Thursday, December 01, 2011

Toto's Story

The Bun Zen Center helped out the Rabbit Haven with community surrender a couple weeks ago; a community surrender is a rabbit that was adopted through the Rabbit Haven and for one reason or another the people could no longer care for the rabbit. Toto, a silky black Angora,  was adopted two years ago unfortunately his person got cancer and is currently undergoing chemo for the second time. A friend of Toto's person saw that she could not take care of Toto and took him away, then he realized that he could not take care of him due to the travel requirements of a new job. Toto and his gear was transferred to one night at a nearby Denny's parking lot. It's better to have a neutral meeting ground, past experience shows if regular people know where rabbit people live the rabbit people can receive a whole lot of unwanted rabbits. When I picked up Toto I couldn't see into his carrier, it was very small, all I saw was his black face looking out through the grid. The surrendering human said that he had a few mats. At the Rabbit Haven we literally had to pull the bunny out of the carrier he was so stuffed in and he didn't have a few mats he was a mat. His back was one huge mat about a foot long, eight inches wide and three inches thick, he had a mat under his chin like a giant felt dewlap. His rear end and butt were completely matted over. First we took him into tub to clean the underneath mat and make an opening so his poop would not be trapped in the matting. Amazingly the matting on his stomach was minimal and his genitals were free as well. Clippers where useless, scissors were very slow. I suggested we use an Xacto knife, this was rejected as first but in desperation tentatively tried and it worked the best. With huge mats like this one has to be careful because the skin can get pulled up into the matting. Careful work is required, checking by pinching to be sure that there is no skin in the mat where one intends to cut. I don't recommend using an Xacto as a grooming tool unless you have an extreme situation. Toto was very patient as the mats were coming off, his skin under the mats was sensitive, the mats pull the hair, so I gave him a day to recover between grooming sessions. The second day I got the turtle shell off, it took two or three hours, and there were still some mats, but he could move better and when I put him outside to stretch he hopped, raced and binkied. Angora rabbits, as you may know or have guessed require special maintenance grooming so Toto's new home had to be with groomers. Fate smiled on Toto, Rabbit Haven found just such a family for him and he is settled in his new home. Three cheers for a story that has a happy ending. 

This shows the dewlap mat and his back,
you can see his nails were terribly long as well.

His butt mat before washing and trimming, his tail was caught up in the mat.

This was the progress of two people working for three hours the night he arrived.
You can see the thickness of the back mat, AKA the turtle shell, .

After hours of cutting and opening the mats, combing and clipping
he looks like a rabbit!
We finally managed to free his tail.

Toto enjoying a day in the sun at
the Ben Zen Center's Blueberry Bunny Park.


Friend of the Animals said...

I'm so glad you were there to help! I can't imagine how much better he feels now.

Glenna said...

He looks so happy! The mats just took my breath away. Poor bunny--you freed him!

April said...

What a transformation! Toto is so handsome now!

Paula said...

Such a happy post. Sniff.

Jade said...

Hoppy endings are the bestest kind. :)

Rabbits' Guy said...

Matts - ugh.

Happy endings - YEA!!!

(Thumbs up for the NaNo success!!!!)

Lo said...

god bless.

Poor bun......thank you for helping.

Karen M said...

Poor baby. He must feel so much better now. Angoras are definitely not for the faint-hearted. Glad to hear he has found a good home.

Tamsin said...

Aww bless, I bet he felt great after that.

I fostered an Angora with a similar story, he was shaved to the skin but it was amazing how fast it grew back. His fur was longer than a normal bunny again within a month. People greatly underestimate how much grooming they need.

d. moll, said...

FOA-I was happy to help, Angoras are very special, they have such a sense of self.
G- Heather from the Haven said those kind of mats were prob from a YEAR of no grooming.
A-he is so much better, he still needs work and will be truly astonishing one day
J-we must all strive for that happy ending!!
L-we all do what we can :)
K-you gotta love fur and be a little OCD I think :P
T-we couldn't even shave him, the mats were so thick and close to the skin. Yes, Angoras bloom very quickly, it's fun.

SixBunnies said...

What a sweet face! He looks like Winnie Poo Poo in the face! So, of course I am so in love! Sorry, Winnie ... nobody will ever take your place, but this guy is a sweetie!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what an adorable bunny!

Anonymous said...

Winnie Poo Poo is flattered to be compared to such a dandy bunn!!!

tamara said...

You're a hero.

M.Kate said...

such a happy bun. Toto here means the long bolster for hugging during sleep, but I guess he is also a good alternative haha :) Hugs...Mk

bunnits said...

Toto is so fortunate to have folks like you at the Bun Zen Center to relieve him of his misery and to help him learn that there are humans who truly care for the furry ones, buns and all.

SixBunnies said...

May I please ask for assistance for fellow bunny lovers and see if you will vote for Chief and Shawnee?

Alice said...

looking at these photos and tearing up over here. D, i'm so happy you were able to help this bunny. i wish i lived closer...angoras are a labor of love. i'm sure the groomer knows this, but it helps a lot to find them the first cut hay...or i think it's the first cut, anyway the broadest stems as opposed the fine stuff. what happens to them, even when well attended, is that the hay gets caught in their fur and then they try desperately to get it out, mats are created almost overnight as they chew on themselves to try to remove it. so the fine stuff is just a mess for them, the broader stems are better but you still have to be very careful of course. i check under nuage's chin twice a day. he almost has a little burr in there. when i find a mat that has missed my inspection it's amazing how every single time it's piece of hay in the middle of it close to their skin. the smallest strand of it will do it, gosh even for me if i have a tiny piece of hay in my jeans i go berserk trying to find it. i'm blown away by all these rescues!!! bless your heart!!!

d. moll, said...

Alice- the amazing thing was that with all the mats there was not one single piece of hay involved, we even cut open the big bits to see and there never was.

Alice said...

oh i don't doubt that at you think he even had hay in those previous conditions? of course angoras matt if they aren't groomed regularly, which it sounds like might not have been happening. even with someone with good intentions it's pretty darn tricky to keep up with their grooming.

i'm just mentioning the hay quotient here for the new owner and singling the fine hay out as a problem. it will make life a lot easier for them if they can find the broad stuff. speaking only for myself, i like to think i'm on top of it with the grooming, and for the most part i am, but then when i wake up to a matt somewhere and start to feel like i've been remiss...i see the tiny strand of hay in the epicenter of it that must have caused it to happen to quickly. i.e. overnight. just trying to think of any little tricks that make being a new angora slave any easier, they really are their own deal as far the bunny world is concerned. when i started to get picky about hay for them it made a huge difference in my grooming tasks. sometimes people don't think to ask if it's first cut or second cut and if you do you, you see soon that you actually do have choices. i can't wait to read all about his progress and how happy he is!! thanks again D for caring for him and so many others!!!

Michelle May said...

Smile...relief...such a sweetie boy!

Lisa said...

Hip Hip... HOORAY
Hip Hip... HOORAY
what an especially handsome boy. Happy endings really are the best :)