Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lessons Learned:: Good-Bye, Hopper

 It pained me to type these words yesterday on my Instagram account: "Buie & I are mourning the loss of our sweet Hopper tonight. We think she may have had a heart attack after being chased by our dogs. Rescuing animals, whether dogs or rabbits, means so much to us. We take it hard when one of ours passes, especially before it's time. This time, it was avoidable and we take full responsibility but it doesn't make it any less devastating. It make us more aware. It reminds us that taking care of these rescued animals is a full time job. One gate left open or one time I forget to check one thing and it could be a fatal mistake. In Hopper's case, it was. I'm sorry, Hopper. We'll never forget you. I'm sorry you had to sacrifice your life for me to learn a lesson."

This was definitely a tough mistake to make. It's easy to say accidents happen but the truth is, this situation could have been avoided. I was giving our baby bun bun a bath so I put all of the dogs outside. B went to the bathroom so he wasn't watching the dogs and neither was I. The other three rabbits were safe and secure on our sunporch (so we thought). The only thing separating the rabbits from their natural predator was a flimsy screen door which we have been meaning to replace for months now. Our dogs have been outside a hundred times with the bunnies on the porch. They whine like they want to play and scratch on the door as if to say, I want to come in. In my naive mind, I have even thought..."maybe they could be friends one day...just maybe." But we didn't dare let them alone in the same space. 

When I was finished bathing baby bun bun, I walked into our living room and saw our sunporch screen door wide open. My heart sank. I ran back around to our bedroom back door to call for the dogs and surprisingly they came immediately. They came bounding in muddy and sweaty and extremely hyper. I shut them in the bedroom and closed the door.

I hesitated inside as I RAN to the sunporch to account for all four bunnies. Tiana, Mr. Bun Bun, and baby bun bun who was still in my arms and wet from her bath, were all accounted for. At this time, I screamed for Buie who was coming out of the bathroom. "I can't find Hopper! The dogs got in the sunporch and I can't find Hopper!" Buie was, of course, calm and collected as I became more and more frazzled. For such an optimistic person, I expected the worst this time. Three hyper, playful dogs don't just leave a bunny (a live one) and come inside when called the first time, not even the most obedient dogs, which mine are not. I knew that the only reason they would come inside so quickly is that they thing that they were playing with...was not so much fun to play with anymore...and there was only one reason for that. I shuddered at the thought of it.

Buie was the first to find her in the lower part of our yard. Lifeless. She was dead. I immediately started crying. He checked her out, assuming he would find her mangled. Besides some loose fur scattered around the grass, Hopper looked the same, just she was asleep. Our best guess is that our dogs wanted to have a romp with her and they literally scared her to death. Rabbits are delicate little creatures and they are known to have heart attacks if they get scared. Poor Hopper. 
Buie found a nice spot to bury her on the other side of the fence, so that the dogs wouldn't disturb her. We both shed a few tears and said a few nice words about her. We let the other three rabbits smell and examine her lifeless body. We thought this would help them understand what happened and if not, then it at least helped us.  Tiana and her were buddies. I'm sad her friend is gone. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

We Had a Baby....Bun Bun!

In my last post I mentioned that we adopted three rabbits. With the help of our nieces and nephews, we named them Mr. Bun Bun, Tiana and Hopper. We have thoroughly enjoyed having them around and have learned a lot about bunnies. Actually I have been keeping a list of things we have learned about our bun buns. I may share the list in another post. They are fascinating creatures, including their ability to procreate. You know the crude expression "doing it like rabbits?" Well, I totally understand why it was created. One of the interesting facts about rabbits is that they are a "breed-at-will" mammal, meaning they are "ready to go" at anytime. We found this out the hard way. 
Mr. Bun Bun = the culprit 

On April 22 this was a Facebook entry: 

'So far we are FAILING at raising bunnies. Tiana dug out of her cage and had a early morning rendezvous with Mr. Bun Bun who is NOT yet fixed. We have NO IDEA how much "cuddling" went on but we'll know for sure in 31 days if there are extra little bunnies hoping around. I'm SO not ready for babies and especially not a litter of them. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that ALL they did was cuddle. Buie is currently making plans to build a more secure cage and I'm thinking I should get Mr. Bun Bun to the vet ASAP!'

We were completely clueless if A. they had even done anything or B. if Tiana had become pregnant or C. if she was, in fact, pregnant how many kits were about to be added to our zoo!!

We immediately googled "rabbit pregnancy" and guess what? A rabbit's gestational period is 28-31 days. So the good news is we would find out in a month if were going to have a baby...and the bad news? Well, the bad news is that we could possibly have a lot more babies added to our house in one month.

I added the date to my phone. I counted 28 days from the "incident" as I call it. That whole month I was on bump watch. I kept telling Buie that I thought she was getting fatter. Buie was in denial but I knew she was pregnant. Call it woman's intuition or whatever, but I was 80% sure she was pregnant and I was kind of excited. Because let's be honest, who wouldn't want to stare at this cute little face?

She was due to give birth the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend IF she was pregnant (remember we still didn't know if she was pregnant or not and had no clue how many babies were in there if she was). We were scheduled to shoot a wedding on Saturday in Texas. We kept watching. Friday was day 32 and the day we were leaving for Dallas. By the way, I feel it very necessary to mention that my husband threatened to NOT go with me to Texas if the babies were born before we left. He just couldn't see how we could leave them here alone while we were off shooting some wedding. Seriously!? I mean, that's sweet and all, honey, but what are you going to do breast feed the bunnies yourself??

No bunnies were born on Friday and honestly we kind of assumed she wasn't pregnant and forgot about it. We had a crazy busy weekend in Texas. Our pet sitter took great care of our bunnies while we were away with no mention of a we were in the clear, right? 


We got home Monday night, fed and watered the bun buns and everything was lovely and seemed normal. Tuesday afternoon rolls around after Buie and I slept in late...embarrassingly late actually. I went to feed the rabbits and I opened up the side of their hutch and I see a huge wad of bunny hair like a little nest, in the picture below. Since Buie and I had been doing some mad research we knew that rabbit mommas will make a nest right before giving birth. My first thought was Oh crap, she about to give birth! And then the big mound of hair started to move and I freaked out!

Oh my gosh! She WAS in fact pregnant and sometime between Friday night and Tuesday morning, Tiana gave birth to our newest little baby bun bun. And here he or she is. Yes, that's right, we still don't know if it's a boy or girl yet.... so for now it's name is Baby Bun Bun.

 We have loved watching Baby Bun Bun grow these past 2 and a half weeks. I honestly can't believe how fast he's grown.

We had fun introducing him to our nieces and nephews, too. My niece, Makaylan, wanted to name him Aladdin. :) 

Baby Bun Bun has a vet appointment this Friday to get some things checked out and to find out the sex. I thought he was a boy at first glance but now I'm not so sure. ha. I told you were are beginners at this. We are a little concerned about his back legs. He doesn't seem to be using them very much so we are taking him in to get him checked out just to make sure everything is ok. The research we have done says he should be hopping around and using his legs more than he is so we just want to cautious. Say a little bunny prayer for Baby Bun Bun on Friday morning. :)