Nimbus 9 weeks

How I Adopted a Puppy Named Nimbus

How I Adopted a Puppy Named Nimbus

Five years ago, my dog passed away in my arms. The heartbreak it caused me was so much that I couldn’t even think of getting another dog for four years. Of course, I always wanted another dog, eventually, but the thought of actually getting one was far from my mind. Even to this day I still cry over Pepper when I come across her old things or see her picture on Facebook (no thanks to the memories of things I shared in the past). However, the last little while I just felt like something was missing. I knew deep in my heart that what was missing was a home with a dog in it. I grew up with a dog (Shih-Tzu) and then I adopted my first dog, Pepper, when she was six years old. To have a house without a dog is really strange for me and, even though I have a rabbit, it’s not quite the same.

I missed taking my dog for a walk and playing with them. I missed camping and hiking with a dog, missed all the funny moments, and I especially missed waking up to a sweet pair of loving brown eyes looking up at me every morning from the spot on the floor next to my bed. For a while, I wanted a dog that looked like a wolf, so I found a breed called “Tamaskan.” They are not wolf-dogs, but they do look a lot like one and they are stunning. However, the wait list for them was years in advance and one of the breeders we were talking to had to spay their female due to a positive result in her test. So, I looked online at the humane society, but of course, they had much older dogs and I can’t bear to part with a senior dog so soon after adoption.

That’s when someone mentioned that they adopted their pup from an organization called Pawsitive Match. I filled out the application and received a phone call a few days later! After that, we looked at some pups we liked the looks of online and set up an appointment with the foster to meet the dogs. They really aren’t kidding when they say the dog chooses you. When we arrived, all six of the puppies came towards us, licking and biting our shoes. We sat on the couch and the dog we originally went to visit, Morgan, plopped on the couch next to me, but we had a small surprise. The other puppy that we mentioned we wanted to add to our list to meet, Nimbus, happened to be there and he hopped up on the couch next to us too. He nibbled my ears gently and gave me lots of wet puppy kisses.

After a while, the others pups grew tired of us and scampered off, but Nimbus stayed with us. He stayed on my lap for some time, then went over to my boyfriend’s lap. He stayed there for a bit, then went off to eat. He came back and plopped in my lap again and fell asleep. It was like he was telling us “Hey! Look at me! I’m not adopted yet and I like you!” Obviously, he was set on us and he melted our hearts with his calm demeanor, gentle kisses, and lack of interest in our hair (the other puppies attacked my hair like nobody’s business). The foster mom mentioned how he chose us and we set up a time for him to come to our house to look around and meet my rabbit, Piko.

Nimbus and Piko danced around each other a bit, but by the end of the meeting, they both went up to the x-pen and touched noses. It was a moment that I won’t soon forget. The moment they finally touched noses was mesmerizing and one of the happiest moments in my life. I had been so worried the night before that they weren’t going to get along and I really wanted to adopt Nimbus. The foster mom was happy with how Nimbus was in our house as well as how Piko and Nimbus reacted to each other, especially at the end of the evening.

The next day, I anxiously awaited for Nimbus’ paperwork to get sent to me so I could fill it out and officially adopt him. By seven p.m that same night, he was in the kennel in the car and on the way to his new furever home. We adopted Nimbus on June 17th, the day before Father’s Day.

Coincidences:

When I first saw Nimbus’ name on the website, I nearly shrieked with laughter.  The first thing I thought of was Harry Potter’s first broomstick, the Nimbus 2000. The next thing I pictured was me telling people that my rabbit was riding his Nimbus 2000. The fact that I love Harry Potter and that one of the volunteers named him Nimbus was a huge coincidence, but I will take it.

The next thing that was a coincidence is that before our appointment, we were discussing how we wanted a calm dog that would have enough energy to go on hikes. The coincidence, Nimbus was calm and he has this strange way of flexing his paws (and climbing over his x-pen) that makes us believe he’ll be good at hiking when he’s older.

The other coincidence was when I was signing the adoption papers. His date of birth was listed as the exact same day as my dad and me.

What I’ve Learned So Far:
  • Nimbus is a mommy’s boy and follows me EVERYWHERE, including the bathroom even when I do my business and shower.
  • He’s a ninja dog. He can climb his x-pen and I’ve even witnessed him climbing.
  • He loves to fall asleep in my arms when he’s on his back.
  • He loves sleeping on his back in general
  • Daddy’s dirty socks and Mommy’s dirty underwear are no longer safe from his sharp teeth.
  • He’d rather eat paper, cardboard, and wood than play with the nice toys Mommy and Daddy bought him.
  • He likes to “attack” Mommy and Daddy’s knees and ankles when they are least expecting it.
  • He eats like he’s starving all the time and would probably eat my fingers and arms (oh, wait. He already tries!)
  • His fur is shorter than the purebred German Shepherd because he’s mixed.
  • He likes to grab the tags on his collar and “walk himself” around the house.
  • He’s not as calm as he had us believe…he’s a tornado of energy (especially at 5 in the morning).
  • He loves to sleep on the couch’s end pillows.
  • He’s growing like a weed.
  • He likes to chew my hair and bite my ears.
  • He learns VERY quickly (except where NOT to pee, to leave shoes, undies, socks, and the like ALONE, and to stop chewing Mommy and Daddy).
  • He’s too adorable.
  • Sometimes when he looks at me with his little puppy eyes, I see a glimmer of Pepper looking back at me.
  • He sometimes has a tiny bit of his tongue poking out of his mouth, like he’s sticking his tongue out at me and I have to catch my breath every time because Pepper used to do that all the time.
  • He’s slowly getting better and better at being left alone or in his x-pen when I can’t watch him (showers and sleeping).
  • He’s slowly learning to use the pee pad for #1 and #2, though he sometimes misses. He’s getting there!
  • The word NO means nothing to him, but he’s getting better with the word “STOP,” albeit SLOWLY.
  • I love him to pieces.
  • Piko thinks Nimbus is a weird looking bunny and Nimbus thinks Piko is a strange looking dog.
  • Not to let him run around too much because he’s still building muscle and running or walking for too long/too hard can give him huge problems when he’s an adult due to the stress on his underdeveloped joints and muscles.
  • He doesn’t like to walk much (what?!!!) He’d rather plop down on the grass and chill than walk even five steps.
  • He likes Mommy carrying him around instead of walking (though, when we first got him he was about 10 pounds and now he’s 12…
  • He walks like a wolf pup with his big clownish paws.

How I Adopted A Puppy Named Nimbus…it’s more like, “How A Puppy Named Nimbus Chose Me and Stole My Heart.”

 

So You Want a Pet

So, You Want a Pet

Many couples, families, or even single people often think about getting a pet. To be quite honest, I am one of those people. There are many different kinds of pets that you can get and many places to get one. I hope this post enlightens you about adopting a pet, especially the right one for you (and your family).

The popular choices are always cats and dogs. There’s nothing like coming home to a dog that greets you at the door, possibly bouncing up and down in excitement, its tail wagging furiously. Perhaps you’re more of a cat person and enjoy watching your feline friend lounge in their favorite spot. Whatever your preference is, there are things that you should take into consideration:

  1. What is your living situation? (Do you rent or own? How big is the apartment, house?)
  2. Where are you going to keep your pet (roaming free or in a kennel when you’re not home?)
  3. What is your lifestyle like? (Sedentary, somewhat active, or quite active?)
  4. What is your budget like? (Do you have loans or other expenses that need to be paid off?)
  5. How much free time do you have? (Your pet needs attention and stimulation.)
  6. Do you know what to expect? (In better words, have you done your research?)

These are important because some people will get a pet on a whim or as a gift. While the intention is probably pure, it’s not in anyone’s best interest to get a pet without doing their homework. It is also never a good idea to give a pet as a gift if you are not sure that person is going to be 100% responsible for them. During Christmas, many people give pets as a gift and within a few months they end up in a shelter or worse, abandoned or dead.

If you rent, you need to consider many things: do you live with other people like roommates? Are there other people in the building with you? Do you think there might be problems with getting a dog if it barks? What do you intent to do in that situation? Have you spoken to your landlord about the pet and listened to their concerns? Are you willing to lose your damage deposit because of your pet? (Some pets, when left alone, get bored and damage things.) How big is the apartment/house, etc. that you are renting? Is there a park nearby for your dog? How will you let them out for the bathroom? Are you planning to move at all in the future? If you are, will you look for another place that allows you to keep your pet? Finding places to rent that are pet friendly are not always easy to find and it takes a lot of time to look for them. I know, because I used to have a dog and now I currently own a rabbit. It took me months to find a place that was dog friendly and almost just as long to find a place that would let me have a rabbit.

If you own the house, how big is it? Do you think there’s enough room for your pet to move around freely and easily? Is there a yard for dog/cat to run around? How do the other family members feel about a pet? Are they going to help take care of it? Luckily, when you own your home there are less things to be concerned about when it comes to people living below or down the hall from you. However, if you live in a condo/townhouse you still have to get your pet approved by the condo board. If there are noise issues, then you will have to get them sorted out with your neighbors as well.

Another important thing to consider is where you are going to keep your pet. Are you going to leave them in their kennel/cage when you’re not home or are you going to let them have free reign? How long will your pet be home alone? The less time they are alone, the better!

Your lifestyle is also important because if you are sedentary, it’s probably best to get an animal that doesn’t need a lot of exercise. For example, with a rabbit, you can let them out in their x-pen so they can run around. They don’t need to go for walks and they clean themselves, so they don’t need to be bathed. If you had a high-energy dog like a border collie, you’d have to be pretty active to keep your dog happy and stimulated so they don’t get bored and chew things. Your lifestyle will help you choose the right pet. If you aren’t sure, you can always research different breeds or kinds of pets for your lifestyle type.

Having a pet is going to cost money. You have to keep in mind that there are going to be vet trips every year and you have to plan for emergency trips to the vet. You never know when your dog will need immediate care or if they are going to get sick. It’s important to research the average costs per month for the type of pet you are considering so that you can plan accordingly and ensure that a pet is within your budget. Another recommendation I have is researching pet insurance, this will help you in the long run with vet costs if your beloved pet happens to get sick.

Time can also tie in with your lifestyle as well, but it’s not always the case. How much free time do you have if you work from home? All pets need attention and stimulation, the more the better. Please do not get a pet and ignore the fact that they need to something to do to keep them from getting bored. If they get bored, they may destroy furniture, shoes, or even clothing. It’s important that you find toys for them as well as play with them and even train them.

The last point that I’d like to stress is research. It’s important to do a lot of research on the type of pet you want. Many people believe that rabbits are good “starter” pets for children, but this is not the case for many kids. Some children do not understand what responsibility is and they may grow tired of their pet and neglect it. It’s important that you find a pet best suited for the primary caregiver as well as do research on what to expect. Is a border collie’s temperament better suited to your lifestyle than a Pomeranian? Is a bird easier to take care of than a cat?

Pets are great to have in your home especially since they become part of your family. Just like family, you wouldn’t abandon your mother or grandfather just because they are old, so please consider the lifespan of your pet as they can live anywhere between 8-13 years (or longer!) If you still want to get a pet, please look at adopting from your local animal shelters. They can help you find one suited to your personality, living situation, and lifestyle. I wish you the best of luck in finding your new fur-baby!

miura

First 1 to 2 Months with Bunny

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Hopefully by now you are comfortable with your bunny and they are comfortable with you! This is also a good time to check their nails to make sure that they aren’t too long. If they are too long, it can hurt your bunny. There’s a chance they can rip out a nail if they aren’t careful! To prevent this, you need to have your cat nail clippers as well as the styptic lotion. I tried many different ways to cut Piko’s nails, but the one that works the best is I hold him and I get someone else (my boyfriend) to cut his nails. It’s awkward, but it’s better than trying to chase him around a table and doing it myself.

When you pick up your bunny, please make sure that you support their tummy as well as their back legs. Try to talk to bunny and massage their head (I do this with my cheek and chin) or get the other person to pet them first to try to get them to relax a bit. The other person can then lift up some fur from the fuzzy feet and begin trimming. Another way is to dip a finger in some water and push the fur out of the way so it’s easier to see the nails. Please don’t submerge or get the entire foot of your rabbit wet, just a few drops from your finger will do. You will see white nails with some pink lower down. Place the clippers ABOVE the pink to ensure you don’t cut your rabbit and snip. It’s best to complete one front foot and one hind foot first before setting your rabbit down. I usually do this in the bathroom and set a towel down for Piko. I set him down and give him a treat, pet him and talk to him. Let him settle down for a bit, then I pick him up again (with him facing the opposite way this time) and finish off the other two feet.

It will take time getting used to this, your rabbit may struggle as well. For the first year it was a huge hassle trying to get him to cooperate to get his nails cut and it took a LONG time because he was so squirmy. However, over time I found that Piko got used to me picking him up and now lets me hold him in my arms when I am standing up and not moving. He will allow me to do this for a while, but will eventually squirm when he wants to get put down, which is why I cut one side first and set him down before I pick him up again. That way he has some time to rest and eat a treat, it’s less stressful that way. I always reward him with another treat when we’re finished cutting his nails and play with him. It’s a good idea to associate cutting his nails with happy things like treats and some snuggle or play time afterwards.

The first few times my boyfriend cut his nails, as soon as I put Piko back in the xpen, he flicked his back feet at us, letting us know he wasn’t happy about it. Treats fixed that 🙂 Now he doesn’t flick his feet at us when we cut his nails.

The last important thing to do is to book an appointment with your local bunny savvy vet. It’s important to find one close to you or easily accessible and they have to specialize in smaller critters like guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, etc. I was lucky enough to find a vet in the city that my parents live in and even though I don’t live there anymore, I still drive all the way out there to take my rabbit to that vet. So please book an appointment just for a general checkup. Your vet will take a look at your rabbit to make sure they are the right weight, their ears are clean, teeth are okay, and this is a good time to ask the vet any questions you might have about your rabbit’s behavior/eating habits, etc. as well. Always keep a book with your questions or write them down in your phone so you don’t forget to ask the questions you have.

After this visit, as long as nothing happens to your rabbit health wise (ex. stops eating, pooping, or peeing, sitting in a strange position and doesn’t look well, etc.) you won’t have to visit the vet for a year now. There were a couple of times I had to call a different vet to talk about what was going on with my rabbit (he wasn’t eating very much and his poops got really small) and she gave me some advice to keep a close eye on him for the next few hours and feed him something like papaya or pineapple or fresh veggies to help with his stomach. Low and behold, a few hours later, a stringy poop was found in his box. This is why it’s important to brush your rabbit. Even when you brush them, there’s still a chance that they will get stringy poops because they are always grooming and cleaning themselves. If you’re not sure if your rabbit is pooping, wait until bunny goes in the litter box, if you don’t hear anything dropping, the next thing you can do it get a glove-or do it barehanded, whatever, and grab a few poops where bunny was sitting in the box and squish them. It’s gross, I know, but it’s for your rabbit. I use my bare hand because I can feel if it is slightly warm or not and then I give it a squish between my fingers to see if it’s hard or soft. If it’s warm and soft, that means it’s fresh. The older the poops the harder they’ll be. Don’t forget to wash your hands after. Haha.

Two months after I got Piko, it was Christmas. I bought a few things for him that I thought he’d like and I wrapped them up and put them in a stocking I got from the dollar store. On Christmas day I unwrapped the gifts for him, and let him sniff his stuff. If you haven’t noticed this yet, a rabbit will rub their chin on something after smelling it (if it’s new or they’ve never seen it before). He rubbed his chin all over the stuff I gave him because he was claiming it as “his.” For some bunnies it’s a status or territorial thing, bunnies like to chin because they have a “scent gland” (submandibular cutaneous gland)  in their chin and it sticks their scent on it. Spayed or neutered rabbits might chin less as it’s also associated with their hormones. It’s a way for male and female rabbits to communicate that they are looking for a mate. I think my rabbit does it because he is territorial. He isn’t neutered and I already talked to my vet about this. You will find a lot of people debate this topic all over the internet. I have my own reasons for not doing it, which you might not agree with, but that’s totally your own opinion. You do what YOU feel is best. I haven’t gotten him neutered because he’s not urinating everywhere or leaving territorial poops everywhere and I’m not planning on getting a mate for him. I live in a townhouse and there are “rules” here that I can only have two pets. My boyfriend and I have been discussing getting a dog, so we are preparing for that next stage. As it is now, Piko gets A LOT of attention from me and my boyfriend when we are home. Most rabbits from the SPCA or local animal shelters are already neutered and spayed, so you won’t have to worry about that. There are also some bunnies that are already bonded and they are only adoptable if you get them both.

 

**FYI Those papaya treats in the picture are discontinued from Petland. 🙁 I’ve looked everywhere for them, but they are no longer available. I loved giving them to Piko because he loves them and they help with the digestive enzymes in his tummy. Now I’ll have to hunt for some papaya in the stores without any added sugar. Pineapple also works as well.

 

 

 

 

One Month with Bunny

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Hello again! So, you’ve had your bunny for one month now! Here are some things that I bought within the first month of adopting Piko that you might want to get for your rabbit (ones that are necessary are in bold):

  • Slicker Brush (you are going to need this if they are shedding-moulting, please be careful when brushing your rabbit! Don’t press too hard or go too fast).
  • Carrier (if you haven’t already bought one, you will need it to take your rabbit to the vet after one or two months to get a checkup done).
  • Cat claw scissors
  • Styptic Powder (This stops the blood from flowing if you happen to cut too far down on your rabbit’s nails).
  • Harness/Lead (You only need this if you think you’re going to go outside with your rabbit without an xpen)
  • Pet Igloo (Hidey Hole), if you haven’t already bought one.
  • I also signed up for the Bun’s Box (which was $23 at the time).
  • Timothy mat (a mat made from Timothy hay, not necessary, but my bun likes to chew them up and it’s a good distraction from biting other things he’s not supposed to-like his blankets).
  • Within a month, I already needed new hay (Piko was wasting a lot and wouldn’t eat it, so I had to throw out whatever was left).
  • By the end of the month I needed to buy new litter. (It will take time getting used to how much litter you need to use. I use a small plastic cup and fill it up five times to cover the entire litter pan).
  • I also bought some papaya treats (which are discontinued now, unfortunately. Papaya is really good to keep your bunny’s tummy happy especially when they are moulting. Pineapple is also good for that as well, just in REALLY tiny pieces as they contain a lot of sugar. I discovered that Petsmart sells papaya pieces but they contain food coloring, so I decided NOT to buy them. I don’t want to give my rabbit things that might upset his stomach or make him sick, which is why I didn’t buy those ones).

My amount for November was pretty high because I was still learning what he needed, so my costs were high when I first bought him (I admit, I went a bit overboard). I paid $129.42 and that’s including all the above mentioned items as well as some additional toys and treats AND the bun’s box @$23.00/month. This also includes any veggies I bought for him such as romaine lettuce, parsley, and cilantro. Remember, only buy the ESSENTIALS that you need and you can always make your own stuff as well!

After one month, hopefully you have bonded with your rabbit and they have rewarded you with a nose bonk, a binky, some sniffs, or kisses. After one month, Piko was climbing on me, biting my clothes, etc. He is a pretty bold rabbit and was never afraid of me to begin with, except when I tried to pick him up.

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Letting him out of his cage and putting him back in were EXTREMELY difficult for me and I got scratched countless times. It took me a while to learn that when I got home, he would race around and then go into his litter box. That’s when I got the idea to pick up the entire litter box with him in it and set him down. That way I avoided getting scratched and he wiggled around less. When it was time to go back to his cage, I did the same thing: waited until he was in the litter box. It took him a while, but now when I try this, it doesn’t work all the time. He knows at night that I want to go to bed, so he avoids going into the litter box, even when I coax him with treats! Sometimes I have to pick him up and then put him in the litter box, but now he’s used to me picking him up and holding him. For the most part, he doesn’t squirm around too much as long as I’m petting his head, but when he’s had enough of my affection, he’ll get a bit squirmy.

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I used to let him out in the hallway to run around and get exercise and I’d play with him by chasing him, letting him climb on me, playing with his toys with him, getting him to go into a huge tunnel of boxes that I made for him. Sometimes he’d even sleep inside the boxes. I used to have a baby gate to stop him going into places I didn’t want him, like my bedroom, but he eventually bit through all the plastic pieces. It was a really old baby gate and not a very good one. They are useful as long as you have the one that it built of sturdier plastic because the one pictures below was really flimsy and not good at all! That’s what you get when you buy one from the thrift store many years ago. (I had this when I was ten and had my very first dog. My mom would put this gate in the kitchen because she didn’t want him sleeping anywhere else!) As you can also see in this picture, Piko is a very curious bunny and likes to get into a lot of trouble, just like a baby. You always have to keep an eye on your rabbit as they often get into trouble!

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Hopefully, all of you are bonding well with your rabbit. Remember, rabbits take time to open up, especially if they have been adopted from the SPCA. Some are afraid of people and being touched while some love pets and snuggles. Each rabbit has their own personality and my rabbit ignored me for the most part, but occasionally came and jumped on me like I was his personal jungle gym. He still does it! If you have any questions about your rabbit leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Here’ s some pictures of all the items that I mentioned above, some of the items were mention in my previous post, so please take a look there if you haven’t already! Thanks!

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First Few Weeks with Bunny

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Welcome back to another post of bunny related information! So, in case you’ve just got your new rabbit, here is some information that you should know for the first few weeks with your rabbit:

This is the adjusting period, it will take time for you an your rabbit to adjust to the new schedule and environment.

The first few days that I had Piko, I was constantly checking on him to see if he was eating or drinking. I never saw him drinking, so I was really worried about it, especially after I went to work. I was using one of those water bottle ones that you attach to the cage and it has a roller at the bottom, it was leaking like crazy. I took it back, got a different one, that one didn’t work at all, so I had to take it back and eventually got another one that sort of worked. I wasn’t happy with it though, and it didn’t look like it was helping my rabbit much, so I used a little dish that I had. It worked, but it was in the way and my rabbit kept spilling it everywhere, so I went back to the store and got a metal one that you can hang on the cage. This one is MUCH better. He still manages to flip it when there’s not enough water in it and it’s his way of telling me to go fill it up. Haha.

You will have to get used to sleeping with the rabbit in your room, if that’s where you put them. Your rabbit also needs to get used to your schedule since the schedule they had before was different. For example, the time you wake up, feed your rabbit, let your rabbit out, as well as give them veggies. For the first few months, I was giving Piko his pellets in the morning as well as his veggies! I realized that this was taking too much time out of my morning routine and there was too much food for him, so I stopped giving him veggies in the mornings and only pellets. (I like to rinse the veggies more than once and chop them up). He had to get used to the new routine when I first brought him home as well as the change in routine when I stopped giving him veggies in the mornings. I also moved in January 2016 and he had to get used to the new routine at the new place:  he had his own room across from mine and my own morning routine changed since I could wake up at six instead of 5 a.m. Then, I moved again in October 2016 into a house and Piko had to get used to staying in my office as well as his new space in kitchen area. (It’s a HUGE space). During these times of adjustment, your rabbit might not eat as much, sleep more, and might seem a little bit less energetic. This is normal, but keep an eye on them because if they stop eating and drinking completely, this is a huge medical problem and they need to see a vet ASAP. If they also stop pooping and peeing, then you must take them to a vet immediately! 

This is also an important time to BOND with your rabbit and gain trust.

When you let your rabbit out, or when you get home from work, you should spend as much time with your rabbit as you can. Let them sniff you, climb on you, etc. Let them do their own thing and only touch them when they come near you. If they run away, let them. Do no try to force your rabbit to allow you to pet them! It’s very important that you build trust with your rabbit slowly. Try to touch their head to give them a head rub, if they run away, let them, if they crouch down and you hear them grinding their teeth, that’s a good sign! Rabbits will “purr” (grind their teeth) when you pet them and they like it! It’s really cute to see and hear when it happens! At first, Piko didn’t do this, but as he built trust, he eventually started doing it and now he does it all the time. Remember, don’t pick up your rabbit unless it’s absolutely necessary and only hold them for a few seconds or minutes at a time. If they squirm, let them go. Bonding can take time with your rabbit but trust me, with some patience, lots of love, and affection, your rabbit in some way or another will reward you. They may let you hold them, give you a nose bonk, binky, stretch out/sleep in different positions (that means they are happy and comfortable), or they will give you kisses and run around your feet in circles making a cute little sound. It’s hard to describe this sound as it’s not grunting (that’s the sound when they are mad or feel threatened). It’s a kind of soft vocalized sound that they will do when they are happy, though. Piko does this every morning when I come into his room (my office) and feed him his breakfast. He also does this when I take him out into the larger xpen in the kitchen area as well as any time I go near him and he wants to play, or when I give food.

Bunnies have their own verbal cues and body language to let you know when they like something or don’t like something.

Like I mentioned before, if your rabbit grinds their teeth when you are petting them, they like it. If they run around making that soft vocalized sound, they are happy. Rabbits also binky, which is when they do a jump in the air. They will suddenly just jump straight up, or they may jump, twist, and kick out their feet, which is another type of binky. This means they are happy! Binkies are always a good sign. Another good sign is when your rabbit tosses his head and starts running. This is a way of your rabbit expressing that he is in a playful mood. Rabbits will also run around your feet making that vocalized happy sound as well.

Body language: There are many different types of body language of a rabbit, so it’s best to do some research so you know what they all mean. I’ll give you some charts that I found about rabbit posture that really helped me understand my rabbit better (from American Pet and RSPCA).

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These are postures and behaviors that you may see in your rabbit and it’s important that you understand what they mean. If you stick your hand in the cage/xpen and your rabbit suddenly lunges at you, making a kind of “growl/honk” and bites you, that’s because your hand is somewhere it shouldn’t be. Perhaps you were moving something in their cage; your rabbit is territorial and your hand is in their territory. They are telling you to get your hand out of there. Piko did this to me for a while, but eventually stopped doing it once he realized that I was giving him more hay or changing the litter. Don’t hit your rabbit if he bites you! Just let out a cry of surprise so he knows that you don’t like it either.

Important Tips About Your Rabbit:

NEVER submerge your rabbit in water! Rabbits are CLEAN animals. They like to lick and clean themselves all the time, like a cat and DO NOT need to be bathed! If they had/have diarrhea, it’s best to use a cloth to clean their feet/lower body. You can also hold them on the counter and scoop up some warm water onto their bum to clean it. However, NEVER SUBMERGE or COMPLETELY get your rabbit WET! This is dangerous and they can get sick and die from the cold.

NEVER trance your rabbit! I had a lot of trouble trying to cut Piko’s nails and I searched YouTube for videos on how to do this. None of them worked for me, so I went to the pet store and asked them. The girl there told me to put Piko in a bunny burrito (wrap in a blanket) and FLIP HIM OVER! DON’T DO THIS!!!!! Putting your rabbit in a trance can be very dangerous for your rabbit! This is basically paralyzing your rabbit and is something that usually produces fear in your rabbit! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t do this! There’s a viral video of someone with their rabbit submerged in the sink on their back getting a “bath” and people commented on how it’s cute! It’s NOT cute. It’s dangerous and I consider it a form of animal cruelty! People should NOT be trancing their rabbits for ANY reason. If you have trouble cutting their nails or giving medication to them, find an alternative way! I have to get another person to cut his nails for me while I hold him. There’s no other way to do it, I’ve tried everything (except trancing). If I need to give him medicine, which I haven’t, I will probably also need someone to help me.

(Picture from Wikihow-I drew on it).
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If you have any questions, please leave them below and I’ll be more than happy to answer them for you! If you’d like to see a post about something in particular, let me know in the comments!

 

handsome

Getting a Rabbit

Hey everyone! Thanks for joining me on Day #3 of my creative new year. I’d like to start a post about rabbits. Those cute little fluffy things with long ears and twitchy noses. Yes, that’s my rabbit above, Piko. Yes, that’s my photo. I’m dabbling a bit in photography since I got my Nikon for Boxing Day in 2015. It’s been a while since I’ve taken any photos, but I’m hoping to get back into it again this year. If you’re curious, you can check out my Facebook page Wolfsong Photography!

This post is going to be about what I wish I had known when I got my rabbit, Piko. A lot of pet stores sell rabbits, but I recommend that you check out your local SPCA or animal shelter because lots of rabbits are abandoned all the time, especially black ones and white ones with “red” eyes. Not a lot of people like those ones for some reason and a lot of rabbits are given as gifts for Christmas or Easter and then dumped. I recently saw a photo of a rabbit that was given as a Christmas gift that ended up outside in its cage only to die in the cold. Anyway, I don’t want this post to be depressing, so let’s get to it, shall we? First off, the most important thing is to DO RESEARCH. Don’t buy them as gifts and don’t get them on a whim or spur of the moment without doing research first. A rabbit is completely different from a dog or cat.

I Wish I Had Known…

When you go to the pet store, they will give you a bunch of recommendations (most of them are really stupid-I’ll tell you why)

  1. They recommend to buy a hutch. This is insane! Would you like to be trapped inside a tiny cage all day long? Nope! Hutches are NOT good for a rabbit to live in. They are not big enough for a rabbit to get the exercise they need to burn off some extra energy they have after napping. They need room to run, hop, and binky. What’s a binky? A binky is a jump in the air and a twist and flick of the feet. Rabbits will do this when they are happy. Please do not get a hutch. Instead, buy an x-penAn x-pen is an exericse pen that people use for dogs to keep them contained in one area. You can even buy two and connect them together. You could also make a bunny condo for your bun, which I didn’t have the patience or space to do when I adopted my rabbit.
  2. They tell you to buy a really dinky litter box. Honestly, when your rabbit is a baby, it makes sense (at the time), but don’t do it! They are these thiny little triangular shaped litter pans that fit into the corner and when your bun needs to use the washroom, it’s completely useless. Buy a litter box from the cat section. The cat ones are larger and provide more space for your bun to do their business as well as much on some hay while they’re at it.
  3. They want you to buy treats for the rabbit that contain sugar (example: yogurt drops). Don’t do it! Those yogurt drops contain a lot of sugar and it’s actually bad for their teeth. Opt for something that doesn’t have added sugar, but natural sugar in it like Oxbow’s banana treats, strawberry treats, or any oven baked treat or timothy squares.
  4. They want you to buy a cheap brand of food that sometimes comes in bulk.  I don’t recommend this, because after checking the ingredients, I found that there was corn and other things inside of the pellets that aren’t actually that great for rabbits to eat on a daily basis and not good for their stomachs. Rabbits have sensitive tummies, but they will not throw up.
  5. They recommend buying an expensive blanket for the hutch. While it’s a fantastic idea to have padding for your rabbit in their x-pen, I don’t recommend getting it from the pet store. There are a lot of cheaper options out there. For example, I went to the thrift store/salvation army and bought some baby blankets and sheets for my rabbit. He likes to chew the crap out of everything, so I’d rather spend $3 on a blanket than the $30 something I spent to buy a blanket that he chewed to shreds after a year. Also, please do not use wire for the bottom of your x-pen as your rabbit might develop sore hocks (sore feet) if you do this. It’s best to use carpet or blankets (if you have hardwood/vinyl floors). I even used blankets on the carpet because my rabbit has a bad habit of ripping up the carpet.
  6. They might forget to mention that you will eventually need a proper carrier/travel crate for your rabbit. Or if they do mention it, they’ll lead you to really crappy ones that are made of material. While this may seem like a good idea, if your rabbit likes to bite stuff like mine does, it’ll get ripped and shredded to bits in no time. Opt for the ones they use for smaller dogs or even cats. Even better, find one that fits your litter box. I still have my material one. I’m going to buy a new one, eventually. At the moment, it’s still useable.
  7. They will recommend you get salt lick to encourage drinking. If you’re worried your rabbit might stop drinking while its getting used to the new environment, then by all means, get it. However, it’s not actually  necessary. My rabbit ignored the salt lick for almost a year, and even after that, he barely licks it at all. In fact, he likes to push it with his nose when it’s in his way. Kind of a waste of money for me.
  8. Hidey-holes. They recommended this to me when I adopted my rabbit, but since my hutch had come with one, I didn’t need to buy another. However, after a few months of owning my rabbit, I realized the hutch was a mistake. (I’ll get to that in a bit). You really do need a hidey-hole OR you can DIY with any old cardboard box.
  9. They might recommend toys, they might not. However, your rabbit DOES need some toys. Every rabbit has a different personality and playing style. Mine likes to chew things to bits, dig, and throw things up in the air. Start off with a couple different toys, some to chew, some to toss (like rings or a baby rings-plastic). My rabbit LOVES those willow balls, cubes, and willow circles. If you live in Canada, I highly recommend getting a Buns Box from Buns Boutique. Janine is an incredible lady that has her own bunny business in her house. I had a subsciption up until last year when the pricing changed. The only reason I’m not still subscribed is because I bought a house and have a lot of bills, plus I was laid off from my job (temporarily). With one rabbit there are too many treats and toys in the package now for Piko to use up before the next shipment arrives. However, it’s a fantastic buy if  you are a new bun-mommy or bun-daddy. Piko is even featured on their page. 😀 All of the toys and treats provided in the Buns Box are approved for bunnies and safe for their consumption. If you want more variety of treats or toys for your bun than what petstores in your area has to offer, I highly recommend Napoleon Bunnyparte. Another fantastic store that offers really neat toys for rabbits that are safe. I believe they are also Canadian and in the Vancouver/Burnaby area. Buns Boutique is located in Victoria.
  10. Litter. They recommended “Yesterday’s News” to me, which is a cat litter and made from recycled newspapers. This is bunny safe! Clumping cat litter or other cat litter is NOT bunny safe as it is easily ingested or breathed in and can cause problems with your rabbit’s respiratory system.
  11. They did not recommend a litter scoop. Trust me, you’ll need it. It makes cleaning the litter pan a lot easier than using the garbage bag or your hand to do it. You can also buy one from the Dollarstore if you’ve got one close by.
  12. They will recommend hay and you WILL need it. If you have a baby, they might recommend Alfalfa Hay (babies ONLY), or if they are already eating Timothy Hay, you can get Timothy. Some rabbits are really picky and mine didn’t prefer the Oxbow Timothy Hay that the girl recommended to me. I had to try a variety of different brands before I found one that he ate 90% of. So don’t worry if it looks like your bunny is not eating all of their hay or turning their nose up at it, it might be they aren’t used to that brand or don’t like it! Take it back and get an exchange. Piko LOVES the All Living Things Timothy Hay and I like to mix it in with Orchard Grass Hay (Vitakraft, not all Petsmart stores carry it, however so check with your petstore). At the moment, I’m using Orchard Grass from Oxbow because the Petsmart I used to live near stopped carrying the Vitakraft one.
  13. Hay Rack. My hutch came with one, so I didn’t buy one. However, the one it came with left a huge mess all over my floor, so eventually, I bought a different one from Petsmart. It’s by Kaytee. (I’ll provide pictures of everything at the end of this list).
  14. Water dish or some sort of water-related item for your rabbit! Mine came with one, so I forgot to mention it the first time I posted this. I tried using those bottles with a roller on the bottom but every one I bought leaked or didn’t work properly, so I eventually just went back to the store and bought a small little bowl to hang on the cage/pen bars.

With the exception of #6, these are the ESSENTIALS that you WILL need to buy either BEFORE you get your rabbit or AT THE SAME TIME you adopt your new fur baby. I went to Petsmart to get everything and spent $369.72 (CAD) on October 4th, 2014. This amount includes the overpriced blanket at $40.97! I did some research on rabbits and found that they are high maintenance, slow to trust, and cost more than dogs/cats. However, my monthly bills for my rabbit cost LESS than when I had a dog. Granted, my bills for my rabbit will not be the same for everyone else. Sometimes I like to splurge and buy Piko a lot of fun stuff from the pet stores, so…yes, he’s very spoiled. I call him “His Royal Fluffiness, Piko” because he’s basically a spoiled little prince. xD

WHEW. That was a lot of information! That’s all the info I wish I had known at the time I adopted or even BEFORE I adopted Piko. There are other items that you will need to purchase later, but for the first month or so, that’s all the stuff you need.

Here are the pictures, as promised: