Archive for the ‘Bun Stories’ Category

Anastasia and Freddie – Happy at Last

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Here is a little update on Glen and Ava, who we’ve now renamed Anastasia and Freddie.

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It’s been four months since the arrival of these two wild hearts, and the process of falling in love goes on. Gayle, the bunny mommy, has developed a very special relationship with Freddie and Anastasia. They perk up and bound towards her when she enters the room, and she returns the favor. Even the shy Anastasia will come up for a nose bump. Feeding time at our house is no affair of dropping greens into a bin. It’s more like an intimate dinner with friends. Bon appétit and hugs all round.

To Smokey, With Love: A Rescue Story

Monday, July 16th, 2012
I’d like you all to meet “Evans Rabbit.” At the Veterinary Teaching Hospital where I work, all stray or wild animals are named by the last name of the person who found them, then their species. The animal will quickly be assigned a nickname by the care staff, but in this special lady’s case, she didn’t have enough time. For the sake of this post, I’ll call her Smokey, inspired by her lovely coloring and fluffy Angora coat.
I thought I would write a SaveABunny blog post to not only commemorate Smokey’s life, but also to draw attention to the abhorrent animal cruelty that led to her being placed into our care.
Smokey was brought in to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (WSU VTH) after hours by a Good Samaritan. A young girl had found her tied to a tree at an elementary school, and took her to a local pet store. The Good Samaritan, who also works at the pet store, brought Smokey to us after they realized that she was severely injured and heat-stressed. I was working at the receptionist’s desk that evening, and I was the one who took Smokey in. I opened the box the Good Samaritan handed me – inside was a black and grey Angora cross, her lovely coat matted and dirty, her eyes crusted, and breathing hard.
Smokey was taken back to the Exotics ward for medical treatment and monitoring. The next day we took radiographs of Smokey’s body to determine how badly she was injured. Smokey’s right leg was badly broken at the hock, and needed to be amputated. The toenails on two of her paws were worn down to the quick and bleeding. There was bruising all over back, and feces caked to her bottom and rear legs. Her her was so badly matted that we had to shave her down to the skin.
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The amputation surgery couldn’t be completed until the following Monday, so the broken leg remained bandaged, and Smokey was on constant pain medication. She began eating hay and fresh vegetables on her own, along with the pumpkin/Critical Care mixture that she was syringe-fed. She also began defecating and urinating, a fantastic sign for anyone who has cared for an ill bunny. I often volunteer in the Exotics ward, and I took Smokey out of her cage daily to sit next to her on her fleece, cushioned dog bed on the floor. I groomed her, cleaned her eyes, and gave her the pets, massages, and love that she had most likely never received before. I was ecstatic when she would tooth purr, or shove her small black head under my hand to demand more rubs.
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Smokey seemed to grow stronger daily; she continued eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom. We were counting down the days until her amputation surgery, which would have taken away her painful, hindering leg and given her more mobility. And I was personally counting down the days to when Smokey would be healthy enough that I could introduce her to my own rabbit, and hopefully bond the two. Since Hazel, my Netherland Dwarf, is such an affectionate bun who is always asking for and giving groomings, I thought that she could give Smokey some extra TLC and help her heal; they seemed to be a great fit.
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I left Smokey last night after spending an hour with her on the floor, tucking her back into her hay-padded cage with fresh veggies in front of her and a kiss on the top of the head. I was shocked when, this morning, I received a text message from the veterinary technician in Exotics saying that Smokey had unexpectedly passed away during the night, and was found this morning in her cage by the volunteers. As I write this, I am still stunned, and deeply saddened. It eases my pain knowing that such a sweet little bun was rescued from an inhumane, torturous death, and was receiving the best treatment possible surrounded by those that truly cared for her. Although it hurts me that Smokey won’t be joining my family, it brings me joy knowing that I was there to give her the love and attention she deserved.
Rest peacefully, Smokey. You were loved.
Emily, Veterinary Student and Bunny Blogger

A Tribute to Java (aka Trinity)

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Java Bean was a beautiful, feisty, and strong black satin bun. She came to her forever home feeling a little sad and depressed after losing her previous home, but she quickly warmed up and showed her true personality – curious, bold, and unconditionally loving.

Sweetheart

In some ways, Java was a bunny of extremes. Java loved to snuggle, but she was not a snuggle bunny. When she wanted attention, she’d run to her people at full speed and demand to be pet until she had enough. Then with a flick of the ears, she’d be off to explore or stretch out in one of her favorite places. Java knew that she was the boss of the house and made sure everyone else knew it, too.

Speed Racer

Her cuddliness and affection for everyone that met her melted the hearts of friends and family. Her determination to chew up remote controls and shred important papers drove her human family berzerk. When she was caught being “naughty”, she’d stomp, run back to her cage, and then stick her head out for treats. And no matter how badly she destroyed something, she always knew her family would succumb to her beautiful black eyes.

Queen of the Castle

One constant, however, is that she cared for and looked after her family. In addition to being the boss of the house, she considered herself the protector of everyone who lived there. When car tires screeched, thunder boomed, or a dish clanged in the sink, Java would straighten up and stomp to alert the rest of the family that something wasn’t right. She’d stretch out in front her human family and keep watch – ears periscoping if she heard a suspicious sound. Then after a few loving strokes of her forehead, she’d relax again and snuggle up to her people until she’d had enough.

Licky

The amount of joy and happiness she brought to the hearts of the people who met her is indescribable. She wasn’t around nearly as long as her human family would have wanted, but her life was full of love and bunny adventures. Some of her favorite activities included munching carrot tops, shredding phone books, running the bunny 500, nibbling on a banana slice (her favorite special occasion treat!), and rolling her pellet canister around and around until a pellet popped out. She is missed very much and loved so deeply. As sad as her people are, they know that Java is taking good care of all the bunnies who passed before her – keeping watch and protecting those she loves.

Birthday Bowl

Sara and Yan
(Java’s people)

Meet Emily, the new Bunny Blogger, and her bun, Hazel!

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Hi! I’m Emily Krieger, and I’m the newest addition to the SaveABunny volunteer family. I’ll be writing blogs, Tweets, newsletter articles, and adoption and bunny stories for SaveABunny. So what better way to introduce myself than to write my own bunny story?

I, like so many others, got a rabbit on a whim. I’m a veterinary student, and not having any animals in my apartment just wouldn’t do! After reading up on many different species, I decided that a rabbit was the best choice for me. So I scoured Craigslist and found a rabbit in a nearby city; “Wendy” was a 2 year old intact female Netherland Dwarf from a small rabbitry. She was a breeder rabbit that the owner was selling due to lack of space.

So Tiny!

I drove that night to pick her up with a friend, and we met the owner at a pet store so I could also buy the supplies I needed. I had done some research, but didn’t know as much as I should have before acquiring a house rabbit. So what did I buy? A 4’x2’ pet store cage, a generic brand of rabbit pellet with nuts and seeds mixed in, a litterbox, and alfalfa hay. Looking back I realize the mistakes I made, but at the time I wasn’t completely educated about proper rabbit health or care.

“Wendy,” on the other hand, was adorable. I loved the black otter coloring, teensy ears, and round little body weighing all of 2 pounds. So I paid my $50, loaded her into the car, and away we went!

Snuggles

The next month was a crash course in rabbit behavior and care. “Wendy” had become Hazel, and was quite the hormonal little lady! Not being spayed, Hazel sprayed urine all over the living room when she was out for playtime, circled me constantly, and honked. She seemed to care less about the litterbox, and obsessively chewed the carpet around the blockade that kept her in the living room when she was out. I made an appointment with the Exotics veterinarian immediately, and she was successfully spayed 3 weeks later. Whew! What a difference that made; Hazel began using her litterbox almost instantaneously, and stopped acting like a hormonal nut! We were also better able to bond, and she quickly became very friendly, people-oriented, and affectionate. The honking, though, has never stopped; it’s just something she does when she’s excited!

SQUEEE

In the meantime, I had discovered a variety of reliable house rabbit websites, and I became a well-informed, educated rabbit owner. I quickly bought Hazel an x-pen to expand her living space when she couldn’t be roaming the living room. I switched her from alfalfa to orchard grass hay. I tossed the generic, unhealthy pellets and bought only Oxbow timothy pellets and treats.

MORE SQUEE

Now confident in my ability as a house rabbit owner, aka “bunny slave”, I explored the option of allowing Hazel to be free range within my apartment. She was still chewing the carpet in the living room and trying to escape over the barrier I’d placed in there to keep her from the rest of the apartment; I wondered if allowing her to have more space would solve the problem. So I bunny-proofed my home, then allowed her free range throughout the apartment. And what a difference it made! She loved having so much space to run and binky in. She all but stopped ripping up the carpet, too.

So what is Hazel like now? She is a happy, energetic, extremely friendly little bun with major attitude! She sits next to me on the couch while I do my homework, often for hours at a time. She follows me around the house and licks my feet, hands, and face. When I go to bed, I call her to follow, and she hops up on the ottoman she uses for a bed, begging for her nightly papaya treats. She isn’t perfect; there’s sometimes an accident, or she’ll chew my phone cord when it falls below the bed. But she’s my constant companion, and I can’t describe the joy and comfort she brings me on a daily basis. I love her dearly, and she could never be replaced.

Hello, Hazel

Fostering Fiddy, aka Fiddy Cent

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

I began to foster Fiddy in early June, just a few days after my previous foster bunny, Malcolm, was adopted by a lovely woman and left to live the good life in San Jose. I was happy he found his forever home, but a little teary and depressed at his departure. Malcolm, you see, was an extra special bunny who charmingly dribbled bright green parsley juice all over his white chin and chest while eating his evening salad and had the most adorable turned-out front paws, like a furry ballet dancer. In short, Fiddy had some pretty big paws to fill.

I stopped by SaveABunny to pick up a new foster, and chose Fiddy, who, Marcy explained, had been turned into a shelter after biting a little boy. Labeled “aggressive” and “a biter,” he was taken in by SaveABunny.

I brought him home and he settled into his new space, a 4 x 6’ pen with all the usual accoutrements – blanket-lined floor, litter box, hay rack, water bottle, several cardboard boxes to hide in, and some plastic toys — then let him be for several hours, but chatting him whenever I walked by. This is my usual routine for fosters, to allow them time and space to become adjusted to their new situation and explore their living quarters in private. Besides, since he was an aggressive biter, I was so not looking forward to our first human-to-bunny encounter!

Later in the evening I dressed carefully for our first “formal” introduction – heavy fleece pants, thick wool socks and long-sleeved sweatshirt to protect every square inch of flesh that I possibly could. I considered fleece gloves, but figure that was overkill, since I would probably be too busy limping around with bunny teeth clamped to my ankle to worry about my hands.

I gingerly stepped into Fiddy’s pen and instantly he charged out from under his cardboard box heading straight for my leg. I braced for an attack. But…nothing. I looked down and there he was, sitting next to my ankle, and it sure looked like he was doing a little bow, which, in bunny language is a request for attention. “Ha,” I thought, “This isn’t my first time at the bunny rodeo, I ain’t falling for that trick,” and walk a few steps away. He followed and bowed. This is not going like how I expected.

I decided to carefully sit down, with my unprotected hands in the air, like a victim of a bunny hold-up. Fiddy hopped over and calmly sat next to my right knee, gave it a quick double nose bump, and looked at me expectantly.

Ever so slowly I lowered my hand and gave his head a tiny little rub, ready to snatch it back the instant he turns his head to bite. But he didn’t. He stretched out and closed his eyes, drifting off to bunny paradise. I thought, “Did I take the correct bunny? This Fiddy, right? The aggressive bunny?”

So then I really pushed my luck. I picked him up and put him on my lap. Hey, sometimes I like to live dangerously. To my surprise he stayed put, a limp and dreamy bundle of black fur, his tiny chin resting on my knee while I stroke his head, clearly reveling in all the attention and affection, absorbing it, and really taking it all in.

After about 20 minutes I needed to stretch so I gently pick him up and placed him on the ground and began to uncross my legs. He instantly jumped up and, running at full speed, leapt straight into my lap. As I sat there in astonishment (everyone knows that bunnies hate sitting on laps), he leaned over, kissed my leg and looked at me as if to say “More head rubs, pleeeeze?” I gave him a little pet and put him on the ground. Again, he ran and jumped right into my lap. After several tries, I finally manged to leave, with Fiddy throwing himself against the pen, begging for attention.

And so ended my first encounter with Fiddy the Aggressive Bunny.

Within the first day or so I learned that Fiddy does indeed use his teeth, but not aggressively. It is simply his way to explore. While most bunnies approach new objects warily, sniffing first, then licking, using their lips, then perhaps taking an exploratory little nibble, Fiddy is reckless in this regard, running full force up to anything that comes into his environment (toy, food bowl, finger) and having at it. It is not an expression of anger, but an overabundance of enthusiasm and eagerness for novelty.

Yes, his teeth have met my hand several times, until he recognized my smell, and now when I reach my hand into his pen, he charges up, stops on a dime, and lowers his head for a rub. He is learning to slow it down, especially after bumping his nose on my vacuum a bunch of times.

Perhaps this behavior will extinguish itself as he matures, but until such a time, it is ridiculously easy to compensate and compromise. Hold the food bowl on the far side when setting it down. Say something before stepping in his pen so he knows it’s just my foot and not a new toy. Don’t have banana smeared on my fingers before giving him a pet.

In return, Fiddy is the most affectionate and loving bunny I have every had the privilege of fostering. He flings his whole body into full relaxation mode when in my lap (I call them “Fiddy Flops”). He kisses my knees. Plus, on special occasions, he grooms my entire face – licking my forehead, carefully smoothing eyebrows, gently cleaning the corners of each eye, diligently covering ever inch of cheek and nose, and brushing away any crumbs I may have left on my chin. That is one of the highest honors a bunny can bestow on you. Besides, it feels so darn good!

Resistance is futile, just ask Frankie

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Easter is the biggest time of year for bunnies, and, as it turns out for bunny blogs too! I’m still catching up on all the events and stories from that weekend. Check back soon for pictures from the bake sale and the second installment of Grooming Little Joe.

And if you didn’t catch it in the San Francisco Chronicle, a story submitted by our lovely volunteer Mai was featured in the Easter addition of Eileen Mitchell’s pet column! Here’s an excerpt:

It happens every day. Frankie, our mischievous, rescued bunny, must have radar because, no matter how I vary the routine, he always knows the exact time to come out and assume the position.

Frankie is the Chewer of Saris.

I wear saris every day. This involves taking 15 to 18 feet of material and wrapping it in varied and intricate ways around my body. For one to two minutes, a long tail of material lies on the floor while I fold all the pleats and arrange them above my waist. And in that one to two minutes, Frankie – no matter what he is doing and no matter how I try to distract him with hay – knows that now is the time. He descends upon my sari and sits on it, calm and patient. But then the familiar, instinctive urge grows. I know the signs; I can see them in his roguish black eyes: He crouches, leans his head down and then starts the chewing, an instinct in all bunnies. If I try to pull the sari out of his mouth, he hangs onto it as relentlessly as any stubborn dog and growls in his adorable gravelly ‘resistance is futile’ voice.

Read the full story here.

Add two rabbits. Stir. Garnish with basil. (ch. 2)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Firstly, humongous apologies for making you wait so long for a sequel. I was on vacation, you see. It was awesome. It so awesome that I got pharyngitis and couldn’t think straight for two weeks.

Since I’ve been gone, you may have noticed a small change. I would like to officially (and belatedly) welcome DKM to the SaveABunny Blog as our second contributor. She has astonishingly good timing, as it turns out, and I hope she will continue to make me feel less guilty for infrequent blogging for a very long time.

But back to business.

As you may or may not remember (it was awhile ago, I know) I acquired my second bunny, Linda Maureen, outside a whole foods one day in a cardboard box.

I brought her home and dropped her in the bathroom with some hay. I was excited to introduce her to my first rabbit, Ellis. I was hoping they would fall instantly in love and that I would be able to leave them alone together when I left town in a couple weeks. Why not hope, right?

Now, rabbit bonding isn’t really a straightforward, one-step process.  It can take weeks – months even. Every rabbit is different, and every rabbit couple has different dynamics. I’m excited to share some first-hand experience but in addition, you should check out the official bonding guide recommended by SaveABunny. I didn’t exactly follow it. I tried though.

The first thing I did wrong was completely throw any modicum of patience I had out the window. Linda had been out of her box huddled in the bathroom corner for about five minutes before I decided to bring in Ellis and see what he thought of her.

What’s wrong with this idea?

1. Who knows what kind of weird diseases she might have been carrying around. Sure, she looked extremely healthy and was definitely still less than a year old, but what if she’d had something? Then Ellis would have gotten it, and then I would have two sick bunnies. I should have kept her quarantined until her vet visit that weekend. I did, at least, give her a good once-over to make sure there was nothing obviously wrong with her. And to make sure she actually was a girl. But I recommend a full quarantine. Better safe than sorry.

2. She had just come from a cardboard box, and before that a house with four kids in it, and before that, a school with who knows how many kids trying to pick her up and grab her and poke her and who knows what. And before that, I have no idea where she was, but any way you look at it she was traumatized. Then I decided to introduce her to a big scary boy rabbit without so much as warning her first. Ok, well I did warn her, but I don’t think she understood me.

All I had to do was open the bathroom door a nudge, and there was Ellis, just dying with curiosity to meet this sweet-smelling new lady I’d brought home for him. He immediately came up to her, sniffing her out. She retreated even farther into the corner. He started licking her face. She shivered. All seemed to be going well. Ellis was in love at first sight. I don’t blame him, she was a total cutie.

Then he started humping her, which when introducing rabbits, you should expect someone to do. It’s a normal dominance behavior. Please, please make sure at least one of them is fixed first though. (Ellis had been fixed since I got him from SaveABunny. Linda has an appointment next week.)

I let Ellis hump her a little until she started making these adorable little whimpering noises. Any time a rabbit makes a noise it’s bad. Unless they’re purring. Any other time = bad. But it caught me totally off guard how extremely cute her little noises were, which may have made me not take them as seriously as she would have liked me to. But I eventually shooed Ellis off of her and sent him back into the living room.

Now, let me backtrack a little. I chose the bathroom as their first meeting place for two reasons: one being that it was a small space and they couldn’t get into too much trouble in there, and other being that it was the room Ellis had spent the least amount of time in, so it was the most neutral territory. That’s an important thing to have when bonding – neutral territory. It’s in the guide.

Unfortunately Linda couldn’t stay in the bathroom forever, so I partitioned off a space in the living room next to Ellis’. I got her her own litterbox, and gave her some of Ellis’ extra toys that he was kind of bored with anyway, and I gave her a little water bowl and a nice stack of hay. She started to relax. They sniffed at each other through the partion. They laid down next to each other. Things were looking extremely good considering they had only known each other for two hours. Yay!

I let them out to play together the next day. Every time  Ellis got close to Linda, she would run away. It was kind of cute. Ok, it was totally cute, they’re bunnies, everything they do is cute, but I could sense Ellis’ frustration. All he wanted to do was prove to her his undying devotion, and she was playing hard to get. Or she was just terrified he would squish her trying to hump her again. I don’t really know what was going on her tiny little little bunny brain. I still never know what goes on in her tiny bunny brain. Women. I don’t understand them. Ellis, I get. Women, not so much.

This continued every time they were together for next three days. After the second day, in fact, Linda had somehow escaped her partitioned area  while I was asleep and had shared the living room with Ellis until I found them in the morning, realized what had happened, shrugged, and ditched the partition completely. They hadn’t killed each other so I figured they might as well get used to sharing the space.

This is not an advisable step in the official bonding guide.

They had been so cute, flirting through the bars of the parition before, that I figured eventually she would stop running away from Ellis and they would be bonded in no time. But, like I said, I’m impatient. Tricks were called for.

First, I forced them to share. I put down a big pile of greens and their mutual love of arugula brought them together for a few minutes of communal chewing. Then Linda ran off.

Ellis had some tricks, too. He had started sneaking up on her from behind, and when she was just about to scamper off, he would bite her in the butt. I tried telling him that was no way to impress a lady, and it wasn’t. It just made her more afraid of him, which made her run away more, which made Ellis even more frustrated. I don’t think he really grasped the whole psychology of the situation, though.

He eventually tried a new strategy. Pointedly ignoring her, he walked right by her and then flopped down, with his little feet out to the side, looking in the exact opposite direction from her. Totally smooth. Totally aloof. Except that his ears were following every sound she was making. I gained a new appreciation for his abilities as a slick lady’s man that day. What a move. It almost worked, too. After a few minutes, she slowly, timidly came up behind him and started sniffing, ears and whiskers forward. Then, unable to restrain himself any longer, he whirled around and chased her across the room. Nice one, Ellis.

It was my turn. I had read in the bonding guide that you can trick bunnies into grooming each other by smearing banana on their foreheads. I didn’t have any banana so I used a little piece of tangerine. Then I held them down facing each other. First I gently let Ellis up. He started licking the tangerine off her face with the excitement of a man who had just been given a supermodel covered in chili-cheese fries. Or, um, something else delicious but more attractive. He didn’t stop at the tangerine mark, anyway. He licked her whole face, her cheeks, and behind her ears before I stopped him. Next, I let up Linda. She gingerly licked the little orange mark I’d made on Ellis’ forehead. He squinted. Then I let them go.

About four minutes later, Ellis approached Linda in middle of the living room floor. She didn’t run away. He started licking her face. She let him. He groomed her all over and then finally laid down next to her. She stayed. She didn’t return the favor, and she was kind of huddled up and nervous-looking still, but she let him lay next to her. And I think she liked it.

They were bonded. Four days. How much do I rock??

I feel kind of like I’m cheating you with my bonding story because it was so easy. I mean, they just happened to be soul mates – who knew? Don’t expect it to go this easily. Read the guide. Comment if you have any questions or tips. And most importantly, be patient.

And don’t be afraid to smudge fruit all over your rabbit’s face. It’ll come off. Eventually. I promise.

Monday Bunday

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Hoppy Monday Bunday

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Have you met Bean and Monroe? Bean is a tiny, neutered Netherland dwarf boy who tips the scale at 2 pounds. His pal Monroe is a very large New Zealand Black exquisitely handsome 11 1/2 pound boy!

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To learn more about Monroe and Bean – click here.  Want to sponsor Monroe and Bean?  Click to help the boys out.

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Phoenix in love!

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Phoenix now has a girlfriend! Melody, another sanctuary bunny at SaveABunny, and Phoenix have bonded.  Click here to read the full story!

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