet's in a few minutes. I hear a thump from the bunny room; which is occassionally also known as my bedroom.

This wasn't a bunny thump. Bunnies thump in warning, anger, excitment, or basically whenever they want to say something that requires an exclamation point. This is the point where, brow furrowed, I go back into th ebunny room. Sage is mounting Scout - not unusual, the stubborn Dutch won't get it through her thick skull that Scout's not gonna call her dominant even if she does get most of the grooming. Typically Scout just turns around and bites the nearest body part. But my little brown bundle of love is splayed on the carpet and her head is twitching back and forth and she doesn't seem able to get up, chase Sage or even MOVE. So I chase Sage off and crouch down by my Scout Scout. Her head is just twitching back and forth and she doesn't seem aware of me at all. I pick her up and she starts freaking out; that's okay, I was freaking out, we became a matched set.

I grabbed the carrier off the deck and a clean towel from the laundry room and put her and towel inside carrier and left her on the kitchen table (You didn't buy it for me to EAT off did you Mum??) while I phoned Dr M's office. I get a new lady who doesn't know me or my bunnies. I explain the symptoms and she says bring Scout down pronto for an emergency appointment. I say, well, uh, unfortunately I can't afford to pay until the 22nd. (Pesky rabbits wanting me to buy them food and things!) She says she'll talk to Mandy and see what the usual procedure is. I say okay. (What am I gonna say?) While I'm on hold Scout starts circling.

What's freaky about that is she's been lying on her hip, something Scout never does. As she starts to circle, head still twitching back and forth along the horizontal, she's not lifting her back paws at all, she's just pivoting on her left hip. It's like she's just become paralyzed at just before her back legs on her spine. So when the poor new lady comes back on the phone, I'm even more panicky and I was probably louder than necessary and I know I was near tears. I apologized for yelling, she said it's okay, she understands, just come down.

So off we go. Scout keeps circling even once I get the car on the road. Normally she hunches up into a little ball and fears the evil world outside. Nope, I don't think she's even registered we're in the scary outside world where there's big slobbery doggies that try to harm cute little bunnies. (I'll point out now that every dog Scout has met since she adopted me has been more interested in licking her than harming her but she's had a traumatic past.) When we get to the vet's office, Mandy is very reassuring, as always. The poor lady's been up all night with her daughter who got a trip to the hospital with a 105F fever and here she is babysitting nervous nelly me.

Dog comes out, Scout gets to go in. Fortunately by this point she's stop circling. Dr M hmms and haws. Dr M is not primarly an "exotics" vet. Many bunny people say they will only bring their babies to rabbit experts, but hello, how does a vet become an expert? Dr M cares and is willing to learn and is always open to "owner" feedback. (We all know who owns who when it comes to me and Scout.) Anyway, he watches her twitch back and forth and then tries to put her on the ground to see if she'll hop for him since it was such a dramatic progession. It really was a matter of minutes from bad to OMFG. She sort of limps a quarter of a step and looks up at him with big brown bunny eyes. He says its probably either an infection or problems in the brain. The former is treatable and he'll take her into the back to do some neurological testing. I generally take this to mean "I need to do things to your bunny that's for her own good but I know will make her overprotective human want to snatch her away form me." I trust Dr M implicitly and off the two went.

I spent a nerve wracking ten minutes in the front office. I'm sure I drove Mandy nuts with my pacing. I text messaged Criss with an "Ahhh, I'm panicking!" I paced some more. Then Dr M appears to say "Yup, it's an infection." Scout had pasturella ("snufffles") when she adopted me and we spent a lot of time getting her all better. Unfortunately, it seems it was just sleeping and has reappeared as an infection in her middle ear. He said he could see it. He said it's a long and painful process to treat her and hopefully get her better. Once he said "head tilt" i knew what he was talking about. Head tilt rarely kills a pet bunny, but is uber high maintenance to treat. He said prognosis is "guarded" and that, he has to say it, euthanization is an option. I must have given Dr M a look because he said "Okay, maybe not for you two." and I pointed out Scout was the bunny who fought back from the worst case of Stasis he'd ever heard of.

So he prescribed an antibiotic for her to take for two months, said to give her a couple drops of metacam (anti-inflammatory painkiller) a day, and also some dry eye goo in case she can't clean her eyes properly. He said good to go, I asked if I get my bunny back since she was still in the back room he laughed and said he GUESSED I could have her back.

So back she came, and I signed my life away promising I would pay them on the 22nd and Scout already seemed better since she wasn't circling even if her head was still twitching a bit. And home we went.

Sage was VERY unimpressed when the small cage got closed on her nose with Scout on the inside. "Hay, that's OUR litterbox, how come SHE gets it to HERSELF??" She rattled the bars and I chased her off. I set up a second cage in the master bedroom (aka the guest room) and dropped Sage in. She immediately hopped out (Cages only get closed when bunnies are ill or injured) and gave me a dirty look. Sage is very talented at dirty looks, I think it's all the practice she has in giving them. Sage promptly went back to the bunny room (aka my bedroom) and started rattling the bars again. Scout had her nose in the foodbowl and ignored her. I chased Sage off. This process repeated for about an hour before I gave up and moved the litterbox into the bedroom along with a crock of water and pellets. "There, in your room, quit complaining!"

Sage studied the matter and took up guard position beside the cage. She was obviously putting thought into her next plan. I decided it was noon, I'd had very little sleep and I was going get some. So I not-quite-passed-into-a-coma. Sage may or may not have rattled the bars to the cage, I was too out of it to notice. After a couple hours of sleep I got back up and decided I may as well get some work done.

All was quiet and mostly behaved until my bedtime at 9pm. I went into the bedroom and laid down. Every time my head hit the pillow, Sage rattled bars and thumped. "I want IN!" I said words my mother wouldn't approve of and at one point threw a pillow at Sage. Don't worry for the bunny, safest place to be is where I'm aiming. Sage gave me one final thump and sat at the door meatloafed glaring at me. Deciding I'd won the round, I picked up my pillow and went to sleep.

I woke up about half an hour later thinking I'd peed the bed. The bunnies hop on and off the bed all night, unless they make an effort to wake me, I'll just ignore them. It took me a few heartbeats to realize that it was bunny pee, and a rather lot of it. Sage had peed on my chest, my abdomen AND my legs. I sighed, got up, stripped the bed and dumped my clothes and the bedding in the washer, took a shower, and then went to sleep on the couch. The bunny won the war. Sorta. I turned up the radio so I couldn't hear her rattle the bars on the cage.

This morning I took Scout out to see how she was hopping and give her her daily meds. Since I got the classic "Drop dead!" look from her, increased by several degrees when I told her she just looks so darn cute when she's disgruntled, I decided she must be feeling better. No twitches, no leg problems, pupils the same size. It almost like she'd never had a fit the day before. So after medication, I put her on the floor in the bunny room and rigged the cage perma-open once more. Sage immediately hopped over and tried to mount Scout in another farcical "Who's the Boss?" routine. Scout turned around and took a chunk of fur out of Sage's nose. Sage thumped and hid. Sage, by the way, its two and a half times larger than her older 'sister.'

Yup. Scout's feeling better.. and Sage will probably still blame me.

It's a good thing they're cute.