Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sound of the Ears

I can't be completely sure, but sometimes I get the feeling my rabbit Nips thinks she was a dog.

My expertise on this matter is entirely questionable.  She was a foster baby, adopted at the ripe age of one, when her first family (who adopted her from a pet store) no longer could keep her.  They left her in my arms and drove away into the sunset. Nice family but not at all talkative.

As a result, I got Nips complete with her childhood cage and a garbage bag half full of hay; but I got nothing on her medical history.  The road to discovery has therefore been somewhat bumpy but not at all unpleasant.

Nips makes the most curious sort of noises.  She hums when she sees me on the move, and as she follows me she hums like a large white bee out on the hunt for some honey.  At first it startled me and made me look for bees by my windows.  In time I've decided to find it charming.  She's happy to see me, I often tell myself and my equally startled friends and family.

Just as I have gotten used to the hum, Nips began to bark, much like one of those tiny dogs people tuck into their over-sized sleeves or undersized designer bags. Her barks are short, with long pauses in between, so it doesn't sound agitated or alarmed, unlike that of a guard dog.  No.  It inspired curiosity, like a teenager learning to drive and discovering some questionable destinations. Her heart doesn't seem to be set in the barking business but it is clear she needs to do it once a while just to be sure that she can.  Not surprisingly, she tends to start up once she hears announcements from neighboring dogs.  Happily she'd join the chorus with her head cocked to one side, her eyes beady and her front paws pushed up, ready to leap rather than hide.

Since last June she has developed a snort of some kind. At first it reminded me of an affectionate purr which she often returned whenever she was petted the first year of her adoption.  But then we heard the noise drag on even when no one was touching her, or when she was eating or sleeping or running her rounds.  At night I could hear her from my upstairs bedroom.  So I'd check on her food and water, change her liter, all to no effect.   Concerned she might be cold, I covered her cage with a thick blanket at night, but it did no good either.  Life got to the best of us those days so we got on for a while trying to ignore it but eventually we took her to Dr Pine, our friendly neighborhood vet.

Dr Pines is a fit and well dressed fellow who talked with a flair you'd normally associate with those 'metro-sexuals' on TV sitcoms.  He told me about his wife and her practice at another vet hospital during the exam and I realized then that his wife had performed Nip's first check ups some three years ago.  Time had flown by all of us including Nips.  She was coming up to be five soon, and here I thought she was still just a baby, a toddler at the most.  Tiny and nimble, she still raced me up the stairs and won every time.  But comes to think of it she no longer did the 'binky' much at all anymore. Dr Pines made no definite diagnosis but gave her some medications and removed a 'bug-bite' on her side which turned out to be a benign skin tumor.

It was a bit overwhelming to take in all the news and medications at once.  But Nips stopped snoring for about a day and a half when we first fed her pineapple juice mixed with medications.  When she resumed, she sounded louder and more persistent but she also started to take longer pauses.  On our second visit,  Dr Pines discovered a bone fracture in her nose but didn't recommend surgery, so we all scratched our heads and came up with nothing further.

Lately I have been spending some time at home and therefore having more opportunities to watch and observe Nip's behavior.  Her snoring has not stopped, but more and more it sounds like a throaty grunt and a protest for attention.  So I pick her up often, and took her outside at times for a refreshing sniff at the newly blooming spring garden.  She gave the landscape a respectable glance and a whiff, but took little further interest even when I stuck her near the herbs patch.  As I followed behind her, I saw what looked like fear cloud over her eyes.  Rather than tunneling her way through the soft garden soil and runaway forever, she dashed back inside at her first opportunity and parked herself upstairs for the rest of the day, snoring as loudly as any over labored grandpa taking an afternoon nap.  Sighing melodramatically,  I brewed up a fresh cuppa and sat next to her to read, to write or to simply gaze at a world slightly reverberating in a bunny scented rhythms and blues.

No one will ever know why we would have a humming, barking, snoring and racing bunny rabbit,   but I guess I still feel lucky enough to have the ears to hear.

'L' is not for losers


  1. I like this post. Rabbits can be fun little pets. My mom had a few when I was six or seven, and I remember each one having its own personality.

    1. Glad you liked it, and I'm glad it worked, spring seems to have brought out the lightheartedness in me.

  2. Awww! This is such a sweet post. Nips seems like a darling unique rabbit. Though our little animal friends so often behave in ways that confuse and concern us, they're such a joy and worth it. This post made me miss our two guinea pigs. And also one of my pet mice with whom I had a special connection. :)

  3. Hey, Shopgirl!

    I don't know if you will remember me or not, but I used to have a blog called The Silver Lining. I got rid of it probably a year and a half ago. Well, I just started a new blog called One Line at a Time, it's a poetry blog. So glad I found your blog again. I hope you will check mine out :)

  4. Rabbits are so adorable! This is such a nice post.




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