Leo, the king of our castle

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Source for bunny and other "exotic" or unusual pet stamps

I recently discovered a rubber stamp website that has a huge collection of pet-related stamps, including some very cute bunny stamps. I don't make cards or anything too crafty like that, but I'll be placing an order soon. It's a great way to make bookmarks for the students at my school. The site is RubberHedgehog.com.  Even cooler, RubberHedgehog has pledged a portion of their house rabbit stamp sales to their local HRS in Ohio. Click here to see their selection of eligible stamps.

Will work for treats

My son has taught Leo to come when he's called (at least most of the time, when he feels like it). It's so cool!

To call Leo, we quickly rub our palms together. Leo perks up and hops over. If we repeatedly call, wait for him to hop over, and move a short distance away, Leo follows. It's become our most reliable way to get Leo out of his favorite spot under the couch and back into the room where his X-pen is. Now, we're trying to always reinforce the behavior with a small reward - a piece of carrot, etc. On second thought, maybe he's trained us!

I asked my son what inspired the calling method. He said that a lot of cats come when you rub your fingers together, so he tried rubbing his hands. It probably doesn't hurt that my son usually serves Leo his morning greens. If I get the trick on video some day I'll post it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rabbit book links sent by Judith Pierce, San Diego House Rabbit Society

In response to yesterday's post about rabbit books for kids, Judith Pierce, President of the SDHRS recommended these books for adults:
My family has a copy of the Handbook and it has been very helpful. I'm planning to pick up the Primer as soon as I can.
Judith also sent me links to these other books, but didn't include comments about the content.
Thank you Judith!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Favorite rabbit guide for kids (so far)

As an elementary school librarian, reviewing non-fiction books for accuracy is an important part of my job. Leo inspired me to take a closer look at my pet rabbit offerings. I have five books on my shelves, and I can't say I'm completely satisfied with any of them because none of them agree completely with what I have learned about house rabbit care.
Some examples:
  • Only two books include more than a paragraph about keeping your rabbits in the house.
  • All of the books mention pellets as the easiest way to feed rabbits.
  • Most books advise getting rabbits from pet stores or breeders, rather than listing rescue groups or shelters as the best source.
  • Most advise using wood shavings as bedding.
If I accept that all of the books have shortcomings, the one I liked the best was Caring for Your Rabbit by Jill Foran, published in 2003. It has the most comprehensive coverage of rabbit care, plus lots of related information to help school-age children decide if a rabbit is the right pet for them. As a bonus, Caring for Your Rabbit listed the House Rabbit Society website as a place to find additional information. It was the only book that listed HRS. My kids have enjoyed reading the book and it's definitely helped them learn about bunny care.

The books at my library were all published in the '90s or early 2000s. Has anyone come across a recent children's reference book that discusses house rabbits? If so, please let me know. I'd love to add it to my library collection.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Family bonding notes

Leo has developed his closest relationship so far with my 9-year-old daughter. He likes the rest of us, but he really likes her. She was the first to pet him for any length of time and he hopped into her lap yesterday. We think the giggles did it. My daughter is a compulsive giggler, so all of Leo's interactions with her have been accompanied by that happy sound.

The rest of the family is trying to win Leo over by appealing to his stomach and sitting on the floor with him. We take turns giving him his eagerly-awaited green stuff and doing the other chores. We're all trying hard not to be pushy so Leo can make the first moves.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two weeks in...

It's official. We've been bunny owners for two weeks now. Leo, our adorable lop bunny, has wormed his way into all of our hearts -- he did that within a day!

Leo celebrated the two-week mark by venturing into new territory yesterday. Up until then, he stayed in the family room/kitchen area we prepared before adopting him from the San Diego House Rabbit Society. Yesterday he ventured around the corner for the first time and discovered the living room! He immediately dashed in and began exploring all the nooks and crannies. He looked totally happy and comfortable. My first thought was "Oh no! We haven't even begun to bunny proof in here yet" but I supervised him closely and he didn't get into any trouble. So far, Leo hasn't displayed any chewing behaviors outside his X-pen. I've been pleasantly surprised. It's early days though. I know it's too soon to let our guard down. Bunny proofing shall commence immediately in the living room. I can tell that the living room will quickly become Leo's "go-to" place in our house.

Here's a question. Could the tile floor between the family room and the living room be forming a barrier of sorts for Leo? He hasn't exactly avoided the tile, but clearly prefers carpet. Maybe it's too cold on his feet?