Monday, November 8, 2010

Rabbit Meets Dog: An Update

So Walter and I have been dog-sitting for a few days now, and I wish it was going better.  Friday morning, I arrived at my friend’s house to set the rabbit up in his temporary home.  I chose their guest bedroom, since it was close to where I’d be sleeping, and therefore easier for me to check in on him or spend time with him.  When I returned in the evening, my friend was still home and we decided to introduce Roxy and Walter.  This was a mistake.

Roxy, anxious about another animal in her home, had been crying and pacing in front of the door to the guest bedroom all day.  We opened the door slowly, holding onto Roxy’s collar in anticipation of an attack.  At first she just stared the rabbit down.  But then suddenly, she darted out of our grasp and towards Walter’s playpen, effectively nose-bumping with him rather hard.  We got a better grip on her, and after two more nose-bump incidents, decided that the introduction needed to be over.  I expected Walter to be startled – and maybe he was hiding his fear – but he just went about his business, hopping in the playpen.

But having to listen to the dog whine and sniff outside his door all day must’ve been terrifying to Walter.  Add to that the anger of having been caged up all day, and Walter turned into a menace.  Much later that evening, I found Walter’s playpen area a complete disaster – his travel crate had been completely overturned, his hay had been knocked everywhere, and the blanket covering the floor had been torn through in his attempts to dig his way out.

After a sleepless night of listening to Roxy cry nonstop (no exaggeration – she cried from midnight until 8 in the morning), it was time to move Walter somewhere less available to the dog.  I didn’t want to have to do this, but Walter had been banished to the unfinished basement.  I felt terribly about this.  But, with Paul’s help, Walter got situated in his second room for the weekend.  Again, he was angry, but at least Roxy couldn’t get to him this time.

Walter spent about twenty-four hours in the unfinished basement until I came to check on him yesterday afternoon and found that he had somehow escaped his playpen! I have no idea how he did it.  He didn’t break through the seam of the enclosure, he didn’t somehow sneak underneath the gate.  He must’ve hopped the fence! That’s a big jump for a little bunny.  I have no idea how long he was free for before I found him.  There are any number of ways for him to get hurt in that part of the basement.  It was time to move him again.

The only other option at this point was the finished part of the basement.  I didn’t want to do this – the basement is brand new, and between the potential for Walter to dig, chew, or urinate on the carpet, I didn’t want to risk ruining my friend’s brand new basement.  So I put him in the bathroom.  I think this is the most ideal place for Walter.  The floors and baseboards are all tile, and using the playpen, I blocked the wood vanity and the wood door frames, so there is nothing for him to chew.  He gets almost free range of the whole bathroom, so he has a little bit of room to run around.  And I know he loves the coolness of bathroom floor tiles.

He’s still not super happy, but as long as we can get through the next few days, I promise I’ll make it up to him with lots of out-of-cage time in our bunny-proofed home.

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