The Never-Ending Bunny Project is finished. (Almost)

My daughter loves animals and is in the Animal Science Magnet Program at her high school. Which is all well and good except for these year-long projects that somehow involve the whole family. This year it was rabbits. I can truthfully say that I’ve learned more about rabbits than I ever planned to know. She submitted the paperwork and essay yesterday and carried the trifold poster out to the bus stop this morning.

Every parent knows this trifold poster, right?

This year’s project had two parts.

1) The science experiment part. In this case she had an adult female rabbit named Storm produce a litter with Butterscotch and a litter with Opie and then compare the phenotype and guess at the genotype. <— See, I’m speaking science already.

2) There had to be an entrepreneur aspect. In this case, selling the offspring (to loving, committed homes with the understanding that babies would be returned to us if something didn’t work out).

She wouldn’t let me read her essay about what she learned this year, but we had some adventures. Remember this? Bunny Soap Opera

I learned a couple of things too.

  1. Even if student starts the project in June of 2017, the student will finish the night before it is due.
  2. Baby bunnies really are that cute.
  3. One orea bunny, two white with caramel markings, one striped with a Harlequinn face, one striped with solid face, and two fawn colored with gray bellies.

  4. There are dog people and cat people…and there are bunny people. And, bunny people are some of the nicest, most generous people you’ll meet. Pam, the alpaca farmer, has been so kind with lending us Opie and giving advice. The young women who lent us Butterscotch. The couple who adopted Clover when Clover turned out to be a boy and then they came back and bought little Luna from us so the bunnies could be a bonded pair (after Clover was altered).
  5. The phrase “herding cats” should be “herding bunnies.” Once they turned two weeks, bunny eyes opened and suddenly seven adorable fur babies were jumping into and out of their nesting box and hopping in seven different directions. This made for a very challenging picture. Also, they have no problem “bunny piling” and there is a brown bunny beneath these six. I think. Either that, or we lost one.

    Three weeks old

     

  6. If you feed a large carrot to a bunny, perhaps as a “thank you for having this second litter so the project is almost done” present, they will have red urine the next day that looks like blood and may freak you out. This time, before rushing to the Bunny ER, you check the internet.
  7. If you need to give bunnies an oral antibiotic you wrap them in a “bunny burrito” with a clean towel and approach from the side, not the front.
  8.  

    Also, pick up a bunny from underneath and support the legs, cradling the animal to your chest — do not swoop down from above because then you will seem like a hawk and they will hop away and they are fast and you will land on your face.

  9. Once you bring hay into your house for the bunnies, you will never get all the hay out again. There will be little pieces stuck to your socks and in your hair. Like Christmas Tree pine needles that you vacuum up until Thanksgiving…and then you start again. 
  10. Perhaps the most important thing I learned (beyond how to battle botflies) is that bunnies are cute, sweet, adorable, cuddly…blah blah blah. I am a dog person.

 

The babies are three weeks old and three have already been reserved. Four more to go and then Storm will return to her owner and this chapter will be over…until my daughter needs to start next year’s project. AHHHHHHHHH!

Love,

Sherri

 

 

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Turning into a Farm or Research?

It’s the middle of summer and I have seven children in the house, the dog in a bedroom upstairs because he keeps barking at one of the children, and two rabbits in the laundry room because it is 97 degrees outside and bunnies, as you know, don’t like temps over 85 degrees. Also, one of the bunnies might be pregnant, but that’s not why she’s mean. She was mean before. That’s why she lived in a chicken coop. But now she lives at my house.

I’ve been working on a contemporary novel about a woman who runs an animal rescue and somehow real life and writer life are overlapping. How else to explain this?

And these?

Some pigs strolled through my backyard. Seriously.

And, finally, why would I have a rooster show up in my garage?

These pictures all have stories and they may or not make it into my novel, but there are other parts of animal rescue. I had to research pit bull fighting. Here’s the book that was most affecting.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption

What I read made me angry and horrified and sad and proud. Yes, PROUD. The animal control officers who were told not to accuse a sports celebrity, but did because it was the right thing to do. The men and women at rescues all over the United States who worked tirelessly to save the dogs: rehabilitating and teaching these abused animals how to be dogs again. Loving on them, training them, believing in them. Acting on Gandhi’s famous quote, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

I salute those who, like my character, give their life to make this world a better place for animals. I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser for Luna’s House, a rescue in Maryland, and get a glimpse into the amount of work that goes into running a rescue.

I need to hurry up and finish this draft because there’s a chapter where a zebra appears and I….I don’t think I have any more room in my house!

Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Love,

Sherri