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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rabbit Hopping



I finally got out to see a new sport this past spring. The 4-H kids are spearheading a thoroughly entertaining activity called “Rabbit Hopping.” It was so much fun to watch these rabbits do what they do best. And because most 4-H Fairs are going to be taking place this week I thought this was a great time to post this. Maybe I can convince you, my readers to attend your local 4-H Fair to see Rabbit Hopping for yourself.

video

Now if you’ve been following my blog you know that I am involved with feline agility. So I am somewhat familiar with the concept. I think though that what feline agility and rabbit hopping have in common is that both take advantage of the animals’ innate ability.

video

Rabbits are born for this! I could tell that many of the kids involved were very nervous. Remember how it is when you are young and stepping up in front of a crowd of people for the first time? Then imagine that you had to rely on your pet to perform and not embarrass you.
I think this rabbit was a little nervous

I don’t think any of these competitors (rabbits or humans) had anything to worry about. They all performed so well.
video

Rabbit hopping courses are varied in both difficulty and structure. In this particular competition they started with a simple, straight line of lower jumps. Next the moved on to a more difficult course that zig-zagged like two connected “z”s.

Next they raised the bars for higher jumps on each course for more of a challenge. Unfortunately I had to leave after that but they were preparing for a high jump and a long jump. I’d really like to know how you get a rabbit to understand it has to jump “long.” If anyone knows please explain in the comments.

Ready to go!
I spoke with some of the kids and parents while I was there and learned that training the rabbits is a lot like training cats. They use either treats or toys as lures in the beginning but in competition use neither. Some also use clickers or other sounds for training. And like a cat whose athleticism is inborn, a rabbit’s ability to hop is only natural. They perform because jumping is what they want to do.
video

I could tell that some of those rabbits were definitely spoiled pets. One in particular acted like he was used to sitting on chairs next to his girl. She held him on a leash but whenever she sat down he tried jumping up to the chair next to hers. Unfortunately those slippery metal chairs weren’t made for bunny feet. I was fascinated watching how devoted he was to his girl.
Not at all concerned with the crowd
On the chair just before slipping off



Another rabbit that caught my attention and even had me laughing was the tiniest of competitors. I’m afraid I know nothing of rabbit breeds so I can’t tell you what he was only that he was tiny with the most wonderful, big eyes. And yet when it came time to raise the bars he didn’t hesitate to jump them. Or, perhaps I should say he was willing to jump them but he did hesitate.

He was hilarious to watch. He would jump over the obstacle with ease and move to the next jump then turn his back to it. He wasn’t refusing to jump because when his boy reached down toward him he turned back around and jumped that obstacle. But then he turned his back to the next one! He was so funny.

See how fast they can go?
Of course 4-H stands for “Heart, Hands, Heads and Health” so any activity associated with 4-H includes not only education but also fellowship and moral development. I watched as kids who were new to the sport learned how to work with their rabbits. But I also saw and heard competitors helping each other to overcome any training problems or questions. And the officials or superintendents also stepped in whenever needed to show the competitors new methods for enticing their rabbits to stay on course. No cutthroat contests here.

I just loved watching both the kids and the rabbits having a great time with this new sport. I hope it catches on elsewhere too. I think the value of rabbits as pets could benefit from rabbit hopping. Perhaps more people will be adopting rabbits out of shelters in order to participate.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mewdy Blue





I am so heartbroken tonight and find it extremely difficult to report that Mewdy Blue is gone. I'm sure everyone here will understand if I can't respond to comments for a bit. Thanks for all of your support.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Prayer


Oh, dear God,
Please hear my prayer
Please help my Mewdy Blue
Fight of this awful monster
Wracking his weak body tonight

He fought off this virus when he was a baby

I know I should be asking instead
For that which is best for him
But I am selfish
I ask for myself because I don’t
Want to be without him
I ask for him because he doesn’t
Want to give up yet

He was always a "Tough Guy" Here he's picking on Bluebird

Please God hear my prayer
And help us both tonight
This selfish human who can
Bare no more loss
And this wonderful feline
Who has given so much to so many

Littermates (clockwise) Bluebird, Question, Mewdy Blue, Sky, Fuzzball

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mewdy Blue Update

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Tonight Mewdy Blue is still hanging in there but hanging on your every prayer. He made it through last night pretty well staying in the dog’s crate with all his necessaries (a soft furry rug, water and litterpan). I stayed on the hard wood floor right next to him listening for his every movement. I think I must’ve fallen asleep for a bit because I suddenly awoke to the phone.

At first I couldn’t figure out who would call in the middle of the night but then I realized that light was seeping into the room around the curtains! Our veterinarian’s office was calling to get an update on Mewdy Blue. After that I spent the day pretty much the way I spent the night, checking on my boy, offering him food every now and then and giving him his meds when necessary. 
Effie
Bluebird

Question












I find myself pleading to his beloved mother, Effie, sister, Bluebird, and brother, Question, to help him through this. I ask them to please not take him to join them yet. It is too soon.

As I said, tonight he’s holding his own but I let him out to walk, or I should say stumble, around a bit. He really wants to go upstairs, and I would love to go up and sleep in my bed, but it is so hot up there. At 9 pm the heat index was still 101 degrees! So I guess I’ll be back on the floor again tonight. At least we have air conditioning in the living room.

So thanks for all your prayers and positive energy but please don’t stop. He needs all the help he can get.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mewdy Blue is challenging me again!

Just a short note to let you all know that Mewdy Blue is fighting liver failure once again. He has been to Iowa State twice today but is home for the night. Believe me, if I sound like I'm doing okay, I'm not. I'm a total wreck!

Mewdy Blue decided against food on Wednesday and has been fighting me ever since when it comes to eating. Early Friday morning he actually ate 1/2 can of his D/D but then while I was out he "expelled" it all over the kitchen floor. (At least he did it on the tile floor rather than the wood floor and since the dog can't get into the kitchen I was able to see that it happened)

This morning he was turning a little yellow again so I figured maybe another night of IV fluids might bring him out of it like it did in January. Well, the doctors didn't think that would be necessary. You see, while he was in the clinic Mewdy Blue ate another 1/2 can of food!!! They decided to send him home with me though I was a little leery of the car ride. Mewdy Blue has always been one to get car sick so putting food in his belly before a ride........well, you can see what I mean.

However, he made it home just fine. All the time in the clinic he was bright and alert entertaining all the staff and even walked out on his own on leash. At home, though, he basically collapsed. He found his hiding place in the hottest part of the house and fell asleep. Every couple of hours I offered him some more food that he only nibbled. Then at 6 pm he "expelled" it all again. This time in the living room, on the wood floor, in front of the dog. But at least I was there to see it even if I couldn't get to it before it disappeared into the white fluff-ball that is Blizzard.

By this time Mewdy Blue was so depressed/lethargic that he was limp when I picked him up. He couldn't even walk across the living room without stopping to rest halfway. So I rushed him back to Iowa State. This time he saw a different clinician. After a thorough exam and a lot of paperwork (all a repeat of just this morning!) we agreed that they would give him an anti-emetic (something to keep him from vomiting) and I'd take him home again.

Now at home, he's gotten his subcutaneous fluids, antacid, something to calm his stomach, something to stimulate his appetite and he's back upstairs in his hot spot. I've offered him food several times but all he would eat for me is a little baby food. And he's extremely weak and depressed again.

I think, and it is all just conjecture on my part, that perhaps he has cholangiohepatitis and receiving his vaccination 1 1/2 weeks ago set off his immune system. He then stopped eating setting of his liver and this whole cycle of problems. Then of course I let him eat too much at once when he did want to eat causing him to vomit. And they did the same thing today in the clinic so he vomited again.

Please pray with me that I am right, at least partially, and that this anti-emetic will settle his stomach enough for him to recover and get back to his normal appetite. At least for tonight I doubt I'll be getting any sleep!

Hopefully my next post will be lighter. I'm working on one about Rabbit Hopping. I promised to write about this way back in May so it's about time I got it on the blogosphere. Stay tuned - I have pictures and video!