A Diary of Rabbit Adoption
Developed with feedback from the
You are the: visitor since 8/22/01. This page last updated
[ Latest entry
| Bonding...Jordan takes a husband!
| GI stasis?
| Tranced Bunny
| Full Frontal Binky
| The Vorpal sand bunny
| Full run of the house!
| Meeting the kitty ]
Preparation--February to May 1999I took about three months between deciding to adopt a bunny (see the Why a Rabbit? section of my main bunny page for the background) and actually bringing her home. I researched cages and read the The House Rabbit Handbook. Based on this research and my budget, I selected and ordered a cage from KW Cages, and it arrived 2-3 weeks later. Once I( received and assembled the cage, I went to the local pet store to get food, litter and hay. I also began bunny-proofing the house to make the kitchen free of electrical cords, plants, or chewable items. I took my time partly to wait until after Easter, once I learned how many rabbits get abandonned when well-intentioned, yet under-informed folks learn that a bunny may not be the best pet for small children.
My initial contact with the Chicago House Rabbit Society took some time, as it's an all-volunteer organization which fields many calls with a very limited staff. A week after leaving the message on the Chicago HRS hotline, I was contacted with an initial screening/education call from one of the HRS volunteers. A week later, I was contacted by Lois, the adoption director. Once I told her I was looking for a small mini-Lop like my niece's bunny named Honey, broken or pointed coloring if possible, she got me in touch with Maggi, Pamba's fosterer. By the time I arranged to meet Pamba, I'd assembled the cage, and had the house completely ready for my new pet....
The First 4 DaysClick here to see the first 4 days of the Journal. I moved them to a new page because they're short on photos. Potential adopters should also see my main page to see all the stuff you need to buy (and the stuff you don't need).
Day Five--Sunday May 16, 1999She spend most of the day lounging. She had poor poop habits, too. She would lounge and not even get up to relieve herself. Very lazy! Thankfully, it was only pellets and she maintained good habits with #1.
She ate a lot last night and today, polishing off over half a cup of pellets, 2 leaves of Romaine, and a cup of broccoli! (Upon review of this journal, Lois of HRS Chicago cautioned against offering too much broccoli or cauliflower. Some rabbits are very sensitive to these and other cruciferous vegis and get a very painful case of gas, which may cause a panicked owner to rush to the pet emergency room).
The big highlight of the day: I sat down with a towel in my lap. After a while, Jordan jumped up into my lap, and turned around so she was facing away from me. I got to sit and pet her for about 3 minutes.
Later, I tried to pick her up, and she ran away...frantically!
It was hot today, so Jordan didn't run around or frolic until I turned the A/C on. On an amusing note, she did go to the A/C vent once when she heard my voice coming from the basement while I was on the phone: "Hey, I know that voice."
Tonight I took photos of her hilarious litterflop maneuver. She dug out the side of her small litterbox down to the plastic, and then flung herself with a slight twist into the clearing she's made. This was the first time I ever saw her belly where she shaving from her recent 4/14/1999 spay was evident. Maybe that's why she doesn't like to be picked up! Duh!
#1 sign that I've lost it completely.
Two friends I frequently hang out at with have inherited the rabbit fixation. On a recent vacation, we fashioned this sandcastle....and we all agreed the structure required a gigantic vorpal bunny to guard the castle entrance. Monty Python himself would've wept with pride. If you inspect closely, you'll notice that the bun is munching on a piece of seaweed.
In case you haven't already noticed, the bunny has
infiltrated the brains more than a little....
August, 1999Jordan continues to amuse and amaze. I don't worry about her litter habits any more. She's become nearly perfect--only leaving an occasional pellet outside of the box.
For a few weeks, she became quite enamoured with the 4 inches of space between her cage and the wall. No matter how narrow the gap would become, she'd manage to squish her way into the space and make like it was her burrow. Very odd!
Most recently, I managed to "trance" her. Here's how to try it along with a picture and description of trance-ing, courtesy of the Chicago House Rabbit Society. The trance happened by accident, almost. Jordan finally (yet begrudgingly) submits to being held or carried. This past Friday, I was holding her on my lap on the floor, laid her back onto my thighs and began to pet her on the head. Almost immediately, her head leaned back, all 4 paws went up in the air, and she just sat there quivering. As long as I'd pet her on the head, she'd just sit there in a mild trance!
She's also managed to cage-train herself, now that I trust her with full-tim run of the kitchen. She still has two litterboxes at her disposal in the kitchen...but she only does her business in the little dishpan-sized one in the middle of the kitchen. (I had to abandon the tapered gray litter box because she started backing up too far and peeing over the low front edge). The larger box in her cage is now only for sleeping. Most bizarre. Even when I occasionally need to close her cage door at night, she'll hold off on any elimination until morning when I open up the cage door. She'll bound straight for the little litterbox and do her thing.
August 23, 1999I can now put her into the bunny trance at will.... I was even able to get her to lie still on my lap in a trance for over a minute without petting her. Heretofore, a trance required constant petting to the middle of her head. We're still a long way from the story from the HRS Chicago picnic in which a rabbit was tranced for the entire 3-hour duration of the picnic, but one minute is certainly a start. I managed trim her nails this way. If I kept petting Jordan's head it allowed me to have free run of the paws of a seeminly-comatose rabbit. This was so much easier than wrangling her into a bunny burrito (wrapped in a towel), and trying to pull the paws out far enough to see the nails clearly without her freaking out. The trance was also the first time I was ever able to inspect her teeth (which appear healthy with the proper overlap and wear pattern).
She's getting more and more used to being held. I can pick her up and immediately cradle her on her back in my arms without her fighting and squirming the whole time. This way, with her paws all facing up in the air, there's nothing against which she can kick. She seems to feel pretty secure in this inverted little ball as she doesn't squirm very much. She's still not a big fan of being picked up, but once I manage to get her picked up, she's become increasingly tolerant of being held. Of course, anyone who picks her up should expect no less than a moderate coating of bunny fur. I can't remember the last time the lint brush was actually used for lint....
September 6, 1999 - Full rein of the house for a day!This was a big day for Jordan...as my trust in her built up enough such that I turned her loose on the rest of the first floor (minus the 2 bedrooms and bathroom). She was thrilled to have run of the fully carpeted dining room, living room and front sun room. She spent the first 30 minutes hopping back and forth across the length of these three rooms. She grew quite attached to the sun room as it had many places to hide (under the shell/coffee table, under the La-Z-Boy, in the corner behind said La-Z-Boy, etc.).
I finished the bunny-proofing of the house by putting split-loom tubing (1/2" split-loom tubing for individual wires or 3/4" split-loom tubing for small clusters of wires) (left over from a car stereo installation I'd done last year) on all the exposed electrical cables, and tucked away or blocked access to the audio cables of the entertainment center. She had a great time with the paper recycling bin. I still had to keep a fairly close eye on her as there are bookshelves with books on the bottom shelf well within chewing distance of the furry little shredder.
She lounged around various new corners most of the day--the period where she's usually lazy anyway. Once evening set in, she started getting curious again, and poking into the aforementioned lower shelves of the bookcases. I once caught her chewing on one of my paperback books on the bottom shelf. When I went to move it away from her, I noticed the victim book was Watership Down. That struck me as more than a little ironic seeing as it's all about a fictitious warren of rabbits! She also helped me find an extra blank photo album I'd forgotten (by starting to chew on the plastic wrapper) before I pulled it away from her.
Jordan decided she wanted her attention...and jumped up on the couch! I'd read about rabbits who do this, but it was pretty wild to see the bunny hop on the couch and solicit attention just like a dog or cat would. While she had no hesitation in hopping up on the couch, it took her a while to master this skill of hopping down. Here, she's landing on the couch cushions that are strategically placed to block her access to the nether world of the UnderCouch. I've since placed storage boxes underneath to keep her out of this obvious hiding place.
The best news about the day: she used the litter box that I added to the front room (the far extent of the added space, as recommended by the HRS litter training FAQ....and didn't mess anywhere on the carpets or couch. I was worried about this since my floorplan didn't lend itself to just giving her a small amount of additional space outside the kitchen (unless I could construct a 12-foot long baby gate for the dining room archway...which ain't gonna happen!). Her space effectively quadrupled today. Even so, later in the evening, she ventured back to the kitchen to do a large volume of "business" in her main litterbox and to eat the food we'd left for her there in the kitchen. It was a relief to see that the additional space did not change her impeccable litter habits.
Sept 7, 1999 - another evening free to roam the jointShe's hilarious to watch when she gets run of the house. I've never seen her do so many of her goofy "happy dances." What a weirdo! She seems to enjoy the fully carpeted surface. She's also become quite facile at hopping to and from the couches--provided there's a willing slave up there to pet her. I still don't trust her unattended. Those lowest bookshelves would surely pay the price if I left her alone with the books and photo albums for 30 minutes. She has yet to touch a single piece of wood furniture with her teeth...which is quite encouraging.
I could be hallucinating, but she seems a good deal more comfortable with my since I left her roam these new rooms. She's seems a good deal less skittish and nervous, and far more receptive to petting. Either the monkey-poop-brown, 70's shag living room carpet has had a calming effect on her, or she's just plain tired from running all over the place for two hours.
Thanksgiving, 1999 - Roadtrip to Indy and CincinnatiI pressed the travel cage into service, and packed Jordan up for a Thanksgiving goodwill tour. She was a hit everywhere she wents...but the trip was not without incident. Jordan discovered a phone cord that I neglected to bunny-proof at one home. Jordan cut off a conversation in mid-sentence with a quick nibble of the plastic vine.
Jordan made a big splash at my dad's nursing home. My father--the only man I know who can surf the Internet with his tongue-- has been following Jordan's story since the beginning. As a boy on his parents' farm, he used to raise rabbits for meat. Hence, he is infinitely intrigued by the concept of a pet bunny, and the effort that we've put into it. "So how's Jordan?" is always a component of our phone conversations. He finally got to meet her face to face. I think she won him over.
While I was in Cincinnati and not showing her off, Jordan was given run of my sister's half-bathroom, decorated in a lovely French motif (my sister is quite proud of this room). Unfortunately, Jordan wasn't as respectful of the accomodations. She was less impressed by the decor, and more taken with the tiny bit of loose wallpaper behind the toilet. Since she routinely enjoys a good shredding of the Sunday newspaper, removing the bottom 8 inches of the wallpaper behind the toilet seemed like the only natural thing to do! I felt horrible...and could only take solace in fixing my sister's defunct computer. It was the least I could do to compensate for the wallpaper repair Jordan caused.
Jordan was sitting in the protection of her cage before I let Schroeder into the room. The aging, but still cantankerous feline approached cautiously. I could almost hear him thinking "Now, I've caught and eaten things like this before...but this one's ears are screwy, and I'll be damned--this thing's nearly as big as me!" Once he got within 2 feet of the cage, he stopped and hissed his disapproval. Jordan was non-plussed, still wanting to be friends. Disgusted, Schroeder sauntered away, still aghast and confused by the new arrival. As I moved Jordan's cage from room to room, Schroeder would follow to each new location, survey the cage, and walk away as if pensively shaking his head wondering "What the hell is this, and what did I do to deserve it?"
Jordan took the trip pretty well, She is getting quite accustomed to being held, if you can believe that! Upon meeting her, my friend Mike picked her up by the shoulders and into his lap, not knowing that is was a big deal--and she just curled her back paws under and sat there in a little ball with her rear paws up for him.
Interestingly, Jordan stopped eating pellets 2 days into the 4-day tour. She still chomped up all the vegis offered her way, but I was a little concerned about her missing the minerals and salt offered by the pellets. Luckily, she resumed her normal voracity for pellets 2 days after I returned home. She continued her excellent litter habits, although she did pee outside of the litterbox in her travel cage on the way down to Indy. Later in the trip though, I figured out what she was thinking. I noticed that she wouldn't pee in her cage at all--even in the litterbox. I had to open the cage and remove the litterbox. Once the litterbox was outside of her cage, Jordan finally decided it was okay to use it. What is she thinking? "Hmm....any blue plastic bin located inside a room with wire bars is a bed...and cannot be messed. Take the same plastic bin out of the cage, and then I'll pee in it." Crazy rabbit.....
Spring 2000 - The shedding comesAs Jordan approaches the 1-year anniversary of her adoption, she's shedding like mad! It's amazing how spring changes her coat. The coarse fur of winter is now all over my kitchen, but leaves behind a noticeably softer, leaner coat. She doesn't look quite as obese as she did in the winter with a roll of fur under the chin.
Here's a photo of her that's typical of the mid-day hours. The eyes are about shut in a sleeping mode, and if you look closely, you'll see one front paw is braced against the front of the box, peeking over the edge.
I was happy to finally capture her commonplace litterflop position in cage litterbox. Her ritual is to dig intently in the corner of the box to clear it of hay. Then she stares at the corner turning her head slightly each way to size it up. Then, with a hilarious twisting motion, she twists herself into the corner of the litterbox with a gentle thud of a 6.5 pound bunny flopping down to the plastic below. Whenever I hear the tell-tale digging, I poke my head up from the living room to see her ritual. It never fails to crack me up.
I recently discovered these pics in my photo album from May of 1997, indicating an earlier fascination with small furry creatures. This is a wild bunny I named Peter who was always running around our yard. I was impressed by how close she let me get. I think she was pregant at this time since there were soon baby bunnies running around the yard.... What I find impressive is just how wide a field of vision this one must have with those bulging eyes.
Sounds of munching!A few months ago a recorded some Jordan munching sounds in MP3 format. They're remarkably entertaining.
June 2000--"I won't eat BB/T, and I won't be confined!"George Carlin once said,
"Picky Eater" is a euphemism for "Big Pain in the A**"
The goofiest trait we've noticed recently is that she hates Oxbow's Bunny Basics/T pellets. After two or more months of trying to ease them into her diet, she remains highly opposed to them. If offered by themselves, she won't touch them. I thought I would be sneaky and mix these new pellets in with her Bunny Bars. I could almost hear her saying "nice try," as she adopted the behavior of sorting the pellets. Each afternoon, I could find a nice pile of bunny basics/T pellets on the floor of the cage below her feeder, and also a good pile of them in her water bowl which made for a rather disgusting site. And, of course, all of the pellets left in the feeder were also Bunny Basics/T, since she manages to eat around them and get to all of the Bunny Bars. I've written an email to Oxbow to see what their satisfaction guarantee might have in store on this one.
I finally decided to give her a larger litterbox to replace her dishpan-sized one she had before. This was more for me than for her. With the larger box which holds more litter, I can go 2 or 3 days before scooping out the peed-up corner in her box, whereas the dishpan required daily maintenance. The bigger box also gives her more room to hang out and munch on the hay I put in there. Her litterbox habits continue to be first rate. Now if I could only train her to vacuum up all her bunny hair!
This past Wednesday, I had to put her in her cage during the day since the landlord was coming in with the village inspector for the annual inspection on the home. I can't remember the last time she'd been confined to her cage only...and evidently neither could she. She was _not_ happy about it in the least. When I closed the door on her, she began biting and scratching on the bars as if to say, "Hey--what the he** is this?" She then began protesting by shredding every bit of the newspaper that covers the bottom of her cage. The cage was a complete wreck when I returned home. Not an intact piece of newspaper, and a large pile of wet Bunny Basics/T pellets at the bottom of the cage. How she pulled that off, I have no idea.
She was very happy to be let out and have run of her kitchen again. Clearly, she's grown spoiled. When I first got her, she was quite used to a 2x3 foot cage, but now she wants every bit of that kitchen. What's amazing though is that she was left for 8 hours--and she didn't urinate or poop anywhere in that cage. Her litterbox sits across the room outside the cage, so she waited for me to return and let her out. She went immediately to the litterbox. It seems I have a decidedly crate-trained rabbit!
Finally, she's become completely at ease with me picking her up. I can't believe this is the same rabbit whom a year ago would have _nothing_ of being held. She seems to like it even--which, I imagine is mostly due to the guarantee of getting pet on her head when I pick her up and walk around with her. She's no fan of being put back down, though. I'm still mastering the technique of setting her down without inducing panic. I can do it about 25% of the time, but she starts kicking and running as I bend down the other 75% of the time. It seems to do with where I hold her as I transition from having her against my chest to setting her down.
July 18, 2000 - A small panic of GI StasisWhen I returned from a trip, I woke up the following morning to find Jordan just sitting in her litterbox, rathier lethargc. She wasn't bounding after me soliciting her morning food...she was just sitting there with her eyes half open. This was highly unusual, so I became a bit concerned. Jordan had been eating everything in sight in prior days, but she was getting pretty cranky about only being offered celery for vegis, and maybe hadn't been getting all the hay she wanted. Jordan is rather apathetic about celery although other rabbits seem to love it.
I took a mental snapshot of the litterbox and inventoried the celery and pellets that were left out for her. A few hours later, there was nothing eaten, and nothing fresh in the litterbox. Since rabbits are prone to GI (gastro-intestinal) Stasis--a slowdown in the digestive tract--and as prey anmials they can hide symptoms until it's too late to remedy, I called the vet right away and got an afternoon appointment. Later, she began to nibble on some fresh hay, but I had been meaning to get her in for a checkup/physical anyway so I kept the appointment despite encouraging signs.
Jordan didn't seem to mind the car ride, and was quite docile at the vet...until the vet tried to take her from my arms to wrap her up in a towel! The doctor must have touched her belly--and any belly touching sends Jordan into a panic. Kicking and clawing ensued and it was quite a feat to keep Jordan restrained from tumbling to the floor from the high table. I finally got her under control despite pathetic little bunny grunts/pants and I got her wrapped up in the towel. Next time, I'll advocate my wrapping her up in the towel for the vet! It seems she's particular on who holds her and how.
The vet felt Jordan's stomach, and was encouraged that it felt doughy (good) rather than like a basketball (bad). The vet prepared an oral, liquid GI motility drug called Reglan for me to give Jordan by syringe, as well as a pain reliever (banamine) delivered in a similar fashion. As a precaution, I was also given a larger syringe for force feeding, and instructions on making a lovely formula of canned pumpkin (75%) and powdered alfalfa (25%) in case she didn't resume eating. I was also told to discontinue pellet offering until she got back to normal. Pellet food evidently aggravates GI stasis.
Jordan has resumed eating greens and hay, and we've seen some smaller-than-normal poops out of her, so I think she'll be fine. It was still nice to have the reassurance of a check up and confirmation that the stasis wasn't advanced. The damage: $40 for the exam, $16 for medicine and oral syringes. Lessons learned: keep the hay coming, keep the leafy greens in-stock, and as always, keep her from eating the carpet in the living room (a squirt gun comes in handy).
April 2001 - fun continuesI've gotten a few emails worrying about Jordan...so I better add an update! All is well in bunnyland. She's such a riot. She's just shed off her rough winter coat and has become much softer, and looks a good deal less obsese. That dewlap gets pretty substantial with that heavy winter coat making her look double chinned. After a humongous shed that left fur everywhere, she's back to peak softness.
Many months ago, I moved her from the kitchen. The shedding just became too icky. Really, who needs fur on their salt shakers? Taking a tip from a recent HRS newsletter, I moved her into a carpeted room of the house and put down a few inexpensive office chair mats. Her cage was then set up with the exercise pen affixed to each side of the cage, giving her a good chunk of area to hop around in. In addition, I added a large piece of carboard to the top of her cage and a box on the side--she figured out how to hop up there and likes to hang out on top of the cage at night.
She's been enjoying her setup in the front sunroom of the house. Despite the sunlight that comes in, it stays pretty cool in there, and during the day she can be caught flopped sideways in her plastic bin basking in the sun as she sleeps. She also has a good view of me when I watch TV. She know how to get out and run around--she chews on the exercise pen and makes a lot of noise until I turn her loose to sprint around the house and binky like goofball.
July 29, 2001 - A mate!Jordan took a husband today. See Nuncio's page for details!
March, 2002 - Shave and some Bay-tril...54 bits.Jordan has been happily living with her boy toy for 8 months now. They get along fabulously and go everywhere together like some sort of frick and frack comedy team. The morning feeding is always entertaining when they litterally run circles around each other crawling all over one another trying to be the first to get their head in the bowl.
Recently, Jordan developed a icky sore on her head (click for pictures) that slowly progressed to the point shown in those pictures. I called the vet who took a look at the photos. She said to keep an eye on it and if it hadn't improved in a week, bring her in. When I did, the vet shaved the area to get a better look at it, and prescribed some antibiotic that cleared the problem right up. Yet again, Jordan had a skin condition without a name that the vet was able to address. Way to go Midwest Bird and Exotic (who always scores points with me for fawning over this pair as though they're the cutest pair of lops ever)!
The shaving, however, was hilarious. It made Jordan look as though someone had thrown a circular saw blade at her on an angle and narrowly missed--as though she was missing part of her head. Poor girl had no idea why I couldn't help but laught at her.
March 31, 2002 - The bunnies do their Easter Road showFor Easter, I took the fur kids over to a friend's house where they had 3 real kids who enjoyed the heck out of em. The kids were old enough to play nice with them but young enough to be totally enthralled. The fuzz butts loved the attention and the chance to sniff out and chin-mark an entirely new set of furniture.
April, 2002 - Jailbreak!Of late, the personality of the pair has really come alive. They're so curious, and noticeably more friendly. It's as though they've gotten used to each other so much that they can now be "in" to their human again. When I let em run, they routinely jump up on the couch and solicit attention again. Jordan had gotten out of this habit (and is it just me, or do other rabbit people have a hell of a time spelling "habit" with just one b?) since last July but has come back to her previous level of affection with us.
Now, today I came down in the morning to feed them in their cage as usual. To my surprise, the pair greeted me and hopped across the living room into my (offlimits) computer room. I thought "well that's odd--did she forget to put them back in the pen last night?" I looked over and immediately saw that the PEN WAS CLOSED! Jailbreak! I grabbed em both and surveyed the wires in my computer room to find that they had been good about not chewing. I put barrier on one end of the exercise pen (30" pen) to see if that would prevent recurrence.
The next day I worked at home and halfway through the day....I saw Nuncio running around in the living room! That solved the "who instigated this?" question, though I had strong suspicions that the little troublemaker was the corrupter of my 3-year-old sweet adorable Jordan.
I fashioned some stuff with towels blocking the escape routes over the top of the exercise pen and they haven't broken out since. Their jailbreak must have been a simple matter of jumping over the exercise pen. This isn't surprising though--Jordan has recently taken to jumping from the ground directly up to the top of the 30" cage without use of the intervening steps.
August 2003Wow...long time since I updated! I did build that Neat Ideas Cube Cage. It's pretty cool! 3 levels, 3 blocks high, 3 blocks wide, 2 blocks deep. I fashioned a cubby hole accessible from outside the cage where I can put the hay in, and the dust drops into their litter box, and they eat it through the holes above them. It allows me to give them a ton of hay without overflowing the litterbox. So long as I use high quality hay that they'll eat most of, it works out great.
I have noticed some unfortunate things since moving the buns to the Neat Ideas Cube (NIC) cage though. It's totally enclosed--so it make it harder for me to directly interact with them. As a result, I don't routinely pick them up every day, or get into their area and sit down, as regularly. As a result, there really has been a distancing between us. Jordan especially has decided that she has little use for her human when her furry boy toy will do all of her bidding. When I open the cage top to feed them, it's ironic that the tables have turned, and it's actually Nuncio who's more likely to bound to the top to greet me than Jordan, who seems to be avoiding me (probably because of my picking her up routinely if she does come to the top level). I think the setup of the NIC cage is such that it's stressful for the buns to be picked up out of it and put down into it. I strongly prefer the open topped cage with the exercise pen, but I just can't have the possibility of Nuncio leading Jordan in a hunting expedition by jumping out unattended.
This week, Jordan did two things I'd never seen before. First, she didn't bound to the top level to get her morning pellets. She just sat lethargic on the lower level. I was concerned enough to isolate her in her own cage/litterbox next to the main cage to make sure she was still pooping. Later that day, she started eating though, so it was a false alarm.
Yesterday, I witnessed her sneezing several times with a white discharge from her nose. This concerned me and I scheduled a vet checkup...and she turned out to have no symptoms by the time I got to the vet. It could possibly be that the new very fresh hay I brought into the house was enough of a change to trigger the reaction...but I'll keep an eye on her to make sure it's not a bout of pasteurella. The vet sent me home with some Baytril to use in case the symptoms reappeared. She indicated that it's not terribly uncommon for rabbits to hide their symptoms from a vet. :-)
The fur kids are doing well, and continue to provide a lot of happiness around the house!
|Text and photos Copyright © 1999 tdh_AT_toddh.net. Duplication of this content without the written consent of the author is prohibited. Bunny butt icon courtesy of the House Rabbit Society.|
|The Jordan Files|
|HTML 3.2 Compliant. Optimized for nothing. Tested under Netscape, Internet Exploder, and even (gasp) lynx. Should be viewable down to 600x480 resolutions.|