This is the section of the website “bunny tales” where you will find uplifting, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always true stories about some rather special rabbits and also guinea pigs. Other stories will be added along the way.
The following story about Wilfy was sent on to me by his owner, who was sad to have to rehome him but felt it was the right thing to do. Wilfy was then neutered, vaccinated and successfully bonded to a neutered female and the pair found a wonderful new home, so it all ended well.
Dorothy Doe came into CottonTails® one day as an orphan just a few days old. The owner had tried to hand rear the litter (their mum had died) but all had passed away apart from this last baby, so they handed her over as they felt she would not survive without specialized care. She was a French Lop giant and quickly established a good feeding routine and it soon became clear she had quite a personality! She remained in our home as a house bunny for many weeks, but she was soon fully ready to be adopted and we were very lucky indeed to have a fantastic couple who fell in love with her straight away! She continued to be a house bunny and was thoroughly spoilt, and when I took my young family with me to visit Dorothy Doe (now called Pip), it became apparent that her strong personality was still in place as when my young son Ben stopped stroking her she was so cross chased him round and round the dining room table trying to bit him, and needless to say Ben was yelling his head off as he ran! Every year after that I received a Christmas card from Pip, and sometimes a postcard too from when she was on holiday (she went with her adopted family on holiday in their caravan), and the following was a letter I received when she was around 3 years old. Dear Mairwen and family, We thought you might like an updated photo of Pip (Dorothy Doe!) on holiday!! Our son has now moved out and Karen our daughter was abroad so Tony and I tried a weekend away in our caravan. Pip was absolutely perfect and she was no trouble travelling. During the journey down she slept in her huge litter tray box and on the journey back she wedged herself in between that and Tony’s coat. She licked us to death all Friday night, we didn’t take her hutch as it is too big. Saturday she slept between us from 10pm to 3.40am – it was like having a baby again. We now intend to get a special traveling hutch to take with us next time. She spends lots of time in the lounge, still gallops upstairs and watches for my son Mark even although he has been gone 6 weeks. We love her loads! Keep up the good work! Regards, Tony and Cath Curtis
Lucie and Scottie – written by owner Dianne
Lucy and Scottie were adopted from the rescue centre almost 2 years ago, and although my partner Andy and myself (Dianne) only had their company for around 18 months but they were two lovely bunnies who were so gentle and kind. Even when our neighbour Jo came in to cut Lucie’s fur, she never did bite even when sometimes she did think about it, as she was put on the settee on towels and there she stayed for nearly 2 hours! After her makeover she at least could see a lot better but she did get fed up after about 1 ½ hours. They had a good life whilst they were here, even though it took Lucie nearly a year to buck up the courage to go out in the garden. There was a small sliding rabbit gate in the conservatory for them to go out into the garden, and when the main door of the conservatory was open, Lucie would see Scottie go out and she would put her paws outside and then run back in again. As soon as she got the idea, however, she would be the first one to dash out of the back door and would fly out through the rabbit gate as though she was in a marathon race! The garden plants soon changed their shapes, and even although the ferns were behind a sort of plastic fencing she would stand on her back legs to reach over. If she did see you looking at her she would stop and look as much as to say “it’s not me eating the plants”! Scottie liked Andy’s everlasting sweet peas, but these turned out not to be everlasting, and no guesses why. We had a gazebo put up in the garden, with the sun lounger left underneath it and it was also good for the rotary washing line too if the weather changed. I could not understand why there was bits of hay on the cushion on the lounger, but one day I found out why as I saw both rabbits sat on it as they had found somewhere to sit in comfort when it rained! I shall always have fond memories of both of them and their life they spent here with us, plus lots of photos. There were no problems with either of them until they went for their usual injections and checks in June last year. It was then that the vet saw a problem with Scottie and his mouth and it turned out he had severe dental problems. He was put on medication but this did not clear it up, despite going to the vet monthly for check-ups. We were then told that Scottie needed to be on medication for the rest of his life every day, and sadly in the end he would run away when it was time for his medication as he had to be held by Andy, my husband, and the whole process made him a bag of nerves, shaking his little head as much as to say NO. The vet said he would be very surprised if Scottie made it to Christmas, but he did, although we knew that if the abscess burst that would be it for him. In January this year Lucie had a strange looking eye, so off to the vets again who told us that she had gone blind in her left eye. Then in March this year I said to Andy that Lucie was looking as though her tummy was getting fat, he thought she had been eating too much Readi Grass as they both loved it so much! By the end of the week we felt we had to take both of them to the vets, and we were told that Lucie sadly had cancer. The vet also reminded us that Scottie was a “living time bomb” and was on borrowed time. After much thought we made the heart-breaking decision to let them both go together. At the end of April this year Andy (may partner) past away in the BRI, after being in ill health for some time, but I was able to enclose the bunnies ashes in Andy’s coffin so at least they were all cremated together and he now has their company with him.
I had a phone call from someone who needed to find a new home for their neutered female, and as I had a very good home waiting with a lovely couple who were needing a friend for their lonely neutered male called Jimmy, I put the two sets of people in touch with each other (as I did not have the space to take her at that point), and this is what happened, in the form of emails: Hello Mairwen, Yesterday my girlfriend and I went to visit Perse in Bristol. She is absolutely gorgeous, and we are going to take her. We are collecting her on July 28th, which gives us time to purchase a second indoor cage which we may need during the bonding process. Kind regards, Matt Hi Mairwen, We are picking up Perse tomorrow evening, in the hope that her and Jimmy will become the best of friends. Unfortunately, the only time we’re able to get her is tomorrow, after work around 7pm. By the time we get home it will be around 8pm. I am slightly nervous as to how they will get on, and more so, what to do come bedtime tomorrow, usually around midnight for us. If they are getting along OK, after having observed them for a few hours, would you suggest leaving them be for the night in the hope they don’t fight? I’m just concerned that there might be an overnight blood bath of a fight that we won’t hear!Do you think it’ll be OK to leave them, assuming they get on well? Thanks, Matt Hi Mairwen, Well that was a stressful, if slightly successful (I hope) first 12 hours or so. We brought Macey (that’s what we’re calling her) home from Bristol to Swindon in the same carrier as Jimmy, so they had a good 45 minutes together, and they kept very still and quiet. When we got home we took the carrier up to the spare bedroom, which is neutral territory, and opened it to let them out on their own terms. After a bit of sniffing each other, and a very minor squabble, they then seemed to wander away and ignore each other, which I think is a good sign? After half an hour or so, Jimmy became more interested in Macey, not aggressively or anything, but she keeps running away from him. This seemed to happen all night (not that I stayed up too late, 1ish), so whenever he gets near her, she runs away from him. This happens for about 5 seconds then he gives up, only to try again a few minutes later. There has been no sign of aggression, I just think she’s scared, as she’s banging her back legs in to the floor with a bit of a whack! We did leave them to it overnight, as I felt they didn’t dislike each other, and have left them again today whilst we’re both at work, but I’ll pop back at lunch to see if she’s letting him get near her. Just as I left this morning, they did rub noses briefly, before she ran away again, which I guess is a minor sign of improvement? They have both been eating lots of hay, and their usual egg cup of pellets this morning, and they both seem to be using the litter tray provided. I’ll keep you updated over the next few days, but how does this initial encounter sound to you? Thanks so much for your help and advice, we really do appreciate it. Thanks Matt Hi Mairwen, Please take a look at the attached pictures. I think Jimmy and Macey have bonded :o) Thanks again for all your help and advice with the bonding. Enjoy the pics, and feel free to tell the story/use the pics on your fantastic website. Matt
Molly – written by owner Carol
When our two male bunnies Buster and Roger, lost their partners, we had to make a decision whether or not to find them new wives. The boys were going into middle age and older females were quite hard to come by. By pairing the boys up again at the age they were, it would mean that more than likely within a year or even less the girls would or could become bunny widows and the cycle would repeat itself and with it another dilemma – it’s not good to have single rabbits on their own, but as they could see each other (Buster being in the conservatory and Roger in the lounge), it seemed the best plan – neither of the boys were unhappy and both had their own space, so that time could take its course. On saying this, however, I could never imagine us ever not having animals around us, they are so much part of our lives, and we adore them. One Saturday whilst working at CottonTails, a threesome arrived for adoption, two sisters and a brother, and they were very young. Fate took hold and before 10 minutes had gone by, Barrie had fallen head over heels for the small black and white dutch female. The cogs started to grind and before many minutes had elapsed he was persuading me to have the two girls for our two chaps – guess what happened, although I wasn’t convinced it was the right thing to do, I agreed to try match-ups and let the bunnies decide, it was after all down to them and their preferences, especially in a delicate situation such as “Luv”. Buster and Maizey, Roger (a brown and white dutch) and Molly hit if off without a problem, matches made in heaven can be few and far between, but when it happens (and it does) CottonTails are so happy, successful matches are an absolute joy. Molly and Maizey, although sisters, were so very different in appearance, size and character. Molly, a delightful black and white dutch, full of energy with more than a wicked glint in her eye. Whereas Maizey white and black more hare-like with long slim limbs and body, she was and still is very skittish and nervous. However, both couples loved each other to bits. So I suppose it came as no surprise when Molly took over the house. In the 15 + years we have had house rabbits none have totally used all of the house to romp in. The day after her arrival, Molly was up the stairs determined to get her bearings and play games like Hide and Seek, guess where I am and look how high I can jump. We had closed some of the doors upstairs, but felt if Molly wanted to go into our bedroom she could. All electric plugs were unplugged and put out of the way. However, one day she jumped on our bed (which is high), walked over to the bedside table and chewed the bedside lamp wire in half. She got in the wardrobe and chewed several things although they were minor. The wallpaper began to disappear on the landing, bedroom, and hallway although we were well used to this happening over the years. It was amusing to use to hear Molly dive up the stairs and jump and hop merrily across our bedroom floor which is above the lounge. Molly had no fear on her downward journey on the stairs, clearing 4-5 stairs into the hallway, at that time she was only about 3-4 months old and quite small with all the daring of a tightrope walker. A real little horror but a bundle of fun, a real handful but a treasure, we laughed so much and loved her to distraction. However, it wasn’t long before things got serious, she started attacking the furniture (the first bunny we have had to do this in such a destructive and determined manner). As we had not intended to get any more bunnies as explained, we had bought new furniture in the lounge. Molly made light work of it. Molly was with Roger for about 3-4 weeks when he became very, very poorly, he was approximately 7-8 years old, an amazing little chap and he meant the world to us (like all the animals have been over the years and continue to be). We lost him in July. He was a character and a half, full of fun, very intelligent but knew what he wanted, he didn’t destroy things, apart from big cardboard boxes and the like. Although Roger and Molly loved each other’s company, Molly wasn’t worried that Roger was not there anymore, and her mischief got even worse. She managed to chew her way into the back of the recliner, even when we took measures to surround the chair with long pieces of heavy wood, she just moved it using her teeth as if it was nothing. Not satisfied with getting into the chair she then started on the settee tearing away at the forgiven her anything, but there had to be a good bunny reason why she persisted in this damage – It was apparent that although we had been lucky in the past and had reasonably good house rabbits, it was only the environment that pleased all bunnies. House rabbit Molly was not, she needed more, chewing doors, skirting boards and even the plaster of walls. It became very distressing, you can’t tell a bunny off “Look Molly if you don’t behave we won’t let you watch TV”. I don’t think so, maybe she would understand, now Molly if you chew the furniture once more, you will not be allowed to run up the stairs and jump on the bed. It’s a blooming good job she couldn’t slide down the banisters, but then who knows what happened when we were out. We built frames around the chairs and tried protecting the other furniture in any way we could think of. Some things worked, but others didn’t stop Molly, too intelligent for her own good. We gave her more boxes and tried to make them more exciting, cutting holes in them etc. Gave her apple wood and hard wood to chew, cardboard tubes etc. We became at a loss as to what to do next. Sadly for us, a decision had to be made, and I had to make it. I knew I was going to be very unpopular but this was for Molly’s sake and her health and wellbeing, there was no alternative. Molly needed more than a good loving home, she wanted another husband and a garden to run riot in, she needed more than we could give her and “love is” so they say, being able to say goodbye and find her another loving home with a male bun and Molly’s wish list “A GARDEN”. I contacted Mairwen and asked if she could find Molly a new home. This little minx who had a love for life and excitement by the bucket load deserved more than we could give. I can’t tell you the trauma Barrie and I went through, only to say that I cried an awful lot. Fate took a hand, and after mentioning our intentions to Mairwen the wheels began to turn. I was dreading another match-up and even more parting with our little Molly, seeing her again at CottonTails was such an awful prespect. That evening Mairwen had a telephone call from Juliette who had had bunnies from her before, her male bunny’s partner had died and had become very sad and it was worrying her. Mo (Marshmallow) was a house bunny but he had access to a small but adequate garden with lots of grass and room to run, jump and play. It also had a very high wall all the way around it, so no worries about Mr. Fox, although I knew later that Molly and Mo had wonderful people around them. However, some of the following events I will miss as I don’t write one word when I can write ten. Juliette and her daughter Hayley came to see Molly and they got on famously. The first meeting was very unexciting, both bunnies sat in different places and took no notice of each other what so ever. We decided after over 1 hour to leave Molly with Mo and his family, with the proviso we would come and get her if they didn’t get on, we live a short distance from each other (fate, fate). When I rang Jules the next day she explained it had been a long night, there was some hastle and a bit of fur flying, but Jules managed very well, just like all of us bunny fans who are a little mad and a lot crazy. By the morning when Jules, having put Molly and Mo into neutral territory, Hayleys bedroom, Mo was sleeping soundly on the floor and Hayley and Molly were asleep in the bed. Ah. Since then things have got better and Mo and Molly were officially man and wife together. A better home would be hard to find. Molly by the way loves the snow and spent some time in the garden, eating it, jumping and having fun as all bunnies should. Thanks to Mairwen, Juliette and her family I am happy that I really did the right thing, the best thing for Molly. Carol PS Please don’t let this story put you off having house rabbits! However, you do need to be a special kind of person, in so much as not to expect life ever to be the same. But believe me, the pleasures, the closeness, the laughter and the discovery of the intelligence of your bun is for lots of us the most wonderful experience of all. If you are house proud, forget it! Not long after writing this account, we lost our gorgeous, laid back and very brave bunny Buster. Mainly blind and deaf, on medication for arthritis in his hind legs but still he bounced around and no one would ever know of his blindness and deafness the way he ran from conservatory in to the lounge and back again unless they were told. Maizey was now on her own, and she missed Buster so much and was a big cause of concern. Thankfully a pretty little lionhead neutered male was found as a new friend, and Maizey is happy once more. Mention was given of “Hop Off The Press” about the loss of Buster, and Barrie and I would like to thank all those who sent messages regarding our loss. It has been touching and wonderful to have bunny friends who understand what it is like to lose a loved one and all so caring. Buster had cancer and at 10 years old, we couldn’t watch him get worse. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye, but he will stay in our hearts forever.
My son Ben with Daisy Dumpling Daisy Dumplings mother arrived at CottonTails heavily pregnant and she gave birth to four babies within hours. Mum was a netherland dwarf, so her babies were very tiny but eager to survive. She did a good job with them and they all thrived, but it was obvious that Daisy Dumpling, who proved to be a male rather than a female, was going to be a real character as he was growling at me when I checked the nest even before his eyes were open! By the time he was a month old it was clear that he had major health problems. The most obvious issue was his teeth, which had started to protrude out of his mouth on either side, and his movements did not appear to be normal. Within a short time he had to undergo two major operations to remove his front teeth, and by five months old it was clear that all four legs were splayed slightly, resulting in a rather comical method of getting around! Despite all this he was a very happy but tiny little bunny with a good quality of life. He was paired up with another special needs bunny blind bunny called Ivy that was here at the time, and the pair of them seemed content. Due to his problems, Daisy became the perfect match and companion for lonely bunnies after Ivy passed away, as he had no front teeth to bite with, and he couldn’t mount and be a pest in that department due to his back leg problems! Sadly by 18 months old it became clear that all was not well, and he was constantly fighting one chronic respiratory infection after another. Although initially antibiotics seemed to work, after a few weeks there did not appear to be anything more we could do and he was starting to suffer, so sadly Daisy Dumpling was put to sleep. I knew it was the kindest thing to do, but it was still a hard decision and he was very much missed by us all as he had been such an incredible character and a real little fighter in his desire to survive right up until the last.
When Rosy arrived at CottonTails®, the first thing that struck me was her size. She was so badly overweight I thought there must be at least two rabbits in the carrier! On examination, I was not surprised to find she had a very dirty bottom which was caked in droppings, making her at high flystrike risk, and her fur was dull and lifeless due to her being unable to groom herself. Her dewlap had grown so big due with accumulation of fat that it was preventing her from moving properly, as well as inhibiting grooming. The pressure of the excess weight on her joints was clearly causing discomfort, and after just a few hops she was breathing heavily as if she had just run three times around the garden! She also had slight ridges on her front teeth, and there appeared to be some spurs on her back molars, typical signs of dental disease made worse by inappropriate diet. Rosy is a typical example of many of the rabbits that come in here. She was apparently bought on impulse for a child, and after a month or two she was left to live a boring life shut in a small hutch with hardly any attention or stimulation, her bowl being filled full every day with copious amounts of dried food. A recipe for disaster! After a good wash and tidy up, three year old Rosy appeared much more comfortable as she explored her new surroundings, a large 6’ hutch with a covered run attached at all times so she could take exercise whenever she wanted to. This proved difficult to start with, as all she wanted to do was to sit and eat, but once she realised that her bowl was not going to be filled up on demand she gradually started to become more mobile and by the end of the first week was already starting to look a bit slimmer. Her quantity of pellets was carefully measured once a day, two egg cups full (flat, not heaped) once a day, with green vegetables introduced gradually and the rest of the time she had large piles of fresh hay to munch her way through. By the end of the second week, 70-80% of her diet consisted of hay, and she usually consumed her dried food allocation within about 10 minutes flat! It took two months before Rosy had lost enough weight for her to safely undergo a dewlap reduction operation. Although she was slimmer overall and did not need a tummy tuck operation (sometimes necessary if a flabby tummy hangs down over the tail end), her dewlap had become even more of a problem, and vet opinion was such that it was not going to resolve itself without veterinary intervention. The operation took about 20 minutes and all went well. Within a week she was back to normal again, really relishing her new ability to wash herself and run around without tripping over her dewlap. Her teeth were checked whilst she was under anaesthetic and some small spurs were burred down, but thankfully her teeth in general were good so the prognosis was positive. As she had already been neutered and vaccinated, she was then matched with a lonely neutered male and a month later the bonded pair were adopted. Job done!
We adopted Crunchie to keep two female guinea pigs happy in 2011, what a lucky boy he was.Always squeaking for his vegetables very loud indeed and very much enjoyed running around in the run with the girls.My son Ethan who is autistic had a special bond with Crunchie, he loved cuddling him and poking dandelions in the mesh watching Crunchie pull them through. Sadly crunchie died of good old age in his sleep and was found near his food bowl (his favourite spot) we buried him next to a beautiful rose bush with pale orange roses. I paid for a pet portrait when he was in his prime, I think you would agree what a handsome chap he was, run free Crunchie at rainbows bridge with all the pets and thank you for letting us choose you!
The True Story of Kase
Although no known photo exists of Kase, this is how he may have looked had a photo survived This is the true story of a large white rabbit called Kase, who was the resident pet on board the MV Phrontis, a Dutch Merchant Navy ship, during World War II. Also on board was Officer Dudley Abbott, who tells the story. There is a short film of my late father telling the story at end of this entry. The year was 1942 and the Dutch passenger cargo liner MV Phrontis was sailing from England to Australia via Capetown. The ship’s pet was a large white rabbit called Kase, who spent most of his time on the boat deck, hopping about. He was well cared for and provided with plenty of vegetables, and was very well liked by all the crew. When the weather was bad, he used to go into the officers Smoke Room, and occupy a wicker armchair. When we got to Australia, the customs asked the Chief Officer the usual routine questions, one of which is “and do you have any pets”, expecting him to say “a cat” or “a couple of cats”, which is quite normal, but when he said that we had a large white rabbit, the Customs Officer reacted as if he had been shot! “What! Don’t you know we had a plague of rabbits in Australia, and they are absolutely forbidden to enter the country!” The Chief Officer explained that we were not really entering the country, but the Customs Officer said that it made no difference and the rabbit would have to be put down. There was great consternation amongst the crew, and they took it up with the Dutch Consulate and after much to-ing and fro-ing it was agreed that the rabbit could stay as long as they were absolutely certain that Kase couldn’t escape. They took his photograph, and a bond for £10,000 surety was taken also. When we left Australia, the customs at Perth had a look at the photograph and agreed that it was the same rabbit and we sailed away. As I mentioned earlier, the rabbit used to go into the Officers Smoke Room when the weather was bad and sit on a wicker armchair. I thought the chair must feel a bit uncomfortable for him so when on shore in Australia I purchased a pennant (which I still have today, see photo below) which I placed on Kase’s chair for him to sit on. We were in the Pacific on this occasion, and we had entered a typhoon, which is a very severe storm indeed. In those days the ships had ventilators for fresh air, as back in the early 1940’s there was no air conditioning, and of course the ventilator was pointed away from the way the waves would hit the ship. However, in a typhoon this is very difficult to work out, because the waves come from all directions. Kase was in the Smoke Room on his wicker armchair as usual, and above him was the other end of a ventilator, which nobody had really thought much about. A gigantic wave came along, hit the ship, and half a ton of water came down the ventilator and straight onto Kase who was lying underneath on his wicker chair. Now, rabbits are very susceptible to shock, and I am sorry to say the shock of the heavy water killed him. There was great consternation amongst the Officers as this was their last connection with home. Once the storm was over, the ships’ carpenter made a lovely wooden coffin, beautifully lined with satin and muslin and other materials, and also some heavy metal weights placed in it as well, and Kase was gently laid in the coffin and it was sealed, with his name engraved on the top. They built a slipway at the side of the ship, and those of us not on Watch went to the side and the Chief Officer conducted a funeral service, a full funeral service, and the coffin was draped with the Dutch flag. When the service was complete, he signalled to the Captain and the Captain gave the order to “stop engines” and the ship stopped and the rabbit was released onto the shoot and into the water, and of course the weights took the coffin down. That is the end of the story of Kase. FOOTNOTE – The following was sent in by a lady that had adopted a guinea pig from CottonTails: “I was looking around your website and came across the story of “Kase”. I then listened to the story on You-tube and, being Dutch myself, I am pretty sure the rabbit was called Kees or Keesje (dutch for charles or charlie), Kase is a phonetical pronounciation of Kees but is not a recognisable dutch name. Anyway, I’m sure Kees or Kase is not turning in his watery grave because of this, but I thought I’d tell you. Best wishes, Ellis”.
This account was written by Rachel Davies I first met Wobbles In March 2007. I was driving home and noticed a tennis ball sized wild bunny at the side of the road that was not jumping out of the way of the car as I passed. So I turned round and went back to check he was ok. He couldn’t stand or walk and had blood coming out of his ear so I took him home thinking it was nicer to die in the quiet under my stairs rather than at the side of a road. Needless to say I spoke too soon! He was a real fighter and within a day was propping himself up and eating food, a lot of food! He started standing and walking and although he had a big water balloon type thing on his head (from what I guess was from the car or something that had clipped him before I found him) he improved in leaps and bounds until he was running straight, his balloon went down and he was nearly 100% better. He could not survive in the wild (especially as he was now not scared of my cats!) and I tried to find a kind of wild bunny shangri-la where they can skip around with their wild bunny buddies but in a protected environment. Unfortunately I could find no such place so instead he became the newest member of the family – and totally took over our lives! Neither my boyfriend nor I had ever wanted a rabbit thinking them boring and stupid but how wrong we were! The cats suddenly gained a new playfulness (initially curious as to what this strange prey like creature was that was running at them rather than running away!). They would all take turns in chasing each other round and round the sitting room through cardboard tubes, round and round boxes and behind furniture until the cats were exhausted. Wobbles loved his evenings in the house with us where he would lie stretched out in front of the radiator like the Queen of Sheba – even in the middle of summer – not the kind of behaviour you expect from a supposedly tough wild bunny! After a little relax he would then ping to life and fly round the room at 100 miles an hour doing 360 degree spins in the air and buckaroos, making watching TV rather hard! Wobbles spent his daytimes outside sunbathing in his run with his head sticking out of a piece of drainage tube from the farmer next door (“Don’t tell anyone I gave him that!” the farmer shouted as he went off with his gun to meet his farming mates). After work my boyfriend and I (and the cats or course!) would go and sit with Wobbles next to his run and have a cup of tea and biscuits while he would show us his latest dandelion eating skills and do a bit of wire and wood chewing and run in and out of his tube – and generally show off! Then he would come inside for the evening. We were building him a rabbit castle – complete with turret and flag pole and it was lined with very expensive flooring tiles from my boyfriend’s work. Wobbles was also very keen on working on the castle but not in the same way we were! The first time he got in there he chewed through the rope holding the portcullis up and locked himself in for 3 hours. Within about what seemed like 5 seconds he had ripped off all the beautifully cut and laid carpet squares off the stairs inside and when I opened the door and said “What’s going on?” he sat there with the blank, ‘what are you on about I am just sitting here thinking’ expression which I have discovered rabbits do best! On one fateful occasion we were sure we had lost Wobbles as the front door had blown open. Having searched inside then outside in the dark for 2 and a half hours I was sitting on the loo feeling miserable when there were suddenly loud bumping noises from behind the bath panel. Wobbles had got under the kitchen units, tunneled through a hole in the kitchen wall and was charging around under the bath! On another occasion we bought a very smart willow branch gate to keep him in the sitting room (and not disappearing under the bath again!) but in the morning we found him sitting (very innocently!) on the wrong side of the gate with a large, perfectly formed rabbit shaped hole chewed through the wood! Sadly a few weeks ago Wobbles started having violent fits and on this occasion neither I nor the vets were able to save him so he had to be put to sleep. I never imagined something so small and silent could leave such a big hole in our lives and he is missed very very much. Even my boyfriend who spent a lot of time swearing about him shed a tear. Wobbles was such a character and was so much fun to have around and we will never forget or stop laughing about the magical 6 months we got to spend with him. There will never be another Wobbles but I hope one day we will be lucky enough to share our home and time with more bunnies and their very big personalities.
This is the story of Marvel, and it follows his progress from when he first came in, and then on to his new life with his new owner Sue. Marvel was between 5 and 6 years old when he arrived and was in a sorry state. He had claws several inches long on all four feet and a massive abscess on his jaw. This meant that he was not able to eat properly, wash his face, or move about freely. I spent a long time making him comfortable by lancing the abscess, cutting his claws and giving him pain relief and he seemed much happier. I was aware that this was only short term relief, as his abscess was sure to reoccur due to his dental disease, and the long-term prospects for this poor rabbit was not good. The rest of Marvel’s story is written “as it happened”, as updates and diary entries. Wonderful news! A very kind lady called Sue phoned me yesterday to say that she would like to give Marvel a try – her vet has agreed to take a look at him and see what can be done. I am so pleased that at least he has a chance. Even if the outcome is not positive at least he will have been given every chance, and I can certainly say that the few days that he has been here have been very comfortable and enjoyable for him – the look of pure joy on his face when he was able to scratch himself and wash his face for the first time in months was a pleasure to behold. Sue collected him today (27th January) so we will see what happens tomorrow when he is seen by Sue’s vet. Marvel 2 days after his operation: The rest of the account was written by Sue: Here is a picture of Marvel, day 2 after op, showing off his new chin (photo above). He went back to the vets on Friday for a check and its healing well. His eating picked up when I offered him museli rabbit food, he really didn’t want Excel, and I thought post-op it was better for him to eat something rather than nothing, so I haven’t had to syringe him with food. He continues with antibiotics and painkillers, but to be honest he seems quite comfortable now. He is on antibiotics for another 10 days until he goes back to the vet for his stitches out. Syringing with antibiotics is not his favourite part of his day, and now he is feeling brighter he is proving to be more tricky to catch! He has even been ‘binkying’ across the conservatory which is a delight to see. The vet has been kind and takes a real interest in bunnies so if you would like to mention Walters & McFadyen in Chippenham and special thanks to Lisa Trowbridge please do! Marvel – one week later: Here is a photo of Marvel a week after his op. He is doing fine, I’ve stopped his Metacam as he doesn’t seem to be in discomfort and is eating well. He has a lovely nature, enjoying nothing more than a nose rub and good smoothing. When I put him back in his hutch he shows his displeasure by throwing his litter tray around. He is still inside at the moment as I didn’t think the cold weather would do his wound any favours. He is very clean, and I think he would make a great house rabbit, but my very patient husband draws the line at this request! He is back to the vet next week for his stitches out, I’ll update you then. Marvel had his stitches out last week and he has healed really well. He is back out in the garden and is loving it! He loves watching the birds and the cats in the garden and throwing apple twigs around. He doesn’t seem to realise that grass is edible and takes no interest at all in eating it, but does do a lot of scratching about and digging in it. He has a fairly limited diet actuallly, he only nibbles at his greens and leaves most of them, but mainly wants to eat Excel (have weaned him on and he loves it now) and hay. He is back for a check up at the vet in 3-4 weeks, and hopefully his furry face will have grown back by then so will update with a photo. Keep your fingers crossed that the abcess stays away, he really is a lovely natured little fellow, how anybody could have let him get into that state is beyond me. We spent today attaching a run to Marvels hutch! Here are a couple photos of him exploring , and then chilling out in the sunshine. His chin is still looking good and the fur is beginning to grow back. I check his face every day for signs of trouble, so far so good. Who knows how long he has got, but I’m so pleased I was able to give him a chance of a normal bunny life, it’s been very rewarding. Update 15th March: Here are a few more snaps taken of Marvel this morning, out in the garden. He is difficult to get a good photo of, as he doesn’t stay still, but I suppose that’s a good thing! His coat is lovely and shiny now and he is growing his ‘vest’ back which I noticed he was lacking before. The missing fur on his shoulders is also pretty much grown back. The scar on his chin is also well covered, he only looks a little lopsided now!He is a very different bunny to the rabbit I first brought home. I think his legs were fairly weak and he couldn’t really jump at all. Now he whizzes about, is into everything and is pretty fearless. A very friendly chap who loves company. He went to the vets on Friday for a check, no sign of the abscess, but as his teeth are ”higgledy-piggledy” at the back they won’t wear evenly so we need to keep an eye on them every 6 weeks or so. He has put on weight too, and I think he’s enjoying himself. I hope you find a good home for Bonnie and Clyde, and the poor little chap with no ears!! Its a good job I haven’t got a bigger garden………………………..! Just to let you know Marvel survived the latest trip to the vets for his Myxi and MOT. His gummy eye looks like a bacterial infection so he is on drops for that and it already looks better. His teeth are, to quote the vet, ‘hideous’, but he is obviously managing to eat well as he has put on nearly another 200g since his last visit, and he doesn’t seem to have any spurs into his gums. No signs of the abscess either. Yesterday when I was feeding him and the other buns I left the top of his run open, having gotten used to him being not very springy, turned around a couple of munites later to discover the run empty and Marvel heading for the neighbours veg patch. I must stop thinking of him as poor old invalid Marvel, as he is as naughty and fit as any of my other buns I think! Sue Another update: Marvel continues to be a delight, and is full of beans! I wondered if he lived with cats before (maybe thats where the fleas came from?) as he goes wild when any of my cats get near him and gets very excited indeed. He can see my other rabbits when he is out in the run, but he really has an eye for the cats, very odd! As he can’t have a girlfriend I have got him a fluffy toy rabbit that he is fond of !! Update August: Further to my phone call last week, I thought I’d update you on Marvel. He had a bad weekend, as expected, with a raging infection and a very sore mouth. He was on antibiotics, eye drops, metacam and I added some Tramadol left over from his original operation. Several times I thought I would just take him back and have him put to sleep as I didn’t want him to suffer anymore, but he showed signs of wanting to eat and had moments of perkiness so I decided to give him a couple more days. I syringed him a blender mix of cabbage, celery, broccoli and excel biscuits and that seemed to go down quite well. I had left soft excel biscuits in his house all the time in case he wanted to eat them, and then on Tuesday (day 4) he ate some – hurrah. So I stopped syringing him as he hates it, to see if he could fend for himself. He has been picking at his soaked excel biscuits, eating teeny bits of greens but they are a bit tricky. Today (day 6) I dropped some hard normal excel biscuits into his run, and he fell on them with excitement and ate them!! I couldn’t believe it, I never thought he’d eat a hard biscuit again. He doesn’t eat them in the conventional rabbit way, but then he has never chewed things like my other bunnies, he has always seemed to roll things around his mouth as opposed to grind them. The vet said after she had removed his worst molars that she would have been very surprised if he had been able to grind anything for a quite a while with his awful teeth, so maybe he had got used to eating in a makeshift way. Anyhow, he is his normal self again, running about, full of the joys of spring. His eye has cleared up but he is on antibiotics and drops for a few more days to keep any infection at bay. He’s just come back from a check up at the vet and his mouth has healed well. I’m sure the infection is lurking somewhere in his bone, and I know its virtually impossible to clear completely, but he’s had 6 months of a fab bunny life since I brought him home and it looks like he has just used the last of his 9 lives and bought himself a little extra time. Sue has done a wonderful job with Marvel – I could not have found a better home for him. Below is a photo of Sue with Marvel, and the last photo is from a magazine which featured rescued animals, including Marvel! UPDATE January 2010 (written by Sue): As it is now a year since I picked up Marvel, I thought I should let you know how he is getting on. I took this photo of him this morning in the sunshine, as you can see he looks pretty good and is still enjoying life, full of beans and the first one to want to run around the garden and the last one to be herded back into his run. He went to the vets this week for a check as I found a small lump on his side. The vet is undecided as to what it is and we are monitoring it for now, to which end he has a small window shaved in his fur so I can see it better! His hideous teeth still cause him a bit of hassle causing him gummy eyes so he is on antibiotic drops at the moment for that. But he seems undeterred and not inconvenienced, he has even managed to put on another 300g in weight over the winter so he is still managing to eat well despite having the mouth of frankensteins monster! He’s had far more time than I thought he would, every day is a bonus, and every day I am so pleased for him that we managed to give him some quality time after years of neglect and confinement. Well I’d better go, its going to be cold tonight so I am off to heat up his snuggle-safe for him. I’m sure actually he doesn’t really feel the cold, but I feel sorry for him that he doesn’t have a friend to snuggle up to!! Take care, I’ll let you know how he gets on with the lump…. Sue Marvel – his arrival at CottonTails: Footnote to the story – Sue sent this message to me today (5.5.10): Hi Mairwen, Just thought I’d let you know that Marvels time ran out today. He had been drinking excessively – up to about 500mls a day for the last few days, and yesterday I noticed he was ‘mouthing’ quite a bit and today he was drooling. The vet put him under GA to examine his teeth, and when she touched his remaining lower back molars they just fell out they were so loose. He also passed a lot of urine which contained a lot of blood, so the vet thought his kidneys were probably on the way out. I decided therefore to let him go under anaesthetic rather than put him though anymore hassle for what would be a short time. He was a joy to own, probably the happiest friendliest rabbit I have ever owned and he will be sorely missed. Sue
Quazimodo’s story is told in the words of his devoted owner Ali, who nursed him with all the love and care he could have wanted. The photo above shows the little fellow one day after adoption, and he’s finding his feet on grass for the first time, although at that stage he could only drag himself around using his front legs. Note the Olympic swimmer shoulders as a result! On a visit to my local pet shop to buy their wonderful hay, I heard that one of their latest batch of baby rabbits had had an accident when he jumped too energetically over the middle partition of his enclosure and landed awkwardly against a little rabbit house. The next time I called in there a few days later, I couldn’t resist asking after Little Bunny, and learnt that the vet had said there was nothing she could do by way of medication for him. Little Bunny wasn’t in any pain, but just unable to move around properly (he was only able to drag his back legs) although he was eating well and doing everything else a little bunny should do. The pet shop manager didn’t know what to do for the best and was keeping Little Bunny as comfortable as possible with a lot of attention and cuddles. ‘Why don’t you come and see him?’ I was asked and I knew in that moment which way my life was heading…….. of course I offered to take Little Bunny on to give him one-to-one care to see if he could have an improved quality of life. I collected Little Bunny later that day, having prepared the top floor of a 6ft double-decker hutch for his exclusive use. My three girl bunnies Tinkerbell, Belinda and Coco (who can be seen in Mairwen’s ‘Seasonal Tips’ webpage as three of the four bunnies enjoying their Christmas stocking of treats from Santa Paws) all agreed to share their de-luxe bunnyshed with him, having more than enough freedom and hay and bunny toys to go round. I left Little Bunny quiet and comfortable to settle in, and the next day I put him out in the 9ft x 9ft run so he could find his feet on the grass and stretch those legs. He had developed shoulders which an Olympic swimmer would be proud of (as Mairwen later described them!) by using his front legs to drag himself around. I had Little Bunny checked by a new vet at the practice I use, and to my delight it turned out to be the same vet who’d seen Little Bunny after his accident. From a shortlist of names, Elaine the vet decided he should be called Quazimodo owing to the dip in his back and those massive shoulders! She confirmed that his problem was nerve damage, and Quaz’s best hope was the care he was receiving, although time would tell if he could ever bunny hop again. Over the next three weeks Quaz gradually became able to stand and run, and even hop – although his right foot would turn in underneath him and he would topple sometimes. I increased the amount of time Quaz was spending out on grass and he improved so much, to the stage he could get back on his feet if he toppled. Just occasionally though he would lie on his back like a dead beetle waving his legs in the air if he wanted attention – as Mairwen found out when he came to stay with her for a week whilst I was on holiday! Quaz was a delight to care for, and I spent my days swapping bunnies over so that the Girls had the ‘early morning plus evening’ Timeshare of the bunny-run, and Quaz had late morning and all afternoon. When I returned from holiday it became evident over the next few days that Quaz was indeed beginning to topple more than usual, so I went back to Elaine the vet for her advice and to see if there was anything we could do to boost his stability. She suggested a steroid jab to see if he could respond to this, although the effect would wear off after 3-4 days. Within a short space of time, Quazimodo was jumping so energetically I could certainly see how he had got into trouble in the first place. If there was any danger within sniffing distance he would wobble towards it gleefully! When I was topping up his hay or food, an open hutch door with a two foot drop was a magnetic attraction to him, and I learnt to confine him very carefully before attempting to rearrange his quarters in any way. Quaz would bound up to see my spaniel (Shadow) if he came near the bunny-run and the two of them became besotted with each other, with Shadow attracting my attention if he saw Quaz doing his ‘dead beetle’ act. Whilst the steroid jab was still having an effect, it was marvellous to see Quaz so happy and energetic and mobile. As soon as I noticed the steroid jab wearing off I contacted Elaine to talk about longer-term medication to boost Quaz. She arranged to ring me the next day, once she had checked out whether the medication she had in mind could be used on rabbits. Apparently we would need a few days between the steroid jab and the next treatment, but alas nature intervened and dear Quaz went downhill rapidly the next day, to the extent there was nothing which could be done to help him survive this. When an animal has not given up battling with whatever afflicts them, I will carry on trying to help them, but in this case there was only one course of action because Little Bunny had given up his struggle. He was such an unusual bunny because he made eye contact so frequently, and would place one of his tiny front paws (the size of a fivepenny piece) onto my finger when I bathed him. He was a very special little Bunny for his courage and perseverance, who touched quite a few people’s lives in his short life.