The World According to Chance

According to the Chancellor, there’s an uncrossable barrier in our hallway, right before the steps down to the bathroom and kitchen. Certainly, it can’t be crossed; realistically, it shouldn’t even be approached.

Granted, that first step is a little daunting. It’s wooden, and edged in corrugated metal — not too comfy for bunny paws. It’s a little deep, and irregularly-shaped — even some humans have struggled with depth-confusion. So, I wasn’t especially surprised when, in the first few weeks, as Chance took to the hallway and attempted to take our bedroom, he steered clear of the steps. I wondered when he’d breach the divide, but I wasn’t surprised.

Now that many months have passed, I am surprised. Our last rabbit, who was just half a pound bigger than Chance, never hesitated at this (or any) step. He found it awkward, often scrabbling on the way up, but it didn’t phase him. And Chance doesn’t struggle with any jumps in his living area, like the steps in his condo, and our sofa. So, what’s up, Chance?

two illustrations: one, rabbit-POV facing the invisible boundary; the other, a blueprint of our flat

Not that I’m complaining. It’s convenient to have a neutral zone, in case of future bunny dates.

Update on the Cyst

So, it took longer than two weeks, but the cyst did go away. (Last on “The Cyst,” Chance’s vet said to give it two weeks before he cuts it out. Chance’s owners, the rescue agency, decided to give it longer than that … and good thing!) I had started to worry it would never go away, because while it shrank quickly at first, it stuck around at the same reduced size for a long time. But during last month’s physical (about five weeks after we first found the cyst), I couldn’t find it at all. Good stuff.

So it’s a Cyst

Today I brought Chance to the vet’s. This was my first time with this vet, and I’m pleased to say that everything went smoothly — even the streetcars at rush hour. After a physical exam, the vet drew some fluid from the lump, which told him it was a cyst. He advised that we give it two weeks. If it’s still there in two weeks, he’ll cut it out. If it’s gone, good! If it grows bigger in the meantime, out it comes. My preferred outcome is obvious but, either way, this is not the worst diagnosis. And Chance comported himself very well at the vet’s. While travelling (and while seated), I kept a hand in the carrier, and it seemed to calm him (as it did with my last rabbit). On the way home, he even laid down for most of the trip while I petted him. This evening he’s been a little reclusive, though, poor fella.

Second Rabbit, Second Lump

Much time has passed, and there’s so much I’ve wanted to write about, but I’m back in school and busy-busy-busy. They say that “no news is good news,” and sadly they’re right in this case, because I’m writing to say that I found a lump on Chance’s belly last night.

I can’t imagine it’s been there long: I pet him closely every day, and would have noticed it. We weighed him just last week, which means picking him up and, therefore, touching his belly. We gave him a thorough physical three weeks ago and, in retrospect, I may have possibly felt something then but, if so, it was tiny.

Now it’s rather large, though slightly smaller than a walnut. It’s hard, round, and distinct. It seems to be under the skin, and it moves around when I touch it (not in a great way — always staying in the general vicinity, but I mean it’s not stuck fast to a certain spot). There’s no broken skin, no fur loss, no sensitivity (Chance isn’t keen on focused handling, but he doesn’t especially pull away when I touch the lump).

Cyst? Tumour? Abscess? He’s had no injuries or surgery in the area that I know of, and he’s such a young guy, I wasn’t expecting this.

Poor Chance. I emailed the folks at Rabbit Rescue immediately upon finding it, and they’ve arranged a vet appointment for tomorrow evening. Hopefully nothing happens between now and then — because, aside from the lump, you’d have no clue Chance was ill.

Fingers crossed for sebaceous cyst! I had heard these were rather uncommon in rabbits, but Rabbit Rescue tells me they’ve experienced them before.

(About the title of this post: I’m trying to stay calm through all this, but the déjà-vu is a little distressing, for the last time I was writing about finding lumps on rabbits, it was the beginning of the end for my beloved Frances. The similarities end there, but still, I can’t help but be reminded. Poor buns.)

The Here and There of Fostering

Last weekend, a potential adopter came by to see Chance. She were looking for a bunny to bond with her own. She had arranged to see Chance, and one of Chance’s brothers, Oreo. She ended up bringing home Oreo. Although I was sad not to see Chance go to a good home, I think she probably made the right decision. Chance is a little aggressive, and so is her bunny; Oreo, on the other hand, is apparently one laid-back bun. Sounds like a better fit.

Right now, Chance is napping on his blue blanket on the floor. He’s been up an down all morning. We’ve had some nice snuggles on the sofa, too. (I’m still home sick.)

It’s an odd thing, fostering… I know I would have missed him, if he’d gone, but knowing he’s been passed by also makes me melancholy.

He’s a good rabbit. He’s growing to trust me more and more. He’s bonding with me… a frightening prospect. I know I should pull back. But how can I?

And Maggie laughed…

Today, I learned a few more details of Chancellor’s past. There is a woman who keeps un-fixed rabbits under a kind of “open-door policy.” She lives on the ground floor of an apartment tower, and the rabbits are let loose on the grassy area outside her door (never mind the driveway and parking lot, the raccoons and dogs…). They breed like, well, you know. Real “laissez-faire” type in regards to food, medical care, social needs, protection… Toronto Animal Services and Rabbit Rescue were involved in a round-up, and from thence came Chance. He’s such a little trooper!

Settling In A.K.A. Danger! Danger! Or not…

Our first days with Chance have been fun but stressful:

His schedule is out of whack, so he’s sleepy when I think he should be waking up — I sit there thinking is he just sleepy OR DOES HE HAVE GAS!?!?!?!

He drinks and pees less than my last rabbit (but then, he’s also smaller than my last rabbit), and on his first day he didn’t use the litter at all (making me wonder, Does he know it’s a litter? So I threw in some handfuls from his old box. Don’t know if that helped or not, but anyway he used it overnight), so is he just settling in and/or being his normal self OR DOES HE HAVE A BLADDER STONE BLOCKING HIS URETHRA!?!?!?!

I’ve found a few clusters of cecotropes, so is he just a little upset from the move and/or does he need a slight diet adjustment, OR IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF STASIS!?!?!?!

His nails are rather long (grown into points! I’ve never even seen that before) and he’s starting to moult, so he needs grooming, but that’s not what he wants from me right now (he likes being petted but hates being handled) — should I give him his space OR WILL THAT MAKE HIM SICK!?!?!?!

When I tried to weigh him, he spazzed and jumped out of the bin eye-first into a metal stool leg (eye-first? How could he not see that coming?) — DID HE INJURE HIS EYE!?!?!?!

And other lines of catastrophic thinking…

So I look for other signs of problems and thankfully find none. Really he’s just sleepy because a moment later he gives a good stretch and then plays with me for the rest of the night. He may not pee much but he does pee and there’s no straining, signs of pain, or dribbling. He did leave those cecotropes but at least they’re well-formed, and his poops are well-formed too (and we are going to transition his diet over the next month). A few more days of long nails won’t kill him. And maybe he did hurt his eye, but he isn’t showing it yet; when and if he does, we’ll go to the vet’s, plain and simple.

So STOP WORRYING!!!!

An Early Start

I’m very excited to say that yesterday I began the process of bunny fostering!!

Okay, so I won’t be able to take in the animals until next spring, but since I’m the eager type, and since you can never be too prepared, I decided it was time to start the ball rolling.

This is the first time I’ll be able to prepare for a new pet because my last two pets were unplanned. I’m so pleased that I can finally do this the right way! To frame my preparations, I’m working with the “rabbit checklist” I designed for the TRC. I’m using the Word version (which can be downloaded here) and filling it up with notes, like:

  • I want the Furminator.
  • What about a metal litter box?
  • Ex-pen or condo? (Our last bunny was free-range, but I want something more controlled this time around.)
  • I want a top-loading carrier to which a water bottle can be affixed (ooh, like this one!). S wants a traditional cat-style hard shell front-loader. Can we find one that suits us both?
  • Could I contract local metal and/or wood hobbyists to build me some supplies? Craigslist?
  • I want the 3M Littmann Lightweight II Stethescope in lilac.
  • I want some willow bowls to put hay in (a step up from our last system, i.e. throwing handfuls of hay on the floor).

As you can see, I have a lot of thinking and shopping around to do…