Monday, December 26, 2011

Shadowy Bunny

I sent this in to Disapproving Rabbits, but I guess it was not disapproving enough. Readers might need to see it, so here is Tyler looking like, well, looking like this.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hermes Finds a Home

Early on Hermes proved an interesting
photography subject.

Six months ago I took in a rabbit for Rabbit Haven with the understanding it would only be for a day or two, maybe three. The little half grown Rex had just been neutered and was sore and scared. He had been caught pilfering some one's garden. That was the story, why such a scoundrel would be given over to the Haven with a special towel and a name is odd. His name was Torrie. We re-named him Hermes, his gold ears looked like the wings on Hermes' helmet and his white slender athletic limbs lent him the air of Greek statue.

He began to enjoy being held and tooth purred
soon after being picked up

His first adoption show was a disaster, he cowered in the corner entire time and if someone did pick him up he stiffened up and tried to crawl away over their shoulder. It was clear that socialization was called for. I moved him into the kitchen and picked him up and held him two or three times a day. Often we would watch Hell's Kitchen or Master Chef on my laptop, excellent for desensitization and I picked up cooking tips from time to time. He was consulted often, healthy treats and pets abounded. My son also took to picking Hermes up and sitting with him. He knew his name and his nicknames, Little Guy, The Hermermermers, and if he was in his box house, on hearing his name shot out like a cartoon clock cuckoo.

Hermes enjoyed his time outside
in the Blueberry Bunny Park.

He saw the household through the deaths of my father and then my brother, through memorials and reunions. We considered him family. Whenever he went to adoptions shows something happened that threw him off his game. I took extra measures to keep him happy at shows. I brought him to the show myself, rather than accepting a ride for him with other bunnies, and held him until he was relaxed. I outfitted his pen with his little mat from home. Improvement was evident. Still the right person was not showing up. I learned of a product called Happy Pet from a woman who boarded her rabbit with us. Formulated from flower and gemstone essences it helps animals feel calm and uplifted. I put drops in Hermes' water dish and sprayed him with it. I sprayed his pen at the adoption shows too. He responded well to it and his shows improved more. Still he was dogged by bad luck. Even if he was calm and beautiful, no one wanted a white rabbit or the rabbit next door to him was very showy, so everyone was fixated on that rabbit. One time the rabbit next door, a Dutchie female, jumped into his pen and attacked him; not a good time for him. During the big Aptos rescue those rabbits were given priority and Hermes stayed home. I had bad ideas about keeping him and trying to bond him in with my four, wicked day dreams of an impractical person.

He knew his destiny lay beyond the fence.

Far away in a county called Marin a Dutch female pined, saddened by the death of her mate three months prior. Using her not insignificant powers of persuasion she got her human to drive to the Rabbit Haven adoption show in Santa Cruz, she knew her prince was there. She had heard via the Daily Dutch News that there was a handsome white Rex who wasn't not much of a fighter, but had the golden ears of enumerable rabbit legends. At the show her human brought her boy bun after boy bun, she rejected each one. Couldn't the fool see that these were not the golden eared one? finally there was but one male rabbit left, Hermes. He saw her in all her black and white glory and immediately feel in love. Once the Dutchie was convinced that he was indeed her destiny, she too was happier than happy. Of course, I cried my eyes out, silly impractical heart will miss him, even if the brain says it is better this way.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pictures and Text

If real life pictures of a spay procedure are likely to upset you and your family, please go no further than this photo of a big, very big California girl bun in post-op recovery with a Rabbit Haven volunteer. You can read more about the Spay-A-Thon HERE. There is a slide show as part of the article, I took the photos even though the credit says Rabbit Haven, these things happen.

For those of you who will read on here is the story. You will recall that there was a huge rescue in our area, Aptos to be precise, 114 rabbits all of which were not spayed or neutered. Over the course of the days many were in San Jose and Palo Alto, driven over by intrepid and dedicated volunteers. One of our local vets on hearing of the rescue asked what she could do and the Spay-A-Thon was born. Just to be clear there were also neuters being performed but somehow a Neut-A-Thon doesn't have a ring to it at all. Three rabbit vets, Drs. Hawklyn, Stern and Sollenberger along with vet techs volunteered their time and expertise at the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter on 12/4/11, where two of the rooms were turned into a surgery. Rabbit Haven volunteers took care of the rabbits after their operations. Anesthetized rabbits can not be put back in a cage until they are awake enough to hop or they can hurt themselves trying.

Rabbits are anesthetized using a gas and mask, they are also attached to a heart monitor. The gas smells funny to them, but only briefly.

The abdomen is shaved clean and carefully sterilised.

Everything is kept very sterile. The incision for a spay can very tiny, leaving a barely visible scar and lessening pain and healing time.

Bunnies are kept warm and comfortable while they wake up. The females received subQ fluids to help with their recovery. To aid with waking the bunnies need to be stimulated, touched and petted on their ears and face, they need to be more upright than not.

Why do rabbits need to be spayed and neutered? I'm so glad someone asked that question. The answers are multiple. The first answer is that rabbits have an exetremely rapid rate of reproduction. The gestation time is about a month and a female rabbit can get pregnant immediately after giving birth. Sexual maturity and ability to breed occurs between 3 and 8 months. Doing the the multiplication on this problem yields that a female rabbit and her offspring could, theoretically, produce 50,653 rabbits in three years and 69 million in five years and a whopping 64 billion in seven years. In the wild this degree of fecundity makes sense, rabbits being breakfast, lunch and dinner to so many other guests in nature's restaurant, but for the domestic rabbit and it's caregivers it does not. Even if a rabbit is an only rabbit spaying will keep the animal from developing uterine cancer, very common in un-spayed lagomorph females. Neutering a male helps with box training and reduces/eliminates spraying. Although one would think that personality of males would be significantly changed by removing the testes from the hormonal picture, I can attest the Tyler, though not a humper, is very protective of his girl friends and competitive when it comes to other males. He has tried to take on a male rabbit 4 times his size, luckily there was a fence between them.

There are 8 rabbits left from the Aptos rescue that need homes, if you can help please contact the Rabbit Haven. They must be out of the shelter by the 18th or they are in danger of being euthanized.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Rest of the Story

Rex rabbit, extra soft fur, on yellow towel
in Santa Cruz Animal Shelter

The rabbits in the previous post, True Story, have become the property of Santa Cruz Animal Care and Control, that's good for the rabbits they don't have to go back to the breeder. The rabbits are are currently the Santa Cruz and Watsonville Shelters however the Rabbit Haven is completely responsible for care, feeding, rescue, foster and adoption. The rabbits in the shelters only have until December 17th to get out of the shelters; at this point there are about 75. On the 17th of December the shelters will euthanize any remaining rabbits; Out of the frying pan and into the gas chamber. These rabbits need to get out ASAP. If you can rescue a rescued rabbit by adopting one or two or more, to be kept indoors, you will save a bunny's life. Contact Heather at the Rabbit Haven if you can open your home and heart to one (or more) of these rabbits; 831-600-7479 or Make the call and get a rabbit the same day !!

Another Rex, love his spots!, he was out in a pen
when I was there and having a really good time.

One of five adorable babies, this one is loving hay.

This guy may be small, but, I have the feeling,
he is big on personality.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A True Story

Once upon time in a nearby neighborhood, Aptos, in California, there was a man who bred rabbits. At first he didn't have very many rabbits and he took fairly good care of them. He found that it was terribly easy to have more and more rabbits and he could sell them to pet stores as pets and he could sell them to pet stores as snake food. He had lots and lots of rabbits, of course he couldn't keep them in his house, only crazy people do that, so he kept them outside, after all they are animals. One day a nosy, nosy man who just could not mind his own business was doing his job and saw the rabbit breeder's set up. It was Extreme Makeover from an opposite and evil universe. Some rabbits were swimming in 6 inches of water and some had 6 inches of feces piled in their cages. Instead of proper water bottles or cute dishes with Peter Rabbit designs on them to drink from the rabbits had mason jars of water. Yes, you already realize the problem, a rabbit can only drink from the top, once the water level is decreased by a a couple inches they can't reach it. Many were pregnant, wounded, or emaciated. However none needed to by euthanized. The county had been monitoring the breeding facility for years, it was zoned for 65 rabbits, but, oops, there were 114, so it was shut down and the rabbits were taken to two nearby shelters where the good people doing a difficult job did the best they could. The Rabbit Haven, the local rabbit rescue organization, has been helping by bringing in supplies and doing the cleaning, feeding, grooming, nail clipping and general love and attention. None of these rabbits has had a moment of kindness or care in their lives. Rabbit Haven is working hard to get them into foster homes because the shelters will begin to euthanize when they are full, it's just the way it is. The rabbits are also adoptable. Anyone anywhere in the world can help these bunnies with a donation to the Rabbit Haven, click HERE and find the donation link in the article. You can read the Sentinel version of the breeder raid HERE.

Tyler will be donating all the dandelions he cannot eat.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Portrait Session

I was next door the other day to take some pictures of new arrivals at the Rabbit Haven.

There were 6 babies, a Dutch and Lion Head Mix. They will be truly magical when their manes come in. You can't see in this picture but of the golden babies, one is a Harlequin and two are gold with classic white Dutch markings.

This is the mum, the breeder, yes,the whole family was a breeder rescue intervention operation, cut her mane and she pulled out a lot of her own hair for the nest. She is lovely bun, I can't wait to see her true do.

This is dad, I have never seen such a kinetic rabbit, he was playing with his ball and digging and generally being Mr. Entertainment the whole time. Most of the pictures were way too blurry!!

This is a mini Hotot girl, we are waiting for her to grow, but......This photo will probably not the one used to promote her, there is way too much disapproval. I usually disapprove of toys in pictures and sometimes of the stuffed bunnies (we'll get into that at another time) but the strangeness, cuteness and disapproval going on here convinced me to post it.

Here's another look from Miss Mini Hotot.

Hopefully all these rabbits will find their forever homes soon, you can visit The Rabbit Haven by hopping down THIS RABBIT HOLE.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


All the rabbits are working on their costumes, which of course have to be homemade using the materials at hand.

Tyler is thinking of going as a Dead Bunny, definitely very scary.

Harriet thought it would look cool and scary and kinda, I dunno, steampunkish if it looked like she was pierced with a cardboard tube.
Work in progress for that one.

Amelia would like to go as that popular Santa Cruz attraction The Mystery Spot, where gravity seems to defy the laws of physics.
Possibly a little too conceptual....

Sydney and Hermes are still working up some ideas.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Everybun Must Get Stoned

Do forgive the poor quality of these photos, but at least they do illustrate the point.

Sydney demos another therapeutic placement of the magical healing stones; this balances two sides of the body, the Yin and Yang.

Harriet shows how to gently rest one's dewlap on a stone to cool the upper jiao (upper part of the body in Chinese Med lingo) for better meditation practice, the second lower stone serves to root the treatment in the middle jiao (stomach).

The frog is not technically a stone, but Amelia is very close to her frog and seems to derive something from that proximity.

Also, an interesting aside, that might help other buns. I have been in contact with Basil's human, you remember Basil, the Flemish Giant? anyway she established by trial and error that Basil was allergic to hay (to be more precise the DUST on the hay) and it was manifesting and sometimes runny eye and sometimes slight reddish around his sweet, sweet eyes. She now takes his hay outside and sort tosses it in a colander before feeding and that seems to take care of the problem. How cool is that?

Monday, October 17, 2011

By Request

We had a request for more Spots, this is what they were doing today.

Sydney had a two rock sort of a day.

Tyler examined the bunny proofing of the ethernet cable.

And, to his great disappointment found it quite sufficient.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today Around Here

Sydney is making use of the small stool.

Harriet communes with an effigy.

Let's not forget that it's Tocktober.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Friday, October 07, 2011

More Little Friends

We have two new guests at the Bun Zen Center, just until Monday, which is probably about as long as their completely devoted humans can stand to be away from them. The Bunnies are Ruddy and Buddy.

Ruddy foreground, Buddy behind.

Ruddy enjoys the penthouse view, which Buddy prefers a quieter space.

Quiet until the paparazzi arrive.

Ruddy; the helicopter view.

DS saw this cuteness and captured it forever.
Happy weekend.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


We have a new guest at the Ben Zen Center, Basil (pronounced Bah-Zel, if you please), he is a GIANT Flemish. Such a big and lovely bun, he is too.

Note the noble profile.

He is so special that the bunny sized Tibetan prayer flags jumped out at me in the garage, and so his pen is adorned like no other.