Friday, July 22, 2011

Opal is about three years old...

That's the best 'guesstimate' based on her having been at Heartland Rabbit Rescue for about a year and the information furnished about her. She ended up at Heartland after being picked up by animal control folks in Edmond, Ok. They had been called because a bunny had been spotted running around in a neighborhood, they corralled her in a a backyard and took her to the Edmond animal facility and eventually she was accepted at Heartland. Opal is a lovely youngster, with long eyelashes and silky fur.
The Edmond folks noticed her teeth were very overgrown and took her for an exam where several extremely mal-placed teeth were removed. Her remaining teeth grow in crooked and have to be trimmed on a consistent basis, some of her veggies have to be shredded but outside of that she does just fine in coping with her mouth issue.

When she first arrived she was not particularly human friendly and would lunge and attempt to nip you if you tried to pick up her food or water bowl.
Opal, the fierce.
She will still do this on occasion, depending on her mood, but more often than not she is attention oriented and very happy to have affection and stroking and conversation directed her way.

I'm writing about her because of an incident that occurred this past week. We try to get the bunnies outside early in the morning for some fresh air and exercise...before the heat becomes oppressive and unbearable. Opal was out in an enclosure and I went in with her to groom her a bit since she was molting. The grooming is important because bunnies can't vomit and ingesting too much hair can be life threatening for them. I was stroking and ruffling her fur to get the loose hairs to come out and she was enjoying the attention. I was kneeling/squatting and this was becoming uncomfortable so I wrapped up the grooming session and stood up to prepare to move on to another bunny. Opal, with perfect timing and intent, threw her body across my foot and lay down on it. I'm fairly illiterate in bunny speak but I got the message loud and clear...she did not want me to stop and really really wanted some more attention.

It was an anguishing moment because I know full well all of the shelter buns get short-changed on their needs for attention and touching and being talked to. There aren't enough human animals or enough time to give them what they need and is so painful to know this. I felt so bad for her, as well as impressed as hell that she had figured out how to make a clear and convincing statement about what she wanted...a statement that a human animal would have to be unconscious to not understand. Those bunnies are amazing folks, and Opal is as amazing as any of them.

I know that almost any shelter/sanctuary would be so appreciative of any assistance they could get from folks...and taking the time to pay some special attention to a lonely and emotionally needy bunny, dog, cat, bird, horse, cow, goat, pig, sheep...and on and on and on is one of the niftiest gifts that can be rendered. Grooming, petting, paying attention to, communing with...these are all needs that these animal folks have and providing those experiences not only is good for the particular animal...I guarantee it is good for the provider too.

If you can, take the time to connect with an animal rescue operation and ease into being a valuable and needed provider of emotional goodies for the innocent ones. Gifting this sort of emotional nourishment to other animals is a 'sustainable' behavior, because the act of giving results in receiving too. Sort of a perpetual motion emotional apparatus. Fun stuff.

And do, if you are not already living as one, please consider becoming an ethical vegan. It helps everyone, including the whole planet.


Christina said...

I love Opal's spunk. We need more volunteers desperately.

Laloofah said...

Oh, Opal is beautiful! And yes, fierce! LOL - her expression (are her nostrils actually FLARED in that photo?!) and your caption really tickled me. And poor girl, I absolutely hate having to go to the dentist, so I feel for her and her dental issues. Bet if she made her fierce, nostril-flaring face at the bunny dentist, he'd back off! Let's hope she never figures that out, since she needs to have her teefers taken care of. And figure it out she well may, since she figured out how to tell you in no uncertain terms that she wanted you to stay and give her more TLC! I can imagine how torn you were. I got through that on a much smaller scale with Willow, Josie and Tess all wanting lovin's at the same time, but just my two hands to oblige them. I rotate between them as best I can, but someone is always getting left out, even if just for a few moments (and doesn't that someone know it and don't they protest it!)

And I couldn't agree more that when you give time, attention and love to a critter, you get back far more than you're giving. And so many of them ache for that loving touch and gentle voice. Kudos to you for giving these sweet bunnies your loving devotion, and thank you for sharing sweet Opal with us!

Hope you all are finding ways to stay cool and that relief comes soon!

Andrew Hunt said...

That is a beautiful plea for volunteers. Opal is the ideal poster girl to get people out to participate in animal sanctuaries. So man of these wonderful friends need love and affection, and they're very appreciative of the time we give them. And, ultimately, we - humans - are the real winners when we interact lovingly with animals, because we've just enjoyed the ultimate nourishment for the soul. Thank you for reminding us of this so eloquently!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Animals give us so much joy when they're allowed to be animals and when they give and receive warmth.
Thank you for this.

Have Gone Vegan said...

What a sweetie. And smart too. So did she get what she wanted? :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christina. Yes, more human animals are needed for hanging out with the bunny animals...

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Laloofah. Opal is actually very compliant when it comes to her teeth trims. She doesn't like them but endures them with grace and she does everything else.

The other animals tend to be very appreciative of time and attention and as you noted, they give back much more than they get.

Never will I complain about rain or cold again, ever never.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Andrew. Hanging out with the other animals helps get priorities straight. Food, shelter, comfort, affection, play and rest...these are the significant things and all the other animals know it...humans tend to lose sight of the basics. Bunnys (or cats or dogs or donkeys or or or) will straighten you out quick. :-)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM and HGV.

DEM: They do indeed, and aren't reticent about letting you know when your falling down on the job. :-)

HGV: Of course she did. How could anyone turn away from such an eloquent gesture? :-)

Bea Elliott said...

I love it that Opal asserted her authority and made a "demand" for the affection she is so deserving of! Much better than hearing of a timid and broken creature who thinks they are unworthy. :(

Of course the reinforcement of her high status has been due to the loving care she receives at Heartland. I wish all residence at shelter facilities knew they were suitable for love and cuddles... Thanks for the reminder that we can all spare some time to make it so! :)

CQ said...

At various times, I've volunteered at a mounted police barn, an SPCA (dogs and horses), a horse rescue, and a dog rescue, and I can attest to the attention shelter creatures crave and the affection they return.

Bless you for sharing your time and love with Opal -- and for sharing with us her clever, desperate, sweet appeal for more companioning.

I enjoy caring for a friend's pretty (rescued) bunny, when she's out of town. I'll tell her I just learned, from you, the importance of grooming the fur. Next time I bunnysit, I'll do that!

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea. Bunnies have a major helping of assertion. Once they feel relatively safe very few have any problem with letting you know what they want (or don't want). Opal was extremely inventive and competent with her passing on the message of what she wanted. She is a treat.

Everyone there gets as much positive attention as possible, none get as much as they deserve...that's why a forever homes are needed.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting CQ. Your experience has shown you how needy shelter residents are...and how appreciative they are. The bunny that lives with us asks several times a day for (and receives) fairly long sessions of stroking, caressing, petting. The longer she is with us, the more adept she is at asking for such attention...she is a hoot.

I have yet to meet a mammal (I'm not as familiar with birds or reptiles) that, once they get to know and trust you, didn't thrive on attention and physical affection (including human mammals). We're all pretty much the same (except human mammals seem to be more whacky).

CQ said...

Today I learned from a friend that one of her sons would like to have a bunny sanctuary some day.

So I sent them this blog, as well as the link to the Heartland Bunny Blog. They'll have a blast meeting all those sweet little friends of yours.

I'm impressed with how many blogs you find time to read and comment on. They're all worth paying attention to, I'm sure! Wish I could get to them all myself.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting CQ. Sadly there will likely still be a great need for sanctuaries for rabbits by the time her son is old enough to implement one. Hopefully, if (or when) he is old enough he can volunteer at a sanctuary and get a good feel for what they are like and how much effort is involved. Doing such is enormously rewarding.

Thanks for pointing your friends toward Heartland.