Saturday, April 03, 2010
A rabbit story of happiness
Today is April 3, 2010, the day before Easter.
Rabbit rescue groups and bunny advocates have been campaigning for Make Mine Chocolate. It means the rabbits are not good Easter gifts for children.
Regular readers of my Doublecatbatik blog will know I have a bunny named Silver. Some know that there is a Silver blog called Buns-of-Silver.blogspot.
Today, I will tell you about a remarkable experience that I had with Silver just last evening when Silver actually chose to remain sitting on my lap. She rearranged my shirt, snuggled briefly into my stomach, requested petting posturaly, meatloafed and teeth purred. It lasted about 10-15 minutes. Twelve hours later I am still thrilled.
Silver and I have our regular sessions each evening after dinner. I wash my hands and brush my teeth first, in case I have been eating meat. I do this in respect. I go to her cage* in it’s place on the family room/dinning area floor. She has already had a fresh litter basket with new grass hay and some pellets, sometimes freshly washed green leafy vegetables. Sometimes she gets her evening greens later. She boxed me with her front claws as I did a quick housekeeping in her space. I have a scratch on my hand that will need Neosporin and a Band-Aid later.
I came back after she had time with the new basket, and manually extracted her. Extraction is often difficult and involves growling, but she won’t come out by herself. The ‘picking up’ place in her cage that she has chosen is the most difficult area for me to reach. She can’t understand that, she has a brain the size of a walnut and a perspective that is four inches from the floor.
I held her under my chin where she likes to snuggle. Chin rubbing has social connotations for rabbits. I never hold her there longer than she wants. It can be anywhere from 10-15 minutes to 10-15 seconds. A minute is a long time for a rabbit. Last night was about 3-5 seconds. OK. Often, I stay by the cage and pet her while she is inside. She doesn’t like it when I talk, so I ignore other people who talk to me. The past 6-9 months she has sometimes snuggled into my wrist. I have seen videos and photos of rabbits doing this with other rabbits. Sometimes I am there for 40 minutes to an hour. The floor gets cold, I take a blanket. Last night, she said: “Leave me alone.” So I did.
But I came back.
About an hour and a half later, I came back. We had a very brief snuggle against my neck and she said she wanted down…..but she stopped in my lap on her way back home. She paused, she looked around, she rearranged my shirt, tried to remove the button. She snuggled her head into my stomach. Then she stretched her head out in the ‘dominant bunny requests grooming’ posture. I gave her nose pets and rubbed around her jaw. She made the meatloaf posture and ground her teeth, rabbit people call this ‘teeth purring,’ horse people call it ‘licking and chewing.’
And she sat. Just sat there, while I pet her. She is so soft.
She has been with us for 2 years, since December of ’07. She came from a stainless steel cage at a shelter, about 1-4 years old. She DID NOT like to be picked up, she would NOT be held! Not unusual for rabbits.
Not all rabbits are like Silver. Some are easier, some are harder. But it was over two years before she requested picking up and she has only requested it that one time. More than two years until she voluntarily stayed in my lap.
Two years of daily fresh litter baskets with fresh hay, twice daily 1 tsp timothy hay pellets, two to three times daily washed leafy greens, two or three or more times daily personal attention sessions(sometimes we sit together at lunch time. I don’t have meat at those times) and regular nail trimmings which are really hard for her and the two people involved, and lots of new toys. (….and a trip to the emergency room for a cut finger while rabbit proofing the lamp cords-- which didn’t work, she chewed them anyway and luckily didn’t get electrocuted. We did it all again with new cords--no emergency room this time--and she chewed them again, now the lamps are purely decorative because they have no cords.)
My point today is:
CAN YOU DO THIS?
CAN YOUR CHILD DO THIS?
DO YOU WANT TO?
*Cage is a dirty word. She spends as much time out of her cage as I can get away with. The Mr.is fastidious. His Mom trained him well and thoroughly. I have plans, I will not divulge them.