All posts by JP

Misguided rollercoaster, leaf blowing about in the wind, exploring life through all senses. Hopefully growing wiser as the years go by. Usually writing but occasionally posting a video: http://www.youtube.com/user/JTTJComp

Developing Trust

I wish that I could take a picture of him but every time I move, he sits up and opens his eyes to see what I am doing.

I attempted with the camera but when he hears the zoom sound, he sits up and checks what’s going on.  I tried with the phone but zooming on the phone camera is shite and results in a pixelated “WTF is that?” kind of picture.

One day, one day, I will get a good photo of him sleeping and I will show you.  It is the most sweetest thing ever!

It is an honour and a privilege to witness Paris Bunny sleeping because:
a) He is moody.  Sometimes he’ll let you touch him, sometimes he won’t.  Most times he won’t even let you look at him and he sneaks from box to box to keep his “out in the open” time minimal.
b) He is overly cautious.  If you place anything new in his area he will stare at it for ages and then creep up to it halfway and then run away.  He does this process over and over, getting closer and closer until he finally gets close enough and familiar enough with whatever it is to realise it’s not going to hurt him.
c) He is skittish.  Lots of times he’ll run away at the tiniest sound and hide in his box (which is in his hutch) aka his panic room.  In this box, he can’t see you, you can’t see him.  Best of all, you can’t touch him.  The box is small and dark and for him, safe and he stays in there a lot.  It’s his favourite to sleep.
d) Being a prey animal, bunnies tend to sleep with their eyes open so they can see danger coming.
e) To help them escape quickly and run if danger comes, they tend to sleep with all 4 feet firmly planted on the ground
f) They tend to keep their vulnerable parts protected (tummy to ground so you only ever see their back, head close to body so their neck isn’t too exposed).

So… when I glance over to see Paris lying down completely on his side, on his blanket, feet stretched out, exposing his white belly, gently breathing, laying in his hutch (outside of his box), there is an automatic “awwwwwww” that comes out of my heart and a real sense that “We’re doing something right.”

Afterall, a skittish, scaredy-cat bunny doesn’t end up that relaxed just ’cause.

Today, I witnessed him in a deep sleep.  His ears twitched and so did his legs (like a dog shakes its leg when presumably running in their dream).  His eyes were completely shut and then he started tilting his head back and moving his mouth around like he was mumbling or grinding his teeth.

If he tilted back any more he would have ended up rolling onto his back.  Of course, as soon as I moved to attempt a picture he lifted his head and opened his eyes.

Not wanting to disturb him to the point of making him get up and hide, I just sat there in silence and watched him.  Eventually, he closed his eyes again and put his head back down to sleep.  His sleeping position looks so much like that of a human baby on its side!

This is one picture I’ll have to patiently wait to capture.

Meanwhile, I am chuffed with being able to watch him.  He’s basically shown me that he feels safe enough to allow himself to be that vulnerable, in my presence.

He’s not quite like Rome who flops right by my feet if I’m sitting in his area or by my head when I lie down on the floor.  Paris still keeps a distance which is why I’m having so much trouble with zooming the camera!

But to allow himself a deep and blissful sleep even when I’m around does make me a proud furbaby parent.   We are developing trust.  He is happy, healthy, feels safe and relaxed.  That’s all I could want for my furbaby!

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Holiday Planning with Bunnies

Ever since we got the bunnies, we haven’t been on  holiday.  Not once.  Day trips yes, but not a weekend trip.

There was only once that we were away from them during the night because we missed the last train home and we came home to eaten furniture and quite a few broken electrical cords.  It was very expensive to repair.  Never again.

This is the first time we haven’t gone on holiday in a whole year.

Last year, Tones was on a plane almost every month for work and on top of that, we managed to go to New York, Rome, Sydney, Las Vegas and Costa del Sol.

This year, we’ve been…. nowhere.  Well, Tones went to Dubai and New York for work but that’s it.

To tell you the truth, I haven’t noticed.  Not until now that I have to plan a holiday, have I noticed.

I guess this is what it’s like to have kids, kind of.  What I mean by that is that you’re so preoccupied with the daily activities, a whole year can go by without you noticing.

So, what’s it like planning holidays when you have bunnies?  Stressful.  First and foremost is finding a bunny-sitter of course!  No, you can’t just dump them with anyone.

I change their litters (4 of them, they have 2 litters each) daily.  We feed them and change their water, twice daily.  They have approx. 15 hrs run time, daily.  Albeit, much of it spent sleeping.  In that time, they get groomed, petted and just time spent with them so they don’t feel lonely.  Sometimes I feel like I don’t spend enough time with them.  I just wouldn’t expect any of our friends or neighbours to do what we do.

Enter, the bunny-sitter.  People paid to house, feed , water and spend time with your bunnies when you’re not around to do it.

Who knew it would be so hard to find one?

There are plenty of people advertising their services but after checking availability 2 months ahead of time, some were already booked out.

Some places you could tell were tiny and because we have 2 bunnies that have to be kept separate, we have to pay double for all accommodation.  So, if we pay for each of them to have double length hutches, then we’re effectively paying quadruple for both bunnies and even then, the space just seems so small.

We went to look at a “bunny hotel” yesterday and although very clean, the space was tiny.  Here I am feeling guilty that our bunnies don’t have enough run space and then I see up to 8 bunnies being kept in less space than we keep 1 of ours!

We just couldn’t bare to leave them like that for the time we’re away.  They’re not meant to be kept in a tiny box.  It’s meant to be a holiday, not a prison or punishment for them.

There seems to be a huge misconception that because bunnies are small then their area should be small too.  It’s so far from the truth.  They are tiny beings with huge amounts of energy and their space must reflect the size of their energy, not the size of their physical bodies.

So I’m going back and forth with various people attempting to find one that will give them the space as well as the love and care they will need while we’re away.

I told Tony that we weren’t allowed to book any place that was less than the quality of our own flat (for us).  It looks like these standards have translated to the bunnies’ welfare too.  We just cannot bare to put them in a space smaller than the space we’ve given them.  Not if we already consider the space we’ve given them, quite small.

Rome’s in the hallway for crying out loud.  It shouldn’t be that hard to give him that much room!  They’re supposed to be 5m squared.  He gets just about that incl the stairs and bathroom.  This is why I let him run in the bedroom sometimes, just so he gets more space every now and again.

Paris gets approx. 4.5m squared in the lounge plus the ability to jump on and off the couch but he’s not fenced in so if he wanted to, he could venture another few metres squared on his own and explore the dining/kitchen area.  He’s just a very lazy / non adventurous bunny (lucky for us and the furniture) who keeps to the 4.5m square and barely uses that.

Still, I’d prefer his space to be his choice ie if he wants to use it, it’s there.  If he doesn’t then at least we haven’t confined him to a tiny space and he’s just decided, on his own, that’s all he wants.

Did you know you could hire someone to come visit your home and so you can keep the bunnies at home and someone just comes to feed them?  It’s really expensive, more expensive than taking them to a full time bunny hotel/sitter and they only actually visit for 30mins at a time plus they have full access to your home when you’re not there.  I don’t think 30mins is enough to give the bunnies the affection they need plus I’m not into giving random people access to my home when I’m not around.  So nope, not going with that option.

Who knew finding a bunny sitter would be this hard?  Well, it’s either that or we’re just super picky / finicky parents.  My God…. can you imagine what we’d be like if we had human kids???!!!

So… I’m still searching.  I hope to find and book one soon otherwise I’ll be in a right panic.  They’re out there… somewhere and I will find them!!

Well Behaved Bunnies

It’s finally happened.  I can actually say my boys are well behaved.

What does that mean?

It means:
1.  No more banging and biting the cage wires during the night.
2.  No more peeing anywhere except their designated litters.
3.  No more bugging out each other.

There used to be a time when Paris would visit Rome next to the fence that divided their areas.  They would sit there and stare each other out.  Rome would flop and pretend how wonderful his life was.

Paris would wait and stare at him.  Rome being very impatient would always flinch first and poke his nose through the fence to bite it or to smell Paris.

Paris would sit and wait for this opportune time to bite Rome’s nose off.  He has managed with one bite to make Rome bleed a constant stream of blood from his nose.  I really thought the end of his nose (the little triangle that twitches) was going to fall off.

But… since that day, Paris hasn’t come to taunt Rome and Rome cannot go beyond the fence to taunt Paris, so it’s all been good and quiet.

They are also toilet trained.  Apart from the odd poo that flicks out of their litter when they jump out too quickly, or the wee that has run down an incline and ended up on their foot so they leave little wee foot prints on their towel/mat, 99% of the poo and wee is in their litter which means no more floor wiping and constant sweeping on my part.  YES!!

They are also neutered and their hormones have died down meaning they’re much more chilled out than when we first got them.

Routine!!  It’s the best thing.  They know they’re going to be let out in the morning so they just wait patiently until it happens!  If I’m late at getting them out of their cage, they actually go to sleep while waiting!  So no more banging to say “let me out!”

Also, to go to bed, all I have to say to Paris is “bed time” and he jumps into his hutch without a fuss, quite excitedly because he knows “bed time” also means he’s going to get fed.  Sometimes he even does a little binky dance where he binkies and jumps in and out of his hutch multiple times.  Really, he’s just trying to be where the food is, faster.

With Rome I just say “Ready to go to bed now, Rome?  Come on then!” and he’ll do a binky and then run behind / alongside me in the hallway, down the stairs to the bathroom, through my legs if I’m going too slow for him and straight into his litter.

One time I must have walked too slowly because he actually grunted at me while behind me as if to say “Beep Beep!  Get out of my way!” and then ran through my feet in a real rush getting to his litter long before I got down the stairs.  “C’mon!  I’m in my litter, hurry up!!”

He’s in the top bunk of the hutch so we need to carry him in.  He hates being picked up so, we lift him while he sits in his litter.  No need for chasing him, no need to stress him out with getting grabbed, lifted and manhandled every night.  Instead we’ve worked out our little travellator system.  It works really well!

He still defies me sometimes, well, only when he knows I’m angry at him and will make him do something he doesn’t want to do.   Specifically when he bites the base of the bed and my punishment every time is to kick him out of the bedroom.

I say “Rome!  Come here!”  He will only come half way and then he’ll sit there and groom himself while staring at me.  His eyes will also close half way like a death stare as if to say “You’re not the boss of me, I don’t have to do what you say.”

I stay patient with this because at this point, even though he thinks he’s got the upper hand, he’s not biting the bed anymore which was my goal.

Eventually, after multiple times of “Rome… Come here!”  in different intonations, even though he doesn’t want to, he will come and I will usher him out of the bedroom and close the door.

I think the biggest influencers for getting them to be this way were neutering and routine.   They’ve definitely made life a lot easier by being well behaved and obedient for the most part.

People say that for bunnies, Netherland Dwarfs are the closest in behaviour and personality to cats and dogs.  It’s why I chose this breed.

Tony uses them as therapy.  He’ll just sit quietly with them and pat them for AGES.  Rome will sit still and let Tony pat him for longer than 30mins at a time.

All in all, I’m really happy with the way it’s all turned out.  We’re really enjoying the bunnies and their company.  I don’t even mind the occasional cheekiness because it shows  personality and keeps us entertained.

 

Living a privileged life

This week’s blog is not going to be about the bunnies, yoga, physical health/ailments, food or even DIY natural products and superfood smoothies.  Nope, this week I’m going to talk about wealth.

I was going through this document, the annual Global Wealth Report 2017 because I read an article that said 1% of all adults in the world owned over 50% of global household wealth and I just wanted to understand how this happens.

You’ve heard it before, “The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer.” and now…. the 1% are worth 50% of the global population’s net worth put together.

Yes it’s the great headline about the disparity between rich and poor, designed to conjure up all sorts of emotions around “It’s not fair!”

But life isn’t fair.  It never was and it never will be.  We each come to this world with our own advantages and disadvantages whether they’re physical, mental, emotional or monetary and we arrive with any combination and number of those.

The question is, how do we deal with the cards we’ve been given?  And… are our cards really that bad?  How do we make good out of what we’ve got?  How well do we use the advantage we’ve been given?

It reminds me of this exercise on understanding privilege.

So back to this report…. the thing that I couldn’t get past when looking through the report was that 91% of the world adult population (ie does not count the entire world population because children are not included) has a net worth of less than $100K (USD) per adult.

Upon reading this, I was incredulous.  I really couldn’t understand how so many people had so little.

Since this teacher’s exercise on his $100 race, was so enlightening, I decided to do the same process for wealth:

  1. Take 2 steps forward if you don’t live in a third world country.

Source:  https://www.worlddata.info/average-income.php

These are average YEARLY incomes in USD.

If you were in Burma, it would take you 100 years to earn $100,000 USD.

People in third world countries have shorter life expectancy (40 years vs 80 years in the first world).  That means, it will take them 2.5 life times to earn $100K and many more years to save it!

2.  Take 2 steps forward if you don’t live in a second world country.

Adults in second world countries aren’t much better, earning about USD $2,500-$5,000 per year.

Just on earning potential alone, the entire second and third world population is left behind.  The developing world countries make up about 80% of the global population.  This now leaves only 20% of adults, all living in first world countries, in the lead.

Still think your life is unfair?

3.    Take 2 steps forward if you are 30yo or older.

Adults just coming of age at 18 would not automatically have $100K and will take time to earn, save and invest it.

4.  Take 2 steps forward if you have received an inheritance or help from parents over $25K.

Many people can make the $100K on their own but how much easier is it to be given a little step up?  You know, to be able to stand on the shoulders of those who stood before you?

5.  Take 2 steps forward if you haven’t gone through a divorce.

Not only do you split your accumulated wealth into 2 with a divorce, there’s the cost of lawyers and uneven splits of wealth depending on how many children you have, whether they’re still minors and who’s taken custody of them and how angry your partner is…

Divorce has been the financial demise of many a person.  Some people recover from it, some people don’t.

6.  Take 2 steps forward if you haven’t lost your money in a failed business.

You’ve heard those stats right?
80% of entrepreneurs fail within 18 months of starting a business.
50% of businesses fail within 5 years.

Whether or not those stats are accurate, businesses can be big financial risks that more often than not, don’t work.

Similar to marriages, some people just don’t learn and risk it all more than a few times.

7.  Take 2 steps forward if you’re not yet in retirement.

Retirement eats away at your nest egg.  If most of it is savings and not in high yield investments that will cover your living and lifestyle expenses plus inflation year on year, the longer you live, the less you’ll have.

8.  Take 2 steps forward for every $10K over $50K you earn per year.  So eg.  if you earn $60K, you’ll take 2 steps, earn $70K, you take 4 steps etc.

Simple logic, assuming you save proportionately the same amount of your income, you will get to $100K a lot faster if you earn more.

9.  Take 2 steps forward if you don’t have any pets or children.

Let’s face it, kids cost money and most pets of the privileged are treated just like kids.

10.  Take 2 steps forward if you’ve learned how to save and invest your money wisely.

And here it is, how only 9% of the adults of the world make it over $100K in net worth and stay there.  If you keep going with this exercise, that’s how you separate the more privileged of the already privileged.

This is where I lose my incredulity and get smacked in the face with what reality is like for the rest of the world and find some humility and gratitude for my own life and where I am.

Especially in those times where we think we have it rough, we need a little reminder of just how fortunate we actually are.

Learning about health via the bunnies

Sickness – this time it’s not just me, it’s the bunnies too.

Every morning when I go to let the bunnies out, as soon as I open the hutch door, Paris jumps out.  He never misses it, he’s out like lightening, his timing is impeccable.

Every morning when I feed the bunnies, as soon as it’s Paris’ turn to get his nuggets aka pellets, he runs, jumps and scurries everywhere in excitement.

This morning however, he ignored the opened door.  When I put his food out, he came outside to smell it tentatively, as if it were foreign.  He then ran back inside his hutch.

I took the food and put it right in front of his nose and mouth and he rejected it.  He sniffed it and turned his head away.

Not a good sign for a bunny.  They will never turn away their food, especially their favourite treats, unless they’re sick.

Immediately I got worried.  A bunny who hasn’t eaten in 6 hours must be taken to the vet immediately except, I didn’t know how long he hadn’t eaten for.

So I watched him.  Meanwhile my nose was running and I started sneezing over and over.  I figured I was just cold but this happens every single time.  I always think I’m just cold… but then it ends up the beginning of some kind of illness.  FANTASTIC.

You know, I already upped my probiotic intake?  So I’m not quite understanding why I keep getting sick.  Perhaps it was because we were out in the cold and rain for 3 days in a row.

Perhaps not much sleep each night has finally caught up with me.  Perhaps it’s been my diet.  We’ve been out and about with friends from overseas so I’ve just eaten anything and everything.

Most likely, it’s a combination of all of the above.  We’ll see how this progresses.

Meanwhile, ignoring my runny nose, I sat and watched Paris while googling his symptoms.  He didn’t eat, drink or go toilet.  He didn’t want me to touch him (this part is normal) but the abnormal part was that he couldn’t be bothered running away like usual, he just sat there in a ball.

GI Stasis – when the gastro-intestinal tract slows down causing the bunny pain via gas and build up of toxins in the gut that he can’t get out.  Usually caused by lack of fibre (if you give them too many treats, wheat, sugar etc).

It made no sense because I feed them Timothy Hay, which is their main source of fibre, every single day without fail.  They haven’t had any treats other than apple twigs (dried branches from an apple tree) and blackcurrant leaves (dried leaves from a blackcurrant plant) and oat hay.

Also they’re on an all natural pellet now which is wheat and grain free and made specifically of Timothy Hay, which I also weigh before giving them.  No overfeeding my bunnies these days.  Rome’s double chin made sure of that.  I’ve been weighing out their pellet servings precisely so they never get more than 30g of pellets a day.  It’s been like this since they turned 6 months old and they’re now already 1 year 2 months.

Another cause of GI Stasis is their teeth becoming too long – they won’t eat if their teeth are too long.  Makes no sense again because that’s what all the hay and twigs are for, to keep their teeth ground down.

Last cause – fur ball.  Highly likely because they’re moulting at the moment.  They can’t vomit or cough it out like a cat so the fur can collect and clog up their GI tract.

So I attempt to brush Paris to check how much fur he’s actually losing and find there’s hardly any fur on the brush.  How could he have a fur ball when he’s not moulting heavily?

2 hours pass and he hasn’t moved.  I start searching for vets that are closer to us than his current one but then he moves.  He creeps outside tentatively and eats a pellet.  He only eats a few and then runs back inside the hutch.

He sits in his litter.  I’ve never been so relieved to see him go to the toilet.  He jumps off and there are only 2 poos in there.  2!! And they’re covered in jelly/mucus – a sign that there’s something wrong with the GI tract.

I don’t yet panic because he starts to run around and eat all the other pellets.  So I chase him a bit for grooming to get as much fur as I can off him.  Even though the brush collects hardly any fur, I know that getting him moving around is good for his bowel movements.

I then pin him down to massage his stomach.  He doesn’t like it and keeps running away but I feel his tummy is like a hard bubble.  I finally get him still, I massage his belly softly, hoping to get any gas to move around and then I let him go.

About 15 mins later, he was in his litter again and he pooed.  It wasn’t as much as usual but enough for me to know he was ok.  All his poo was covered in mucous and chained together with fur.  It was his fur after all.  Note to self:  more regular brushing is required.

He also started eating his Timothy Hay again and then proceeded to run around and binky in his play area and he even had a drink of water.  Thank God.

He’s gone to sleep now but at least I know I don’t have to take him to the vet anymore.

So what did I learn about health from a bunny?
1.  Fibre is really important.
2.  A healthy gut is super important.  The moment anything compromises it, it causes all sorts of discomfort.
3.  When sick, stay off treats.  Stick to simple food, fibre and water.
4.  Always celebrate being happy and healthy again with a few binkies.
5.  Being observant for the signs of discomfort, resting and letting your body do what it does is the best way to get better quickly.

So, now that the bunnies have gone to sleep.  It’s time for me to do the same.

Good night!

Bikram Yoga: My body says No!

So, it’s been a while since I said we were returning to Bikram Yoga.

We went to one class which I felt absolutely fine in, as if I’d never left.

Soon after however, I caught a cold/cough and spent a week recovering.  I haven’t been sick like that in over a year.

Then just as I was recovering from that, my grandma passed away so I spent a week hiding away dealing with my grief.

I thought that was enough and I was better.

Committed to what I said about returning to Bikram yoga, I just went for my first class in 2-3 weeks on Tuesday.  This time, I couldn’t hack it.  I sat down a lot.  I felt emotional, my back was tight, I felt dizzy.

After class Tony just said “You looked weak.”

We had to go grocery shopping afterwards and I didn’t have the energy.  My back wouldn’t let up, it was like muscles tightening in my back more and more but stopping just before a cramp.

I started to feel anxious and the tension crept up to my neck causing a long and intense aching like my head was in a vice.  I wished right there and then I could just curl up into a ball and go to sleep but I had to walk home carrying heavy groceries.

Tony carried most of it but there was too much for him to be able to carry it all himself.  For the first time in over 10 years, I really wished we had a car.

After we got home, I just lay down and didn’t want to do anything.  I felt like I had my period and even started bleeding just like I had it.

My eyes were bloodshot.  I was not in a good way.

Before I went to bed I noticed a red mark on my hand.  It looked like an insect bite.  I ignored it and by the time I woke up, I had about 3 more insect bites on my palm and a couple on the back of my hand.  They were really itchy so naturally, I scratched them and the ones on my palm blew up into a full blown blistery rash that both hurt and itched horribly, by the end of the day.

Of course I consulted Dr Google about it.  It seems I’ve developed some kind of eczema caused by stress (and humid conditions) or I’m having an allergic reaction to whatever insect has bitten me.  If it’s  neither of those, I’ve contracted yet another disgusting skin disease from a sweaty mat.

As for the bleeding after exercise, it can be caused by stress.  Sometimes the stress on the body due to the intensity of the exercise can change the hormone balance, causing the body to act like it’s time to menstruate.  It’s either that or, it’s something a woman goes through before she gets to menopause (bleed between periods).

I have noticed however, bleeding only happens after exercise and the amount of bleeding correlates with how spent I feel after the exercise.   No bleeding happened during the time I didn’t exercise at all so it’s more likely caused by physical stress rather than menopausal.

Great.  (Read in the most sarcastic way you can hear it.)

Either way, it’s scary and all been triggered with Bikram and all those symptoms listed are a sign that my immune system is not coping well with stress.

It’s not like I pushed myself that much.  I sat out half of almost every standing posture after eagle but my body is telling me that even that was way too much for it to deal with!

I said I was going back to Bikram because I was in need of pain but this is not what I meant.

The good news?  My plan worked.  I went back to Bikram to help  me change my diet.  If I hurt enough, I’d learn to eat better.

Well, in the last 2 days we’ve eaten much better (no chips or cookies)and are more determined and motivated than ever to continue it.

 

All in order to help me recover quickly from these horrible ailments and so Tony doesn’t feel so “toxic” anymore.

Side note – we are still eating out occasionally and put no restrictions on what we eat when we eat out.

My bleeding stopped the next day.  The eczema is still there.  It’s only been a day so I’ll give it a week or so, to clear completely.

Since illness is a symptom of immune deficiency and we haven’t had kefir for a couple of months, I’ve started us drinking that again too.  Improved gut health through increased probiotics means an improved immune system and improved immunity means quick recovery and less sickness!

As for increasing the number of Bikram classes I attend, for now, for this body, it’s a complete no go.

Until my body starts dealing with physical stress a bit better and my immune system has improved, I am going to Bikram minimally.  I think once a week, if that, will do just fine and even then, unless I’m feeling super strong, I’ll probably spend most of my time sitting.

That will be interesting!  I have never walked out of a Bikram class and for the most part, until I got injured (pain in my butt), I never sat out any postures either.  Now I’m sitting out quite a bit.  To me this is already taking it easy.

It seems, I’m still learning what “take it easy” means.  So many times I think I’m taking it easy, that I’m pretty much lazing about and then I get sick, I get injured or I  post exercise bleed and get eczema – all indications of what my body really thinks of my version of taking it easy.

Besides, I achieved my purpose of going back, which was to eat better.  If I’m doing that, there’s no point overdoing it just ’cause.

As the teachers always say, you only do as much as you can, with the body that you have, that day.  My body right now, is saying “No way Jose!  Not today.  I do not want to play!”

If only I knew how to listen to it before it has to scream like this.  So much changes inside, you never see it until these symptoms come up and usually by then, it’s been festering for a while.  I wonder how you recognise it before it does this because that would be way more useful.

Isn’t it interesting though, that none of these symptoms came up until I did Bikram again?!  I guess that room is a pressure test, a great way to find your breaking point and bring symptoms up to the surface so you can resolve the issues!!

Well, we obviously could feel something was off, otherwise we wouldn’t have felt the need to go back.

The good thing is, at least I’ve started the process for change and healing now.  As with many healing crises, it always feels worse before it gets better.

I’m really hoping now that this is the worst and soon it will get better.  For now, I think it’s time to learn how to chill out even more and monitor my symptoms for improvement.

My Bunny Rules Over Me

Have you every heard a bunny growl?

I can’t believe that I’ve been so easy on my Rome rabbit that he now has the audacity to growl at me!

How rude!

Both rabbits have been growling at Tony for a while.  Paris growls at Tony because he attempts to pat him while he’s eating.  The growl is to say, “My food!  Get away and stop bothering me while I’m eating.”

Rome growls at Tony every time he takes his shoe away from him.  Yes, Rome acts very much like a dog in many ways, one of which is he enjoys chewing Tony’s shoes.  “Not your shoes.. MY TOY!!”

They didn’t growl at me unless I was attempting to groom them (they hate the brush) and get annoyed at my persistence but even then, it was more like a grunt than anything else and it was only after many attempts at dodging and running away from the brush.   The lunge is usually at the brush, not at me.

That is, until yesterday.  Paris is still the same, he still grunts but that’s as far as he goes with us.  I used to think this was pretty bad but not anymore.  Not after Rome’s behaviour yesterday.

Rome thinks he’s top dog, alpha wolf and yesterday, his grunt turned into a growl and what sounded like barking!!!  How very dare he!

Rabbits live in a hierarchy and it seems that Rome has nominated himself as the head.  Tony and I who he once held in high regard (he used to lick/kiss our noses) have now dropped down to the bottom rungs of rabbit existence.  We no longer get kisses or any form of affection and instead get demands.

Whenever we ask Rome to do anything he doesn’t want or tell him off for doing something we don’t like, he vocalises his anger at our insubordination.

I find it a bit scary.  These bunnies are so weird.  I’ve never had vocal bunnies before.  I’ve never had bunnies willing to bite me to put me in my place either but these guys will lunge, bite and growl just to express their displeasure and believe me, it’s not due to any kind of anxiety from mistreatment or abuse.  They just like to throw their weight around and show dominance.

Speaking of which, Rome is a 1kg ball of fluff.  I am 50 times his weight.  I could sit on him and crush him and yet, he lords over us.

After he eats, he likes to get groomed.  So if you don’t groom him after he’s eaten, he bites on the fence to get your attention.  Once he has your attention, he gives you a look.  The look is “I’m ready for my pat now.”  and he’ll wait patiently for you to turn up to sit next to him in his area.  Once you’ve done that, he walks around and picks a place where he wants to plonk down.  He will then sit there and expect you to pat him.  You then pat him until he doesn’t want a pat anymore which he will indicate by sitting up and walking away.

That’s the process.  If you stray away from any of this what you will get is incessant fence biting and depending on how annoyed he gets because you made him bite the fence for ages / sit and wait for ages, he’ll either bite your ankles to reprimand you, make you pat him for even longer, or both.

That’s not all.  You MUST feed him, pet him, play with him FIRST.  You are not allowed to pay any attention to Paris beforehand.   It’s ok though because Paris knows the procedure and sits patiently waiting for his turn.

If you don’t go by these rules, Paris gets antsy (hell hath no fury like Rome’s scorn and Paris knows it) and Rome gets vicious.  Rome’s fence biting becomes loud and he’ll push and pull the fence violently which scares Paris and he will just keep doing this until you go to his area.  After which you get the normal punishment – he will bite your ankles or make you sit with him and pat him for ages or both.

Stick with the rules and feed him / groom him first and nothing happens, he’ll happily chill out while you spend time with Paris.  Sometimes he’ll bite the fence as if to say “OK I’ve changed my mind, I want more patting before you go and feed Paris… HEY!!  It’s still my turn!!” but if you ignore him at this point, he’ll understand you’ve gone by the rules and will stop biting the fence and just go and sulk.

Have you seen a rabbit sulk?  Rome is genius at it.  He even gives you a look and turns his back to you before lying down, pretending to lie down and love life but really he’s keeping an eye on you to make sure you see him doing it.  Amazing.  There ain’t no sulking like a Rome rabbit sulking.

So why did he bark yesterday?  Because he ran under the bed, his new place to hang out.  It was all fine until he decided to bite under the bed.  He’s done this before.  I yell “HEY! Stop it!” and he does.

Yesterday however he didn’t.  I yelled “Hey! Stop it!” he stopped for all of 1 second and went straight back to biting the bed.  “HEY!!! ROME!!! NO!!” STOP IT!!”  to which he stopped to look at me and then continued to bite the bed.  “ARRRGHHH!!!! STOP!!! NO! No biting the bed!”

At this point I should explain that he is actually under the corner of the bed that is up against the wall and therefore difficult for me to get to.  I had to jump onto the bed and put my arm between the bed and the wall to get to him and you know what he did when I did that??

He lunged at my hand and barked.  Yes.  He produced 3-4 loud, deep guttural sounds one after the other then lunged at my hand and I got scared (and then angry).  I had no idea what to expect but felt that it was the warning before a bite.  I couldn’t believe he actually threatened to (and he would follow through if I persisted) bite my hand.

That was going too far.  Even dogs don’t lunge at their human companions while barking.  We don’t ever hit them so threatening to bite me is very insulting.  I growled back at him which didn’t stop him from biting the bed or scare him in the slightest.

So I got the vacuum cleaner out and turned it on to scare the crap out of him.   It’s the only thing that got him out from  under the bed.   I’m annoyed that I had to resort to the vacuum cleaner.

It’s very inconvenient to pull out of the cupboard and carry around to where he is and then plug in.  By the time I do all of that, God knows how much damage he’s done to the bed.  I can’t see because the damage is next to the wall underneath the mattress.

Where did I go wrong?  Maybe I’ve been too gentle on him and now he thinks he can get away with anything but where’s the half way mark with discipline when he ignores yelling?

I make loud noises sometimes by thumping, clapping or hitting the floor or bed to startle them but he just ignores me.

I remember one time back when I was a kid, our pet rabbits got under the fence, ran over to the neighbour’s yard and ate all their flowers.  When my neighbour came out and saw them, he took off his shoe and started whacking them, he managed to whack one rabbit on the back, one on the bum and another right on the head.

The one that got hit on the head never let anyone touch her ever again and would run away from all humans.  😦  It did however, get the job done because the bunnies never ran over to his yard from that point on.

I don’t want to do that.  We never hit our bunnies.  Paris has responded to my yelling.  Now I don’t need to yell at all.  I just have to say “Paris, I’m watching you!” and he’ll stop but Rome is something else.

He is combative, vocal and dominating, all 40cm of him including his ears 😉 and he knows we wouldn’t hurt him so is taking full advantage of this.

It’s now clear to me that I haven’t given him clear and appropriate (for him) repercussions for his bad behaviour.  So I’m not letting him in the room anymore for starters.  Give them an inch and they take a mile.

This cheeky one needs to learn some manners and I now have to start getting creative with how I enforce boundaries.  I must somehow convince him (and myself) that “He’s not the boss of me!!”