Friday, January 13, 2012

Tender love and Hare

Did you know that house rabbits, like the one pictured above (Name: Wayne. Breed: Dutchie) are not the same as wild rabbits?

How? Do you ask? Well, if you release this bun into the wild he will have no chance of survival because he is a house rabbit.

Think of it this way; We are different than our closest relatives, which from my limited understanding I believe genetically are the chimpanzees. Just like we would have a very difficult time surviving in the wild, well the vast majority of us (including me...especially me) would not be able to survive in the wild without ANY provisions, assistance or help of any kind (including our human tools and city smarts a warm coat, some fire...I digress) for longer than lets say a couple of weeks in the winter and at most a month or two in the summer....

So, why are then some bunnies, like Wayne pictured above, released into the wild, when they are no longer wanted? Its a death sentence. Its worse, in fact. These are social animals, more so than most, who after being accustomed to a home environment, are now forced to fend for themselves, find food, shelter and safety in an environment very foreign to them, and they have never have before. Yet daily, rabbits are thrown out as trash (Connor), abandoned at shelters if they are lucky (like Wiggles) or just released to fend for their little lives into the wild until a kind stranger, like my wonderful neighbour picks them up (Wayne) and hopelessly tries to find their missing owner....unfortunately, like many of us know, these bunnies original parents don't want them. And as a result, we are either stuck with them, or do not have the heart to leave them alone.

This is Wayne's story. He was found abandoned in a parking lot. My neighbour found him and posted a flyer of a LOST RABBIT at our local post office. Me, being naive, heartbroken, and not being able to get his image (a hand drawn picture of a dutchie out of my mind) I responded to her ad offering assistance since I already had two and had some knowledge of the care of fluffy delicate creatures. Apparently no one, NOT ONE, had come forward in her 2 week long ordeal. She didn't wan just anyone taking him. She was especially concerned that he would become someones dinner.
I offered her my assistance that if by the end of the week she could not find the owner, I would take him. (My brother in law had mentioned that after living with us and our two rabbits and getting really bonded with them, Wiggles in particular, go figure...he was thinking of getting one himself) I thought it was meant to be.

When I showed up, Wayne was in very a comfortable former dog pen. He had a huge territory to play in and offers of daily treats from their caretakers daughter. He was obviously been picked up by loving caring people( I still call them to this day giving them updates and telling stories of Wayne's adventures to their daughter).

He was VERY thin, super dirty and in so much need of love and care. I remember reaching into the pen and picking him up as he approached. He seemed to need that touch. I remember feeling his rib cage and how little he weighed for his size. It broke my heart. I remember him snuggling into me that warm summer day. He was so delicate. So different. From then on there was NO doubt in my mind that he was coming home with me. I would do anything to make sure he was ok. I didn't care. He was  going to be fed well, safety ensured and all the comforts I could offer given to him. 

I took him home. 

We already had Wiggles (girl) and Connor (boy) both neutered and bonded. I never had two rabbits before these two, let alone three. So bonding was going to be fun, and easy...right? So wrong, so very very wrong.

Connor, weighing a total of 3 pounds soaking wet, was in full competition with Wayne (4 pounds skin and bone). We were not sure of Waynes age, but we assumed he was likely an Easter present, and based on his size and breed, he was at MOST 3 to 4 months old. Not wanting to get him neutered too early, we waited an extra couple of months to get him fixed to ensure he was old enough. This meant a lot of Wayne and Connor separation. But well worth it.

Wayne had the basement, ALL of the basement, including a bedroom, office, rec room with my husbands crescent cocoa leather reclining couch (from his glory days as a bachelor) that was pretty much open to invitation for chewing. But it was and still is Waynes 1100 square feet of total BUN playground. 

When Wayne got his operation, things got more calm. He was less agitated, frustrated, and the poor play bunny (the stuffed rabbit toy that helped Wayne with his....frustrations) got a break. 

The above picture shows Wayne post surgery with cone, and Connor, trying desperately to emancipate Wayne from the confinds that limit his mobility thus preventing stitches from coming out.

Well, its been well over 6 months since this picture was taken. And many bites, both on me, and poor Wayne, have occurred thanks to Connor. He is still very defensive against his lady.

On the bright side, Wayne has grown and flourished. He has gained several pounds and is now up to 8 in total. He is also very prone to binkies and hops upon seeing people especially in he morning. He LOVES being petted and is very curious, inquisitive, fearless and LOVES being chased. Is is also very intelligent and I find him training us more on what he wants done rather than the other way around.

You may ask about the litter box training situation. Lets put it this way. Wayne on his first day here was shown his room. He naturally pooped in a few spots indicating it was his room. I picked up the poop (being round it was easy) and placed into his litter box. From that moment, he used that litterbox to poo and pee. He is so precise that he pees in the exact same spot every day. Yes, that is how easy it was. Rabbits are that clean. I love watching him groom himself. Even Wiggles and the ever clean 5 times a day bath Connor. 

And this is where our story takes us. My brother in law, due to some personal situations, could not take him full time, so thanks to my very easy going husband, we got a third rabbit. A rabbit that is more like a dog. Somebun that loves to be chased, gives pokes when happy, has gotten a better idea of how he can trust people. Has become a real connoisseur of lettuce and food in general. And is a very loving, happy and playful bunny. 

I look forward to not only seeing my husband, but my three little bunnies. 
I dream of the day Connor and Wayne get along. But I also know that it may never happen. Wiggles is OK with Wayne (Although he has WAY too much energy for her) but she is benefiting a lot from his chases...she has lost a lot of weight thanks to him and his playfulness. 

I also love the fact that it took me two hours to write this post because in between these lines, Wayne has poked me for pets, poked for some lettuce, Wiggles has chewed on the Christmas tree which needed deterring, Wayne has poked for more pets, Connor has chewed on the barricade that separates him and Wayne from a full blown bun fight, and my husband post leafs game has asked where the skis are for the wagon, twice.

This is my life and I love it. I love having the bunnies running around, whether early in the morning, waking me up for treats at 7am; Wiggles running towards me full speed when she realizes I've come home from grocery shopping and I have (for certain) leafy greens hidden in the bags she must find; Connor waiting patiently by the carpet for cereal (Oats and a few raisins with sunflower seeds); Wayne with his happy hops, crazy runs, happy binkies and super happy hops when he sees you in the morning for the first time; a bun running by poking me with their nose on my leg letting me know they came by; a content rabbit grinding their teeth after being petted on the head; a content rabbit flopping beside me ( a prey) in pure comfort with belly shown warming in the sun; bunnies running towards me full speed at my clicking (with my tongue, you may need to google this for clarity) at the prospect of food or pets. 

This is bun life. And if you have had a bun, you know this id what its like. These are the simple joys of every day bunning...yes, puns are free flowing here (I learned this lovely trait from my super smart hubby). 

Thank you for reading all of this. Ive vented a lot here and this is what its like. I learn from them every day. They show me what is important.

I have always loved rabbits, and like I've said, I've never known why. They are just loving, unique, cute and not your norm. If you take a break and pause to see what they really are, see beyond the hop, fluff and stereotype you will see a lot more. Something more worthwhile than one can describe. Something that will touch you and resonate. After all, bunnies are a lot like we are, used to the comfort of our homes and the love and respect of our fellow friends, and there when you need them the most. Its only when a prey animal trust you, a carnivore so much they flop their belly towards you and consider you a rabbit, that you truly know you have done something worthwhile here. Well, at least thats how I see it. As silly as it may seem. In the end, it makes me happy. 

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