Where I blab about bunnies and encourage your bunny (and other animal) stories.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Now to get the elephant on the treadmill

This is a theory worth attention (or ridicule): Exercising overweight animals on human contraptions in human ways.

The story about Maggie the elephant also brought up another question. Specifically, this graph:

"They have built them for race horses and race camels but never for an elephant," said assistant zoo director Pat Lampi.

There exist such a thing as a race camel?! These I gotta see...

BTW, what is it about people naming their pets Maggie?! There are oodles of pets with the name -- keep your ear out and you'll be aware of more and more. My best friend Maggie gets it rubbed in her face all the time. My brother and sister-in-law's pot-bellied pig is named Maggie, which lends itself to much ribbing. I put black pigs on Maggie's birthday cards and such, so it's actually me doing the teasing...I tease because I love. Good thing she's a great sport with a strange sense of humor!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Monster hurricanes

A recent report by MSNBC (sorry, only available on IE) cited research that the temperature of world's oceans have risen 1° in the last 50 years. So friggin' what, right? Well, correlate with that 1° double the number of Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes.

I've never really wanted to live in the South. To me, it's a nice place to visit...yadda yadda. However, I've never really been glad I don't live there. I am now. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to pack my life in a day or less and decide what to bring (what I could stuff in my car, basically). With my four kids, that's not a lot of room for "other stuff." And it is just stuff, I know. But I'm one of those people that can point to anything I see in my apartment and tell you the entire story behind it (I get that from Grandma -- we're knick knack people). I have attachments to objects. Of course, when it comes right down to it, as long as my kids and I are safe, the rest of the stuff in this place don't mean anything at all. But finding shelter in the meantime, rebuilding after the danger passes, finding money to replace those "things," realizing everything is just gone.

My dad told me tonight that the disaster relief people at the ELCA raised over $6.1 million for Hurricane Katrina's relief effort. According to RedCross.org, "As of Monday, September 19, the Red Cross has received nearly $764.7 million, of which approximately 33 percent is in pledges." That organization predicts the total cost of the effort from Katrina will be over $2 billion. But how much will Rita's rebuilding effort cost? How deep are the pockets of Americans? How much more in debt can the American government go? The answer: As much as it damn well takes.

September 11, 2001 was neither the first nor the last time Americans saw each other -- wherever we lived -- as neighbors, as fellow human beings. It's a shame that it takes enormous disasters for us to realize this simple fact, but it's fortunate that something does.

Maybe these hurricanes are Nature's way of punishing us industrial humans for screwing so badly with the Earth. Poseidon does not want the oceans 1° warmer. He will send more hurricanes. I own leather; I eat meat. But I do not condone or support actions like our government's headstrong plan to turn a massive amount of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge into an oil drilling field. The ironic part -- several studies have shown that the oil we glean from this "energy effort" will amount to one year's supply for the grand ol' US of A, but we won't get any of it until 10 years from now. That's 10 years of capsizing fragile ecosystems, endangering and actively making extinct species of animals that do not live anywhere else, screwing with the air and water and flora. I wish I'd have voted twice for Gore...and three times for Kerry.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Why I think Pea is half blind

When I first met Pea (May 2, 2004), she was a tiny kit six weeks of age. She was irresistable with that eyeliner and a chunk of her right ear missing. Not a lot, but an obvious bite out of it. The wound had obviously been sealed (by a vet) and healed, but judging by how it looked and how fast bunnies heal, she would have probably been just two to three weeks old when it happened. Bunny dads tend to beat up on their babies when they're small, so it may have been a bit of "Daddy put me in my place," knowing Pea's "I'm Top Bun!" attitude. But I fell in love and when I fall in love, I fall hard. I played with her and brought her home with me that day.

Ever since, and especially when I feed her salad when I'm making it, I notice that she doesn't see food that's held on her right side. That is, if it's not in view of her left eye, she doesn't know it's there. She doesn't walk funny because of it or act differently. She takes a lot of the same risks that Hops does as far as climbing and jumping and such (gotta love my acrobats!), so I don't think it affects her the same way it would a bunny who had grown up with full vision and became half blind halfway through life. My friend K.O. has a bunny that became half blind and it affected her a lot, poor girl. (Shout out to Pumpy!)

Anyway, half blind or not, Pea seems well-adjusted and happy (you can count the glee in binkies when she's playing in the living room). So tough childhood's behind her and home is a good place.

Belly rub for the non-bubble belly bunny

My poor tiny Kayla (she's barely 3 pounds and definitely full-grown at nearly five years old) spent most of Saturday with her belly pressed to whatever flat surface she could find -- her favorite (hay-filled) litterbox, the rug under my bed, the rug on the floor of her cage. They lay very differently when they have gas bubbles in their tummies, so I tried to let it work itself out, but by Saturday night, I decided that Hops had run her around all that he could (activity helps the bubbles work themselves out). I had to step in and make my girl feel better.

So I catch Kay (the hardest part is always getting them, they're fine once I'm holding them) and put her in my lap and give her a belly massage. She got a bit fidgety, so I put her on the bed and lay down next to her and gave her Belly Massage, part 2. Poor girl... She hopped down after a few minutes and I checked on her about an hour later and she was hopping around and taking raisins -- Momma done good.

Moral: When your tummy hurts, let someone give you a belly massage. It'll cure what ails ya.

Bunny info: Gas is actually pretty dangerous in bunnies. Gas bubbles that don't break up and don't pass through their systems can cause gastric statis, which can kill a bunny in a few days. (Such fragile creatures, they are.) Massages can help break up big bubbles into smaller ones, which pass through easier. The second step if massages don't work is to pin prick a Gas-X tablet and squish it in their mouths. (See Bubble Belly Bunny Baby.)

Signs of gas include the bunny constantly pressing her belly onto the ground, not eating pellets and/or salad, not taking raisins. There are others like loud belly sounds (although Pea's belly is always grumbling and I don't think it's gas because she eats very well and plays like she's in no pain at all -- some bunnies just have grumbly bellies, I guess) and hard tummy, but the posture and eating habits clue me in first.

Kayla's the bunny of mine who gets gas the most. The others have no real health concerns at all (although I suspect Pea is blind in her right eye, but that's unconfirmed). I'm lucky to have such healthy kids (so far)... I guess I wasn't so lucky with Amber (who died a week before his third birthday in 2001).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I lie like a rug

I said "More on how that bond originated in my next entry." in my Sept. 11 entry and then I didn't deliver. And I still owe you faithful readers an account of SweetPea's first time outside. I promise, they're coming... But in the meantime, you can call me names and tell me my pants are en fuego.

But now I have to moderate a webcast -- Top 5 things you can do to limit spyware by my buddy Ed Tittel. Ed's a great guy and a newish dad (of an adorable boy named Gregory). He's TechTarget's career expert (it's an unofficial title that I have just bestowed), but he's really a brilliant guy about many other topics, as well. So I'm glad whenever I get the chance to work with him. He's truly a delight to work with -- one of the people that makes my job worth it. So, off to webcast land (when is TT going to start really podcasting?).

Does anyone know of any podcasting sites that aren't about IT? Is CNN doing podcasts? Lemme know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pea the copycat

Not only has Juniper Hops (pronounced "Joomper Hops" by my niece when she was a bit younger) taught Pea that I'm a jungle gym when I'm on the floor (neither of them can resist climbing on their momma, which makes my yoga sessions particularly challenging), but he has also taught her how to be an acrobat on the couch. When Hops is on the top of the couch begging for pets and I'm cuddling with him up there (when I'm at my computer), Pea has recently started getting jealous. So up she hops onto the couch, climbs up the pillows and sticks her nose right by Hops'. When I'm lucky, I get to pet her head and she nuzzles in for the attention. When she's basically trying to get Hops to play with her, the moment I reach my hand out to give her some lovin', she bolts and is on the floor before I can blink. Hops, usually completely nonplussed by the whole "Pea is a crazy loon of a bunny" show, stays cuddled with me, only occasionally raising his head to see what his baby sister's up to now. Pea, on the other hand, usually gets a "You're such a CrAzY bunny!" from me and proceeds to binky her way across the living room.

They make up their own games... Amber used to (and Hops does now) nudge my ankle so I would poke him in his butt and make him scutter away (quickly). This action is accompanied by a certain "game" noise I make. Then he'd sneak back to me and nudge me again. It's like self-fetch for bunnies.

OR Pea doesn't quite get why Hops is up there with me, what the big attraction is, but goes up because her big brother is up and that's the place to be. When what's up there (pets from me) is not what she's after, she hops down. Pea, however, is no stranger to cuddles from me. She does nudge me to pet her when she's out (without Hops, or else he's getting the nudges and must dole out the attention), and she does turn into nearly six pounds of bunny mush when I pick her up and take her into the bedroom at night to put her in her cage (she's my only imprisoned bun when I'm not there or asleep). The mush, after all, must get pets and songs and coos and love and many, many kisses -- or else how would a bunny get to sleep without them?! So cuddles are good, just not when she's in a mood to play.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's sheddin' season

When isn't it shedding season? Ironically enough -- in the summer. Once Labor Day hits, it seems like all my kids are getting rid of their old coats. Which means the oh-so-affectionate Hops gets even more cuddly. (Some may call it demanding, but I prefer to think I have a choice in all of this.) So I'm at my computer tonight (clearly, since I'm blogging) and every few minutes I swivel my computer chair around and see Hops on the top of the couch (the top of the back). He only comes up there when he wants cuddles from his Momma... So around I swivel and hook my left arm around him, he lays his chin on my elbow, and my right hand scritches his head from nose to ears -- sometimes hard and fast, sometimes soft while I coo to him. It's never long before my face is showered in kisses.

And so starts The Kissie Game. I back my face up and he stops kissing me, then I come at him and try to kiss him before he kisses me. Truth be told, he wins frequently. He's really good at the game... We've been playing it for almost four years now, he better be good at it!

But he's up on the couch and requiring so much attention because he's itchy (I'm convinced). His fur is coming out of his skin, but it's sticking in the other fur so he needs someone to pet him furiously at times and deep in his fur to get all the loose fur untangled. We're talking about a dutch here, so the fur's not very long, but it's still enough of a problem for him to come hunting for me every few months and demanding more pets. This lasts for a month or two and then it's back to normal -- looking for me for a game of kisses on the floor or attacking me when I'm on the couch watching a movie or nudging me when I'm not paying enough attention to me (read: when he walks by me and I don't acknowledge him with a pet or with his name).

Juniper Hops could, I suppose, get a fur treatment from the twins, but it seems like he always prefers me to Ariel and Kayla. I have to say, I'm flattered. There is still that bond between us that he refuses to let slip away.

More on how that bond originated in my next entry.