Monday, June 20, 2016

Guest Post: Bugsy!

Hi, I'm Bugsy! Mrs. Brighton asked if I would write a guest post, so here I am! 


I'm a Huntsville Friends of Rabbits sanctuary bunny and I live at the main foster house. The reason I'm a sanctuary bunny is because I have head tilt. Head tilt is like vertigo, it causes such dizziness that bunnies can't stay upright, but instead lose their balance and roll. I have had a long journey to recovery, and I wanted to tell you all about it. I especially want you to know that head tilt bunnies can have an awesome life - please don't give up on us!

I first came to my foster mom and dad when I was just a few months old. My former people were going on vacation and needed a petsitter for me. They hadn't had me for very long and I had just developed head tilt.  They had taken me to a rabbit savvy vet, and she had very cautiously given me a steroid shot which had helped. (Please note: steroids are very dangerous for bunnies, and my vet did this with very mixed feelings. It was a mild steroid, but she still did not feel comfortable about it!) Beyond this my people weren't really interested in getting me the aggressive care that head tilt bunnies need. They weren't bad people, but I'm not sure they understood how sick I was.

I was able to be in an open pen at first, but I deteriorated during the two weeks I stayed with my foster mom until I couldn't be in any space other than a padded carrier. My people agreed to let her take me back to my vet, who again very cautiously gave me a steroid shot as well as other meds. They helped, but not as much as before. When my people returned from vacation my foster mom had a long talk with them about what taking care of a bunny with serious head tilt would entail. They were very good people, but they felt they could not give me the aggressive care I needed. So at this point my foster mom became my real mom!

Notice how I am bracing myself with my front feet. It was such an effort to keep from rolling! Unless I was completely padded with towels I couldn't control myself. It was hard for my mom to watch because she knew I was suffering, but she had seen other head tilt bunnies recover completely and wanted to give me a chance.

The first thing my mom did was take me back to my vet for a complete workup to see if we could find the cause of my head tilt. Usually it's caused by an ear infection, or a parasite called e. cuniculli, and both are treatable (although the treatment can be long and intensive). 

In my case neither of these was the cause, and we don't really know why I have head tilt except that there seems to be nerve damage. My former people used to let me run loose in their back yard, and they said I ate the plants out there. Maybe I ate something that caused damage to my nervous system.  I guess we'll never know.  Steroids helped, but since they are very, very dangerous for rabbits I couldn't stay on them. So my mom and my vet decided to treat me with some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, meclizine (for motion sickness), and physical therapy. 


It was a very big deal when I started grooming myself! I could only do it slowly because I just got very dizzy. And my mom had to syringe water to me, because she couldn't attach a water bottle to the carrier in such a way that I wouldn't hurt myself on it if I rolled.  I also had trouble with hay. Timothy hay is very stemmy, and I could have poked my eyes when I rolled. So my mom found a source of bluegrass hay, which is very soft and wouldn't hurt me. It's also delicious! I loved it and started to put on a little weight. My appetite got much better!

For the first few weeks I was with my mom all the time. She couldn't carry me in her arms because being lifted sent me rolling, so she carefully carried my carrier downstairs in the morning and upstairs at night.


























I slept next to the bed, too. Here's my dad saying goodnight to me.

Despite my wobbliness it soon became clear that I was the nose-iest rabbit ever.  I just love being all up in everybody's business! As I got better I spent most of my time with my head on the carrier edge trying to see what everybody was doing. My mom encouraged me, as stretching my neck out and up like this is part of physical therapy.

And that carrier was not going to contain me for long! I was determined to get better.

I had people to help me, too! Besides my vet, one of my mom's friends, my Aunt Heather, was an occupational therapist who gave her lots of advice about how to help me. I got neck massages and other kinds of physical therapy. It helped so much.  

It wasn't long before I was moving up! My foster mom figured out how to attach a water bottle to a small storage container in such a way that I wouldn't hurt myself on it.

It was great to be in a bigger space. Room to stretch out, and I could also have some toys! I soon learned to rearrange my towels to cushion my head.


I love sea grass mats, and my foster mom put them up above my head so I would have to stretch my neck a little to play with them. I still have my toys up like this, it's very good physical therapy.
























I also used my water bottle as a toy. I actually ruined about one a month because I loved to jerk them around and chew on them! It was so nice to have water anytime I wanted, and not have to rely on my mom to give me syringes of water!


My mom and dad just loved me and tried to make sure I wasn't bored. My dad taught me how to give kisses!

And my mom took my tub outside when she was gardening, so I could get some fresh air and watch the birds. I love being outside (but ONLY when it's cool out and my mom is with me!)


























Pretty soon I was doing so well my mom moved me to a bigger tub. I could really stretch out with this one, and my balance got better and better.  I rolled much less frequently. I actually had two of these tubs, one next to my mom's bed, and the other in her studio. I was doing well enough so she could carry me downstairs in her arms, so it was easier just to have two tubs than carry one up and down. Being able to be held without rolling was a big step forward.

Aunt Heather found me an inflatable collar to help with my physical therapy.  It was actually a type of e collar for dogs and cats who have had surgery, but for me it worked to keep my head from moving to the side, which helped me to keep from rolling. It also kept my head forward, which was important because my x rays showed that one of my neck bones was becoming deformed from having my head to the side so much. 
I really didn't like the collar at first, but wearing it for a few hours a day helped me so much. I still wear it!

























My mom took this picture of me relaxing. She just loves my big ol' feet!


 I just kept getting better and better! Part of my physical therapy was being on the bed with my mom, propped with pillows, and getting my massages.  I was more and more stable and I wasn't rolling hardly at all. This picture was taken with my favorite toy. It was actually made for parrots, but my vet said it was bunny-safe.  These straw parrot toys are good for head tilt bunnies because they are soft. If we roll on them, they won't hurt us. They are also so much fun to tear apart!


After a few months of my storage tubs, I moved up again. I actually moved into a cage! Most bunnies would not be at all happy about a cage, but it was huge compared to what I had been in. It was twice as long and about a foot wider than my tubs. The extra space was just what I needed, and during my nightly physical therapy sessions on the bed my mom noticed that I didn't really need to be propped up with pillows any more. 


So much room to move!!



After a few months of my cage, a happy accident occurred. My mom and dad went away on a trip and brought me over to my Aunt Heather's while they were gone. But they forgot to put my cage in the car. My Aunt Heather had the idea to put me in her dog's kiddie pool - minus the water of course! It was the best place ever! It was even bigger than the cage, and it had soft sides so I couldn't hurt myself. Surrounded with a low exercise pen so I couldn't possibly get out, my water bottle and toys could be tied to the sides. It was just awesome! I did so well in this pool that my Aunt Heather let me take it home with me! I think all head tilt bunnies should have kiddie pools!



My straw mats and hay box could still be put up a little higher than my head so I could have some physical therapy while reaching for them.


Streeeeeetchiing is good for me!


And now look at me! A couple of months ago my Aunt Heather surprised my mom and I with this giant kiddie pool she found at Dollar General! Notice there is no padding around the sides - I am so stable now that I don't need my rolls of towels anymore! My friend Miranda donated some awesome non-slip rugs that have helped me keep my footing, too. They've helped me so much.

I do still like to play with my water bottles though. I don't destroy them anymore, but I still shake them a lot. I have two, so despite all my shaking them I never run out of water!

So there it is - the story of how I have recovered from head tilt. I've gone from being a very sick bunny who couldn't stand on her own, to being a happy girl who bounces around her pool with minimal rolling. Although my head is usually at a jaunty angle and I know I look a bit strange, I have a pretty normal life now with just a few adjustments for my condition. I am such a happy bunny, and the only time I am ever in a carrier is when I am visiting my veterinarian! 


So my message to everyone is: Don't give up on head tilt bunnies! It may take awhile for us to recover, but given a chance we can live very happy lives!

Love, 
Bugsy

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

WOW! Four Adoptions!

We're going to fill you in on the exciting adoptions we've had this month! Yes, dear readers, with the help of some awesome fosterers and adopters, four of our bunnies are in wonderful new homes!

Let's start with little Rita, shall we? This is our most exciting adoption, because Rita had been in foster care for a whopping five years! She came in with a large group of bunnies, mostly babies, and just kept getting passed over for adoption. Poor Rita! Over and over adopters came to the main foster home in search of a bunny, and over and over she was passed by. It wasn't that anything was wrong with her, just that we had so many bunnies in foster care at that time and there were so many bunnies to choose from. And she was bonded with her sister, Shania, and couples are harder to adopt. When Shania passed away from cancer we grew very worried about Rita. She just needed a home!

And now she has one! With dear Christy, who has been a member of our group for years! She is living the high life and finally getting the attention and love she deserves.  Well done, Rita!

Our second adopted bunny is Mascara! He was found as a stray in Hartselle by a very kind family who fostered him for a number of months until we had a foster space available at the main foster house. He was just an awesome little bunny, and when he met our former foster, Sparkle, and her people it was love at first sight! Here they are together! Ain't love grand!!


Our next adopted bunny is Miss Harper. Harper was rescued by a lovely woman who saw her and her mate living in a tiny cage in a back yard in the heat. Poor Harper's mate did not survive heat stroke, but this lovely woman took Harper in and actually boarded her at a rabbit-savvy vet's office until we could take her in. What a bunny hero!

Harper has lots of rabbitude, so it took a few meetings with adopters till she found the perfect people! She went home to a wonderful house where they are just crazy about her. Best of all, she has joined The Couch Rabbit Society!


Next is Rue! This little lady was lucky enough to be fostered by two folks who knew how to spoil a bunny! And now she's been adopted by someone who is definately going to spoil her! We love the sign he put on his laundry room door to remind himself that it wasn't a bunny safe area!

And finally, we have an adoption pending! Little Lola is just waiting for her people to move into their new apartment until she gets to go home. Her potential new momma sent this photo to her new dad - we hear he responded back with a big smiley face! 

So there you have it! What a wonderful month! Can I have another month like this please?!!

Love,
Mrs. Kitty Brighton
Education Bunny Extraordinaire

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Art 4 Paws 2016

My dear friend, and our former foster bunny Wolfie, took care of my Education Bunny duties at Art 4 Paws this year! He brought his person, Heather, and our friend Donna came, too. Thank you all so much for giving me a little rest from the Education Table! Not that I don't love it, but once in awhile I just need a little break from my job. And May is always so busy!

As I told you all before Art 4 Paws is a wonderful event that mixes art and pets in a fabulous way. We just love to participate!
Here is Wolfie doing his duty at the table. Did you all know that Wolfie is certified as a therapy bunny? We are very proud of him, as he brightens the lives of nursing home patients here in Huntsville. 


Love,
Mrs. Kitty Brighton
HFR Education Bunny


Friday, May 20, 2016

Website Overhaul!

Hello Dahlings!! I have some exciting news! Our wonderful HFR member's Bethanie and Dan are redoing our website! It has needed an overhaul for a long time, and we are just thrilled it's getting attention from people who know how to make it look really special. Among the changes are that we now have an adoption application. This will make it so much easier to contact us about adopting one of our beautiful foster bunnies.

It's just mahvelous! Go take a look!

Here is Dan, hard at work on our Happy Tails pages. Can you believe we have rescued over 150 beautiful bunnies?

Now Dan, make sure you get some wonderful pictures of me on there! I take my role as Education Bunny very seriously!!

Love,
Mrs. Brighton

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bake Sale! With Bunny Cookies!

Do you like cookies? Well, personally, because I'm a rabbit I don't really love cookies, and besides, I have to be careful of my girlish figure! If I ate too many cookies I wouldn't be able to fit into my tutus! But it has come to my attention that most humans actually love cookies, and other baked goods! So one of our members decided to make some money for Huntsville Friends of Rabbits by having a bake sale at her school. What a wonderful idea!


A number of people made delicious food to sell. Check out Stephanie's lovely bunny cookies! why, I do believe she must have based these beauties on a picture of my charming derriere!!

And just look at this table full of delightful treats!


Best of all, we made almost enough to spay or neuter a new foster bunny! Big thank yous and nose bonks to Bethanie, who organised this sale and to all of our fantastic bakers who made this a success!!

And now, I'm going to go eat a big salad! looking at all these baked goods is making me hungry! BYEEEEE!!!

Love,
Mrs. Kitty Brighton
HFR Education Bunny


Monday, May 2, 2016

Open House At The Cat And Bird

Thank you to the North Alabama Veterinary Clinic for having us at their Spring Fling yesterday! We had such a good time! They are the vets for all of our foster bunnies, and we were happy to help them with their open house. Of course I was there in my role as Education Bunny, and two of our former foster bunnies, Wolfie and Spooky, joined us, too! It was great to have them helping me as there were a lot of people - way too many for just one Education Bunny!!

And Heather, Bethanie and my secretary Ruth were helping out, too. Check out Heather's ears - doesn't she look mahvelous?!


While Spooky and Wolfie handled the crowd, I snuck away to have a chat with Dr. Strother. She is such a wonderful veterinarian, and was kind enough to listen to my recent troubles with being too, ahem. shall we say, large to fit into some of my tutus. She had some diet suggestions for me - thank goodness!

Wolfie had  a good time, too - he got to snuggle with Dr. Moore. She is obviously thrilled to be holding such a handsome rabbit!


And Spooky snuggled up under Dr. Lukey's chin. I think he wanted to go home with her!


And now I'm going to my boudoir to go to bed! being an Education Bunny is very tiring!!

Love,
Mrs. Kitty Brighton
HFR Education Bunny

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bunny Chores Day

We had the most awesome volunteers come to our Bunny Chores Day at the main foster house. Thanks to them everything here is ship shape!!
I just LOVE our volunteers!!

Here is Heather checking out our Education Table supplies and reading over our adopted bunny list for the website. I'm trying on my tutus to make sure they are all in good shape. Does this one make me look too much like a turkey?

Lee and Amanda did the most amazing job of cleaning pens! Mr. Clean, move on over!!!



Bethanie took on the job of grooming the fosters, and showed Ruth how to use the Wahl clippers to shave down matted bunny fur. She did such a good job I gave her a big hug!!


 Donna sorted out our newspaper into "slick" and "not slick" sections. You might not think this is important but it is! The slick parts aren't very absorbent, so we just put a few of them on the bottom of the box and use the non slick sections on top. It's easier to have them all separated on litter box cleaning days. Thank you, Donna!

 Aubrey had the very important job of putting together Bunny Care packets! I really appreciate this, as I use so many of them in my role as Education Bunny! She also had very fashionable pants with bunnies all over them. I need to get some of that material to make myself a tutu!


Dan has been working very hard on our website overhaul, and so he took a little time for a much deserved meditation break. Just kidding! He was actually helping with bunny grooming! here he is with Bianca!!