Thursday, 30 April 2015
Wednesday, 29 April 2015
It is with a very heavy heart that I have to report that yesterday we said goodbye to our dear old Houdini, long time resident and the bunny whose tail currently decorates the heading of this blog.
Back when I started volunteering at the Rescue in 2008, Houdini and his then partner Tequila were young and lively bunnies. One of my earliest memories of him was, in keeping with his name, being the first (but not the last) to outsmart my friend Helen, escaping from their enclosure for a jaunt around the Rescue. Herding such a mischievous and energetic little scamp back to his own house was quite a challenge, but it certainly taught us a lot about his personality very quickly!
Houdini was perfectly healthy and desperate for his own family but because of Tequila's eye problems it looked like they would be permanent residents. In a similar situation were another resident pair, Panda (healthy) and her husbun Heathcliff (not so healthy). Not wanting two healthy bunnies to miss out on finding their own family, Caroline took the unusual decision to do a wife swap, Panda moving in with Houdini, Tequila joining Heathcliff. It seemed slightly cruel to take them from their original partners, but as well as giving Panda and Houdini a real chance of finding a home it also turned out that the new pairings were far better matches. Their personalities just seemed to fit together better and both of the new pairings saw increased levels of snuggling and mutual grooming!
Houdini and Panda did then find their own home where they lived happily for several years, but following some health issues and vet trips they broke up and Panda decided she had had enough of him. So sadly in the summer of 2013 he came back to the Rescue, where after some months of bachelordom he finally decided to make a go of it with recently widowed resident Mars.
I guess there's not much to tell after then. He lived his remaining time pottering about amusing himself, loving his food and nose rubs until finally age started to take its toll on him. He developed spondylosis and over the recent months his mobility gradually declined while the pain increased. Around two weeks ago, Caroline let the volunteers know that we were reaching a point where we would have to let him go, giving us all a chance to spend one last time with our sweet old boy. By yesterday, with his happy moments starting to be properly eclipsed by periods of real pain and distress, Caroline took him for his final trip to the vets, where he was helped on his way to the bridge.
Goodbye Houdini. You were a very special boy, one of the first I met willing and eager to teach me what rabbits were all about. You will always have special place our hearts. Binky free, sweet Houdini.
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Monday, 27 April 2015
Sunday, 26 April 2015
Saturday, 25 April 2015
Friday, 24 April 2015
Thursday, 23 April 2015
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Monday, 20 April 2015
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Friday, 17 April 2015
Just a quick update on Maximus and Flin this morning.
As of last night, both have perked up, Maximus is eating on his own, even his hay, and Flin is actually enjoying his Recovery food now. It looks like a positive result for both, fingers and paws crossed for a full and speedy recovery.
Your regular Friday post will follow later today! Happy Friday!
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
A busy (and expensive) day at the vets today with six bunnies going in for operations.
Maximus is going in for his dental surgery to remove his severely misaligned incisors, Flin after years of just about coping with his funny teeth is now also going in for incisor removal, Nelson is in for another abscess removal and we have three bunnies going in for spays. Please send them all good vibes and wish them luck!
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Our barn where the singles and new arrivals hutches are located does not have great light - you can see fine in the daytime, sure, but it's not ideal for taking photographs without a flash.
So what I sometimes do is set up a table outside and ferry them out one at a time to have new and updated RabbitRehome profile shots done. It can be a bit stressful being thrown (figuratively) into an unusual situation, suddenly on a strange table and the centre of attention, so I do all I can to make sure they feel safe and at home.
One part of that is to have some distraction snacks on the table - not only will this help them understand that something good is happening, but you can gage how well they are coping by how they react to food. Just because they act calm it doesn't mean they aren't just hiding their fear. If they eat the snacks, it is usually safe to assume they don't feel very threatened, if not perhaps I'll try something different to reassure them. That said, there are other reasons why they don't immediately eat what is offered them...
Monday, 13 April 2015
Sunday, 12 April 2015
True story:- Last night I went to make dinner, washed a baking tray, put it in the oven, lit the oven, left it to warm up. Later I took the hot tray out to put food on and there, right in the middle, was a big stalk of slightly baked hay.
When you live with rabbits, their stuff gets everywhere. Often at work after an important meeting I will walk past a mirror and discover I've been wearing a sprinkling of woodshavings and clumps of greyish white fur all morning.
Of course our rabbits are sympathetic and appreciate all we do for them, so that makes it all worth the mess.
Saturday, 11 April 2015
Thursday, 9 April 2015
Hay is a very important part of any rabbits diet - it should be around 80 percent of their daily intake of food. To put it another way, they should be eating a (loose) bundle of hay about the size of themselves every day. This is because they are by nature grazing animals with constantly growing teeth that need to be ground down and digestive systems that expect a constant movement of fibrous matter.
If your rabbits are NOT eating this much hay, it could be that you are overfeeding them on vegetables or pellets. You can try cutting back on either or both gradually to see if they start to eat more hay.
Of course, while some rabbits will hold out to try and con more of their favourite foods out of you, others just naturally seem to enjoy hay as a delicious part of their diets...
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Monday, 6 April 2015
Last year Whisky had some pretty hefty surgery to remove a sizeable ear abscess, which effectively closed off his left ear and lost him the ability to move it. The area of the surgery ran so close to the facial nerves that there was a high risk of him having temporary loss of movement in that side of his face, causing a droopy eye and mouth, and some risk of longer term damage. Thankfully, though he did indeed have problems, and his recovery was difficult for both him and me, his eye and mouth returned pretty much back to normal.
More than a year on and recently Whisky has suddenly found himself with difficulty picking up his food. When the vets examine him, lifting his head causes his tongue to turn blueish purple. His face is looking more crooked and uneven than usual, with his mouth pulled back on one side. Touching that side around his nose causes him to flinch.
After his checkup last week, the vet now believes something is happening in the nerves in his face. It is odd that it has come on so long after the surgery and of course there is a chance it isn't even related, but that is what it looks like. The good news from Whisky's point of view is that he is back on the Metacam, which he considers a tasty treat. Thankfully this tasty treat also seems to be making things better, as I swear yesterday his face was starting to look a little straighter.
I mean, you know, on the odd occasion that I saw him with his mouth shut...
Sunday, 5 April 2015
It's Easter. Years of experience tells us that this week thousands of people across the world will have bought rabbits for their children, more so than any other week of the year. Having taken no more thought over the purchase than they would a toy, they have doomed these rabbits to a short and miserable life being terrorised by humans who don't understand their nature, having no space, no companion and the wrong diet.
But why do people do it? There are many holidays and celebrations for which giving gifts is part of the tradition but, aside from the chocolate eggs brought by the Easter Bunny, Easter is not one of them. So why would they buy and give these rabbits?
The answer, one can only presume, lies simply in the prominence of rabbits at Easter time. Thanks to the Easter Bunny, this time of year we see the media and our shop windows filled with images of rabbits. Cute, adorable, baby rabbits. Children see them and think of them like the cuddly toys they've had and been comforted by from birth, only better because they are alive. The children imagine cuddling a rabbit like their toy and that rabbit automatically returning their affection. They pester their parents for one of their own.
Pet shops understand there is an opportunity in all this and run Easter promotions. They sell rabbits with a set of accessories, which will most likely include a hutch that is too small and possibly something they call a run, even though it doesn't give the rabbit enough space to do anything of the sort. The two items may not even attach together. In many cases the shop staff will make no effort to adequately explain to the customer the rabbits needs.
At best, the purchase happens through naivety on the part of the parents. Society, friends, relatives, the media and finally the pet shop have sold them an idea of what a rabbit is that is far from the reality. At worst, there are people in this world with little care for the lives of animals, who are happy to just buy this thing their child wants, later to discard it without a care when the child is bored with it or it begins to be an inconvenience.
These poor unfortunate rabbits often end their miserable lives dying of neglect, being euthanised or thrown out in to the wild to be preyed upon. Some will end up on free-ads, being picked up by unscrupulous owners to be used as food or be killed for entertainment by their own animals. Some will have their lives extended as they are passed on to another family who also doesn't understand their needs. Some will go on for years, barely existing with nothing but a wall to stare at, living like a prisoner in depressing and lonely conditions.
The lucky ones will make it into a rescue. A place where they will be given space, proper food and clean water daily, a place where they will meet and live with others of their own kind. But these rescues are already over stretched and underfunded. The post-Easter swell in numbers of people wishing to surrender rabbits brings a huge anxiety as we struggle to find the space, money and volunteers to deal with them.
So while families across the globe are enjoying their chocolate eggs, it is a sad day in rabbit rescues today. A countdown has been started and a whole new generation of bunnies will soon be needing our help. Our hearts are heavy knowing there will be some we cannot help, some we never even hear about.
A countdown has started.
How long does it take a child to get bored?
Saturday, 4 April 2015
Friday, 3 April 2015
Thursday, 2 April 2015
Argh...can't resist...tiny...face! Have the treats, Little Snow! Have ALL the treats! [sigh]
*NOTE - Mod and Weeny haven't made it onto the blog yet, but they are such characters I'm sure they will soon, so I've just stuck those links in there ready!