Saturday, January 31, 2009

Butterscotch Bunny

I'm not sure what to blog about first. I received two brand new awards from Karen at Toteleeding and Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch, AND I got a great new rescue animal. Which to choose....

Well, I know Karen and Lisa love animals, so I think they'll forgive me if thank them very much, but then blog about my rescue first, because he's so special! (next post will go to the awards!)

So, a new species on the farm! Woo hoo! An enormous, fluffy, heartfelt welcome goes out to dear Butterscotch.

First, I must digress with a historical discussion. Butterscotch is not my first rabbit. My first rabbit was Thumper, and she will always hold a special place in my heart. Thumper was a pet store rabbit, purchased in a pet shop in the early 1990s when shelters (at least where I was living) didn't have rabbits. She was a little soft grey baby, and I took her home, knowing nothing about rabbits. Thumper lived with me all over Nova Scotia, in various apartments and homes while I was in school. She then moved with me to Ontario, enduring a long, hot drive with my father and I, riding in the back of a Jetta, and kept me company while I finished my Masters degree and began working outside of Toronto. Eventually, she moved yet again with me, health certificate "in paw" for her border crossing, and she settled here in Iowa. Thumper was a remarkable girl. She was a little grey dwarf bunny of unknown heritage, who wriggled her way into the hearts of anyone she met. She visited the kindergarten class that my Mother taught and shared story circle time with the children, going around to visit them in their circle as they sat listening to a story. She let me carry her around, laying on her back, in the crook of my elbow. I gave her belly rubs and talked to her all the time. We went through so many years together...times when I laughed at her antics and shared her delight, other times when I cried salty tears that dripped onto her fur, and she snuggled herself into my lap to try to ease my worries. She finished three University degrees with me, she flew on commercial jets under the seat in front of me (much to the delight of airport security staff, who always made a great fuss of her). She lived to be a remarkable 14 years old, and finally I had her sent to Rainbow Bridge when her arthritis was so bad that she could no longer support herself on her back legs, and could only lay on her side. I knew it was time, and difficult as it was, I felt I made the right decision. Her passing was like losing a best friend. She was buried under a variegated willow in the garden at my previous house. I have planted a similar willow at this house in her memory. This picture below is Thumper in her older days when she had a cataract and was not as comfortable running about - she preferred to stay under chairs or tables, or sitting on my lap.

Butterscotch cannot replace Thumper, but I hope he will share many years with me. He is a rescue rabbit from the Animal Rescue League who was dropped off by someone who said they could no longer keep him because he had "grown too large for his cage." I could express a great many thoughts about that, but I won't, because this is a positive and happy post! Suffice to say, Butterscotch had not been properly cared for in his previous home. His beautiful fur was matted and dirty in places, and he was not at all well groomed. After his neuter operation earlier this week, the shelter offered to shave him for me! Ack!! NO!!!! Butterscotch is an angora rabbit, and will thus provide beautiful fiber for me to include in my spinning activities. Although his coat was matted in places, there is plenty of good fiber on him now.

I purchased a comb for grooming Butterscotch, and began the process this evening. He needed it BADLY! Tons of lovely angora hair is coming out of his coat. There are areas that are too matted to comb, and I will have to cut some out, but over the next week, I will work on his coat in small increments, to try to save as much of it as possible. He is primarily white, but with soft grey ears and some color around his eyes. He is a very handsome rabbit. I believe there is some light caramel color to the fur on his back. I hope it's not just dirty!

He is very good natured and tolerated the grooming perfectly. Even when I pulled on the fur a bit, he was very gentle. He is settling in to his new cage, but he'll get lots of time outside of it as well. I was a bit worried about what Stickley, the greyhound, would think. Fortunately, he appeared not to care in the slightest.

So you can probably tell from this picture how delighted I am to have a new bunny to love. I hope Thumper approves.


Mom L said...

Butterscotch is beautiful! I can just imagine the critter conversations on your farm as the old hands greet newcomers and tell them how safe and loved they will feel! I'll let Diane tell you about some of her childhood bunnies - the one that lay on his back on her lap, relaxed so that his front paws reached the floor; the little dwarf character who butted our hands to get petted; the white one that was supposed to be snake food but became Di's bunny instead. You are a wonderful soul, Claire.

Kelly said...

Oh, Claire, he is beautiful! I currently have one angora bunny, Calypso. He is black & I just adore him. He is the sweetest! I had 2 angoras before but I went away for a weekend & they were fed some moldy hay & my favorite of the two had died before I got home. He was still warm. The other one died 3 days later. I was heartbroken & cried for 3 days. There is a great book you may want to get, "Completely Angora". It was written by two breeders & covers everything. If you have any questions about them I would be happy to help. I know you will enjoy him & bless you for rescueing so many wonderful animals!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

well, he's about the cutest thing I've ever seen, love the ears. I've never had a bunny.

Again, you're the greatest Claire on the rescue front.

Yellow Jacket Ridge Angoras said...

Go ahead make me cry....what a beautiful story and what a gorgeous addition to your farm. I was doing fine until I saw the picture of you and Butterscotch and then I lost it. God bless you for all the love you share with our little friends. I believe the heart has the infinite capacity to love and you exemplify my believes.

Mare said...

Oh Claire i just love your big soft heart! And you and Butterscotch scored BIG in finding each other! He is beautiful and i cannot wait to see what kind of spinning he will be assisting you with! :)

Rabbits' Guy said...

That's a great story and here's hoping for many happy years with Butterscotch!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

It was wonderful to hear about your long and loving relationship with Thumper! I hope Butterscotch brings you many happy years, too, and lots of heavenly fiber.

Anonymous said...

Welcome, Butterscotch! I'm glad you've found your forever home.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea that rabbits could live to be 14 years old!!! Butterscotch is beautiful or maybe I should say handsome for his ego...either way, you are both lucky to have found each other.

Diane L. Dodd said...

butterscotch is adorable! i love bunnies. as a kid i had bugs, peter, fluffy, and french fry.
i never had an angora though, he's beautiful :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh Butterscotch is adorable and you look so happy together!

We had a long haired bunny and i gathered lots of her fur and made felt with it, beautiful soft felt. I'm sure Butterscotch will yield lots of fibre for arty things!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh he's precious!!!

My first rabbit's name was Thumper, too!!
But he was a huge lop eared rabbit that a boyfriend had given me for Easter a few years before I met my husband and got married.
Thumper was named that because he had an endearing habbit of thumping whenever he saw me come home from work and he wanted out of his cage to run around.
Sadly I had to give him up after two years because he just wouldn't stop trying to mount my cat. lol!

Your lovely Thumper lived a very long time. I have no doubt that it was due to the great care he received by you. :)

Congrats on your new bunny!
And congrats on all your awards, too.


Christy said...

What a pretty bunny!

Anonymous said...

Butterscotch is beautiful! I can only imagine how soft this little critter is!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I came here from your link in RO :)

That's a beautiful story about Thumper. Sounds like she had a great and not to mention adventurous life with you! And what a handsome guy Butterscotch is! I love his long fur, especially on his ears :) Looking forward to more Butterscotch stories!

Farm Chick Paula said...

Butterscotch is a real cutie!!