March 2006

Last night we decided to graduate to the bathroom, instead of the bathtub. At first Eve and Dorian were too interested in exploring to be interested in each other. But luckily, our bathroom is about as small as the bathtub itself.

After some initial stomps and a bit of mounting (Dorian was doing the mounting) they started MAKING OUT behind the toilet. I guess that was so we couldn’t see them? They both enjoyed marking (with chins) the toilet. And we were just noticing how dirty our bathroom is…

Anyway, so yes, I was talking about the ‘make-out’ session. I hope this is appropriate for a blog. They groomed, at times, for upwards of 5 minutes straight. Both bunnies were relaxed! Eve was demanding most of the grooming…and Dorian was delivering. But, after doing that many times, Eve actually groomed Dorian! This was the first time we have seen her groom him.

Dorian’s mounting was not as frequent as Thursday’s session, so this is good. He still tries to groom her butt, but he is learning that she doesn’t like that.

We are very, very proud of the bunnies. Yeah!
-Rachel: HRN Member-

A photographer from the Somerville Journal was here just now. He was getting pictures for an article about HRN/my rabbits/rabbit rescue/ Easter that should appear in the paper next Thursday, April 6, or so I hope.
He wanted a picture of my husband, myself and BOTH rabbits (who, of course, are not friends yet). Haha! And he wanted us holding them. So, I had Peter (my husband) hold Eve who is strong and hates being picked up. I held Dorian. But most of these pictures had them squirming and us making faces because they were squirming. I think we got one alright picture in this pose. I almost want the caption in the paper to be “what not to do with your rabbts: hold them when they don’t want to be held and get them close to each other when they are not yet friends.” They were moderately well behaved considering we were doing the picture in Eve’s territory (so she thinks). I was just happy that they didn’t go totally crazyThen we put Eve down and let her run around and she was a doll. She was a total flirt with the photographer and even layed down to pose for him on several occasions. He got much better pictures of just her than I could ever get. She must have enjoyed the attention, or just was happy that we weren’t picking her up.

No matter how many times I said they didn’t like to be picked up, he still wanted us to do it! He was definitely charmed by Eve’s flirting, though, so I think he got a really good impression of bunnies overall (and we need to show people that bunnies are really cool, smart and nice).

I think there might be two pictures accompanying the article, so, hopefully one of Eve ‘basking in all the attention’ and one of ‘what not to do with your bunnies.’ Let’s hope the article is great!
-Rachel: HRN Member-

Suzanne said we could graduate from the bathtub to a bigger area, but we didn’t have too much time, so we just had another bathtub session. We will move things out of the bathtub soon…

I think we are still making progress. There was a fair amount of grooming. Eve has been very relaxed for these sessions, so she just sits down, like a confident bunny and feisty little Dorian, who is easily distracted, does whatever he feels like at the moment. Dorian often grooms Eve’s face…we usually have treats so our hands smell like treats. We will tap, lightly, near Eve’s face and ears, and he starts licking, presumably looking for the treats, but he does actually groom for awhile. He loves taking care of her ears and even cleaned the inside of her ears. She is a clean bunny now!

The “negative” things I am seeing is that he has started mounting her often. I know this isn’t bad, but she gets pretty annoyed. He actually tries to mate and rips some fur out in the process (fur from her back). He isn’t “violent” or anything, she doesn’t get hurt, but she doesn’t like it. We only let him do it for a bit until she gets annoyed, then we stop him. There is chasing, too. It is always Dorian chasing Eve. We let him do that just for a bit, then we calm him down so she doesn’t get annoyed.

Dorian is very easily distracted. He will be grooming her and being nice, then he will hear a weird noise or something and run off. I suspect his is just his personality.

Just the fact that I can get him to calm down and groom her gives me confidence that this will eventually work. Eve is being a total saint and putting up with a lot. I think she does actually like him. During the most recent sessions, she has done several side flops and so has he. She usually seems very comfortable except when he chases or mounts. She obviously enjoys the grooming.

Will the mounting stop and will he stop chasing her? I hope so.

Still no fights, just many stomps. Both of them love stomping…
-Rachel: HRN Member-

Due to certain circumstances, Missy and Chloe are back in HRN care. Currently, this sweet pair of 2 year old mini rex sisters are residing with me and it will be difficult to let them go when the time comes. They don’t mind being held at all and are quite lovable little girls.
Missy, grey and white, is a bit on the shy side, but with a some time and lots of TLC, I know she will come out of her shell and show you her love. I can see it happening already as she meets me at the edge of her xpen each time I enter the room.
Chloe, black and white, is the outgoing one that will run through the Quik-tubes at the speed of light! She’s very protective of her sister too. Missy was put on medication when she came into my care and each time I had to give it to her, Chloe was right there beside me, digging at my arm or leg to get away from her sister. Too cute! Both girls love to get head rubs and their litter box habits are good as well. Soon, these girls will be ready for their forever home…will it be yours?
-Shannon: HRN Volunteer-

I think we had a good bonding session last night with Eve and Dorian. We tried the bathtub again, because it was working. After some chasing, grunting and Eve escaping (she jumped out and ran all over the house) we had some good things happen.

Eve flopped on her side!! She rarely does this. I think she was submitting to him because he is definitely trying to be the dominant bunny. For the rest of the session, she was nervous, but at the same time, oddly relaxed and lay on her belly, did more side flops, etc. He also did a couple side flops!! He doesn’t like having us ‘move’ him closer to her, he would rather do it on his own. Eve, on the other hand, knows that WE are the boss, so we can move her around. Too bad she is heavier.

While Eve was laying on her stomach in her ‘flat bunny’ pose (with head and ears up, not the ‘super-flat bunny’) he came over and groomed her ears, and MARKED her ears with his chin. Yeah! I guess she belongs to him now. She was cool with that. She has gone from the agressor to letting him be dominant. I think she is learning.

The only thing she doesn’t like; he tries to groom her butt. Is this normal? He isn’t rough or anything but she doesn’t like it much. He does it a bit, then she stomps, then he runs off. He sometimes gets rough with the grooming of her back, too, and she eventually gets annoyed.

Neither of them are biters, so there have been no teeth, no injuries, nothing like that. Just a lot of stomps, grunts and heavy breathing.

They were grooming themselves close to each other and they eating greens together. They don’t like the same treats with the exception of cranberries. Dorian could care less aout Eve’s ‘hamster food obsession’ (which we theorize developed because of her jealousy of Esther, the hamster). Dorian is not *as* excited about greens either and Eve inhales them (as if we deprive her).

Strangely, Dorian doesn’t seem too excited about anything at all. He is very, uh, sulky. Kind of like Eeyore the donkey. However, he does get excited for his play time and does beautiful binkies. He can get amazing height.

All this progress has occured in the bathtub, so I don’t know what will happen if we move them elsewhere. I did notice, however, that Eve, after this bonding session, totally stopped marking the side of her x-pen (her play area, which they are both using for separate play time) that faces his cage. For the first two days, she was laying TONS of poops right there, marking where the territories are divided. Now, this has TOTALLY stopped, after this one bonding session. Could it be a fluke? I don’t think so.

We didn’t get great pictures last night…we wanted to get them cuddling. There were cuddles, but the camera noise scares them (especially Dorian) and screws up our pictures. I will try again tonight with the camera!
-Rachel: HRN Member-

My rabbit, Velvet, likes to lick me. He will lick my hands, feet, and sometimes my face. If I lay on the floor on my stomach, he will jump on my back, smell my hair, then lick my head. I think he thinks he is grooming me. The sensation tickles. Also, anytime I laugh at something he is doing, he stops, his head pops up and his ears go up.
He really should be used to my laugh, as the rabbits make me laugh on a regular basis. He will take treats out of my hand, and if I am looking at a newspaper, he will do a behavior he knows he is not supposed to do to get my attention. I really love it when I see him “binky”, which he will do quite often. In these two pictures, you can see Velvet licking both my leg, and my hand.
-Karen: HRN Member-

Henry is a very handsome Lop eared guy.
When you first meet him, he will come across as timid or shy and move to the furthest corner of his cage and sit still until he feels it is safe to move. Be patient with him, extend your hand to him slowly and give him a few gentle pets around his big beautiful ears and he definitely will warm up some. Before you know it he will be coming to the cage door to see if it is the person who gives him those great “scrufties” and presenting himself to receive them! After the first time I spent interacting with Henry, he kissed my nose through the bars of his cage just before I left. Guess who I think is a pretty special boy!

All bunnies are innately curious and Henry is no exception. Once at ease, he will investigate with the best of them. He loves to chin and nose everything quite thoroughly, just to let everyone (especially other bunnies) know that this is his property.
Henry will definitely grow on you and would love have you take him home with you. Come meet him in person at his HRN foster mom’s house and I’m sure you will agree!
-Tricia & Tom: HRN Members-

I think ‘Dorian’ is working as a new name for Pete for now. I am a musician, so I am thinking of ‘dorian mode’ (try playing all the white keys on your piano from D to D and you get dorian mode). It seems Dorian (the rabbit) is a bit of a sulky bun…especially when he is in his cage. Well, ‘dorian mode’ is a pretty sulky mode, so I think it might just work. I am going to play some pieces for him in dorian mode on my viola da gamba soon and see if he likes it…he is going to have to get used to me practicing, after all, he is living with two musicians now…
Here’s Dorian!

We started with them in the kitchen, but I really think the x-pen area was too big. There were little scuffles. Eve was very scared and kept trying to get out. They just wanted to be at either end of the x-pen! When we tried to get them closer, it wasn’t extremely successful.

We decided to bring them into the bathtub again so we could get them to be friendly before we were done with the bonding for the evening. It is a smaller area and seems to be working better than the kitchen. After we calmed Eve down, we did a ‘forced cuddle’ which went fairly well, eventually with Dorian burying his face in Eve’s side. She wasn’t thrilled, but she put up with it.

We couldn’t take pictures in the bathtub…Dorian is really afraid of the camera, so we didn’t want to make him more nervous.

So far, Eve is mainly the agressor when there are small problems! Also, Dorian does the ‘rough grooming’ when he gets close enough to Eve. She doesn’t particularly like it.

We let them play in the same area at separate times in the living room. We are letting them play with the same toys. Dorian marks everything with his chin. Eve doesn’t seem to care that things smell weird. They are very friendly to each other through the bars of the cages, as you can see from the photo.

Will they ever be friends?
-Rachel: HRN Member-

Quentin was transferred last weekend from the MSPCA to HRN because he wasn’t thriving at the MSPCA. Well Quentin couldn’t get out of there fast enough! He left in a card board carrier on March 25 but not before leaving a nice wet puddle on the floor to let the nice people at the MSPCA know exactly what he thought of them. Silly bunny hadn’t quiet figured out how lucky he was to have been brought there after running lose in the streets of Revere.

We got in the car and Quentin was happy as can be. I opened up half of the carrier and Quentin the fearless bunny spent the next 15 minutes on his hind legs with his front paws and head (and huge gray gorgeous ears) out of the carrier so he could look out the window, check out this strange large creature who helped him in his MSPCA break, and sniff around at that funny mix of dog, bunny, and people smells in my car. At one point I hit the breaks and he slipped back down into the carrier, thumped to express his annoyance with my driving abilities, and climbed back up for a better view.

Confident that I was not taking him back to the MSPCA, Quentin then decided that his cardboard carrier was simple not properly arranged and proceeded to dig at the hay until it was all on one side and them flop down on the plain cardboard. Unable to resist a flopped bun, I reached in there to steal a quick head pet and bun rub. He didn’t mind at all and stayed there flopped for the rest of the trip.

Once at Suzanne’s house (AKA the bunny hotel) I took Quentin out of the carrier and snuggled him for half an hour. He holds great and trances easily. Don’t tell him, but he looked pretty funny upside down in my arms mouth slightly open, eyes close, and huge back foot sticking out. I didn’t want to let him go but eventually I put him in his cage. He was none to fond of the idea and thump thump thumped to let us all know about it.

After giving Quentin some time to get more comfortable with his new surroundings, I went in for another hold, snuggle and trance to which he didn’t object at all. Content that Quentin was adjusting nicely I put him down, grabbed my things, and shot out of there as fast as I could. Had I stayed a minute longer Quentin would have taken the record for briefest stay at HRN and been adopted by me!

Good luck finding a new home Quinten. I’m sure someone (besides me) will fall in love with all of that personality quickly!
-Jessica: HRN Member-

This post is the excerpts from my personal journal about the bonding process we experienced with our bunnies Beanbag & Lookout. From start to finish, the bonding process has taken us 2 full months, 8 weeks, which I am told is a long bonding process. I’m hoping that the dates in this post will provide others with a sort of timeframe for the bonding process. Some bonds take very little time to establish, for Beanbag and Lookout, there was a lot of negotiating to do along the way. I’ve tried not to censor my comments except for in omitting personal and irrelevant information in the hopes that it will give you a real understanding of the time it takes to develop a bond. There are certainly days when we worked on bonding with Beanbag and Lookout that aren’t written about in this post. But I hope that it will help others to understand the process. To continue on to read about the bonding experience, click here for (more…)

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