Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Home Away from Home

Much to Walter’s chagrin, he’ll be in the kennel for the next week or so for the holidays.  I, of course, procrastinated in making Walter’s kennel reservation and by the time I got around to calling, our usual kennel was booked full.  Normally, Walter stays at a kennel closer to home, even though it’s not Walter’s usual doctor.  This time, I ended up making a reservation for him at our veterinarian’s office.

When I called to secure a spot for Walter for the week, I asked what I needed to bring with me, aside from the obvious (medication, the rabbit himself).  The receptionist indicated I should plan to bring food, bedding, everything.  This shocked me!  At our usual kennel, all of this is provided – and for roughly the same price. 

Am I expecting too much?  What is standard practice here?  What do you usually bring with you when putting your rabbit in the kennel?

[On a separate note, this will likely be my last post for 2010. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year! See you in 2011!]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rabbit vs. Robot

As it turns out, Walter hates my computer.  I think he thinks it’s my new pet rabbit that I love more than him, or something.  Over the past few days, I’ve been spending much of my evenings on the computer (job hunting: a tedious, yet necessary task) and Walter has made it perfectly clear that he resents my time dedicated to this small, glowing machine.

He starts showing his discontent by hopping up on the ottoman and staring at me.  No, really.  Staring.  I can practically see a scowl on his rabbit face.  Sometimes I’ll ignore him, but sometimes I’ll put my laptop to the side and give him some forehead scratches.  Whenever I show him affection and attention, he melts into a puddle of bunny love on the ottoman.  The minute I turn my attention back to the internet, the scowling begins again.

It then progresses into a heavy display of “look at me!”  This ranges from Walter chewing on things he knows are off-limits to Walter putting on his best show of jumps and antics for my entertainment.  Both methods work: his bad behavior means I have to get off the couch to discipline him (fifteen seconds of attention!), and his binkying means I watch him and laugh at his silliness (fifteen more seconds of attention!).  These are only temporary measures, though, as I inevitably must return to my work on the computer.

Then comes the final plea for attention.  Walter hops on the couch and climbs into my lap into the small space between my body and the laptop. And he’ll just lie there for however long I let him. He gives me sweet little rabbit licks while I’m petting him, and begins nudging me and biting me when I stop, even for a second.  Sometimes he’ll bite the computer, just to show it who’s boss.

Do your rabbits ever go to great lengths to get your attention? What do they usually do?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Angry Rabbit

It has come to my attention that Walter hates when I sleep in on the weekends.  During the week, I wake up pretty early for work, and give the rabbit his breakfast by 7:30 AM.  On the weekends, Walter’s typical breakfast time isn’t until 10 AM or so.  Just like his mama, he gets grumpy when he’s hungry.

He also gets spiteful!  Despite hearing Walter jump back and forth in his cage all morning, I slept in on Saturday.  When I finally got out of bed, around 10:30 in the morning, I promptly let Walter out of the cage and fixed him his meal.  But the rabbit was already mad and punished me by acting absolutely crazy.

For starters, he began chewing on a doorframe that hasn’t interested him in weeks.  Then, he maniacally dug at the bathmats on the bathroom floor.  With great fury, he picked up an empty box and tossed it all over the bathroom.  I tolerated all this, simply picking up the bathmats and placing it out of his reach and turning him around when he started chewing the walls.  But then I hit my final straw: Walter started biting my foot.  Nonstop.

I was standing at the bathroom sink, drying my hair, and Walter crept slowly towards me.  At first, he tugged on my sweatpants.  I stopped what I was doing to give him a few forehead scratches and then returned to my task.  He started eating my sweatpants again.  I ignored him.  And then I felt the sharp pain of rabbit teeth on the top of my foot.  Ouch! I yelled at him to stop and moved him to the other side of the bathroom, but this just made him come back to bite me again.  Double ouch!

This went on for a few minutes, until I got so frustrated with him that I had to lock him back up in his cage.

Later in the day, he started huffing at me.  He’d already been fed.  I’d given him attention.  But still, he huffed.  So I finally huffed back.  He echoed my huff, and we went back and forth for a couple seconds until I got bored of acting like a bunny and went back to reading my book.

What does your rabbit do when he’s mad at you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Next Best Thing to Noozles or Bonks

Usually Walter is perfectly content to be left alone for the majority of the night. He spends the evening running laps around the apartment, playing with his toys, and just relaxing.  But the past few nights, I've been more preoccupied than usual, and I think Walter has felt a little neglected. This has lead to a new lounging arrangement: Walter hops onto the couch, climbs the cushion behind me, and scoots as close to me as he can get. Then he stretches out his little rabbit face, and rests it on my shoulder, in the nook between my ear and my chin.  It's sweet, since it allows me to keep doing what I'm doing, but cuddle with my bunny and give him whatever attention he's craving.

What a snuggly bunny!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Testing Out My Vet's Suggestions

Over the weekend, I tested out my veterinarian’s suggestions for incorporating pineapple juice into Walter’s medication routine.  I started with the add-juice-into-the-syringe approach, but what I failed to realize ahead of time was that this would mean that there would be more liquid to squirt into Walter’s tiny rabbit mouth.  I have enough trouble getting him to take just one milliliter of medicine; adding four more was torturous!

Needless to say, this method failed for me.  Next, I tried to put out a small dish of plain pineapple juice, in the hopes that Walter would slurp it down, and the next time I could place out a small dish of pineapple juice laced with meds.  Walter snubbed the juice entirely.

So, back to the basics, which now entails using some serious brute strength to hold Walter in place and force the medicine down his throat. Walter repaid me by tearing his entire box fort to shreds on Saturday.

I’m about a third of the way through Walter’s medication period. Only two more months to go, and I can’t wait for this to be over!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Advice from the Veterinarian

Walter’s been in an interesting mood this week.  He’s found a new hangout spot: my leather ottoman.  He started using it as just one more piece in his self-created obstacle course around the living room, but yesterday, I noticed he’s taken to just laying on it.  I think he thinks it’s his own couch.  Speaking of couches, Walter has also taken to lying next to me on the couch.  He doesn’t try to run around or jump between the cushions; he just wants to snuggle.  It’s sweet, even if it’s abnormal for him.

I’ve been having a lot of difficulty getting Walter to take his medication.  On Monday night, my attempts left Walter completely shaking with terror; I could hear him making this weird teeth-grinding/chattering noise that I’ve never heard him make before.  It stopped as soon as I stopped trying to force the medicine on him, so I take it as a sign of fright.

I emailed my veterinarian for some suggestions.  He replied with some interesting suggestions, which I’ll have to try tonight.  First, he let me know that the pharmacist was considering other flavors for the medication.  Right now, Walter’s medicine is banana-flavored, and I don’t think he’s enjoying it.  The veterinarian indicated that the pharmacist was working on a pineapple flavor, and also, interestingly, a hay-flavored medication.

His suggestions both include pineapple juice (using the 100% juice kind), since rabbits typically love pineapple juice and it’s good for them – especially for their digestive tract.  First, he suggested putting the proper amount of medication in the syringe and then filling up the remainder of the syringe with pineapple juice.  This would make for a sweeter, tastier experience for the rabbit.  His second suggestion was to set out a small dish of pineapple juice for the rabbit, and see if he lapped it up completely.  If so, then repeat this, but mix in the proper dose of medication.

He also told me what I already knew: wrapping the rabbit snuggly in a towel and covering his eyes will minimize his medication-related stress.  Since I only have two hands, it’s difficult to hold the rabbit in his towel, cover his eyes, and give him the medication all at the same time.  But I’ll figure something out.

The doctor ended his email with a good piece of advice:
“Sometimes TLC is Tender Loving Care and other times it is Tough Loving Care. Often times, if our pets know meds or treatments are coming, they prepare for it, which makes it difficult on both parties. Sometimes it is best to just give it when least suspecting.”
Remembering that tough love is okay sometimes is hard for me when it comes to the bunny.  He’s got those sweet “don’t hurt me!” eyes and that silly little wiggly nose.  But, the veterinarian is right.  If I don’t toughen up on Walter, the rabbit always wins the struggle, which means he won’t get his medication and he’ll stay sick.  Tough love it is!  And I’ve been consistently giving Walter his medication right before bedtime: procrastination of a difficult chore on my part.  Maybe I should switch it up and start giving Walter the meds right when I get home from work.  That way, it’s over with early on, and he has the rest of the evening to play and forgive.

In other news, Walter has discovered a new love for cilantro and Italian parsley, and nothing cracks me up more than seeing a giant clump of greens hanging from Walter’s greedy little mouth.