My little boy is gone

Monday, January 12, 2014 was one of the hardest days of my life. At 11+/- years old, I had to say goodbye to my little boy, the one and only Jink-E-Bean.

This quirky little stinker came into my life 8.5 years ago. I had popped into the Oakville Humane Society to have a peak at a different bunny I had seen on the website… and there he was. This shy, handsome, loppy face peeked from behind the cage and I knew we were meant to be together. The vets at the shelter said he was between 2 and 4 years old and had been and rescued from the outdoors. His black and white spots, silky fur, tiny body, big ears and feet and dark, beedy eyes… I was instantly in love.

I had my eye on adopting a bun so that my 9 month old Lilo lop had a pal. I worked a lot and thought another bunny would be a great way to keep Lilo from getting lonely – not to mention spring a bunny from a shelter to give him a better life. I had all of the supplies, some space and the rabbit basics down so why not, right?! Boy did I not know what I was getting into.

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Named Leelo at the shelter, that was the first thing to go and he was promptly named Leroy Jenkins, but Jinx for short. His first day must have been scary. He had just been neutered, the new smells, new people, it took him the entire first day to come out of his cage (which I had draped over with a blanket to help him feel safe) even though the door was wide open. After deciding that this new, quiet home, with space to roam was safe, he began to warm up… eventually. Well, at least letting me pet his forehead without running away to hide behind the toilet within the first few weeks. He was always leery that you were going to pick him up as he HATED it. Jinker, at first, was very grumpy and quite vocal about it. He’d have no hesitation to grump at you (bunny growl) if he was uncomfortable or didn’t like what was going on around him. This came to be his signature as with time he mellowed a bit, but never lost his feisty side.

Unfortunately, although heavily researched and attempted many times, Jinky and Lilo were just not meant to be bonded. They would get in Tasmanian Devil knock down, fur-flying brawls that usually ended in Lilo missing chunks of fur or bleeding. At times I wondered what I had done and that having another bunny was possibly a terrible idea. Even though they couldn’t be in the same space together they were completely ok hanging out at the gate that separated them. And by completely ok I mean Lilo pressing himself against the gate to be close to Jinx and Jinky trying to nudge him away or pull out his fur. Sigh. Everything in my heart told me I couldn’t give up on the grumpy little bum.

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Eventually, Jinx would become tolerant of his Lou and look over to him for company. They were quite comical at times. One would get rev’ed up and run circles, or bolt explosively across their side of the room… so the other one had to as well. They would have competitions with each other to see who could get more of mommy’s attention and as I’d be patting one’s head, he’d be looking over to see if the other was paying attention. Little did they know I didn’t pick favourites and they were both treated the same. Lilo was bonded to Cleo years later but Jinker preferred and remained being solo, bonded to his mommy.

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We all did a lot of growing up together. Moved around from city to city, relationships and break ups to eventually find our rabbit daddy, the trials and tribulations of becoming completely potty trained & free range. They also learned my language, “No, Get Down, Don’t Chew, Treat, Cookie, BANANA, What’s This? (which also meant treat), Bedtime (which in the early days meant they’d run to their cages and eagerly poke their faces out and await a treat – they were completely free range within a year), What are you doing? (they’d stop and perk up because they were doing something they weren’t supposed to and was quickly followed by NO, and loud clapping so they’d quit it)”. And I learned theirs – the head bobs, the cold shoulders, the binkies, the running circles, the squaking, the kisses, the chins, the stomps, the kick-kick-kicks and the bum twitches.

Jinky had everything to do with me getting involved with Rabbit Rescue. I was doing research one day, probably for bonding or nutrition tips, and came across the RR site. I had no idea how many mistreated and abandoned bunnies were out there, just like him. I felt I needed to help in anyway I could so I contacted the Rescue. To this day I continue to volunteer my time (almost daily) and skill in photography and graphic design to help them out.

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Once moving to an apartment with a little more space, Sir Jinken Beam really began to blossom. I decided to keep him in the main space of the home where my office was to help him become more social. He truly flourished. The first time he binkied, I cried. Jinx became so inquisitive he needed to be involved with EVERYTHING that happened. Yinker loved the smell of clean laundry so I’d fold it on the floor with him and he’d happily bounce around, sniff it and then pull the folded piles apart. He’d always pick a cozy vantage point that he could see what was going on in every direction – that way he wouldn’t miss out on a thing – especially if he heard the fridge – he’d come running. You never know when something good would come from there. In the evenings and weekends when I worked from home, he was more than happy to remind me he was there with nose bonks and nibbles to my feet and ankles so I’d have to rub him with my feet. He LOVED to be stroked on his little noggin and he never let me too far from his sight.

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In his prime he was quite the explorer. He’d hop to the top of his cage (always left open, just used as a pee pan) to grab a compressed hay cube or two that happened to be stored up there. Quite often if you couldn’t find him he was trying to climb into boxes, under the couch, under foot or got himself stuck in a little hidey-hole. The odd time he’d have to be rescued. You wouldn’t find him, however, on an uncarpeted floor. Unless it was his only way to escape from something he didn’t want to do, his mission in life was to stick to carpet. Being anything but firmly on the ground with great grip was strictly prohibited in his mind and he would vocally let you know about it if you were to dare deviate from his rules. The one thing he wasn’t though was destructive. He’d play in the packing paper I gave him or throw around the toilet paper tubes and take the odd nibble but preferred not chew or shred things. We rabbit proofed around him until the last few years but he maybe chewed one wire in the entire time that we’ve been together. He wasn’t interested in that. He was a love bun.

Jinker wasn’t a big fan of hay, but loved compressed timothy hay cubes. His favourites were Martin’s Banana Muffins or Apple Dumplings which he affectionately knew as Cookies. He was happy to eat small pieces of most fruits but his absolute fav was banana and he started begging an hour before bedtime in hopes he could have it just a little earlier. Organic Field Greens made up his ‘Good Morning Salad’ which he never thought twice to completely devour. And of course his absolute fav was the fresh herbs I’d grow in pots on the balcony in the summers, he’d nearly crawl up my leg to get to them. Ooops, I almost forgot. His love of chips. If this guy heard you crunching on a chip you had better watch your ankles. He was over like a flash in hopes he could snag a wee bite of a plain potato chip, plain corn chip or his ultimate favourite, Nacho Doritos. *Please note I do not condone giving your rabbits chips, it’s not healthy, he only got a wee taste from time to time.

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The vacuum and broom where his arch nemesis. I’m not sure what his experience was like before me, but they were never out to get him… All 3.5lbs of him would come flying out of nowhere to jump and growl at it like either of them owed him money. Oh the things he’d do that made me howl with laughter. Jinky also wasn’t a fan of car rides. He would curl up in the corner of his crate and hyperventilate. For that reason we avoided car rides as much as we could with him.

His super flops were the best. He’d literally throw himself on his side to relax. It made me giggle out loud every time and he’d always look up at me as if to say, “what, this is how I get cozy”. One day as he was passed out cold, I took an old leopard stuffed beanie toy and curled it up next to him. Well, I came back into the room to find Mr Stinky Bean beating up said toy. Thinking it was quite comical I continued to insist Jinx hang out with him. The poor stuffy was chewed, thrown, dragged, digged and sat on. He affectionately was named and became known as “That Fuckin’ Guy”. TFG took his lumps in a long initiation that resulted in him losing his bow and his whiskers looking a big disheveled. True to Jinky’s style, if you can handle the long ‘warm up’ period he’d eventually love you, and that’s exactly what happened.

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Jinx loved visitors and was very eager to greet anyone that came to our home. I’m sure along the way he’s helped convince some of those people to become rabbit lovers as well. Being the baby of a photographer wasn’t his favourite thing as he would find himself in some precarious situations. However I did notice he liked to pose as if he knew he were handsome. He also knew there was always a cookie or two in it for him when the camera came out. He was smart.

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As his joints began to fail, TFG came in quite handy and was a great companion to lean on. I also built him a little stair to make it easier for him to get into his pee pan (which he helped with of course – nosey bum) that at this point had long had the cage top removed. Hopping up on things became less frequent but he was just as happy. The vets at Campus Estates Animal Hospital were very helpful in managing his pain and gave us lots of tips to keep him as comfortable as possible. He’d get lots of back massages, face ‘scrubs’, a little help scratching his ears, a soft blankie to lounge on and a dose of pain meds which he’d angrily try to box out of my hand EVERY SINGLE TIME I administered it. However, he was quick to chase me for treats when it was all over.

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Yibbin’s arthritis progressed. We went up to 2 shots of Metacam a day which meant we couldn’t go too far without him. So if we couldn’t get a ‘sitter’ we’d pack up the car with necessities and he’d come with us. Last June he went camping for 3 days with us and earned yet another nickname, Jinky Campy Bean! In July my husband was in an accident and was in hospital hours away from home for a few weeks, so, Jinx also got to experience a hotel room and a stay over at an aunt and uncle’s home.

After we got home both Jinx and his dad weren’t moving too far too fast and Jinx kept to his blankie on his area rug. He spent most of his days draped over, grooming or lying up against his beloved TFG. Poor boy started to lose control over his bodily functions and messes became more frequent. He was still sharp as a tack mentally, begged for food, was happy to wobble over to greet you for attention and even get a little sassy with you if you were in his way. When he became too sore or weak to hop he just dragged his body around. I knew I was close to having to make that call.

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I insisted over Christmas that we do a themed photo shoot and try to get all 3 rabbits together in one shot. This had never been attempted before. I was nervous but with the help of their rabbit daddy and my mother-in-law we wrangled them up popped them all down and I happily snapped away with tears in my eyes knowing this was going to be the first and only time to happen. We made it through the Christmas season ok but with each passing week, his condition was worsening.

He was messing every time I picked him up – his poor hips must have hurt even though he didn’t wince or squak. I cut out the front of his pee pan so he could just walk right in from his blankie but most often, he couldn’t make it in time. Last week he couldn’t get his ‘hopper’ working anymore and was messing all over himself, I quite often had to cut out the poop from his fur or wash him. It was at this point I realized I was purely just being selfish keeping him with me and it was time.

Once I got up enough courage I made the call. I cried the entire time while on the phone with the vets’ office, spent the rest of the afternoon allowing him to eat as much mixed greens, cookies and banana pieces as he liked and touching his soft silky fur. I even managed to sneak in one last photo shoot with the natural light of the window and his beloved TFG. Quietly packing everything in the car, I put his blankie on my knee and he rode crate free in the front seat while his dad drove. He was able to peak out to see one last sunset and a rainbow. The angels were watching over him, ready to welcome him home.

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With one last chin, he was placed on my knee with his dad at our side. I probably told him 100 time how much I was going to miss him, what a great boy he was and how much I loved him. Jinx passed quickly and quietly into a place where he was in no more pain and could binky free again. Thanks so much to Dr Kendra at Campus Estates for talking us through his last moments and allowing us ample time to say goodbye.

Oh Jinker. There will never be a replacement. Your one of a kind saucy little attitude will be missed dearly. You taught me patience and commitment, you challenged me, brought me so much joy, made me laugh, but most importantly turned out to be the best little companion that anyone could ever ask for and literally one of my best accomplishments in life. There will always be a large place in my heart for you. And someday, when the pain of your absence starts to lessen, I’ll adopt again. If that bunny is half of the character you were, I’d be so lucky. Who knew such a little life would be such a big impact.

Love you to the moon and back my dear little Blinky Bun. My special little boy. XO

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The heartbreak of dealing with arthritis

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My poor boy. My poor heart.

If you’ve been following my blog at all you know that my Jinx has got major arthritis. It’s deteriorating, it’s painful and it’s awful to watch.

We’ve been on an up and down roller coaster for over a year now with Jinx’s back end. He goes from perfectly normal to falling over, not able to use his back end, in a day. He’s now peeing quite a bit all over his double thick soft coushy blankie – or on his mom when I pick him up. And then (sideways) hops over to you to beg for food if it’s time for a snack.

Now nicknamed Wobbles, he’s on 0.32 cc’s of Metacam twice daily  (which is a lot for a 3 lb bunny) and a special Joint joint-support_2Support cookie from Oxbow that the vet suggested. It seems to be helping but his bad days are ultimately getting worse.

I know at some point I just need to make the dreaded call to the vet. My heart says he’ll let you know somehow when he’s ready – his eyes won’t be as bright, he’ll lose his spunky attitude and will stop whining (yep) when I give him medicine, he’ll stop digging and throwing his blankies or kissing his stuffies, he won’t lean in with all his strength for face massages… I saw his vet at Bunfest a few weeks ago and she told me there is never a great time with degenerative disease. Sigh. Doesn’t make me feel any better.

What we’re doing is our best to keep him comfortable. He gets lots of Martins ‘cookies’, extra attention, a super soft plushy blankie (folded in two) to lie on, extra padding over his pee pan so it doesn’t hurt to get in, and lots of stuffed animals to cuddle with.

When we notice he’s struggling too much it’ll be time to go to the vet one last time. I don’t think that he or I am ready for it yet so we’re just biding as much time as we can have together for now.

Our Ewok got a hair cut

Cleo’s hair grows like our garden… FAST! It grows to a lengthy 4 inches all around her droopy ears and behind her noggin. Seeing as she’s not a fan of being touched (she is SLOWLY starting to come around) the hubby and I did a 5 minute spa on her the other day. Brushed, nails clipped and a hair cut. We semi ambushed her, put her on top of cozy towels in the laundry room (where she never goes) and went to town. 5 minutes later, she was a new Clue! Our Ewok was now a Princess… of what, we’re not sure yet.

One thing we didn’t know taking on a Lion Lop we’d have to take on hair cuts to an unrully bunny!  At least now she doesn’t have to ‘rabbit scan’ the room before making her next move, she can see everything!

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Jinky update

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Phew! We had quite the run there.

2 pain meds, 1 antibiotic (that he literally boxed out of my hands) and force fed Critical Care. It took over a week to get him to eat/pee/poo properly. His ‘hopper’ wouldn’t work. I think from kicking me in the face he may have lightly pulled a muscle and was hopping a little off centre. Mixed on top of a busy work week this was one stressed out bunny momma!

But. I can safely say… WE’RE NOW IN THE CLEAR! We have our inquisitive, hungry, stinky, saucy old boy back!

Thank you so much for all of your well wishes, notes, texts and emails. Our Mr Jinky Bean may be an old bitty but he’s (an we are) not ready to give up yet!

Adventure Bun

ARP-4527-LRToday is not a particularly warm day, however, someone is keen to adventure outside.

We have a 2 bedroom condo so we make the best of our space. Recently I purchased some 2.5′ tall wire mesh and wrapped it around our balcony. Our focus this year is to transform our balcony into a fantastic lettuce and herb garden. Once the weather gets warmer and things start growing I’ll be posting our progress and choices.

Since the fencing went up our morning routine has changed. Once Cleo realized it was a new space to explore she already loves it. Every morning I get up, top up the daily portion of pellets, portion out the ‘good morning salad’ (mixed green organic salad bin) and open the patio door curtains. I’m very quickly followed by a white streak who now sits on my feet and waits until I slide open the door. Since there are no bugs out yet I just leave the door open a crack and she joyfully pops in and out (with supervision) for about an hour. My next task is to find a ‘rabbit door’ to build into the screen. Here are some photos of our adventure this morning.

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My bunny doesn’t like me

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Miss Cleo is our third rabbit, but our second adoptee.

Let’s rewind this story a little bit. When I brought home Jinx, 8 years ago, he was a terrified wee boy who had spent about 2-4 years in someone else’s home, from what I can tell confined to a cage and teased, had been dumped outside for dead, found in a backyard and taken to a shelter to live for a few months before we found each other and he came home with me. Breaks my heart every time I think about his poor life before our home, he had obvious trust issues, didn’t like people or to be touched much, growled and lunged at people, it couldn’t have been good.

It took me 3+ years to snap him out of it. With lots of love, patience, TREATS, his own space, and a rabbit friend on the other side of the gate, he opened up and became the BIGGEST SUCK EVER.

Miss Cleo we fostered in July of 2013 and adopted shortly after. Once we got to know her we knew she’d be a great candidate for bonding with Lilo. Sweet little inquisitive girl she was just a little gem. Small bonding sessions turned into longer ones and in no time at all, they were a match made in heaven. She LOVES her Lou. She will groom him, cuddle with him, steal his treats and follow him around all day. Although since bonding with Lilo, she’s really unfancied my husband and I. Sigh.

We can’t pet her anymore without her running away and turning her back on us. She won’t lick my eyebrows when I lie on the floor with her anymore. She’s always on super high alert and ‘rabbit scans’ the room from side to side to make sure we’re not coming any closer to her. It’s a bit of a super bummer. Although, I think I’m just being a little selfish. Lilo is a big suck and enjoys all of the attention. And they get along like 2 peas in a pod.

I’m hoping with lots of time, love and maybe some treats she’ll come around like Jinky did. If you have any suggestions to help us gain our Cleo’s trust again, please email your suggestions!

You remind me of someone…

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We were just chillin at home last night watching the BBC nature shows when something happened. Cleo relaxed! I’m not sure if I’ve EVER seen her this chill before so I had to take a picture with my phone for fear of getting up to get my good camera would inspire her to move. After giggling to myself for a minute about how funny she looked I thought to myself, “Wait a minute there is someone that you remind me of…”

I quickly googled the Never Ending Story and there it was… Falkor, the Luckdragon. There are some similarities for sure. They’re both white and furry, they both have ruby eyes and floppy ears, they both fly (when Miss Cleo decides she’s going to binky, she doesn’t mess around!), and they’re both lucky. Cleo was found by a Rabbit Rescue Volunteer and then was fostered and adopted by another RR volunteer. Lucky girl for sure!

Sorry Clue, I giggled at your expense twice last night.

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