Friday, December 31, 2010


Meet Dexter... and his little stuffed bunny friend who has been with him since he was a baby. He is, hopefully, going to be Nilla's husbun once she is better - as she has a URI at t he moment - and he is neutered. He is a 2 year old mini rex whose previous owners were moving to New Zealand and didn't feel taking him was going to work. Even my DH is in love as Dexter is as happy to beg a pat from him as he is from me, whereas Romeo will only ask for ear rubs from me or occasionally La (particularly if there is goodies to be had) and Cinna and Nilla will ask him for pets if momma isn't available.

He's quite taken with hay, just pounced on it and started gobbling like it was going out of style... guess we know a good thing when we see one!

Close up of his curly-whirly whiskers and curly-whirly eyelashes... so cute!

And last but not least - this morning I was woke from a nap with DD to find someone small and fuzzy snuggled next to my cheek. Awwww... so naturally after I got up I snapped some pics of him supervising me folding some laundry on the floor. LOL

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not Just For Christmas

At Christmas, it's easy to see an explosion of animals bred for the holiday season. These are often victims of impulse purchase, sourced from puppy mills and irresponsible breeders and neglected or dumped in the following year. They contribute to the tens of thousands of animals euthanized each year.

While many are aware of the horrors of puppy mills, bunnies are vulnerable as they are falsely seen as cheap, cuddly, low maintenance 'starter' pet for children. The reality is a bit different:
Bunnies Are Not Cheap
While initial purchase price may seem cheap the associated costs over the rabbits lifetime can be expensive. All rabbits should be desexed by a rabbit specialist, vaccinated and microchipped and these costs factored into the choice to bring a rabbit into your life. Young rabbits mature quickly and you can run into unwanted litters, hormonal and territorial behaviour, alarming rates of uterine cancer and poor litter box habits. Adopting a bunny from a shelter or rescue may mean this is $50-80, whereas private desexing/vax/microchipping may range upwards of $250 for vaccinations, check-up, spay, bloodwork, fluids, monitoring, pre and post op pain management, microchip etc. They will require vaccination annually and may require specialized and potentially expensive treatment for dental issues and GI stasis in their lifetimes.
Bunnies Are Not "Cuddly"
Bunnies are prey animals by nature and physically delicate. The exuberance, desire to pick up, grab, carry around and cuddle with whatever grip their little hands can manage are frightening and dangerous for rabbits. It often results in broken legs or backs or bunnies who learn to bite or kick when picked up after having been accidentally mishandled. Bunnies do enjoy attention and affection but a child's idea of having fun and enjoyment is not generally compatible with how prey animals like rabbits express and understand affection.

Bunnies Are Not "Starter" Pets
The reality is that rabbits are active, highly social animals who require a commitment of 10-12 years. They represent a significant commitment in terms of time, money and owner dedication. Being highly social animals, rabbits ideally should live in pairs as well.

Bunnies Are Not Low Maintenance
Most 'hutches' sold for rabbit housing are woefully inadequate. We would not imagine locking a cat or dog in a cage barely 3 times it's body length and on wire for the duration of it's life but this is what most bunnies are expected to consider home. Wire bottoms can lead to painful pressure sores, broken toes, injured legs/feet etc. The small sizes lead to poor long term health due to lack of muscle tone, loss of bone, obesity, poor cardiovascular health, poor gut health etc as well as the mental cruelty of such confinement and isolation. Outdoor animals are more at risk of disease, mites, fleas, predation, temperature extremes and owners not noticing illness. Bunnies hide illness very well and it is hard to notice subtle changes in an animal who is out of sight most of the day. Any outdoor housing or exercise yards must be completely mosquito proof to prevent exposure to calcivirus and myxo which have fatality rates of 100%. Instead a more ideal home is a bunny condo when it must be penned and access to rabbit proofed rooms in your home so it can be part of the family just as your dog or cat would.

Rabbits also require a fair amount of care - daily fresh food (good quality hay, water, fresh vegetables/herbs and a small amount of high quality pellets), litter changes, mental stimulation and at least 3 hours exercise time in order to maintain health and well being. Short haired breeds should be brushed regularly to prevent the ingestion of excess hair causing blockages or stasis, while long haired bunnies may require daily brushing. All rabbits require nail trimming.

For homes who are definitely keen on rabbits as pets, there are many more rewards but we need more awareness of the reality of owning rabbits responsibly. For those considering rabbits please check out The House Rabbit Society (, Australian Companion Rabbit Society ( for more information, Australian based Boing Online ( For more information on rabbit body language and behaviour The Language of Lagomorphs (, as well as all sorts of information on Rabbit Links ( and if you're in Melbourne the Melbourne Rabbit Clinic ( is one of the best bunny vets around!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

random catch up photos

because I've been such a slacker and haven't really been sure what to write

One of the new roses in the Rainbow Bridge garden

Tim Tam, "Where are you going mum?"

Hopie and Luka at the dam

Lily at Ballarat comp

Luka on his birthday! :)

Lilypillie, my smiley girl

The interesting attempts to draw with small children around! LOL

Hopie with the ribbons our club gave her at the end of the year. She was more impressed with the biscuits but I thought they were nice. LOL

La demonstrating his weird abilities to sleep in the most bizzare places...

Hope at a recent comp

Hope, Sierra, Luka and Rin at the dam

Nilla playing sneaky stealth ninja bunny

and demanding a pat from La

Haha, - such shy timid little wallflowers hey!

Monday, November 29, 2010

sonnet 30

Feeling a bit introspective and thumbing through my favorites tonight and came across a favorite that grabbed me given the current mood I've been in. He was such a brilliant poet with the layers in words and images.

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No Nationals...

For those who don't know Hope well, she is a very happy girl but somewhat dispostioned towards being anxious. It's something I'm very mindful of in training and one of the reasons I introduced and continue to manage her quite carefully in team competitions. I want her to be able to enjoy all the things she loves in life and to do that I have to deal with the anxiety as the monkey on our back. Initially with flyball we worked quite carefully in introducing passes over the hurdles as in doggy terms, a dog rushing at you full pelt and especially in a straight line is a weird, rather off-putting behaviour. Generally the only time they'd do it naturally is if it were a very young pup who was still learning their social graces or a dog with a serious and aggressive intent. So we desensitized, counter conditioned and gave her lots of room and reinforcement, wide passes with late releases and using easy going team-mates she loves. This worked really well and we'd progressed to right up the ladder to nice fairly tight passes.

At Hope's last comp in Euroa she was attacked as we were entering the ring. The dog was really worked up into a frentic state (a personal pet peeve of mine in flyball... people excuse all manner of out of control hyper aroused behaviour in the name of 'building drive' and then shrug as if there's nothing you can do about it) and to get to our start place we had to go by her which just tipped her over boiling point and she lunged at Hope, roaring and snapping out a tuft of fur. Hope's reaction was akin to, "Jeeze what's YOUR issue?!?" and I went into recovery and refocusing mode, which worked well enough that she finished off the comp without seeming terribly phased. She was concerned about that individual dog after but not overly so and remained fully operant, engaged, eager and happy. We found out later Hope isn't the first dog this has happened to unfortunately. I wasn't happy but figured at least it didn't seem to result in any major impact for Hope.

So we went to the next (Nationals team only) practice. I had it in my mind that if she was that stressed again we'd beg off but after a week of practicing chilling out we'd give her a chance at least. She saw this dog again and while they didn't run together at all Hope was stressed seeing her there. She'd be focused and eager for the run but then pull off the last two hurdles to avoid having to cross on the back-run. Our sub-captain who'd not been at Euroa was wanting tighter crosses and I was not willing so it wasn't much fun. At the end of practice the dogs were off lead for a play but I kept Hope with me. The other dog's owner tossed a ball which happened to bounce over and Hope had a major freak out, tucked her tail and bolted behind me cowering and shaking, then proceded to physically tow me back to the car spooking out and panic barking over her shoulder. I about cried, she's NEVER been so freaked out!

We kept everything calm this week and when I went to the next team practice. We didn't get much time in but I was so heartened to see her being confident and full of chutzpa, bouncing around, rolling on the grass like a nut, driving back over all the jumps full pelt, gleefully enjoying the tuggy and being her usual sunny self. Before I could go into much else I was pulled aside and told they'd decided to not to put us in for Nationals. Which is disappointing in one sense because I was very excited about it prior to all this but a relief in another because I wanted a few more weeks of relaxed time and positive practices before we throw a comp her way even with how well she was doing this time. While she's not affected enough to be considered a 'reactive' dog as such, ime one fo the worst things you can do in terms of working with such dogs is to start working them too soon after an incident instead of letting them fully settle out and that would be the case for her as well. Sooo... for better or worse, we're sitting this one out.

Meanwhile, on the way back I'd got a call from Mandi asking if I'd like another dog to run in flyball. Luka is her keeper from her first litter, about a year old now but she's not ready to start serious herding training with him. In the meantime, he's a busy lad and she figured he might do well with a holiday for awhile.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dogs +1

Meet "Luka"... he's not mine, he's just come to visit for awhile and isn't he a handsome lad? His mum Mandi wanted him to be able to do some flyball and figured he might come for a holiday with us here.

He is such a typical Aussie personality! Obviously a lot of it goes to his being well raised and socialized but it never ceases to amaze me how adaptable our Aussies are. Picked up from his home where he lives with adults and teenagers and come into the midst of our crazy mob, taken to shops, nursery, school, hardware stores etc and he's not batted an eyelash nor set a foot wrong. He's slotted himself into the routine effortlessly, is full of gleeful bum wiggles, gets along with everyone without fuss and adores the kids... hey, short people who will love on you, throw your ball and play squeaky endlessly while dropping food frequently - what's not to love? They're taken with him as well, it took Lily all of an hour to start hollering "Here YUCA!" You'd never guess he just arrived or that he'd not been raised with kids crawling over him every day of his life. LOL

He's also rather taken with this whole flyball training thing. ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

and then there were three!

Check SpellingMeet our new little one... Nilla Vanilla! She is a medium to biggish bunny baby. So far she is very cheeky and active and into EV-ER-Y-TH-ING! It's funny, Cinna was a very active little thing in that she loved to dash around madly but less with the being so full of 'satiable curiosity about the whole world that it needed to be jumped on, nudged, dug at, rolled around, tossed in the air, sniffed, taste tested, chinned and otherwise checked out. LOL

The idea will be to try and bond this one with Cinna and Romeo once she's had all her vaccinations and is desexed. That won't be for awhile yet as she's only a baby! Trio bonding can be tricky and not always (or even often) successful though, more so as I picked her rather than letting them do so. If it doesn't work then sometime mid to late next year we'll visit the shelter to find a friend.

At the moment they are in the bunnies bedroom but in separate living quarters. They can see each other but not reach each other. The only thing we're doing as far as bonding at the moment is some positive association. It's one of those happy coincidences in life (which I have carefully arranged... LOL) that whenever she is out, pellets start being doled out to Cinnamon and Romeo. When she comes near their quarters, parsley appears for them. When they sniff through the wire, tiny slivers of banana.

And one last pic, because hey - when you're this cute you can never have enough photos!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yay for Dopie Hopie Black Dog

Here are a few snaps from our Euroa comp of BlackDogBlack running. Euroa was a bit of an adventure. Lily and I bunked together, with the dogs snoozing with us so until 3:30am the scene involved Lily cuddling up with me, chatting, noticing the dogs, pouncing on them for cuddles, then noticing she was away from mum and bouncing back over. She finally drifted off but I couldn't get comfy between snoring velcro child and happy farting dogs so I woke up about half an hour after I nodded off. To boot it was raining so hard everyone was thinking of canceling the comp which would have meant a 3+ hour drive each way for nothing!

Luckily the weather did clear up and some really lovely coffee woke ME up. Hastings only ran one team this time so Hope got plenty of run time. She did much better than Frankston. Meanwhile we've pinpointed several things we'll be doing to refine her training before the Nationals in a few weeks. And in the meantime little miss Blackdogblack earned enough points to qualify for her Flyball Dog Championship title!

So yay for Hopie Dopie the Blackdogblack!

As usual though, the most important part is the fun. Which is found in all manner of interesting places! Ask Lily... ;p

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

5 years old

Little mister is five now. And I rarely get away with calling him Bunny Lala anymore. Even "La" is garnering the occasional, "Mu-UUUMMM! Instead he is, "Please call me Laurent...." Unless he's Ben 10. Or *insert dramatic voice here*... Captain Underpants!

Mind you it doesn't seem 5 years since he was more like this:

I miss that little snuggly, squidgey newborn fresh to the world. I miss clumsy baby kisses, reflexively curly toes, milk breath and that divine newborn smell. On the other hand I am pretty chuffed with the rather cool little dude who is gracing us frequently. It seems like maybe the the wild-n-wooly Fours are giving (at least partial) way to a child who is frequently a lot of fun, often very helpful, usually sensitive and who responds to others in a considerate and sweetly compassionate way. Oh yeah... and one who loves poo jokes. I could have lived without that bit.

He had a party with a bunch of his school mates at a local playcenter, where inbetween running around like lunatics they all ate entirely too much sugar/dye/processed and preservative laden junk food and had a blast. He was beyond thrilled to get a whole host of cool toys ranging from puzzle kits to crash-n-spin Matchbox car racing sets to Herofactory toys to Ben 10 and Bakugan. The later two are things he's never actually seen but picked up a keen (obsession) interest in through the joys of friendship. (Oddly enough, his imaginations version of Ben10 is weirdly Croc Hunterish sounding...)

He was also very determined to have HIS kind of party. Namely a Ben10 Party, which was detailed down to the cake. The cake was to be a "Ben 10 chocolate cake with choc frosting and waves (piping) and sprinkles on the sides." As mums oven is broke at the moment, the height of 5 year old culinary coolness was courtesy of Michel's Patisserie.
Last snap - the two of them were on the slide endlessly, as little miss fearless Lilypillie has developed an obsession with them to rival his own! LOL

Thursday, October 14, 2010

random bits and pieces of my world

This pear tree on our property always blooms JUST on La's birthday, to the day, every year. It does fruit but the cockatoos and cows get more of it than we ever do.

How lucky am I? As much work as this place can be, I get to watch sunsets like this from my back porch!

Both girls, looking far more stationary than they are! And it wasn't posed or anything... they were busy goofing around with Lily pretending to brush Rin (that's actually what she's looking at, a comb that's fallen) and Rin manically staring at Hope who had the ball. LOL

A more typical scene... Sierra follows Lily around, ploinks down near her for a nap and is inevitably pounced on, cuddled, kissed, brushed, used as a pillow and otherwise loved on. Aussies and kids are the best combo ever!

piccies from Frankston Pets Day Out comp