Fostering Fiddy, aka Fiddy Cent

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!

iGive: One Million Buttons For Change

October 31st, 2011
This guy is already in costume!

This guy is already in costume!

Whew!  It’s been a while since this blog has seen any updates!  Running a volunteer organization, it’s like herding cats.  Or cranky bunnies.  You know how it is.  The holiday season is coming up (hello, happy halloween!  any good rabbit jack o’lanterns or costumes?)  Which brings me to this iGive promotion for the next few weeks: if you haven’t used iGive before, and you download this iGive button and use it for a few months (3), and SaveABunny will get $5!  Or even $10 if you pick us as your cause!  I downloaded it for Safari on my Mac, and it’s actually a very unobtrusive button, with only the little seed-pod (or upside-down umbrella?) iGive logo, which is actually kind of cute.

See you at Doc’s Clock!

SaveABunny Website Major Redesign

February 23rd, 2011

Introducing the new saveabunny.org!

the new saveabunny.org!

At long last!  The SaveABunny Redesign Project began over a year ago and involved a lot of long nights and effort from many parties.  I think it’s a fantastic improvement and I hope you’ll find it a fitting update.  Thanks to Anthony for his assistance in design, and to Joann, Jean and Nola for proofreading assistance.  And thanks as always to Marcy and Rob for always working so hard to save these bunnies, like my beautiful Frogger.

Please feel free to comment on this post about any suggestions or bugs that you find!

-Lisa (webmaster)

5 things you can do with your rabbit instead of giving him back

December 5th, 2009

With the holidays coming up, people are getting their travel plans together, and realizing – “Hey! What am I supposed to do with this rabbit while I’m gone??” Unfortunately this train of thought often leads people to simply return the rabbits to wherever they got them from. Like SaveABunny, for instance. This sucks for us because we don’t have a lot of space, and it sucks for the rabbit because he’s losing his home, his family, and everything he’s gotten used to and started caring about since he was adopted. And it especially sucks for the rabbits that we now can’t take in because we don’t have the space anymore.

So, in an effort to get you or someone you know thinking twice before returning a rabbit (or any pet, really,) here’s some alternatives:

1. Boarding. We offer boarding at SaveABunny. We have a lot of excellent resources on hand to spoil your bunny with while you’re away and all the funds go straight back into saving other bunnies. Learn more about our boarding services here. There are other pet boarding options out there, too, all you have to do is look.

2. Pet-sitting. My boyfriend and I have 2 cats and 2 rabbits, and we’re leaving them in the competent hands of Tales of the Kitty for ten days in January while we’re out of the country. The Bay Area is teeming with pet sitters, and many SaveABunny volunteers either offer a rabbit-sitting service themselves, or know someone who does. Send us an email if you’re curious. If you happen to offer pet-sitting, feel free to leave a post in the comments section so other readers can contact you.

3. Asking a friend. I know how hard this is for some people. No one wants to impose on their friends. But when the choice is asking a friend or giving up the rabbit, just take a second to remember that the space that rabbit takes up in the shelter could easily cost another rabbit her life if we don’t have room for her. Suck it up and ask around – you will probably be surprised about how eager a good friend will be to check in on your adorable bunny rabbit for a few days. Just make sure they know the basics and have the vet’s phone number on hand just in case.

4. Taking him with you. I’ll be honest, most rabbits hate traveling, and if you’re not careful, it can be dangerous for them. But that’s not an excuse to just give him back instead. How bad would it be if you brought an adorable fuzzy bunny home for the holidays? Who could possibly complain about that?

5. Not getting a pet in the first place. When you adopt an animal, you assume responsibility for it’s care. Until it dies. Please think carefully about this before adopting any pet from anyone, ever. If you have doubts about your ability to give a rabbit long-term care, you can donate, foster, volunteer, or sponsor a rabbit instead.

Thanks for listening, and if you do have it in you to foster or adopt this holiday season, Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Spanky are just three of our adorable new rabbits that desperately need a home:

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26th, 2009

We’re thankful for all the wonderful volunteers, fosterers, adopters and animal rescue partners we work with here at SaveABunny, as well as the bunnies themselves, who give us much and ask for remarkably little – even when they need it. We’re also thankful to Marcy Schaaf, the founder of SaveABunny, for her hard work every day, not just saving the lives of rabbits directly, but organizing events, maintaining contacts, attending conferences, and passionately working towards a more rabbit-friendly world. Thanks Marcy.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there, from all of us at SaveABunny!

Vegan bakesale to benefit our furry vegan friends Dec. 5th

November 10th, 2009

Join us to enjoy some delicious vegan treats and adorable vegan bunnies at 3506 16th St. on Saturday, December 5th. Vegansaurus! is hosting and also has this to say:

We badly need volunteers, eaters, bakers, paper plates, compostable to-go containers & flatware, and hella publicity to make this awesome so mobilize, vegan (pacifist) army and email laura@vegansaurus.com if you can/want to/feel obligated to pitch in! Let’s make this happen!!!

They’re very excited and we are too! Read the full details here.

RabbitVision 5000

October 29th, 2009

How does a rabbit see the world? Is it blurry? Colorful? Packed with strangely carrot-shaped items? All excellent questions – and I found a great article that answers many of them. (Except the carrot one. Only rabbits will ever know that.) Here’s five facts about RabbitVision you may not have known:

1. Rabbits can’t see directly in front of them. In that picture of Malcolm up top, he’s not looking at the camera. He probably can’t even see the camera. Yet he seems interested in it – as rabbits often do when they seem to be looking at you face forward. What they’re actually doing is using their fine-tuned sense of smell to fulfill a chemical curiosity – not a visual one.

2. Rabbits have basically no depth perception. That’s part of the reason they hate being picked up, and why they’re so tentative about jumping on to/of off new places. The anatomical reason is the same as number 1 – the field of vision in both eyes barely overlaps, because each eye is on the opposite side of the head.

3. Rabbits can see above their heads. Imagine walking down the street and being able to take in a whole skyscraper without straining your neck. That’s basically how your rabbit looks at you from the floor.

4. Rabbits probably can’t see the color red. They seem to only have the receptors to tell blue and green apart. Great for picking out parsley – bad for, um, driving and getting dressed in the morning.

5. Rabbits can’t see fine details as well as you can. That means they mostly identify you by shape, smell, and movement. So when you stumble home on a Sunday afternoon carrying a tweed suitcase and smelling like watered-down airplane vodka, don’t be surprised when he scurries away as soon as you come over to cuddle.

Handsome Himalayans

October 12th, 2009

This post is dedicated to a special breed of rabbit known as the Himalayan – or, in Europe, the Russian. These white rabbits with dark ears, nose, paws, and tails probably originated in neither the Himalayas nor Russia. Despite the mystery surrounding the origin of the breed, we do know these things for certain: Himalayans are typically gentle, calm, and love attention. Because of this, they’ve become popular laboratory and meat rabbits. Which makes us sad, because they make fantastic, caring companions – a fact I can vouch for personally.

Also, they’ve been genetically enhanced by generations of rabbit breeders for extra handsomeness. We’re swooning over several at SaveABunny right now:

Borat

Borat

Ilona

Ilona

McDreamy, a rare lionhead Himalayan

McDreamy, a rare lionhead Himalayan

ShyAnne

ShyAnne

And, of course, Phoenix. Although its hard to tell on him.

And, of course, Phoenix. Although it's hard to tell on him.

You can come visit our Himalayans in person, or donate to help us take care of them.

Come fly with me. Away from the litterbox.

October 1st, 2009

(Just to let you know in advance, this post is about poo. And flies.)

You know how a cat box will sometimes attract those big fat houseflies that love eating cat poo? Yummy. Anyway, rabbit boxes will sometimes attract cute little fruit flies, because rabbits are cute little vegetarians and have cute little poo. (What, they do.) Of course, fruit flies are still annoying and probably bad for the rabbits to be around, so here’s a rabbit- and environment-safe way to get rid of them:

“At the Oakland shelter, we have used fly traps near the litterboxes (but out
of rabbits’ reach) to control the fruit fly population in the rabbit room.

Here’s a recipe for a very easy, non-toxic fruit fly trap that works (this
is what we use at the shelter):

- 1/4 cup of. Vinegar
- 1/4 cup of Sugar
- Water

Put first 2 ingredients in and put enough water in a jar to make it about
1/2 full and punch a couple holes in the lid.

Let us know if it works for you!”

Extra thanks to our volunteer Anne Martin for the great advice!

Other suggestions included replacing the whole bag of litter, and making sure there’s no composting vegetable matter laying around in house that they could be laying their eggs in. (We all know it happens.)

And to make up for ickyness, here’s Itsy and Bitsy:

6 things you’d better get used to.

September 22nd, 2009

So you get a rabbit. He’s adorable (duh, he’s a rabbit), he does cute things every freaking day, he’s learned to use a litterbox, and you’ve got him conditioned to perk up his ears and come running every time he hears the vegetable crisper slide open. But there’s still some things that aren’t exactly perfect. Will he ever be the ideal pet you imagined when you first thought of getting a bunny? No. You can throw out that idea right now. Some things just take time and patience and effort, and of course we love our furry funny friends for all their flaws, but some things will probably never, ever, ever change.

1. Poop. It happens. Some rabbits are more polite than others, some have fantastic litterbox manners, most will keep their pee strictly in the box, but no matter what, expect to keep finding one or two little rabbit pellets rolling around somewhere forever. The good news is bunny poo is really clean. No joke, I looked at some under a microscope the other day and it looks exactly like what they eat. Actually, it’s significantly less messy than what they eat. Which brings me to number 2 -

2. Freaking hay freaking everywhere. My boyfriend found hay on the floor near his desk this morning. At work. Twenty-six miles away. The good news is if someone points out that you have a piece of it in your hair, you can finally use that line about the farmer’s daughter you thought up in college.

3. Jerkface co-workers making hasenfeffer jokes.

4. Rejection. No matter how many times people (and rabbits) tell me rabbits don’t like being picked up, I still wanna pick them up every time I see them. This has resulted in the rabbits running away every time I reach for them, even if I just wanna give them a little nose rub. If you have that rare bunny that likes being picked up – be freaking nice to that bunny.

5. Paranoia. Rabbits are experts at destroying things. Including their own digestive systems. You will learn to watch out for carpet nibbling, carpet digging, cords laying within reach, shoes laying within reach, houseplants that you thought for sure were out of reach, and bite marks on anything from scented candles (which by the way kill) to spider plants (which rabbits have no qualms about killing).

6. Being wrong. “They won’t jump up there. It’s too high.” Wrong. “They wouldn’t eat that, it’s not even food.” Wrong. “They won’t go in the cat box. It smells like predators.” Wrong. “They won’t escape from that pen. I used like four million clips.” Wrong. You get the point.

Despite these things, it’s impossible not to love our little lagomorphs – and even harder not to brag about how awesome they are and what wonderful pets they make.

By the way, my rabbits are completely awesome.