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Bunny Bulletin

Our regular bulletin board featuring blog articles, updates and advice from our volunteer team.

Last night the rabbits were given the next instalment of their Christmas gifts hand crafted by some of the volunteers.

On Christmas Eve some of the volunteers will give the rabbits a special Christmas visit and their last set of gifts.

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Following on from our post last week where we described the toy making workshop our volunteers had, the rabbits recently received the second batch of their gifts on the run up to Christmas

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Last night I received a call from one of our foster carers who had one of our rescue rabbits, Paul, staying with her.  She had just come in from doing her nightly check on Paul at around 9pm and found that he was not well at all!

I sped round to the foster carer’s home to see what I could do to help.  Paul looked in a pretty bad way.  He was all curled up in a ball on his side.  His head was severely twisted and his legs were askew.  His cheek was twitching rapidly and the poor guy looked very uncomfortable.  It looked at first glance to be stroke-like symptoms.

Not holding out much hope for the wee man, I rushed him to the Glasgow University Small Animal Hospital’s Emergency Out-Of-Hours service to see what could be done.

I did somewhat imagine the assessment would suggest he was too far gone and that a recommendation may be made for him to be put to sleep to save him from his misery.

However on assessment the vets concluded that it was as likely to be a sudden onset of a parasite infection affecting the brain as it was to be stroke symptoms.  The recommendation was to treat on the assumption it was parasitic and monitor closely for the next 24 – 48 hours.

The hope was that either way, be it through treatment for the parasite infection or the natural process of stroke symptoms settling, we should notice an improvement within the next 48 hours.

I was advised he would need some intensive care, particularly as we believed at the time he had also stopped eating.  The SAH very kindly offered to keep him in their care, but as we are well versed with the methods for syringe feeding and supportive care I was happy to bring him back to The Warren.

Arriving back at base around 11pm, Feona & I very quickly organised some Critical Care formula.  Paul lay on his side and quite literally lapped up the critical care and water from the syringes.  His mouth was desperately reaching for more so I tried simply hand feeding him some Fibafirst sticks which he thoroughly enjoyed.  I then moved on to some basil and parsley leaves followed by some romaine lettuce (dark greens!).  As he lay there I was shocked at just how well this ill bunny was chomping down his food.  He even managed to reach over and help himself to a little bit of hay that was next to his head on the counter.

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Having snuck him his dose of Panacur between water and critical care syringes we prepared his “sick bed”: a large indoor cage area that we set up with bare essentials inside only.  Blankets to help keep him warm which we then topped up with hay – that way if he managed to wriggle his way around the cage he should still manage to reach some hay to feed from at night.  A shallow water bowl in the hope he’d manage to drink himself.

Just before we set him in the cage, he tried to sit up on the counter.  He managed to hold himself well for about a minute before losing his balance again and settling, somewhat dizzy, back into his laid down position.  I gently picked him up and placed him in the cage.

This morning I woke up and headed up to The Warren to repeat the hand feeding for him.  I was expecting the worse as I recalled leaving him lying in the cage with an appearance akin to a dying rabbit.

I was surprised to be met by Paul sitting up in his cage.  His water bowl was close to empty and no signs of wet blankets around it, suggesting he’d managed to drink the water.  The food we’d left was still there, but had definitely been eaten a little.  I offered him some more hand-fed food and he wolfed it down.

His head though is severely tilted at the moment.  We suspect that whilst the Panacur has some hope of improving this, it is likely that he will be left with some permanent head tilt damage.

His fight to survive though is impressive, and we are delighted with his progress in just a short number of hours.  Hopefully he will continue to improve and we will return to our vet in the next day or two to discuss the next stages of appropriate treatment to try to get him fully back on track.

You can help towards Paul’s recovery.  A small donation towards his veterinary treatment would be very much appreciated, or simply share this article and help us spread awareness of Paul’s story and the work we’re doing at Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care.

For the past few months, a pair of the Fairly Beloved Volunteer team have been very busy. They have been collecting a large selection of treats for bunnies; from Pet stores, pound stores, ebay, garden stores and online stores. 

On Sunday, the 14th December, a group of volunteers got together and started putting all of these objects to a good use; to make Christmas extra special for the bunnies, by hand making a selection of toys. 

We met at Lynne's, one of the care assistants house's where we walked into a lounge filled with boxes; boxes of toilet roll tubes, boxes of hay, readigrass, cardboard planters, sisal rope, delicious smelling herbs, crunches, dried fruit and wooden beads; all bunny safe and so colourful! 

After some coffee and cake, Laura showed us a few of her ideas; for the past few years now, she has researched into rabbit safe providers, for things such as coloured wood, beads, and ropes. She showed us a few of the toys she had made before our arrival; the possibilities were most definitely endless! She has been making her own rabbit toys for the past few years; and with that as an inspiration we where raring to go! 

So, we got to work like little Elves. 

Lynne and Lauren created gift bags stuffed with tasty treats for the bunnies to tear open and investigate; these give hours of endless fun and encourages bunnies natural foraging instincts; as they find the super tasty treats! 

Laura gave the toy making group some great encouragement; and really got our creativity flowing. We created some pretty strange looking toys; planters stuffed with hay and dried fruit; loo roll tubes with holes punched and filled with tasty smelling herbs . . . baby rings at the top, linked and secured with sisal and barley rings; all completely edible and safe for the bunnies to enjoy. I don't know who was more excited; Lynne and Laura who's idea this all was, who have been collecting the items over the past few months, or us little elves, proud that we had created all these cool toys – and possibly the most creative thing I've done since school! 

It was great to bond as a team, and be doing something that we know is really going to benefit the bunnies at the warren this Christmas. 

Although the bunnies receive lots of love and attention from us volunteers on a regular basis; we all agree that Christmas is a time for love, giving and joy; and this is the best way we feel we can make the day special for these guys who haven't yet found their forever home, and aren't in a foster home, spending it with a family who love them and appreciate them for their little bunny ways. 

If you feel that you would like to give a bunny a forever home; a home to spend their Christmas in next year, spoil them rotten and celebrate your love for them, then please do get in touch in the new year! Currently, adoptions are closed over Christmas, but will re open in January. 

We will be visiting the bunnies on Christmas eve, to attach their new toys to their doors, stash their paper bags away; I'm so excited!

See a selection of our toy making activities in the photos below, and come back over the coming days to see us start to treat the rabbits in the rescue with their gifts.

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Today's Blog is written by Lhanna, one of our foster carers.

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post on Lucy & Leah, my two foster bunnies.
They were severely emaciated on arrival after being intentionally starved, and our vet did not expect them to pull through at all.

However, a steady measured diet of nuggets, specially selected greens and hay with forage seen them through the worst of it. Never before had I been so nervous about going out to my shed to give the bunnies breakfast; a strong coffee, or a dose of dutch courage was needed before every visit in those first few weeks. When you are in charge of the care of two lops, who weigh only 1.2kg – just over half their recommended body weight, its extremely scary – but it pulls something deep within that you can't ignore, and despite the fear and anxiety, you would do anything to get them better and well. Everytime I went out to see them, they would clammer for attention – sit on my knee and flop next to me – their tiny, yet long bony bodies terrified me, made me cry and made me angry. I channelled all those emotions into their care, and I was rewarded with two confident, self assured bunnies within a few months.

Once they reached a normal weight, they started escaping out their shed pen – so we extended it, and they got neutered. We then moved them into an outside set up, with a house and run with a ramp. The girls loved it, and would race all around jumping of the ramp onto each other and just being bunnies which was amazing to see.

Strangely enough, I never quite seen them leaving me but I never made a move to stop it. In my time as a fosterer I have failed many a time; Alice, Ollie and Freddy are now all permanent residents, having once been fosters. Some bunnies, you just know they are here to stay – that you are what they need, and they are what you want.

I never felt that with Lucy & Leah – which is not something a lot of people understood.  I loved them – and do still love them, but I knew that what I could provide, is not what I wanted for them.

The day I got the message that they were adopted, I was confused. Initially, I was overjoyed, excited, confused; and then I wanted to know all I could about the family.
And then I was happy.

Despite going through that rollercoaster, I always wanted better for them. My home was their home as long as they needed it – I never wanted them to move foster home, and wouldn't swap trying to catch them in the garden for all the cookies available – but I also would never have adopted them. That's not to say that I couldn't offer a wonderful home to them, as I could have, but could I then do the same for another pair? I had been so successful in helping them gain weight and become the confident, loving bunnies they where – why not save up that knowledge and do it all again?

And that is why I foster.

It's a strange situation fostering, and all the emotions attached to it. However, I think of it like this; I love all the rabbits who pass through my gate, but I also love them enough to let them go. Enough to want better for them – enough to want them to get all that they deserve, and to make new owners happy, and create a positive image of bunnies in their head; to make them fall in love with not just their bunnies, but all bunnies and to carry on the cycle when they pass. If I keep all my fosters, the above is impossible. It is surprisingly easy to say goodbye, when you know the new owners are so excited and want to give these rabbits as good a chance at a fabulous life that I have prepared them for, and told them stories about.

This week, I seen a picture of Lucy & Leah in their new home – playing on grass, next to a tunnel, and clearly close to the photographer. That made me smile; and that simple image of them trusting another person, a person who has done their utmost to provide a life of enjoyment to them, is what I wanted for them. And to see it happen, well it makes it all worth it. No good luck – just Well Done; you deserve it to both parties.