Bunny Blog

Category Archives: Rabbit Stories

Being Top Bunny

I get a lot of emails describing the same scenario:  Bunnikins has taken to hopping on the sofa and peeing on it. It’s a frustrating situation and one that has happened in our household as well. I remember after the third time it happened with Cosette a few years back, I had picked her up and put her in her cage.  (She still had a cage back then although it was always open.)  I closed the cage door and closed the kitchen door where the cage was located.  But even in the other room I could hear her thrashing around in the cage trying to break free.  For a rabbit who detests being picked up and despises even more being cooped up in a cage, this was the greatest insult.  I felt bad locking her in – and I did let her out  again after an hour –  but after that time, she never peed on the sofa again.

I later came across an incredibly useful article on the House Rabbit Society website which helps shed light on this behavior and suggests ways to train your rabbit.  The article is called “FAQ: Training,” and under the heading “Behavior motivated by social structure,” it delves specifically into the peeing on the couch problem.

Anyone who is experiencing this issue should read the article.  The entire article is actually very enlightening as well- covering various issues that most bunny owners will come across at some point.

Cos and P.A. Smith

Have an Amazing Rabbit Rescue Story?

The Great Animal Rescue ChaseCalling all bunny rescuers: If you have an amazing bunny rescue story to tell, there’s a new website that wants to showcase it.  The site, the Great Animal Rescue Chase, is focused on bringing together a worldwide community of animal rescuers, sharing rescue stories, and inspiring more people to get involved in animal welfare.

The aim of the site is to highlight stories of rescues taking place all around the world of a wide variety of animals.  Currently, they’re a little short on bunny stories.  So if you have one, please share!  If you register on the site, you can upload your photos and type in your story directly.

The site also sponsors a monthly giveaway, where winners can direct a gift to their favorite animal charity.

You can also donate to the site’s charity partner, the Harmony Fund, which sponsors a number of noble charities across the globe.

For more info, see: www.animalrescuechase.com.

Hummingbird in hand

Side note: I helped design this website and worked closely with the organization’s founder, Laura Simpson.   She is a very inspiring animal advocate, and I think her passion shines through on the site.  She also owns a very cute bunny named Norman, who is featured on the site’s sidebar!

My Buddy Buka

by P.A. Smith, Co-Editor

Buka the rabbit

Buka joined our family way back in 1996. We didn’t know much about his origins or how old he was when he came home with us. All we knew was that he was purchased as an Easter gift at either a fair or a flea market – some venue like that. As a gift he was not wanted – no one was willing to take home and care for a rabbit. With a little begging and big hearts, we convinced our parents to take him home.

We drove home with Buka in the wooden crate he was purchased in. We had no idea how to feed and care for a bunny, but we knew he was going to be a part of our family. At home we gave him a bit of lettuce and left him the crate, which was closed with a piece of wire. The next time we checked on him he was sitting on top of the crate, ears up, surveying the living room.

We called him ‘Bunny’ and ‘Bunny Boy’ (even though we had no idea what his gender was) and ‘Buka.’ There was no official naming session. We still call him variations of all three names. I’ve taken to just calling him Bu. He responds to any of several names. Like everyone else in my family he is burdened with many nicknames.

We learned, mostly through trial and error, how to raise a house rabbit. We learned that iceberg lettuce is not good for rabbits. We learned that rabbits love to chew, especially lamp cords. We got him a cage and, at first, kept him in there at night. He hated being cooped up. He would rattle the door until someone opened it. We soon learned that Buka would be fine on his own hopping around while we slept.

We also learned that Buka had a playful personality that has come to define his role in the family. He loved to rocket down the hall into an open bedroom and looping around under the bed and zooming back out. He loved to do figure eights around my legs while I stood in the dining room.  We made up games together like ‘Chase.’ Buka would start on one end of the living room while I stood in the middle. He would then run full speed while I feigned trying to catch him. He’d get to the other side and plot out his return. Buka had boundless energy.

Buka has been a constant in our lives. He was there when I graduated from high school, when I graduated from college, moved out, finished graduate school. He has been a happy presence and a part of the family. Always there for when I visit home. Always happy for a cheek rub.

Old friends ask how he is when we talk. Visitors to my parents’ house seek him out to say hello. He’s a celebrity – a novelty in a world of cats and dogs.

These days Bu is showing his age. Fourteen is very, very old for a rabbit. Old age has set upon him with heartbreaking swiftness. He doesn’t run anymore. He can no longer hop onto my parents’ bed to tell my mother it’s time to greet the morning.

Today I was on my way to work when I got a call from my mom. My parents are away and had received a call from my sister. Buka couldn’t move one of his paws. I stopped by the house to check on him. He looked uncomfortable and stiff, but was alert. He turned when I called him and leaned into a cheek rub. I had Abi come down to check on him because I had to head to work and could only stay a minute.

He was up and hopping with all four paws when she got there. He was eating normally, picking out the tastiest pellets.

I suspect he’s developed arthritis. It’s heartbreaking to see him in any pain.

I advised my sister, as I would any rabbit owner, to take him to the vet. At best, they can give him medication to reduce inflammation and pain. At worst, well, I’d rather not think about that yet.

Edit 08/02/10: Buka was put to sleep today. We’ll miss him.

Bunny in Need of Help

The House Rabbit Society of Missouri has recently taken into their care a rabbit named Easter. He was found by a man in his backyard and was seriously injured. Unfortunately Easter has needed major surgery, including the amputation of a back leg. According to the HRS of Missouri, Easter has a strong will to survive and sweet personality.

The surgery is quite expensive and the HRS of Missouri is seeking donations to help defray the cost.

You can read the whole story and donate at their website: www.hrsmostl.org.

Health Scare: GI Stasis

CosetteWe’ve had a very scary last few days here. Cosette had to go to the emergency vet over the weekend because she had stopped eating and pooping and looked quite hunched. After an x-ray, the vet found that her stomach was extremely distended and she had two large gas bubbles. The diagnosis was GI stasis, and her prognosis was guarded.

A dental exam showed that her molars were unevenly worn, which most likely led to her digestive issues. They filed her teeth that night, and during her stay at the vet’s, she received motility medication, pain medication, IV fluids, and force feeding of Critical Care.

Sunday morning, her condition had worsened, and the vet was not optimistic about her chances of survival. With dull, droopy eyes, a hunched, tense posture, and a visibly bloated stomach, Cosette looked like she was experiencing a lot of pain.

Sunday evening, she started perking up a little, and she managed to eat a little on her own and finally excreted some soft stool. We brought in more greens and she ate some cilantro with encouragement by us. This morning, she excreted formed stools and had more of an appetite, so she was allowed to come home this evening. Coco was very excited his friend was finally back.

We will continue her motility medication for the next few days, and if necessary, we may need to continue syringe feeding Critical Care to supplement her diet as well. She is not quite back to her old self at this point. She doesn’t have quite the appetite, and her stools are quite small. But I was pleasantly surprised that her litterbox habits appeared to remain in tact, despite having quite a stressful weekend. (And of course, that she was actually going to the bathroom again, and her digestive system was active again.)

I wanted to share this story so that other people could learn from our scary experience. For example, it’s so important for your bunny to get regular checkups, including a dental examination. Even rabbits with a hay-based diet, who show no signs of pain, can have molar spurs. And this condition can lead to potentially deadly conditions like GI stasis. For more information about GI stasis, see Dana Krempel’s article, GI Stasis: The Silent Killer.

Tribute to a Therapy Rabbit

Benjamin the therapy rabbitThe Des Moine Register recently published a piece about a therapy rabbit named Benjamin who helped many people at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. He died earlier this month at age 10.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Ann Bernabe lives in the same apartment building as Toombs. She has a story about Benjamin the Bunny: Bernabe’s grandson was admitted to the hospital several years ago with meningitis. His right side was paralyzed. Anderson brought her rabbit into the boy’s room, day after day after day, and placed Benjamin on the boy’s left side. The boy was told he was allowed to pet Benjamin only with his right arm.

Little by little, the boy started using his right side again.

For the full story, see the Des Moines Register.

A New Beginning for Domestic Violence Victim and Her Pet Rabbit

USA Today published a very touching story about a woman who fled from her abusive husband with nothing but her rabbit (named Ruby Angel). She had been living on the streets since October.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

She’d found a place to hole up. There was no heat or running water, but there was a roof and four walls. The gashes and bruises from the last beating were beginning to heal. She was feeling a little more secure, a little more capable of thinking ahead to more than just the next morning. But when a sudden cold snap hit, she knew there were time pressures that couldn’t be ignored. She worried the rabbit — her only friend, really — wouldn’t survive months of hard winter. She had to figure out a way off the streets, something more permanent.

Read the full article here at USA Today >

ruby
Ruby Angel

Audrey on Tour Roundup

For those of you who read My House Rabbit’s blog this past spring, you will remember that we hosted Audrey from Audrey on Tour for a few days here in New London, CT. Audrey then went on to Bow, WA with A Houseful of Rabbits.

You can see photos and descriptions of other places Audrey toured on the All About You site by clicking here. It looks like they are still gathering photos, so if you hosted Audrey but you’re not listed on this page, send an email to audrey@allaboutyou.com with a photo of Audrey’s stay in your area.

Copper Update

Copper the rabbitRabbit Haven reports that Copper, the rabbit saved from euthanasia, is settling in nicely at his new permanent home with the rescue. Experienced bunny volunteers are already making progress getting Copper socialized with humans. If all goes well, they hope that after he’s neutered, he will form a bond with a spayed female rabbit as well.

From their press release:

On Monday, November 23, 2009, Kathleen Olsen, Executive Director of the Tacoma Humane Society, agreed to allow Rabbit Haven of Gig Harbor, WA., to take Copper. Copper was picked up and brought to Rabbit Haven by Sue Brennan, the rescue’s founder. “We are thankful that we could work with the Tacoma Humane Society to find a solution for this very famous rabbit,” said Brennan. “The Tacoma Humane Society does wonderful work and has found homes for many bunnies and other animals, and we’re grateful for what they do. At Rabbit Haven, we have bunny specialists well-equipped to handle even the most terrified and anxious rabbits, who sometimes bite out of fear and because they’ve been so mistreated in the past. Copper is a healthy, rambunctious teenage rabbit who will get the love and care that he needs to turn into a good house bunny.”

“This was a potentially sad story that had a very happy ending,” said Brennan. “House rabbits are wonderful, intelligent pets with great senses of humor. They can be litter-trained, do tricks, and more and more families are finding out how fun it is to share their homes with a house rabbit. We hope that Copper’s story will inspire more people to learn about house rabbits, and to support the work of animal shelters.”

Copper has already started to show progress at Rabbit Haven. Under the care of highly experienced rabbit experts, he has even started to ‘purr’ when held (rabbits purr by chattering their teeth.) At Rabbit Haven, Copper will continue receive the attention and care he needs to recover and learn to trust and socialize with humans. He will be neutered and, if possible, he will eventually be ‘bonded’ with a spayed female rabbit, as rabbits are happiest when they live in pairs and groups. Rabbit Haven will continue to work with local rescues to find homes for abandoned and mistreated rabbits.

For more info, visit Rabbit Haven’s website.

Copper purring in the arms of Chris, one of Rabbit Haven's most experienced volunteers.
Copper purring in the arms of Chris, one of Rabbit Haven’s most experienced volunteers.

Rabbit Haven Saves Bunny on Death Row

Protesters of Copper's death sentence

A story about a rabbit scheduled to be put down after biting a shelter volunteer has gathered attention from around the world. Copper the rabbit was living at the Pierce County Humane Society in Tacoma, Washington. A few days ago, he bit a volunteer so severely she needed to seek emergency medical care.

The shelter decided Copper must be euthanized. Although scheduled for death yesterday (Sunday), the unavailability of a vet to perform the euthanasia procedure bought Copper one more day. After an outpouring of protests and pleas from rabbit advocates worldwide, the shelter officials finally agreed today to let Rabbit Haven of Gig Harbor, WA take Copper in as an alternative.

For more info, see:
KATU.com
KomoNews.com
TacomaKomo
Rabbit Haven

Update: Luv-A-Bun’s Mass Rescue

Megan from Luv-A-Bun has kindly shared an update about the 34 rabbits they rescued in Lake Worth, Florida:

The babies are 4 weeks old in the pix and the adults are doing fabulously after everything they went through. Notice the bunny that has a heart on its side!

We have a pair traveling to a rescue in TN this weekend via the Bunderground Railroad and another pair going to a rescue in Tampa Thanksgiving weekend. It has been so heart warming to meet so many nice people who all share the same interest of helping the bunnies.

Baby 1

Baby2

baby 3

baby 4

heart1

heart & valentine2

mama & papa1

Thanks Megan and Luv-A-Bun for all your hard work!

Combat Infantry Bunny (CIB) in Iraq

cib

I found this story on Twitter posted by @Houserabbit about Carolyn Schapper, an Army sergeant serving in Iraq, who took a pet bunny under her wing. The rabbit had been maltreated and suffered from singed fur and whiskers, and so Schapper decided to take him in. Once on base, the rabbit was giving the name, Combat Infantry Bunny or CIB (pronounced “sib”). The name is a play on the military acronym CIB which stands for Combat Infantry Badge.

As time went by in Iraq, Schapper came to realize how important her bond with CIB had become. Although she knew she could depend on her fellow soldiers, she had lacked an emotional connection to anything. CIB filled that void.

For more info, see: American Public Media.

Listen to the full story here.

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood

char_rabbit

One of the most recognized rabbits in the world will be returning to the world of literature today. Rabbit, along with Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and the rest of the gang, invite readers back into the Hundred Acre Wood with new stories.

The book, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, is the first authorized sequel to the classic stories by A.A. Milne. The new book, by David Benedictus, includes 10 new stories and a new character named Lottie the Otter.

For an excerpt, visit The Telegraph.

For more on Lottie the Otter, visit BBC News.

Scooter Riding Rabbit

bunnyscooterBiscuit is a 2 lb Dutch with an unusual means of transportation, a scooter. Biscuit accompanies her owner on his scooter while he travels to work at a produce stand. There she becomes the center of attention as people stop by to say hello and watch her sample the wares.

Her owner, Coleman Rogers, has had house rabbits for pets for the last 17 years. His first was left at his house by a friend, and he was soon hooked on raising rabbits. Each of his rabbits has been litter box trained and cage-free. Biscuit spends most her time in Rogers’s kitchen.

For more on Rogers and Biscuit, visit North Fort Myers Neighbor.

Living With Bunnies

jenniferleeThe SF Gate has a nice article on the joys of having a pet rabbit and traces the origins of The House Rabbit Society. The society was founded in 1988 by Marinell Harriman, who published The House Rabbit Handbook three years earlier.

Harriman found that there was little information out there on how to raise a rabbit as a house pet. She learned everything about indoor rabbits from her own bunny, Herman.

The article also discusses misconceptions still held by many regarding house rabbits. The article interviews a woman, Jennifer Lee, who took in her friend’s rabbit only to learn that everything her friend told her about rabbits was wrong.

Read the article at SFGate.com.

Purchase Marinell Harriman’s book House Rabbit Handbook: How to Live With an Urban Rabbit