Sunday, August 30, 2015

Animal House

This is a TV show we need - it's like Extreme Home Makeover but for animal shelters. Please help them sell more episodes - which means fixing more animal shelters - "Like" this video and their Facebook page. Leave positive comments on FB and YouTube.
Thank you!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Things Lucy did, the difference she made

Lucy passed over the Rainbow Bridge August 1, 2015

As explained in earlier posts, we recently lost Lucy. You can read about that at:
In memoriam: We lost Lucy today...

What I have observed since her passing is how much she was an integral part of the trio of Bunya, Lucy & Ethel, what a difference she made. To us, too.

For a black and white bunny, Lucy added a lot of color. With off-white walls and a beige carpet, Ethel and Bunya can blend in, be almost camouflaged. Not Lucy. She stood out.

She was also "color commentary". Every bunny has her own personality; discovering its various aspects is part of the fun of a bun.

Lucy's personality was clear and she communicated her feelings to you. Her philosophy was to be front and center for treats... UNLESS you even gave a passing thought to picking her up. No need to even reach for her or actually decide to do it - just contemplating it would make her scarce. She could read your mind. Then she would only accept a treat if you were on one side of their pen's fence and she was on the other, so she knew you couldn't pick her up. If that wasn't possible, she just disappeared. When she wasn't pleased with something, maybe you would get thumped at... or maybe she would just give you her dreaded "stink eye".
Lucy protecting her Probios treat by
taking it behind their pen door to eat.

When the coveted evening Probios treat was being handed out, she would take her piece and run off to eat it alone so that no other bun would try to snatch hers if he or she finished before Lucy ate hers. Maybe she just let Bunya think he was the alpha bun. --->

It turns out that Lucy must have been a prodigious pooper, too. Now, I sometimes change the litter box based on habitual schedule rather than actual need.

Hand in hand with litter box habits is the consumption of mass quantities of hay and crumbles (or whatever you generically call your bunny chow - the compressed pellet food). Although we give them smaller amounts, Bunya has no serious competition for food now and I think he's eating most of it, possibly regaining some of the weight he lost. There is not as much activity at their homemade hay buffet either; Lucy would lean against it and eat so much of the treat hays that her head could disappear inside.

When we loaded their Einstein puzzle with treats and put it on the floor, the three bunnies used to race to open it. Lucy was Bunya's competition. She figured it out first and had the recall and brute strength to lift and toss the lids off and snag the treats. Now, Bunya and Ethel have to be encouraged to try it. And they only lift two of the three lids - it's like they leave a "missing bun" formation.

Since she's been gone, we continue to clean the bunny pen on our regular schedule. We take everything out, vacuum and put it all back. The end result is that their little wooden chew toys and bell balls get dumped in a pile. At some point thereafter, Lucy would bulldoze her way through the pile, picking up a toy in her mouth and tossing one to the left and then one to the right until she had carved a path through them all. Then, at some point, all the buns would play with the now separated toys.
Now, they just sit in a pile.
I finally went in and tossed them all over.

When Lucy was sick and we visited her for what turned out to be the last time at the vet, before the surgery that attempted to save her life, looking into her eyes was killing me inside. Usually wide open, bright blue, and reflecting tons of attitude, her eyes were heavily lidded and reflected nothing but pain.

I wonder how long bunnies remember. And mourn.
I wonder when it won't hurt so much.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bunny from the past...

For TBT - Throw Back Thursday...
Came across a (really old) picture of my oldest, looking "too cool for school" (actually, too young), with a bunny in the background.
If I knew then what I know now about bunny care, I would have been freaking out for that poor bunny.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ethel - Evolution of a Bunny Nap

Bunnies are crepuscular (not nocturnal) - they are active at dawn and dusk. So your house rabbit may spend a significant portion of the day power napping. Part of this effort is finding just the right position, perhaps the bunny equivalent of tossing and turning in bed.

This may be Ethel's preferred position - snuggling.

Bunya blends in to their pen's rug,
but his head is facing Ethel's face.
Bunya, ever the romantic,
allowing Ethel to snuggle his butt.

Bunya gone, Ethel can settle into her little bunny loaf.
After a 90 degree turn,
her little feet showing here...
we call this position the Sphinx.

Another 90 degree turn; back to the loaf.
And so on....

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Funny Bunny Bonus Meme

Always be aware of where your house bunny is - you don't want to hurt him or her. Or you.

Funny Bunny Memes are accumulated here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Funny Bunny Monday Meme*day

From Napoleon Bunnyparte 


I posted last week's FBMM on FB but forgot to post it here.
It was in memory of Lucy.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

One day at the hay buffet

Lucy and Ethel eating hay together. About 20 seconds in, Lucy periscopes for some more hay. Lucy had quite the Dutch bunny bootay. As you can see, her center of gravity was so low, she could lean over like Michael Jackson in Smooth Criminal.

There are two kinds of hay there, well, different "cuts" of Timothy hay. The "first cut" is the coarser, with more roughage or fiber. That's the one they are eating. They also get a variety of "treat" hays in smaller quantities (but not alfalfa - they are too old for that).

(This was a few days before Lucy passed.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Lucy passed over the Rainbow Bridge August 1, 2015
Several readers have asked about how Lucy passed and how Ethel and Bunya are doing since. We appreciate your concern and support.

Rabbits are prey animals and they instinctively know that the animals that exhibit weakness are the ones the predators will target. Therefore, rabbits will expend every last bit of energy they can trying to look normal or healthy. Once they give in to their illness or pain, it is very far along and you only have a short time to take the sick bun to a rabbit-savvy exotics vet ("exotics" being anything other than just cats and dogs).

Friday, Lucy showed her first sign when she did not come out for treats with Bunya and Ethel (they get treats in the morning and evening, so they get "tested" about every 12 hours). Another sign was that she did not want to eat dinner. Next was that she was hiding in one of their tunnels, not moving, even when I went to find her; Lucy does not like to be picked up and usually scoots away as soon as you find her. The fourth sign we noticed was her urine, that she likely had bladder sludge (a thickening of the urine with calcium). Bunya and Ethel (and before Lucy & Ethel, Alice) had all been sick, but never Lucy.

There are some "at-home" actions that can be taken. They have been successful with Bunya several times when he hasn't felt well, so we tried those with Lucy Friday evening. She still looked terrible Saturday morning.

We took Lucy to the vet Saturday first thing. The bladder sludge alone would not have been a huge deal; get fluids into the bunny and maybe adjust her diet. However, the x-rays also showed a mass in her stomach. (This is one of the things to look for in your (at least weekly) at-home bunny health check, and there was nothing noted in her last at-home exam; links here and here.) Our vet estimated it to be the size of a softball; it was difficult to specifically identify its nature. Surgery was needed to find out what it was and what else was going on that was making her so sick.

Surgery on a rabbit (or any pet) is extremely serious for several reasons. Anesthesia alone can be risky. After surgery, once the bunny is able to eat, her whole complex digestive system has to get up and running again. Even if surgery is successful, the rabbit can be lost in this effort.

We visited with Lucy for what turned out to be the last time. Lucy passed away during surgery.

Even though Lucy exhibited normal behavior almost to the end, what was wrong had to have been going on for several days earlier. So the last and fatal thing that was wrong was that there was a blockage of something hard in her digestive system beyond the stomach mass. It had become lodged and the tissue around it was already necrotic.

It's hard to believe there's no more Bun-muda Triangle.

Bunya and Ethel
Bunnies' reaction to the loss of a bonded mate can vary. Bunnies can mourn this loss. When a bunny passes, recommendations include allowing the body of the deceased to be with the survivor(s), so they can process what happened. Reactions can include, for example: (1) the survivors ignore it; (2) they examine it; (3) they groom or sit with it; or (4) they get angry with it.

In this case, we brought home Lucy's body and laid it on the floor. Both Bunya and Ethel came out and gingerly made their way around the low edged box where Lucy lay on a towel. They looked and sniffed and chinned and, eventually, moved on.

The most telling thing we believe Ethel did that showed she missed her sister happened the next morning. Every Sunday, we clean the bunnies' pen the most thoroughly (beyond just a litter box change or hand vacuum). As part of this, I was cleaning out the bunnies' carrier that we had used for Lucy the day before. There is a piece of carpet in the carrier to soften the bottom and give the buns some traction.

As part of the Sunday cleaning, we remove the carpets from their castles, tunnels, ramps and other toys to vacuum them. I had put the carrier piece down on the floor, too. Ethel came over, stood on it, and started very slowly sniffing it inch by inch. Of course, this started us crying all over again. Not that it takes much to get us started.

One of Lucy's favorite summer places to stretch out was on the cool bricks of their fireplace.
This was taken maybe 3 or 4 days before Lucy passed.
It was Lucy's "spot".
This is Ethel in Lucy's spot, about 3 days after.

I hope this answers your questions about what happened to Lucy and how Bunya & Ethel are handling it. Thank you all for your concern, well wishes and especially, the donations to GHRS in her memory.

Sisters Lucy & Ethel, adopted from GHRS
You can read the Rainbow Bridge here.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

In memoriam: We lost Lucy today...

Lucy passed over the Rainbow Bridge August 1, 2015
We lost Lucy today.

We will miss her so much. We don't know what she and her sister Ethel went through before we adopted them from GHRS to be bonded with Bunya. In any case, she did not like to be picked up; if we even thought about it, her 6th sense told her and she'd give us the stink eye. If we actually moved towards her, she was gone like a bullet.

Lucy was a fearless and skillful explorer, like when she managed to find her way onto the kitchen table. "Bunny-proof" was a personal challenge to her.

But she was mellowing and I will miss the nose bonks on my ankles telling me to get out of her way or to get her a treat.

I can't believe she's gone.

[Update: Read more about what happened and how Bunya and Ethel are doing after at Lucy.]