Saturday, May 22, 2010

Soothing the grumpy bunny

Mickey has decided that I am not posting nearly enough pictures of him, so he is sulking:

I tried explaining to him that I haven't had the chance to take a lot of pictures lately, but he would have none of it.

So I got out the camera and took some pictures:

But that didn't seem to cheer him up much; next thing I know, he's back under the chair...

So finally, I did the only thing that I knew would cheer him up:

It's hard to sulk when you're getting petted. ;)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bunny Toile

I was in the midst of cleaning the house in preparation for company tomorrow when I realized that I hadn't brought out one of my favorite spring/summer pieces to display:

Technically, it's three pieces, but I always think of them as one piece because I display them together. They are some of my very favorite bunny items. The pattern is called "Bunny Toile" because the print looks like toile fabric.

Close-up detail of the platter

There used to be a store in my area called "The Gingham Rabbit"; it sold all kinds of cutesy gift items like this (not just bunny stuff, although they did have quite a bit of it), but much of the stuff was out of my price range. Just before they closed, however, they had a going-out-of-business sale, and I scooped up these beauties at half price. Bunnies (my obsession) in green (my favorite color)? HAD. TO. HAVE. IT.

Close-up of the bowl pattern

I always have it on display during spring and summer, either on my dining room table or my living room table. Occasionally, I put flowers in the pitcher, but for the most part I leave it as is.


The pitcher, side one and side two

I wish I knew where I could find more of this pattern, but it probably costs more than I could comfortably afford, even on eBay. As is, I'm lucky to have the room to store what I've got; small houses and packrats just do not mix.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Life and Times of a Paranoid Bunny-Mom

Mickey's been sneezing on occasion lately. It's the funniest sound in the world--sounds just like Donald Duck cussing. The first time I heard it, I didn't know what it was; I knew the sound was coming from the kitchen, I was pretty sure it was Mickey making the noise...but I had no idea what he was doing, and it was just weird enough of a sound to cause concern. I went into the kitchen; Mickey looked up at me with his "Unless you're here for treat dispensing, I am not interested." face. I waited to see if he would make the noise again. Nothing at first, then just as I was about to go back to the computer, he sneezed...and I laughed. He sneezed again, and I immediately stopped laughing and sat down to open the cage door for a closer look.

He seemed fine, nothing out of the ordinary, no runny nose or weepy eyes. His appetite clearly wasn't affected, as he was busy nudging my hands with his nose trying to see if I happened to be holding a treat. I checked the cage, particularly the hay/litter box; everything looked normal. I made a mental note to keep an eye on the situation.

Over the past couple of weeks, the sneezing has continued here and there; nothing on a continuous basis, but definitely more than usual. I've heard him in the morning sometimes, and sometimes late at night.  The sneezes come in intervals and last until I go over and wipe his nose clear and check him out, then he's fine. This morning, I could hear him as soon as I got up, and decided that it was time to have the vet take a look.

To a non-rabbit-owner, sneezing might sound like no big deal--and nine times out of ten, it's truly no big deal. Rabbits sneeze for the same reasons we do; to clear irritating stuff out of their noses. However, as I've mentioned before on here, rabbits are prey animals, and as such are way too good at hiding illness and injury. What seems to be a few innocent sneezes can turn into very nasty stuff (pneumonia, infection, etc.) completely without warning. This is why rabbit people appear to be completely out of their minds half the time worrying about things like sneezes, food refusal, poop quality, etc.--we're always afraid that if we let down our guard for a moment, we're going to wake up one morning and find Bunny keeled over in his cage, dead as a doornail..and unfortunately, it does happen like that sometimes, which is why I was calling the vet in a mild panic.

Fortunately, I have a rabbit-savvy vet who understands that I am not a nutcase, just a very concerned bunny-mom, so she had me bring him in. Mickey was not at all happy to find himself in his carrier and then in the car, but he was very good for the vet for the most part (except when she was taking his temperature, and I can't exactly blame him for that). The vet said that everything looked good; temperature was normal, heart and lungs sounded very healthy, eyes and nose showed no signs of infection, although his nose was a little wetter than usual. She said it was possible that he was reacting to the large amount of pollen that's been in the air lately, although it was also possible that if he was coming down with something, he was in the very early stages. She said to keep an eye out for any changes in his nasal discharge; if it gets particularly icky or turns green, bring him in right away. Otherwise, he was a healthy, handsome bunny.

Yes, healthy, handsome, and not-exactly-a-cheap bunny. The peace of mind is worth the cost of the vet visit, but considering the three visits in the past couple of months for an eye infection and the semi-annual molar grindings, let's just say it's a good thing he's so cute and lovable.

"I'd like to think I'm worth the expense,
thank you very much."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mr. Nosy Bunny finds new terrain

On Thursday, my husband had a minor freak accident. He's a painter, and while working on a deck, somehow managed to get a very large sliver of wood through his painter's pants and into his calf. He thought he had pulled it out, but the leg was still very painful. By 11:00pm that night, he realized that something was still not right and made a trip to the ER.

After he left, I let Mickey out for his nighttime run. I always let him out late at night after my husband has gone to bed so that he doesn't get underfoot around my husband and so my husband doesn't have to deal with getting around bunny gates when he wants to go in and out of the living room (where Mickey is not allowed most of the time). Lately, Mickey's been getting bolder about going up and down the hallway and in and out of the bathroom, but since my husband keeps the bedroom door closed when he goes to bed, I don't have to worry about Mickey getting in there.

My husband (to be referred to as Hubby in here because, like the boy, he wants no part of being named in a bunny blog) came home at about 1:30am, along with a new souvenir; the one-and-a-quarter inch piece of wood that had been embedded in his calf about a half-inch under the skin. As Hubby made his way to the kitchen to get a drink, Mickey immediately bopped over to see what he was doing and proceeded to stick himself on the wrong side of the fridge door. This amused my husband, who began to very slowly close the door, figuring Mickey would get the hint and move out of the way. No such luck; Mickey held his ground, poking his nose at the drawer where his greens are kept, ignoring Hubby's urgings to get out of the way until I came over and moved him.aside. Once moved, he immediately began sniffing at and following my husband's feet as Hubby tried to leave the kitchen. Hubby managed to keep from tripping over Mr. Nosy Bun, and went into the bathroom.

Guess who went in right after him?

Again, Hubby was amused by his fuzzy stalker, but not so amused as to want to share the bathroom with him. Again, I went in and noodged Mickey out. Mickey gave me a look of utter disdain and bopped off towards the dining room. Once Hubby was out of the bathroom, I made sure to close the door.

A short time later, Hubby decided to go to bed. Because the wound on his leg was only lightly covered with tape, I decided to put a gauze pad on it in case it bled during the night, so I got some supplies and followed Hubby into the bedroom. As I was putting the pad on, Hubby looked down at the floor and said,

"Hey, there's the orange furball."

I looked down just in time to see one busy bunny bopping by my feet, giving everything a look-over. I put down the tape and tried to noodge him out of the bedroom with my feet so I wouldn't get bunny fur on clean hands. It took a LOT of noodging, but I managed. Mickey was not at all happy to be ushered out of new and interesting territory; he gave me a look that clearly said, "Awwwwwww, Mum! Why are you being so mean and spoiling my fun?" before I gave him one last noodge into the kitchen, then went back into the bedroom, closing the door this time, and finished taking care of my husband's bandaging.

Normally, that would have been the end of it, but unfortunately, once the local anesthetic they had given my husband at the hospital wore off, he was in serious pain, and the pain meds they gave him had no effect, so he was not a happy boy. I was in and out of the bedroom trying to make him comfortable, and on occasion, blocking Mickey from getting in  the bedroom at the same time. Finally, my husband and my rabbit seemed to settle down, so I could go back to my computer.

A while later, I realized that it was a little too quiet in the room. I looked at Mickey's hidey-hole box under the dining room table, where he had been sitting and sulking only a short time before. He wasn't there. I got up and looked around the dining room, then the kitchen. No Mickey.


I went into the bathroom; I hadn't heard him go into the hallway (normally, the sound of bunny nails on wood floor is a giveaway), but it was always possible.

Nope, not there...

I paused and thought for a moment. Hubby had come out of the bedroom to use the bathroom a short time before. One of us surely would have noticed Mr. Nosy...or maybe not.

I grabbed a flashlight (so I wouldn't have to turn on the light in case Hubby was sleeping) and went into the room. As luck would have it, he wasn't sleeping, so I turned off the flashlight and turned on the light. "Did you see Mickey in here? I can't find him."

"No, haven't seen anything."

I walked around to the other side of the bed. Sure enough, making himself comfortable on the foam pad I have on the floor on that side, was Mr. Mick.

He had the nerve not to even try to avoid me as I approached. Even the expression on his face was all, "What? This is my house, why do you have a problem with me being here?" He was not at all happy when I immediately scooped him up and carried him out of the bedroom and back to his cage. I told him he'd had enough activity for the evening and I wasn't about to play "Where's The Bunny?" all night. He gave me The Bunny Butt O'Snub and turned his attention to his slinky toy while I went back to my computer. So much for a peaceful evening.

EDIT: 5/10/10--Realized this morning that I had the day listed wrong, which shows how screwed up my days have been lately. Corrections have been made. --Jade

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My First Rabbit

I am currently in the process of trying to make my bedroom NOT look like something out of one of those TV shows about hoarders. While clearing out my closet, I found a bag full of old photos and negatives (which tells you how old the photos are) and sat down to sort them out. Imagine my shock when I found two pictures that I thought no longer existed:

This is my first rabbit. Her name was Slick, originally short for "Captain Slick" because at the time, we had been told by the clerk at the pet store that "he" was a male. It was 1985; we had seen "him" at the pet store a couple of blocks from our apartment and I had fallen in love, so my fiance surprised me by giving him to me as a Christmas gift in December. The first night we had him home, my fiance took one look at his antics and said, "Who do you think you are? Captain Slick?" and the name stuck.

This is Slick in the middle of one of "his" favorite activities; running back and forth between the living room and the short hallway that led to a spare bedroom. He loved to dash across the floor, nails scrabbling on the wood, then go into a slide until he bumped up against the wall. A second after he hit the wall, he was dashing back so he could slide into the velveteen fabric that covered our living room table. He would do it over and over, sometimes even sliding through the gap between the back of his cage and the wall (how he never crashed or hurt himself doing that, I'll never know).

It wasn't until we brought home another male, an albino we named Marty Feldbunny because of his cockeyed expression, that we started to have a few doubts about Slick's gender. (To be polite, let's just say that there were two prominent physical features that Marty had that Slick didn't. ) Unfortunately, we were pretty rabbit-ignorant back then and had already allowed the two to play together. By the time we started to think that might not be a good idea, it was too late.

My fiance and I had gone on a weekend trip and a friend of ours had volunteered to apartment- and rabbit-sit. We had just returned home and were telling our friend about the trip when my fiance looked up, pointed across the room and said, "What the hell is that?!"

Slowly crawling in our direction was what looked like a small gray lump. Our friend said, "It looks like a sick mouse. "
My fiance walked over to it and crouched down to get a closer look. "It's not a mouse, it doesn't have a tail, or fur...and I don't see its eyes..." He carefully scooped it up. Suddenly, he looked up at me. "Aren't baby rabbits born blind and without fur?"

There was a pause as that thought sank in, then the three of us rushed into the spare bedroom, where we had been keeping Marty and Slick out of sight of our landlord (we weren't supposed to have pets). In Slick's cage were six more blind and naked little lumps; seven baby bunnies.

Needless to say. we were completely freaked out. The pet store was immediately called. They took poor Marty back and told us that they would buy any babies we were willing to sell once they were old enough to leave their mom. (This is NOT something I would do under the same circumstances today, but at the time, we didn't know any better.)  The few rabbit books that were available back then said to give the babies human baby formula mixed double-strength if it looked like Slick wasn't nursing them; I did it anyway.

Somehow, they survived and grew into seven speedy puffballs in varying shades of gray, bombing around the spare bedroom to our absolute delight. I wish I'd had some means of filming them in action; they were a sight to see. Poor Slick (who had been renamed Grace Slick) seemed just overwhelmed; she would stretch out on the floor and just lie there while her busy brood hopped over, around and on her.

When the time came, we sold six of the seven babies back to the pet store. One was kept because of a minor accident it had suffered early in its life; it had escaped the cage at least twice, once when it made its way into the living room that first day, and the next night, when we found it curled up next to the heater in the bedroom in the morning (the only thing that saved it from an early grave). It had a very small, very neat chunk missing from one ear in the shape of a bite mark, which led us to believe that Slick had tried to stop it from wandering away again at some point.

I don't know if it was not having so many to deal with or the fear that she might lose the only one she had left, but Slick was motherhood personified with that one kit; she followed it everywhere, licking it, nuzzling it, playing with it. It was so sweet to see her with that baby. I would have loved to see it grow up alongside her, but unfortunately, not long after that, we had to leave the apartment because of financial problems. We couldn't take them with us under the circumstances, so we brought them both to a local animal shelter. The people running the shelter fell in love with them on the spot and told us they would not only keep them together, but would adopt them for themselves. I was happy to know they would have a home together, but I cried all the way back to the apartment. My fiance and I split up about six months after that, and I moved back home.

As far as I knew, all the pictures I had of Slick had been lost in between moves...until today. You have no idea what finding these pictures means to me. It's one thing to have the memories, but even memories can fade in places over time. To actually see her again is just mind-blowing. I hope she and her baby had a wonderful life in a new home, and I hope poor Marty was able to find a new home as well, but I will always regret not being able to give them the home and the life they deserved.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ice-capades and the last of the new stuff

The only bad thing about temps in the 80s here is that you start with a day that was warm outside and cool inside...and end up with a night that's cool outside and unbearably warm inside. Even with the windows open and screen doors, it's still terribly warm. I finally broke down and turned on the AC when I looked at the indoor/outdoor thermometer and realized that the house was actually getting warmer at the same rate that the temperature outside was cooling...and it was already over 80 in the house.

Earlier, I'd brought Mickey a dish of ice cubes to help keep him cool. Surprisingly, the location of his cage under the kitchen table is quite cool compared to the rest of the room, but not as cool as a fur-bearing critter would truly enjoy. Mickey responded as he always does:

FLING! went the little plastic tub (which is why it IS a plastic tub--trust me, I learned the hard way).

FLING! went the first ice cube, followed by many more FLING!s as he tossed each and every cube about the cage. (My fridge makes semi-circular ice cubes, so it was easy for him to pick them up.)
He was tossing them pretty far, too; good thing the cage door was closed.

Once he had tossed each cube to his satisfaction (and tossed the plastic tub a few more times for good measure), he hopped into his haybox and gave me a look that said,

"Well, that was amusing for a moment. Can you clean this up now?"

I put the cubes into his empty greens dish; that way, he can toss them again if he so desires, or if not, I'll empty out the water when I feed him later. Next time I give him cubes, I'll have to remember to bring my camera as well.

Here's the last pics of the trinket boxes I bought on eBay around Easter:

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil--
not exactly the bunny way, but very cute.

Three bunnies, one carrot?
Oh, there will be some evil spoken now for sure.

This bunny is looking quite sweet and innocent
(which means he's definitely up to no good)

And here's his carrot
(which he'd better keep hidden from the "not-evil" three)

That's the last of the new stuff--next time, I'll be showing some of the stuff I already have.