There are lots of ways to spend your annual holiday entitlement from work – lazy days on sundrenched beaches, skiing through the picturesque landscapes of Europe or even seeking out some of the more interesting local tourist attractions. None of this really appeals to me though, so when I was faced with finding something to occupy my week away from the drudgery of desk work I could think of nothing better than having a few days of training in bunny care at the Rescue. Hoping to some day be able to have her own holiday of the more traditional kind and know she was leaving the Rescue in capable hands, Caroline was more than happy to oblige.
The Rescue operates a small “hospital”, an area where bunnies needing daily medicines, or recently returned from the vets needing some recuperation time, can relax in relative warmth and be closely monitored. Where they are confined to a much smaller space than the healthy bunnies, they require more frequent cleaning so the first task of the week was a familiar one - cleaning out! Each bunny had to be removed from its cage and placed outside in an enclosed area on the grass so lesson number one from Caroline was how to pick up a bunny through a small door in the cage. This technique involved using a hand either side of the bunny and fingers slipped under the back feet with the bunny facing me. Next carry (cuddle) them to the outside enclosure, clean, bed, replace bunny.
Once all the cages were clean and the bunnies happily returned to a fresh chompage of hay, next up was the special tasks. Each bunny has a list of medicines, cleaning and grooming requirements. Santa’s propensity to stasis has given me lots of general experience here but still I had lots to learn. Highlights of this section of the day included cleaning out the site where Marbles’ jaw abscess was removed from and the foul substances that are emitted from Anda’s ears (yuck!). As usual, the things we see Caroline do every day that look SO straight forward when she does them are suddenly revealed to be highly complex when we attempt them ourselves, even with Caroline’s direct guidance. Not helped by grumpy bunnies that aren’t happy about the extra time you are taking over it of course.
After the hospital it was on to the main site of the Rescue where the tasks are more familiar. The only extra bit here was administering eye drops. I had had some experience already as I had been trained to do Whisky’s, but whereas Whisky is pretty used to being picked up for this it is a different story for Lucy Liu, Snow White and Sneezy. But bunnies are full of surprises – Whisky started resenting me once I started his eye drops but Snow White and Sneezy became more friendly. They had always been cautious around me at the Rescue before, but now it seems I’ve proved to them that I can be trusted to pick them up and not to cause them harm.
So that was my week on holiday at the Rescue. I don’t know if Caroline has seen any difference in my handling of the bunnies, but I have certainly found it a useful experience. At the end of the week I even found that I was holding and carrying bunnies differently without having made any conscious changes, which I see as a good sign.
And for my next holiday? I guess I should go away somewhere. I hear there’s some quite good rescues in North America…