Louis at the Farmers Market

Today, Louis came with us to the Stow Community Farmers Market. Nick made him a little “Bunny Bjorn” (thanks Nathan) and we bought him and us some kale, corn and other fresh produce.

“Am I seeing things?”
“Is that a rabbit?”
“I had a rabbit once!”

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The joy he brought to everyone who pet his fuzzy little head was palpable. We plan to bring him to nursing homes in the near future. 

 

Adoption Anniversary

Nick and I adopted a little white bunny named “Lulu” one year ago today.

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Neither of us had any experience with bunnies, but we knew “she” needed more than the confines of a large Tupperware container with a laundry basket on top.

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We quickly learned that this animal was closer to a dog or cat than a rodent who stays in its cage all day. We let Lulu frolic around my apartment and learn to jump on and off the bed.

We also learned Lulu was potty trained. “She” wouldn’t go to the bathroom anywhere but in “her” cage.

Then, we decided to get Lulu a friend, Lex. And it was time to take Lulu to the vet to be altered.

“Lulu is a boy,” Nick told me on the phone from the vet’s.

So Lulu became Louis, and Louis became a house bunny. We traded the cage for a cat litter box, and gave Louis free reign of my room. When I come home from work, I usually find him buried under a sleeping bag or doing Bunny 500’s around the room.

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Louis has brought so much joy to my life. Whether he’s binkying around the room, sleeping next to me during a nap, or licking my arm while I’m trying to do yoga, Louis is always there to make me laugh and smile. Thanks for one awesome year, Lou!

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Louis Comes to Work

I am lucky enough to work in an office of bunny lovers.

When we need a little boost of fluffy goodness, Louis puts in some hours at the American Holistic Medical Association.

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 “Where are those reports I asked for?”

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“It’s time for your annual review, Mr. Boss Man. You did not feed me enough carrots so I am forced to require a 10 minute head scratch.”

 

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 “What part of high resolution did you not understand?”

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“Please don’t ask me questions on my lunch break.”

 

 

Happy First Birthday to Louis!

Nick and I are so lucky to have met this little white ball of fur a year ago.  He brings us so much joy and is always able to put a smile on our faces with his quirky antics – whether it’s peeping his head out of a hole in my tapestry or sleeping next to our heads.

Our first night with Louis last year

Our first night with Louis last year

Big Lou Yawn

Big Lou Yawn

Daddy's little buddy

Daddy’s little buddy

Me and Lou

Me and Lou

Don't talk with your mouth full Lou!

Don’t talk with your mouth full Lou!

Louis with his birthday shades

Louis with his birthday shades

We love you Louis!

 

Bunnies Explore Outdoors

The weather has taken a turn for the warm, so we decided to bring the bunnies out to enjoy the sunshine.

Louis played outside on his leash a few times last summer, but this was Lex’s first outdoor adventure.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

 

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Louis's light blue eyes are very sensitive to the sun

Louis’s light blue eyes are very sensitive to the sun

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“What are YOU looking at??”

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Lex pretends to be a dog

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Nick was a human canvas for his students today, if you were wondering.

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Too busy exploring surroundings to explore Louis

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“Get this dirt off my paws!”

Lex is a Big Bun Now

Lex turned the tables at yesterday’s bunny play date with Lou.

She chased Lou all around their pen, and then did the dominance dance on him.IMG_4717

Their playdate was still successful: Lex was binkying all over the place and Louis was doing Bunny 500’s (scampering like a race car in circles around the room). They even ate salad together!

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Lou was very calm, and allowed Lex to take her stand. Nick was not surprised that Lex asserted herself: He knew she was a strong-willed bun the moment he met her.

We aren’t sure how old Lex is, but dominating behavior means she is sexually mature, which usually happens from 3-6 months in age. We set up an appointment for her to be spayed (or neutered – nothing will surprise me anymore). I hope it goes as smoothly as Louis’s operation.

Once they are both altered, they will be one step closer to their cage-free partnership!

 

Bunny Bonds

You can’t stick two humans in a room and expect them to be fast friends. And this past week, I’ve learned you can’t do that for bunnies either.

Louis is an outgoing, life-of-the-party bunny who likes to be the center of attention.

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Lex is a shy, timid bunny who takes a long time to warm up to people.

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So it was not surprising that the first time they met, Louis assumed the dominant role by climbing on top of Lex, and Lex ran away and cowered in the corner.

That routine happened the first few times they met. It was very discouraging. I knew it would be a process, but I expected there to be more sniffing than humping.

But we kept at it, and kept arranging bunny dates.

Now, two weeks later, we’ve had a breakthrough. Here are the signs of a good bunny relationship developing that we’ve finally seen:

1. Ignoring: The two bunnies ignore each other, meaning they are not threatened

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2. Sniffing/Grooming: The bunnies calmly sniff and groom each other; a sure sign of budding friendship

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3. Resting/Grooming Themselves: The bunnies are each so relaxed they are able to discard their inhibitions and put themselves in a place of lowered awareness

Tricks we’ve used:

1. Put salad in the pen with them so they can munch on treats together

2. Rub each of their foreheads while they sniff each other, making them think they are grooming each other. This has been our most effective strategy

3. Place a screen between them at the first few meetings so they could slowly get used to each others’ scents without being thrown in one pen together right away

Bunny “dating” is a lot like human dating. They have to get to know each other before they live together. But if they keep having regular playdates and keep becoming more and more comfortable with each other, they’ll be friends in no time.

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Louis’s New Friend

Nick and I had been debating about getting Louis fixed for a while. We read that it drastically decreases a bunny’s chance of getting reproductive cancer, but also that it could alter the personality of the bun.

But the day we went to Pet Supplies Plus to pick up some hay and food for Louis, our decision was made for us, in the form of a tiny black and white bunny.

Lil Baby Lex

Lil Baby Lex

She* was cowering in the corner with another tiny brown bunny. Both were being squished and dominated by a large, orange, mature bunny.

Nick and I looked at each other and knew we wanted to take the little bun home. We asked to hold her, and  as she clung to each of us for dear life, we knew we needed her as much as she needed us.

They packaged her up in a little cardboard build-a-bear-esque box and sold her to us for $25. They told us we would have to sign a waiver, but they never followed through with that. It scares me to think they’re willing to sell a bun to anyone with 25 bucks.

Build-A-Bun

Build-A-Bun

We took her home to Nick’s room, and Louis immediately fell in love. He started “honking” – a light grunt that signifies hormones – and “circling” – a way for bunnies to express their dominance. He was hot and bothered, and she was scared to pieces. We decided to make a vet appointment the next morning to get Louis fixed, then moved him to my house until the surgery was done and his hormones were settled.

His procedure went very smoothly, and I picked him up from the vet and tucked him in my coat on the drive home. He was groggy and kept falling asleep for the next 24 hours.

Tucked Bunny

Tucked Bunny

Groggy Post-Op Lou

Groggy Post-Op Lou

The vet told us to wait a month for all of his hormones to exit his body, so when that month was over, we were eager to introduce the buns again.

We put a window screen between them and allowed them to sniff each other through the barrier for a while. When we thought things were going well, we put them in the pen together. They sniffed each other again, but then Louis mounted Lex and we cut the playdate short.

We did a lot of research on bunny bonding and read that one bunny will naturally express dominance over the other. Louis is bigger and older, so it was no surprise that he was the one to claim the throne.

The next bunny playdate was more fruitful. We used the screen again, and then let them interact in the same space. This time, we made sure to pet each of their heads while they sniffed each other, which is supposed to simulate grooming and bring on a feeling of calm. It definitely worked.

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After about 10 minutes, Louis started doing his dominance dance again, and we separated them. But their bonding is progressing. They are already getting more and more used to each other. Once Lex is not such a novelty anymore, Louis will surely calm down and learn to be a pal to her rather than a lover.

Nick with his babies

Nick with his babies

*We still don’t know if Lex is a boy or a girl. I’m trying not to jump to conclusions so a Lulu situation doesn’t happen again..but she seems very feminine…