Category Archives: Pet Bunnies

Rabbit_Heaven_by_bruisedlee

A Place to Grieve the Loss of your Pet Rabbit

Every person handles grief from a pet differently.  After the initial shock of the death of your pet rabbit, you may feel a sense of pain, loss and even guilt. Never let anyone convince you that you are “silly” to be grieving the loss of your pet rabbit. Any other dog, cat, or rabbit owner will understand and be able to empathize with you. I know I do. Losing a pet is many times like losing a family member. Sometimes it even feels worse, as you provided  care, love and affection every day. I know what I miss most of all is the way my bunny made me feel, the joy and laughter they brought me!

Feel free to share your favorite memories- or to express your sadness …. We’re all rabbit lovers here…

 

 

Helping Your Living Rabbit Handle the Death of his Bonded Pair

When my rabbit Meadow lost his best friend Cinnabun, this was a new field for me. I’d had rabbits before but always one at a time. Cinnabun died suddenly, and without cause, so naturally I was very worried about how Meadow would do without him.

I did some immediate reading on how to help Meadow cope with Cinnabun’s death and the first thing I found was from a vet who specialized in rabbits. He suggest I take Cinnabun’s body and show it to Meadow. It was awful and really difficult to do this, but Meadow hopped over, sniffed his dear friend, and said his goodbye (fairly quickly) and hopped away. And that was that. He knew he was dead and this way, would not be “waiting” for him to get back. If it’s not too late for you to do this step, I suggest it.

That first night, I slept in Meadow’s room. Camped out on the floor, left his cage open so he could be with me and have a cuddle buddy if he needed it, or give him the option of just being by himself. I don’t quite remember which he chose, but I think it made me feel a little better and get a bit of sleep, which I know I would have got none of staring at the ceiling in my bedroom.

The next few days I was a mess. We did a nice funeral for Cinnabun. For Meadow, we gave LOTS OF LOVE, HUGS, and of course TREATS. Lots  and lots of treats. And my Meadow loves massages, so lots of those too. I tried to be with him as much as possible. And again, I think it was more for me. I am not sure how animals grieve but I tend to think my animals have personalities and are smart, so I am sure he was sad. When I am sad, I don’t like to be alone, so I gave Meads lots of love and attention. For days, weeks, and months. Me and him. If his best buddy had to leave him, I certainly wasn’t going to. We both were going to be okay.

….And you will. You will all be okay. You, your family, your children, your other bunny. I can still think about my very first bunny Rabby and how I threw myself on the cage after she died, weeping. I can still remember how hard my mother and especially my father took her death. She was a great pet and she gave us all such happy family memories, it is still hard to think about her and not get sad.

As far as moving on and finding him a new buddy, make sure this is something you want to do. Because it may or may NOT work out. Seriously. For me, it didn’t, the first time around. ( I wouldn’t do it any sooner than 6 months, if you are thinking of it  – Please let your family and your rabbit properly grieve. ) Anyway, after about 6 months, we got a lop and turns out big ol’ lops aren’t the most lovey-dovey. Meadow is a European dwarf and ended up going from the dominant in his relationship with Cinnabun to the submissive with our big lop Blackberry. It didn’t work and honestly I was not about to put poor Meadow, who lost his best buddy, through being tortured into a submissive position. So these 2 had to be separated. You can read my other article about how to try and bond pairs and how it may not work – and also my other article on how I got my “engagement bunny” Bobby Carats, and how well he is working out with Meadow. Lucky for me, second time was a charm and lightning struck twice for my Meadow, who is now happy and cuddling with a new buddy. It’s a relief and I feel it was heaven sent for him from Cinnabun.

XO

Rabbit Litter Pan Training Made Easy

STEP 1: Rabbits instinctively use a specific corner of their cage as a toilet. Watch carefully for which corner your pet uses. Attach the litter pan in this corner.

*TIP* Discourage your pet rabbit from using the other corners by placing a bed in one corner, a water bottle in one corner, and a food dish in the remaining corner.

STEP 2: Place litter in the bottom of the little pan. (I like to use the small bits of recycled paper they sell. I have experimented with all different types of litter but my rabbits like this best because sometime they can read (haha I mean chew!) a small bit of paper while they “go”. Lock the littler pan in the predetermined spot.

*TIP* During the litter training process, to insure recognition of the litter pan as the toilet, place a small amount of your rabbits wet bedding and droppings in the litter pan on a daily basis. This will help your recognize this as the spot to use!

STEP 3: Routinely clean the litter pan. I put in just enough to soak up a few days urine, and clean the pan twice-three times a week. This way the room never gets smelly and also my rabbit’s bottoms are always nice and dry. If you have rabbits like mine, sometimes they like to sit in the litter pan for awhile, or even mini-nap!

*TIP* Don’t use strong cleaners on the littler pan. The toilet needs to smell like their toilet. If you empty the litter and change it routinely, you can just do one major actual cleaning of the litter pan a month and that should be fine.

Good Luck!

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How to Bond Pet Rabbits

My bunny Meadow was bonded for years to Cinnabun. They were truly best friends. Then Cinnabun passed away. Later, we fell in love with Blackberry and thought we would try to bond the 2. It was short-lived and Blackberry did not seem like the type of bunny who actually liked other bunnies. Now, months later, with my engagement, a new bunny, Bobby Carats, came to be a member of our family. Knowing what we know about Meadow, how loving he is, and how he has bonded before, we thought we’d give it another try. AND IT WORKED!

Bonding your bunnies is a nice thing to do, if you can. While you are at work, they will have a friend to pass time with, cuddle with, share food with, play with. I mean, imagine living a life alone in a cage with no friends?! Sounds awful to me. Unfortunately, sometimes, like with Blackberry, one bunny does not have a temperament conducive to bonding.

There is no guarantee your bunnies will bond, but it  is worth a try. It has now worked for me twice. So here are some HELPFUL BONDING STEPS  that may help your rabbit bond with another buddy.

1. Make sure both bunnies are fixed. In both my cases, I had one bunny first, fixed, alone for a few months. Then I decided to get a second a few months later. Keeping them separate from the very start, I only introduced them weeks after the second had been fixed and was well recovered from surgery.

2. Introduce the bunnies in small doses of time, in a neutral space. Neutral space can be a room they have both never been in, or even a bathtub.

3. Do this for a few weeks. It will definitely take some patience, but it is important.

4. Keep the bunnies living quarters separate, but move them closer. Since Meadow lives in a hutch I put the hutch separator in and let the other bunny live on the other side. This way they get to know one another, and after a while, they long for the separator to be taken out, so they can finally lay together! If you don’t have a hutch with these capabilities, stick their cages right next to one another.

5. If things are looking good, try them together, supervised of course! Maybe put out a nice treat of parsley for them to sit and share, and see how this first, longer dinner meeting goes!

Trick:  A trick that works is to bond bunnies over a “scary event”. Put them in a carry case together and take them on a bumpy car ride, or run the vaccuum with them out. Sometimes it takes a scary event to bring humans together, so there is no reason this couldn’t work for rabbits.

Helpful Tip: Give bunnies separate poop stations. With both situations I have been in, the bunnies seemed to like to have separate places to do their business! It may keep the peace!

 

 

Fatty Halloween

Farewell to Fatty the Bunny

I thought I would share the special story of Fatty the Bunny from the Anderson’s, who are missing their bun very much. I’m sure Fatty is happy as he has joined all the other bunnies in Bunny Heaven who’ve been loved and had to leave us too soon. Rest in peace, Fatty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Maria Anderson;

“We found our rabbit, Fatty, at the Pet Shanty in 2003 when he was about a year old. Chris, the owner of the store sold him as a baby and, because he loves his animals, took him back when the people he sold him to could no longer care for him.  When I first saw him in his cage, he was lying on his belly, feet straight out behind him, looking like a giant bear.  He noticed me looking at him, jumped up, and put his paw on the cage looking at me like he knew me. I asked if I could hold him and he cuddled right into me like we were long lost friends.  I ran and found my husband in the store and asked if we could get him and he couldn’t say no.   Fatty was such a funny, feisty bunny.  He would run circles around my feet when he was happy, sit up and beg for treats,  pull on our pant legs and shoelaces, and run laps around the house until he found just the right spot where he would lay flat on his stomach, legs out behind him, and relax.  If he didn’t feel like playing, he would honk and grunt to let us know he needed his space.  He didn’t like to snuggle but he would put his nose right in your hand to pet him and if you stopped, he would nudge you like he was saying, “don’t stop yet.” He was also so smart–I remember giving him a toy box and he watched me as I picked it up and put it down. Then he came over to me very quietly, picked it up and put it down, and then nudged it toward me, like he was saying, “your turn now.”  Fatty was also a great friend to our dog Guthrie and our other rabbit Beans.  When we brought Fatty home in 2003, he was completely at home with Guthrie — a giant Newfie/Lab mix.  Fatty would nudge Guthrie and run away, and lay near Guthrie when he wasn’t feeling well.  When Guthrie died in 2007, we thought Fatty needed a new friend and we got Beans, a disabled spotted Lop.  It took a while for Fatty to accept another rabbit but once he did, he would leave his cage and go into Beans’ cage just to snuggle. Fatty died on 7/26/11 and we all miss him so much.”

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Rabbits are the “YIN” of “YIN/YANG”

A cool fact that not many people know about rabbits::

The Rabbit is the symbol of the Moon (YIN- Night time), while the Peacock is the symbol of the Sun (YANG- Day time).

This represents the YIN and YANG of life.

In this Year of the Rabbit (2011), on nights of a full moon, go outside and gaze at the Rabbit YIN Moon. Imagine the glow of the moon flowing into your body and filling you with fearlessness, love, courage and wisdom — all the characters that a rabbit possesses!

The first full moon of the month of February is February 18.

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Observing “Lepus”, the Rabbit Constellation

Did you know that there is a constellation in the sky that is in the shape of a rabbit?

Lepus (Latin for Hare) is a constellation located in ancient times by 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy. It is one of the modern day 88 constellations.

Because the Greek tale is told that Lepus was subject to Orion the Hunter, he is positioned underneath Orion’s feet and next to Orion’s hunting dog, Canis Major. In ancient Egypt, the stars of Orion were worshipped as an all-powerful god. To eat the rabbit would bring the character of timidity to a man, whereas to eat a horse would bring the character of swiftness.

FINDING THE RABBIT CONSTELLATION “LEPUS”.

The constellation Lepus can best be seen on winter evenings, close to the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere.  He can be found under Orion. Throughout the winter nights, Lepus will move slowly from the southeast to the southwest.

Lepus’ brightest star located in the middle of the hare’s body, is called Alpha Leporis, (Arneb, meaning ‘the hare’ in Arabic). It lies in the middle of the animal’s body. The stars Kappa, Iota, Lambda and Nu Leporis form an easily recognizable trapezoid and form the hare’s ears. Look in your binoculars for the brightest star, Arneb, found south-southeast of Rigel. Gamma Leporis is Arneb’s faint yellow companion.

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2011 is the Year of the Rabbit!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit!

The Chinese New Year is February 3, 2011 through January 22, 2012.  According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit is a lucky sign.  It brings a year for negotiation, for you to relax and to de-stress and calm your nerves.   To gain the greatest benefits from the Year of the Rabbit,  focus on  family, create a peaceful lifestyle, and be diplomatic with any problem that may arise.

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Traveling with Your Pet Rabbit by Car

Traveling with your rabbit in a car can be easy …or very stressful! Trips to the vet that are just a 10 to 20 minute drive can easily wear on your rabbit.

Not a Head Rest but a Meads Rest! Meadow is not a rabbit who enjoys car travel. He gets very stressed by the ride to the vet and it takes him a good while and lots of rubs to relax again. I can see him panicking in the carrier, so when I am not driving, while good or bad, I let him ride on my lap. In one particular occassion, he decided he would quickly scramble up and smush himself behind my neck and the car seat. Funny enough, that spot seemed to do the trick to calm him down.

If your rabbit does not travel well, do not make him travel unnecessarily. If car travel cannot be avoided, make the drive as comfortable as possible for your bunny.

FEEDING AND GIVING WATER TO YOUR RABBIT WHILE TRAVELING LONG DISTANCE.

Bring your rabbits favorite treats to ease his worries, as long as any of his everyday hay. Pack some water bottles filled with the usual water you give your rabbit so they do not need to adapt. The water bottles may drip while en route, so stop and give your rabbit plenty of opportunities to eat and drink.

KEEP YOUR RABBIT OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT, WITH GOOD VENTILATION.

It is important that while you are driving long-distance, your rabbit will remain out of direct sunlight. It can cause your rabbit to overheat.

Watch the temperature in the car. Make sure the carrier or box the rabbit is in is well-ventilated, but also make sure there are no cold drafts drifting in.

Another important factor may seem silly, but do not blast your music. This can cause stress to your rabbit and make his drive very unpeaceful.

COMPLETING A LONG CAR RIDE WITH YOUR RABBIT.

Upon completion of a long car trip with your bunny, spend lots of time keeping an eye on them, make sure if they seemed stressed at the time that within a half-hour they have begun to relax. Some extra love, maybe a good massage, may just do the trick!

Traveling with your Pet Rabbit by Airplane

DECIDING TO FLY WITH YOUR PET RABBIT.

When given the option to either subject my pet rabbit to a 24-hour drive or a 2.5-hour flight, I decided the flight was the “lesser of two evils”. My rabbit, Meadow does not do well in the car. Even on a 10 minute drive to the vet, he shakes and shutters as if he is having a mild heart-attack. So although I was nervous about the “unknowns” of how he would handle himself on a flight, I knew that he would never make the drive.

Obviously, if you do not have to take your rabbit on the trip with you, don’t. If you are going on a vacation, find a pet sitter. Have a friend stop by and visit and keep an eye on your bunny while you are away. If you are moving to a different city or state, then you will have to weigh your options. Some rabbits, particularly young ones, will do just fine in a car for a long drive. Make sure they have a comfortable bed (some towels will do fine) and plenty of hay. And since the water bottle will probably leak as the car bumps on the road, make sure you take plenty of breaks to let your rabbit have water.  Find a pet-friendly hotel for the night when you stop and never leave your rabbit unattended in the vehicle.

FEED YOUR RABBIT LAVENDER BOTANICAL HAY.

I learned an incredibly helpful tip, courtesy of The Brookdale Pet Center (Bloomfield, NJ)….BOTANICAL HAY. The night before the flight, feed your rabbit a meal of just botanical hay. The ingredients include lavender, and will relax and mellow your bunny and take away any of your rabbits’ pre-flight jitters.

CHOOSING AN AIRLINE THAT LETS YOUR RABBIT FLY IN-CABIN.

First matter of business when you decide to fly with your rabbit is to choose an airline that is going to let you take your bunny in the cabin. I traveled with Continental Airlines and they were wonderful. Although the rabbit’s “seat” cost around $200, they were very kind about letting me board and it seemed well worth the cost.  The other passengers were surprised to see a rabbit boarding the plane and were also very kind to this nervous Bunny Mom!
When you get to security let them walk the rabbit through with you. I got a ride on one of those carts to get to the gate as soon as possible. At the gate, I took him out and pet him until it was time to board. Thankfully, the lavender hay seemed to keep him nice and calm!

PURCHASE THE PROPER AIRLINE-SPECIFIC CAGE FOR YOUR RABBIT.

You have to get a carrier that will fit under the seat and the airline should have specific dimensions of the carrier.  A tip I learned about flying with rabbits is to get a cage that has a “sliding door” on top. I was able to reach down, albeit uncomfortably, and pet Meadow to let him know I was there and to check that  his breathing was normal and he was fine.

MAKING YOUR RABBIT COMFORTABLE ON HIS FLIGHT.

Make sure your rabbit is comfortable during the flight. The in-cabin air can sometimes be cold, and below the seat may be drafty, so make sure he has plenty of comfortable bedding. Because flights are bumpy, it’s a good idea to put a nice heavy blanket between the cage and the cabin floor, to lessen the impact of any turbulence. Also make sure your rabbit has plenty of hay and treats for the flight, and a water bottle on the cage if you are on a long flight, because you will not be able to take the rabbit from its cage.

Meadow flew from New Jersey to Florida successfully, and did really well. The car ride from the airport to our new home, now, that’s another story!

Grieving the Loss of Your Beloved Pet Rabbit

WHY DID MY PET RABBIT DIE?

Rabbits are very fragile creatures. Although they have a longer lifespan (up to 12 years), they can become sick or die suddenly. Rabbits are prone to heart attacks, from coming in contact with a dog or cat, being scared suddenly, or from stress due to uncomfortable car rides. A good owner will know that rabbits take a lot of care and work, as they have sensitive systems and need just the right amount and type of food and water, and attention. Perhaps your rabbit died of old age. Or maybe your rabbit died suddenly and for no apparent reason.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO GRIEVE THE LOSS OF YOUR PET RABBIT.

After the initial shock of the death of your pet rabbit, you may feel a sense of pain, loss and even guilt. First off, never let anyone convince you that you are “silly” to be grieving the loss of your pet rabbit. Any other dog, cat, or rabbit owner will understand and be able to empathize with you. Losing a pet is many times like losing a family member.You provided daily care, love and affection. You will miss cuddling up with them on the couch and petting them goodnight. Take your time to grieve.

Every person handles grief from a pet differently. Some like to talk about their pet to ease the pain, others may cry, others may be quiet. Tell a friend about any guilt you may feel – and then let it go.

The death of your pet rabbit may be a large blow to a child, who has rarely dealt with matters of death. It is important to let them grieve as well. And to encourage them to grieve in positive ways, such as writing a story or drawing a photo of the pet and the memorable things they used to do together.

OTHER PETS IN YOUR HOME MAY BE GRIEVING.

The other furry friends in your household may be grieving as well. Pay close attention to signs of any strange behavior or loss of appetite. And spend some extra time with those pets to reassure them that everything will be fine.

If one rabbit of a “bonded pair” is to die, please see my other article, which contains some important information on how to handle and care for the remaining rabbit, and deal with his struggles and sadness.

SAYING GOODBYE TO A BELOVED PET RABBIT.

It is never easy to say goodbye to a great friend. I still get teary-eyed when I think of my first bunny, Rabby. She was a wonderful rabbit and I still miss her everyday. I imagine how things would have been had she lived a longer life (she died in 1994?) and was there for me through middle and high school. But it never came to that. Now I grieve for my bunny Cinnabun, who I lost in 2010 and never got to make the move with us to Florida. I think about how sad Meadow is to have lost his absolute best pal. Grieving for Cinnabun opened up old wounds and made me miss Rabby again as well. Just remember that the rabbits who have left this world for Rabbit Heaven will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Many times, the best way to say goodbye is with a nice memorial service. Bury your pet in his or her favorite spot or under a nice tree where you can visit and remember them when you want. Write a story about something they used to do that made you smile. You can share this with others at the ceremony or keep it to yourself. Go ahead and cry and let your emotions out. Losing a pet is something most people understand and can sympathize with. Ask your friends and family members to share a story as well.

Frame a picture of your bunny and keep it somewhere in your house so you can remember their precious  furry face.

AFTER YOUR GRIEVING PERIOD,  GIVE LOVE TO A NEW PET RABBIT.

When your grieving period is absolutely over, do not hesitate to get a new pet rabbit, especially if you are a loving owner with lots of time and energy to give. You have so much love to give, and there is a bunny out there who would benefit from a loving home such as yours. Open your heart to a new companion. You know that this new rabbit will never replace the old, but you can get to know your new friend, love him in a different way,  and let him cheer you up!

If this was your only bunny, do good, save a life and visit a shelter. There are such wonderful bunnies in shelters who are looking for a new home and a chance at some real love!

If you are looking to find a new partner for the living half of a “bonded pair”, please see my article on bonded pairs, which will give you important information on selecting a possible new mate.