Recent headlines got me Googling about cosmetics testing on rabbits. What I found was disturbing, to say the least. I didn’t realize how horrific the test procedures are, or that test subjects are slaughtered afterwards. Though several countries have banned cosmetics testing, the U.S. still hasn’t. However, there’s at least some good news to report.
The bun-lover community is aghast, Twitter all a-chirp with the news from England: Darius, the holder of the Guinness title for world’s largest rabbit, is missing! The poor pet was poached April 10 from an outdoor enclosure at his home in Stoulton, Worcestershire, inspiring one of the New York Times’ most emailed articles last week. As a bunny blogger, I feel a duty, or at least an irresistible urge, to add my three cents.
He was a beautiful silver-gray lop whose deep brown eyes seemed almost lost in the drape of his ears. Silky soft, he was only too happy to let my fingers gently stroke him for as long as I liked. I’d never had a lop, always wanted one. He was perfect. There was just one hitch.
Years ago, I helped a woman adopt a rabbit after her previous one passed away. She fell in love with a beautiful silvery lop named Sheldon, and delightedly took him home. A few weeks later, she gave me a call. She was concerned because she and Sheldon weren’t “connecting”. In fact, he was avoiding her.
I asked what happened when she got close to Sheldon. She said she’d pick him up and cuddle him, but he would get away as quickly as he could. “Have you tried not picking him up?” I asked. Though I tried my best to work with this well-meaning bunny mom, in the end I failed. She became convinced that Sheldon was somehow defective and he was returned. On the brighter side, Sheldon went on to find a happy home.
“Moraea! That’s *my* drink!,” I exclaimed, snatching the champagne glass away from her inquisitive little tongue.
“It tickles my whiskers. Can I have some more?” she asked, lunging into my lap.
“Nope,” I said, swiftly changing the subject. “It’s almost midnight. We need to make our New Year’s Rabbit Resolutions.”
Here’s what we cooked up.
Mike, my burly general contractor, stopped mid-sentence and looked past me towards the source of that thunderous sound: The oversized back feet of a large, black-and-white splotched rabbit. The bun sat upright and defiant, in the center of the kitchen floor. If it’s possible for a bunny to glare, this one was doing it.
“Is he OK?” Mike asked.
“You’re fiddling with your keys. He doesn’t like it.”
Mike had been absent-mindedly running his fingers through the collection of metal bits in one of his pockets. Despite the “this woman is insane” look on his face, his hand went still. Satisfied, the long-eared protestor turned and hopped away to attend to his waiting pile of greens. Not even a 200-pound adversary could intimidate Elwood.
Your rabbit is peeling the wallpaper off your wall. How do you seek help? Talk to rabbit-lover friends? Call the rescue you adopted from? Google it?
Ever ask your vet?
Bun owners like me often consult a vet about a behavior that we suspect has a medical cause. One example is urination outside the litterbox. It’s sometimes thought to be caused by a bladder infection, so the vet is the obvious person to consult. However, recently I discovered that some veterinarians can also be of help with behavior concerns that aren’t directly linked to an illness or injury.
“Ahem,” said Finnegan.
OK, Finnegan didn’t actually clear his throat. But he did the rabbit equivalent: hopped over to my chair and looked up at me. A bunny never does this unless he has something to say.
“What’s up, Finnegan?”
“Couldn’t help noticing, you’re eating an apple.” he said, licking both sides of his harelip.