It occurred to me the other day that those of you who haven’t listened to our recent podcasts may not know the latest on our pet situation: not long ago we became the proud and (mostly) happy human companions of a small dog… uhh, I mean cat… err, that is, a bunny rabbit.
If the title of this post is confusing at best (and misleading at worst), I say blame the author—she loves wordplay and just couldn’t resist portmanteauing “pet update” into “pupdate.” (She also can’t resist, it appears, the unauthorized changing of a noun into a verb.) Adding to the confusion is that she’s not wholly certain what kind of animal is currently running around her house.
Possessing characteristics of puppies (boundless energy; greeting visitors in the entryway), cats (looking intently out the window for long periods; rolling around on her back), and of course, bunnies, she is a spiritual chimera of the animal world.
It’s not just her multiple personalities that took us by surprise. Unexpectedly, the process of adopting her unfolded exactly as it had when we got Stanley: same rescue organization, same adoption event location, and same outcome. That is to say, I had a couple of bunnies in mind, and as I sat in a little penned area meeting each bun individually and agonizing over which to adopt, the husband sat several feet away in a chair, scoping the room and falling quickly for a totally different rabbit. I hadn’t seen this other rabbit on the website, though, because, still awaiting her spay procedure, she was not yet officially up for adoption.
Then we got the lowdown on this English Angora: she’d been rescued from a neglect situation; she hadn’t been given enough to eat and had minor food insecurity issues because of it; her coat had been so matted that it had taken weeks of combing to get out all the mats (thus the bald spots); and she would need diligent combing to keep her fur from matting. Another option for fur management, we were told, is to shave her regularly with an electric razor, like an unpaid dog groomer. In other words, she was a “project.” I told the husband I wasn’t looking for a project, but he was giving me that look—the one that told me his heart was set on her. Slowly, it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to win this one. I guess it helped that I couldn’t decide between the other two buns.
“Oh fine,” I said after a loud sigh designed to underscore my annoyance, “but you’re taking her to her spay appointment and you’re staying on top of her combing and you’re shaving her coat on a regular basis.” (I hadn’t yet seen either of the above pictures. Otherwise I might not have given in.)
We’ve had her for a few weeks now, and she’s kinda bonkers. She has trouble sitting still and some evenings, after a long day of work when I just need things to be a little Zen, she drives me crazy with her frenetic energy and frequent need for stimulation and attention. She has a naughty streak (again, like Stanley did) and will often test the limits by hopping on a forbidden piece of furniture and finding ways to nibble on houseplants and other no-go items no matter how inaccessible we make them. Still, these are just growing pains and getting-to-know-you-and-your-rules aches. We’ve had several good evenings where she’s able to chill. She’s starting to understand “no” (even though she sometimes ignores it). She’s gentle and loves being near us, plonking down next to us on the couch and stretching out for as much petting as we’re willing to give her.
To help keep her entertained, the husband channeled his inner Pa Ingalls into fashioning this nineteenth-century-era wooden toy for her to chew on (though she’s never chewed it once). Deciding it was a total bust, we drove a nail in the top and hung various rabbit-friendly chew toys from it, which, thankfully, she loves and frequently gnaws. Also, she likes showing her donut-pouf who’s boss.
This girl is very different from our last rabbit, and maybe that’s a good thing. I worried that he’d ruined me for ever having another bun. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to write The Tale of Bun 4: Walter, but as this big fuzzy four-legged tornado slowly wears down my defenses, I may heal enough to do so one day soon.
Update to the Pupdate: For various reasons, the publishing of this post was delayed by a few weeks. In the intervening time, the donut pouf has gone away (she was using it as a secondary bathroom) and she is no longer allowed on the couch (where several naughty behaviors were occurring). The good news is that she’s getting better and better at listening and there is evidence that she has learned some rules. So, while at times it seems like for every step forward with her, there are two steps back, things are getting better. There is one recent negative development, though; I’m now being roped into helping with the shaving sessions. 😠
For the complete picture: