Your designer is a rabbit

I ordered some samples from FLOR the other day (the carpet tile people) to see them in person and decide what kind of colors/patterns I want to put down in the kitchen for Hickory.  There are a bunch of different styles I’m considering.

I gota message today from one of their designers, offering to help me design something special.  I wrote back explaining how my rabbit would be making the final call…  I thought it was sort of funny, but she probably thinks I’m either crazy or an asshole.  Also possible, I guess.

Still.  Looking forward to seeing my samples!  Hickory will be excited, too.  He just doesn’t know it yet.

Simethicone, what’s good for a gassy doe

So, Piper Doe continues to struggle with her GI issues.  She is sort of fine for awhile, and then something throws her off again and she cycles back to “Ouch!  Gassy!” and won’t eat.  I got her some Simethicone, which is what you give to gassy babies – it is, according to the Greater Rabbit Network, safe for buns, too.  I’ve dosed her twice so far.  It’s supposed to help gather the gas bubbles together and allow them to pass through her intestines more easily.  She was already pretty gurgle-y, but now she gets to be flatulent as well.  Yay for a poot-y rabbit!

This is only a temporary measure.  It should help her eat, since she’ll feel better (indeed, she has already chowed down on some kale), but I’m not sure exactly what to do about feeding her.  She LOVES fresh greens (parsley, kale, dill, cilantro), but I think they contribute to the gas problem.  The rabbit pellets she eat also seem to make her gassy.  And I can’t get her to eat much of her hay – especially when she’s not feeling well.  [I am really learning to appreciate Oatmeal’s “Bun of Steel” digestive tract and how easy it is to get him to nibble on anything – simply annoy him with it.  Poke Piper with hay and she just puts her head down and submits to the torture.]

So, tomorrow I will head over to Farm & Fleet and pick up some Bene-bac, which I’ve given to my rabbits before – concurrent with a course of antibiotics (to restore their GI flora), to see if that will help with the problem.  And I’m going to get some other kinds of hay (she needs fiber) and try to get her to eat that.  Something must work.

Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake that Doe bun, shake that Doe bun!  <– This is what I sing to her while I gently rock her belly from side to side.  She tolerates this pretty well, so it must make her feel a little better.  The move where you pick up her hindquarters and gently bounce it, however, is a little too weird.  🙂

Piper Doe, an origin tale

Piper Doe does not like to be alone.  She thumps.  She honks.  She communicates her Distress.  [I’m re-reading “Secret Scribbled Notebooks,” which references “The Little Prince,” and it talks about how taming an animal makes it need you.  Piper NEEDS.]  I held her last night while I tried to read “Saga” (commix!!!) and watch “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” (season 2).  [Realizing that this multitasking thing is ridiculous and you can’t really enjoy ANYTHING.  Especially when the rabbit NEEDS you, and is all about the bun petting.]

She is a sleek, black, shiny, beautiful creature with a few stray white hairs sprinkled liberally through her coat.  Whether these are an effect of genetics or age, I do not know.  She is darkness, but in spirit, light.

“How old is she?”  Everyone wants to know.  It is the question most asked at her Bunwarming.  And the answer is that we do not know.  Adult.  The shelter people did not know or would not say or could not be bothered to look up the information in their records (assuming such records exist).  The vet will probably not be able to say much about this either. Older than 1 year is what they said about Oatmeal. Which, really, is not much to go on. She is Piper.  She is a DOE.  And whatever else you can determine from the WYSIWYG observations you may make.  She was not the first rabbit I looked at.

The bunny shelter is a happy/sad place.  Happy, because whenever I go I know I’m going to meet somebun, but sad, too, because there are so many unwanted buns.  How can you NOT want a bun?  Several buns?  It is perplexing.  When we visited the last time (for Uther’s adoption), they said they had about 300 bunnies for adoption.  I would guess that this time there were at least 100 (and a whole upstairs area as well for new/incoming buns).  How do you ever choose from so many?  I have never actually experienced choice paralysis when it comes to rabbits, but I can imagine that others might find it difficult or impossible.  The difficulty is leaving any of them behind when you see how small the cages are and smell the smells that come from housing so many rabbits in such tight quarters.  They deserve better lives than this.  You can’t just release them into the wild, though.  Oh no.  Because they are TAME rabbits.  And they need us.

I walk around the rooms of caged buns and I greet them.  Some of them stretch themselves out full length to investigate me.  It’s feeding time and they’re all a little bite-y because fingers *could* be food and they don’t know.  Some bite harder than others, expressing some irritation and impatience for the delay. Where IS my breakfast? Some seem practically wild. Others snooze. Some hide in their litter boxes or make themselves as small as possible. I am.not.here.

One of them looks a little bit like Uther – more lop-eared, though, and bigger. I open his cage and take him out, carrying him around for awhile to see if I like his heft and whether or not he’ll tolerate being held. This isn’t a deal-breaker. Most of my rabbits have BARELY tolerated being held. They have been fine with being Near, and have accepted many pettings and much affection – but, on the ground. If you look at things from their point of view (being prey animals who could be carried off by predators, winged ones, even), this makes a lot of sense. The Uther-like bun is relatively tolerant of me. He might be a good choice. I decide to look a little further.

A couple are in with their large lop buck whose name is something ridiculous that escapes me now. Lump? They are speed dating to find a companion bun. Lump doesn’t like the other buns. And the other buns keep Trying Things. When Lump expresses his displeasure, Lisa, the shelter owner, comes over and shows his people how to give him whatfor. This involves scruffing him and stretching him out. He finds this humiliating and is sullen and withdrawn for the rest of his dates. They decide to go with the first bun (a cute and fluffy harlequin that I’ve been eyeing on the off-chance that they change their minds), and I decide not to let Lisa anywhere near my buns.

I get to know a gray bun next. He is squirrelly and won’t hold still. I’m afraid if I loosen my grip he’ll try to fly. My rabbit Powder was exactly like this – he would rather soar and land wherever than be held. It was TORTURE. This bun is ok, but he is not the bun for me.

I rub some more noses and receive some more nibbles. There are several bun couples that they want to adopt out together and I briefly consider one of those. They seem very sweet, but they aren’t litter trained and there’s urine pooling in their cage under their feet. Every time they jump up to say hello, they splash a little on me. I would like to get to know them better – they are friendly! – but I don’t want to bathe in pee to do it. Sorry, buns.

Piper is a cage that is level with my face. She is a bun of Darkness. She is calm and seems to love all the attention I’m giving her. Petting can go on FOREVER, yes, please. It takes a few attempts to catch her – she doesn’t want to be picked up either – but once I do, she settles into my arms and tolerates me admirably! I carry her around for awhile. She is lovely, but she is also a DOE and my experiences with does have been not so great. They can be very territorial and will defend that territory TO THE DEATH! With many growls and bites and lunges. But… There’s a better chance that Oatmeal will bond with a doe than with another buck (assuming Oatmeal can accept ANY other bunnies). I revisit the Uther-like bunny, but ultimately decide to go with Piper.

“This one,” I say to the bunny shelter staff. And Piper Doe comes home with me.

Where I wonder

if my presenter is going to show up.  My usual presenter, the woman I’ve been working with for the past couple of years, found a new job.  Because we had scheduled a bunch of things in advance, she left that information with her supervisor so that substitutes could be found for the times/dates/topics we’d set.  It worries me when people aren’t in contact, so I always send reminders.  I haven’t heard anything back from the substitute speaker.  Which worries me.  Especially since she hasn’t been out to our facility before.

* * *

if my rabbit is ok.  I adopted a new rabbit friend a week ago.  Her name is Piper Doe Ravenclaw.  Mostly she’s great.  But I’m not doing so well getting her on Our Feeding Schedule.  Her GI tract seems to lock up every other day over something.  I think it’s because she wasn’t exposed to many fresh greens/vegetables in her previous situation.  She devours – with great enthusiasm – anything I put out for her, but then suffers GI TRAUMA overnight and when I give her her rabbit pellets in the morning, she has no appetite and won’t move.  It’s DISTRESSING.  I have to take her out and massage her belly and force-feed her the rabbit gruel (Oxbow’s Critical Care) leftover from Uther’s own convalescence and it makes both of us rather cross.  Today, she was NOT HAVING IT and she escaped several times and honked at me when I caught her.  Honking is a new one on me.  I don’t want to make her FEARFUL of me, but there’s not much I can do about it.  I don’t know her (or her digestive tract) well enough to say that she’ll probably feel better on her own in a few hours, so I can’t leave her until I’ve stuffed her full of some sustenance.  She was drinking again (even if she wasn’t talking to me) when I left for work this morning, so I think she’ll survive the day.

This interferes with my schedule as well, since I have to make sure she’s ok before I go about my day.  I am so appreciating Oatmeal right now, who is fine with whatever and however much I feed him.  I guess I’ll have to cut back on the fresh stuff until Piper’s system catches up.  If I could get her to eat hay (she loves to throw it everywhere and sit in it, but I haven’t seen her actually eat it), that would help a lot.  FIBER.  Is good for bunnies, too.

I still miss Uther like crazy.  My memorial to him is to periodically comment on his photos.  It’s hard to believe he is gone and is not going to hop out of a box (THAT’S where he’s been hiding all this time!) to come and greet me.  A few days after he’d passed away (and after I’d taken him to be cremated), I came home and there was this bun-shaped movement/reflection from the glass patio doors, which made me wonder if he’d been dancing across the kitchen one last time to let me know that he was happy and whole and without pain once again.  I hope.  If anybun deserves an afterlife rich with does and lazy flops in the sunshine, it is him.

This does not prevent me from posting gratuitous photos of Piper Doe’s buntocks on the FB.  Who does not love fluffy ‘tocks?

* * *

if I should bother updating the links on the teen site, which I maintain.  Because we have changed catalog interfaces several times in the past few years and its just getting irritating at this point.  I don’t have time to do anything new, because I’m constantly fixing the stuff that they broke with the last updates to catalog/content management systems.  Ok, as of this afternoon, no, no more.  I am just deleting them.

Headline: Uther Conquers Toledo!

This just in:sasspants

Uther Bundragon went to Toledo early yesterday morning.  I’m not sure exactly what caused his sudden departure from the bunny coil.  He had been eating and drinking, but seemed to be in some pain and when he hopped (or rather, dragged) he wobbled a bit strangely.  He finally settled down next to his doe and did the squinty-bunny-something-is-wrong hunch and fell asleep.  I propped him up with some towels to try and make him more comfortable and sat with him until about 2 a.m.  When Oatmeal woke me up (by tossing the contents of his litter box) a few hours later, Uther had just passed on – he was still warm, but his fierce bunnality had fled.  I cried.  Because as much work as it is/was to care for A Bun With Needs, I wasn’t ready for him to go.  I didn’t want you to die, Uther B, I wanted you to get better.  But maybe these are the same things.  He is certainly not in pain anymore, and I’m sure he’s making great headway with the lady buns in Toldeo.  He’s that kind of bun.  And, yes, he’s that charming.  He certainly charmed me.

How old was Uther?  I couldn’t remember exactly, so I checked his Bun Space profile, since I was good about filling in things like age and birth dates when I set that up.  Uther was probably about 5 years old (assuming he was 3 when I got him back in 2012).  Not really so ancient in bunny years, considering Powder and Pyong-Pyong lived to be 14 years old, but older than I’d thought.

All of my rabbits have had very different personalities, and I have loved them all, but Uther was very spssel.

* * *

So, work yesterday was a TRIAL.  Not because of anything I had to do, but just because I had to be there and because I was so, so sad.  Really, try working a service desk and interacting with people while your eyes are itchy and puffy from crying and you have a raging headache.  It’s not pleasant.  HOWEVER, working with the public was easier than interacting with anyone who knew about my bun, because people want to comfort you, and you maybe want to accept that (awww, comfort), but every kindness makes you tear up AGAIN, and even talking about Uther made me miss him that much more.  Awkward?  Somewhat.  And I had a big shock when I brought up my computer and remembered that my desktop background was a huge picture of Uther swimming around in his life vest.  ACK!  BUN!  More tears.  I was a wreck.

Some people were able to be comforting at a distance, which was really lovely, because I could sort of control my response.  Like to the cards and baked goods.  Baked goods = yum (apparently I can eat and not cry).  Cards = I can read these later, but knowing they’re there for me and that people care is good for right now.  One of my coworkers found some brown ribbon in the craft supplies and made little loops of it (like the breast cancer ribbons), which she then flipped upside down so that the ends of the ribbon stood up like ears.  She quietly passed these out to a bunch of staff who all wore them for Uther Bun solidarity and remembrance.  It was a little silly, but it was also very sweet.  And everyone working last night was wearing them.  I put one on, too.  Oh, bun.  How people loved you!  (Or maybe how they love me who loved you.)

It was still so much easier to be with people who didn’t know.  The big event (the one I had to be at work for) – a family crafting extravaganza – was exactly what I needed.  Lots of happy people of all ages making stuff together.  I had the kirigami (this is origami where you’re allowed to cut and tape and glue pieces together – not just strictly paper folding) snowflake station, which – I was informed by participants – was MUCH more difficult than the other crafts.  We’d rated the difficulty of the crafts using Christmas trees.  Mine was originally 3 trees, but after we’d discussed it, we upped it to a 4 and I stole one of the trees from the Melted Snowman Ornaments station, which was a lot easier than 3 trees, and degraded it to a 2.  I felt much less fragile after being busy crafting and talking to people for 3 hours.

Oberon came out afterward to say goodbye to Uther and we were both sad together for a little while, but not the terrible sad I’d been most of the day.  We were hanging out with Oatmeal, who is not sad at all, and Oberon helped himself to some of Oats’ kale.  MY KALE!  Oats responded by stuffing most of it into his bunny face, and acting like a bun who has never before been fed ever.  That’s my breakfast bun!

Bunny Bottom Blow Drying Blues

I started writing this for the “To Be Continued…” reading.  I wanted to write something scary for October/Halloween, but that piece didn’t get beyond its infancy in the half hour I had for lunch.  I fell back on this other thing, which is much on my mind.

* * *

It’s after 11pm and I’m in the kitchen with my rabbit upturned on my lap so that I can dry his bottom.  We now own the Remington Ionic Ceramic hairdryer (with three speeds and three heat settings) for this purpose.  I have never purchased a hairdryer for my own hair, and I can tell Uther isn’t particularly pleased that we have one now.  He has retreated into a bunny fugue – the equivalent of la-lah-lah land – and seems unaware of what is transpiring.

I catch a glimpse of a true dust bunny, a rabbit hair tumbleweed as it drifts lazily across the floor and disappears into a heat vent.  Guess I know what I’ll be cleaning next.  If I can remember.

We’ve been at this for more than thirty minutes.  It’s not that the bun started out so wet, either.  It’s more that he’s so very incontinent.  And something has stimulated his bladder to release its contents over and over and over again.  Just when it seems like we’re almost done, there’s another stream.  Mostly I catch it in the towel I have swaddled underneath him.  Sometimes I miss, though, and we both get sprayed.  I am as urine-soaked as he is.  Somewhere in his little bunny mind, Uther is laughing, laughing, laughing because this so repays me for all of the indignities through which I have put him.

My rabbit has been broken since mid-August, when the sky fell (a piece of ceiling and the light fixture) while my landlord was renovating the apartment upstairs.  I wasn’t there when it happened, but I came home to shattered glass, holes in the ceiling, and a broken bun.

He was slightly gimpy that first night after it happened.  He couldn’t always get his right foot underneath him – it would drag ever so slightly behind.  I made sure my normally free-range bun spent the night in his cage so as not to further aggravate the injury.  But the next day he was worse, and my bunny mothering instincts kicked in and we went to the vet.

X-rays didn’t show any bony fractures, but we were told that soft tissue and spinal damage might not be apparent from the films.  Uther was sent home to be on strict bed rest and I was left to worry whether or not he would heal.

As it turns out, not yet.  And maybe not ever.  Some people say, “These things take time to heal.”  Others say, “It’s best to euthanize if they aren’t back to normal after a couple of weeks.”  I can’t even imagine the second possibility, so I’m holding out for the first and hoping that he does get better, even if it takes six months.

It is hard though.  Much harder for me than it is for him.  Most days, Uther’s attitude is the same as it was before he was injured.  He is enthusiastic about food and life.  He drags himself around with his front legs, back feet out behind, kneeling on his knees.  It’s an unnatural position for a bun, and I’m working with him to try and correct it, but as his legs aren’t receiving the messages his brain is sending them, this is difficult.  He’s also incredibly stiff on one side and pliable on the other.  We spend about fifteen-thirty minutes every night just massaging his legs and feet and moving them to increase his range of motion.  I have become a bun therapist to a disabled rabbit.

While Uther has lost a little independence in this process, we have formed a stronger bond.  I think all of the wanted or not touching has soothed his savage and growly little soul somewhat.  Maybe it feels good, maybe he’s just resigned to it – this is going to happen whether he wants it or not.  Or maybe, he’s decided to trust me and let me into his mysterious lapine universe.