“Did I say you could stop?”
Ethel will not take “direct” head rubs from a human, so when Bunya settles in for a massage, she puts her head as close to his as she can and allows herself to join in… while she closes her eyes and pretends that it is Bunya grooming her.
(Note massage indent on Bunya’s head.)
We wanted to take Bunya in to check his cataracts – his previously “good” eye has started clouding now, too. It also coincided with their 6-month wellness checkup.
Ethel does not like to leave home and her ears shake like carrot tops in a hurricane as soon as she is in the carrier. She almost buries herself under Mr. B. When he is examined, she just shakes. When they are switched, he starts tearing up the towel and eating it until she’s back with him.
Whenever one goes to the vet, they both go to reduce the risk of bonding breaks – which we had happen early on when we first had bunnies.
Since Bunya is losing his vision, their setup and the furniture in the room will stay where it is. No more changing configurations of castles, bridges and tunnels. At night, their pen door will be closed to limit his territory in the dark to a very familiar “safe space” for them. It’s where they hang out 80-90% of the time anyway, even when the gate is open.
At 11-1/2, Bunya knows that growing old is not for sissies.
Mr. Bunya was our first bunny (and a surprise from our daughter, who left for college a few months later). As we learned about bunnies and bunny care, we wanted to adopt some companions for this sociable animal.
However, before we learned that, Mr. Bunya was a solo bun and got all of our attention. He became familiar with humans and is not as stand off-ish as the adoptees.
Ethel will not come for head rubs by herself. If you try, she’ll jet away after a second.
However, she has come to realize that if she snuggles up real close to Bunya, she can PRETEND it’s Bunya grooming her.
At first, she would only self-delude for less than a minute, maybe 10-30 seconds. Then she’d look up all surprised-like: “Who is this!? You’re not Bunya!” – and run off. Bunya always stays and melts like a puddle into the floor to suck up the love.
In this video, Bunya settles next to my recliner for some head rubs (but never too close, so I have to extend my arm way over to reach him). Ethel hung around for more than 30 seconds. This is only an excerpt from a longer video, but Ethel actually hung out and accepted some pets!
This is a huge development with her. On the bunny pages, people often ask how long did it take for your bunny to trust you?
So Ethel may be mellowing… just a little – and after only NINE YEARS.
Bunnies require patience.