Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monday Bunday: Road Trip

WARNING: Photographs are not related to the text.

On Saturday the plan was to take all four rabbits to the Rabbit Haven Adoption Show. Tyler and Sydney were to have their nails trimmed and Harriet and Amelia had an appointment in the bonding room. Despite best efforts and treats offered, I was only able to get Sydney into the the carrier, Tyler jumped out the door when I guided Sydney in and would not be recaptured for love or rose petals, which pass for currency around here. Plans and intent change, life is change, what was going to be a pleasant family outing was now GIRL ROAD TRIP! More treats for the girls and singing contests and giggles galore. Sydney belted out a version of "Brass in Pocket" originally performed by The Pretenders. Amelia countered with Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good". Harriet surprised us all with Brian Eno's "I'll Come Running". The fun ended far too soon and before she knew who had won the contest, Sydney was getting her nails trimmed and being told she was still too fat and to, simply had to, cut down on the pellets. When older rabbits, here she really took offense, are too fat, they cannot reach their cecals and that causes all sorts of problems.....

The bonding room became available and chaperoned by myself and one of the Rabbit Professionals, Amelia and Harriet were placed in a pen. What followed was not exactly what I had had in mind, but that is the way of Bun, to teach the human to see beyond their own small plans and dreams. There was no biting or chasing, instead Amelia set about owning the space with extensive exploration and peeing in each small litter box multiple times. Meanwhile Harriet let me know that I was hers by sitting in my lap and licking my arms, not just once but four times. Cindy, the Pro, laughed and said "I guess you won't be giving that one up." A couple times I scooped up Amelia so she could share my lap with Harriet and maybe have a little bond there. After about 20 minutes someone else needed the room so we vacated.

Since I had Sydney without her brother, Tyler, who can be bossy and over bearing, almost but not quite a Napoleon Bunaparte, I thought I'd see if I could establish more of a relationship with her. Sydney doesn't not like to be touched, petted, or held and all I want to do snuggle her and whisper sweet bun things into her black, black ears. You understand the problem. I am perfectly willing to settle for petting once a day and being able to pick her up in an emergency. [Ex: the house is on fire all rabbits must be evacuated immediately for their own safety.] With Harriet and Amelia in their respective carriers I walked around the adoption area with Sydney in my arms, just to gently stress her a bit, then I settled on a chair next to the girls. Pretty soon there we were joined by other bunny people. Nothing like a bunny to attract bunny people.

One Rabbit Haven volunteer took quite a shine to Amelia and wanted to hold her, I gave permission. Another came by with a rabbit that was waiting for adoption and a man with a white Netherland Dwarf ,whose had had its nails done, joined the gathering. Winter was a very small, short eared white rabbit had been adopted a 4 years ago from Rabbit Haven. He had attacked everyone who approached him until he saw his current human. At that historic moment he flew onto the man's shoulder and refused to leave. I imagine for a brief moment everyone who knew the bun thought he was going to rip off the poor unfortunate's head. Although it would seem that the relationship would simply take off from that point, once the man got the bun home it was a full six months before Winter stopped charging and biting. Still, he amazes one and all by sitting like a strange white parrot on his person's shoulder.

I learned some applicable and practical things at the show too. If you are holding a nervous bunny that needs to settle down, gently pat the bun on the shoulder. This seems to distract them and soon their breathing will normalize. When bonding, play gentle music, Heather, the Rabbit Haven Director, suggests meditation music, stay away from drums and percussive soundtracks! With this in mind I'll put together a bonding playlist. I have a Bunny Calm list, but I'm not sure about the Rain Forest segment, I think there may be too many bird noises, Tyler , in particular is not fond of birds since they could be hawks. And frankly, I think they are all freaked out by the whales.....After much encouragement Sydney relaxed and settled in my lap with half closed eyes, hopefully the start of a trend. Amelia was traded for Harriet and the volunteer proffered the opinion that they would both make fine therapy buns. The car ride home was quiet, all the girls exhausted from their outing. At home Tyler came out from behind the couch to be sure his harem was accounted for, then offered himself for petting, as a sign of his undisputed superiority over moi.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

About a Book

Much more than a decade ago I was helping my parents pack up to move to a new apartment. I found, in several pieces in the back of a cupboard, a book friend I had spent many hours with as a child; The Animals' Conference. I loved this book for many reasons. First, it had belonged to my rather older brothers, and even had their names written in a crooked, blocky childish hand. I always wondered which brother had done the writing. Second, it was about animals, which were very popular both in literature and literally. Favorite books my parents read to me seemed to all be about animals: Freddy the Pig, Dr. Doolittle, Charlotte's Web, Minn of the Mississippi to name a few. The third reason I loved this book was because, curiously, my parents never read it to me. I thought of The Animals' Conference as my secret book and even conjectured that they couldn't read it, that it was only for the eyes of children.

In the story the animals decide that humans are really making a mess of things what with wars, revolutions and famines, and some animals decide, for the sake of the human children, to do something about it. They call a conference to discuss the matter. Animals from all over the world are invited and travel thousands of miles using many interesting modes of transportation. They all stay at the Animal Skyscraper the biggest building in the world. Rooms are all specially customized for different animal needs.

A BETTER WORLD FOR THE CHILDREN becomes the slogan, but the humans just don't get it. The humans have a conference of their own, but get nowhere fast. The animals decide that the humans are not getting anything done because they are bogged down in paperwork, so millions of rats descend on the human conference and destroy the documents. The Military in general, the animals, decide is a problem, so they send moths to eat all the uniforms. This is embarrassing, but still the human conference cannot agree to get along. Finally the animals kidnap all the children, bringing them to a wonderful safe island where they play all day long with fun loving animals and pick tropical fruits from the trees.

The disappearance of the children gets the notice of the humans at the conference and they sign a treaty brought to them by the animals. This singular document abolishes frontiers, disbands all armed forces and destroys ammunition, bureaucracy is trimmed to a bare minimum, child education is recognized as the most important and difficult work, teaching will be the best paid profession. Real education shall be to teach children true kindness of heart.

Copyrighted in 1949 in Switzerland, my copy is printed in Germany. The author Erich Kastner was a Pacifist, novelist and poet. You can read more about him HERE. The illustrator, and what wonderful illustrations! I wish I could show them all, is Walter Trier. Born in Prague, he was an anti-fascist who immigrated to England with the rise of Nazism. You can read more HERE.

I tell you the story as a shortened version resulting from my recent reading of this treasure. Had you asked me when I was a child what the book was about I would have said it's about how animals are smarter than people.

Epilogue: Since the book's recovery it has been rebound, all it's pages are snugged together and in the correct order. I did read it to my son several times and it is one of the few books I have that has not be chewed on by the rabbits. I have managed to keep this one safe, it's been through enough.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Bunday

Amelia and Harriet and Harriet and Amelia with Rose Petals.....

Following our instructions to bond more often for less time, we had a quick session today in the bathroom, which is neutral territory as far as Harriet and Amelia are concerned. I opted out of putting them in the tub because, frankly, the plant is a pain to move; huge, heavy, a bit fragile. I tried to carry them both in the basket shown in the picture, but couldn't get Amelia to wait while I picked up Harriet; so much for carpooling.

However once both buns were in the bathroom I smooshed them both in the basket and did cross petting. When they free to get out of the basket they immediately did so, but soon the basket became a item of fascination for both and on separate occasions each rabbit hopped in and dug at the towel.

I did more smooshing and cross petting on the floor and we had rose petals for snacks. There was a little charging and maybe one attempted nip, which isn't bite, remember, but a communication saying pay attention to ME. I stopped the session on a happy rose petal tinged note and hopefully the girls will remember their nice date tomorrow when we bond again.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Bunday

What the BEEP??????



(at you own risk)

Ooops I think Amelia may have reached her limit.

Have a great week one and all rabbits.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Bunny Dating Update

Amelia shows how mellow a California Bun can be.

We had a 3 p.m. appointment with a professional rabbit bonder in the bonding room at the Rabbit Haven Adoption show. However on returning home from Ba Gua I found that BF had, in an uncharacteristic showing of thoughtfulness, to rabbits fed them lots of greens stalks, cut from his lunch vegs. On any other day this would have been absolutely fine. On this day it removed any leverage I might have with Tyler and Sydney. Satiated, they could not be coaxed, cajoled or bribed into the carrier. The upside of having lots of rabbits is that that was fine. Amelia and Harriet were perfectly happy to go for an outing. OK, that's not quite true, but they both allowed me to insert them into their carriers. We listened to some bunny friendly jazzy atmospheric selections on KZSC, 88.1 fm during the car ride. At Pet Pals a highly proficient young woman in a bunny print smock took care of nail trims, gland cleaning and brushing. The Rabbit Haven offers this service on a donation basis. I like it because if my bunnies don't like it they won't blame it on me directly. Amelia was very well behaved, better than the last time and it was remarked how relaxed she was. Good girl! Harriet, too, was well behaved.

Keep your bunnies glands clean or have someone else do it.

The bonding started with a ride around the store in a comfortably padded shopping cart with a professional Bonder at our side. We took frequent breaks to put their heads side by side and cross pet so that their scents mingle and they are comforted by the closeness and feel of the other. Our Bonder kept a constant stream of bonding advice and helpful hints and suggestions. We also did floor time in a pen. Here Amelia showed her confidence by checking everything out, while Harriet preferred to crawl into and stay in my lap. It is not for nothing that one of Amelia's names is "Miss Check It Out". I learned a lot, it is different having first hand tutorials as opposed to reading something. Some key things are the side by side smoosh and cross pet; shorter more frequent sessions are best; don't worry about nips that's how bunnies communicate; girls are harder to bond than boys; end on a good note, even if you have to make it happen with a smoosh and cross pet; treats only when the bunnies in bonding are together; start to trade spaces so they can mingle smells, this can also be started by trading towels, blankies, toys. The Bonder didn't like my gloves, because of the feel to the bunny and suggested a kitchen splatter screen instead. The Bonder also thought it would be better to bond the girls and then bring in the Spots one at a time for sessions. There is another show in two weeks, so we can use the room then and have another tutorial. Tyler and Sydney seemed just the teeniest bit put out at not being at the Bunneh Partay. They will be undergoing reeducation for better carrier manners which will involve being fed only the the carrier......

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tyler in Math Class

Problem: Express in numbers the bunsocial situation when the fence is permanently removed.

Answer: Rabbits3 +(1) - ( ) = 3 girl friends for Tyler

That is absolutely correct Tyler,
you may go to the head of the class.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Monday Bunday

It may not make sense until I explain it, but I have decided that because of rabbits I can no longer watch the evening news. One could point out that I do everything because of rabbits so an explanation of the the murky workings of my human mind are not necessary. And that would be right and it is a tempting short cut, however I feel obliged to make a full report on the bonding and the evening news is part of the picture.

On Thursday Harriet bit Amelia's lip during a bonding session. I felt just terrible and was afraid it was bitten through and she would need stitches. I popped Harriet back in her pen. While I was assessing Amelia and weeping over her sweet face, it appeared that Harriet jumped out and was attacking Tyler. Unable for some unknown reason to put Amelia down and stop the event I yelled at them to stop, this brought BF out of his study and he started in on his usual mantra "These rabbits are going to give me a heart attack!!!! (repeat several times)". I pressed Amelia to his chest and swooped Harriet back into her pen. My level of heartbreak reached maximum limits and I decided then and there I had to let Harriet go and sent out a Email to Rabbit Haven and made a call leaving a message for a woman at the vet's who had expressed interest in having Harriet. Since there were no rabbit vets on duty I would have to wait until the day for Amelia to be seen.......two hours later Amelia and Harriet were lying side by side with the fence between them.

Are they friendly or is this just a case of good fences make good neighbors?

Amelia seemed fine, no pain and was eating just fine, thank you so much for asking. At this point in the narrative it would be unfair not to thank my Facebook friends for talking me down a bit and giving me good links. Thank you, thank you :).

The next day I looked at Amelia's wound and decided it did not need veterinary attention, the lower border was in tact and the bite had not gone through, much healing seemed to have taken place over night. I got an Email from Auntie Heather at The Rabbit Haven saying they could put Harriet's photo on the web as a start of the adoption process. Although I know it is NOT, and is even so far from it that I should not even say it, but it FELT like just a step away from child pornography. I couldn't do it. As I cleaned up that morning I had an opportunity to examine the scene of the crime and found that I had drawn some erroneous conclusions. It looked more likely that Harriet had pushed her way through the corner of her pen that was missing a clip that I had borrowed to secure the outdoor pen. She had had more fur pulled out than Tyler, who, in fact, it would appear, emerged with all furs on his bunson and none on the floor. Probably what happened was that Harriet had pushed her way out and surprised herself and Tyler by suddenly being nose to nose without a fence, a chase ensued with Tyler protecting his territory and that was that. Harriet was not the aggressor and Amelia's lip injury was just a random misfortune. The best course of action seemed to be to take time, to let Harriet's hormones recede, check out some more bonding techniques, get into Flower Essences and take a chill pill, the latter being for me.

Stress can be such an over used word and it can describe any number of situations and symptoms. Were the Stressometer to be applied to my life, yes it would shot up into the red zone. Some stresses you just can't do anything about, they are simply part of life, I leave these on the back burner to stew as they will. The ones that one can do something about are trickier because although they are voluntary they were inserted for a reason. As in my case one of these is the evening news during dinner. It is something I would NEVER have done before I moved in with the BF. News disrupts the digestion, puts the whole body into fight or flight mode. The bad, horrible and heartbreaking are consumed along with dinner. I try to tell myself it doesn't matter and I can just let it flow over me like water on a duck's back, but I hate it. All the Qi that ought to be used for exquisite digestion of nutrients is being used to protect me from the TV. Many times I've tried to have this evening ritual changed or stopped, but to no long term avail. But now, now that a rabbit's possible happiness and welfare are at stake I have put my foot down, THUMP!, and I eat in another room with the rabbits if you must know. One stressor down a few more to go......

Can the Black and White Queens come to terms?
Or are they destined to forever battle?

PS And don't worry I am plenty well informed on the doings of the world during the day.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Black Queen VS White Queen

Technical difficulties.......
Unexpected results.....
Don't touch the red wire without proper insulation.....
Imaginary numbers exist to make sense of reality.....
A peaceful paws amidst the storm......