Friday, May 16, 2014

Let's Get Vertical! Cam's Story

Our rabbit adventure began when we first got Mac, a 3lb. mini lop we had gotten from family who could no longer keep him. He went from a bunny who lived for 2 years in a cage to being cage-less and hopping the house “free-range” within a few weeks. After a 1.5 year battle with various ailments that took away his mobility and visiting Dr. Horton at Chicago Exotics every 3 weeks, his time ran out.

It took over a month to even bring ourselves to go to Red Door just to meet some bunnies, but one afternoon we finally did. My partner sat with 20 different rabbits but I stayed with the same one, Cam, the entire time. Cam was taken in by Red Door when his previous owners surrendered him to the Animal Welfare League. He would have been put to sleep had Red Door not gotten a hold of him. Cam was on his back legs desperate for attention when we walked in. He climbed on me and groomed me, did big binkies and even gave me kisses! When I switched places with my partner Cam did the same, and we knew he had chosen us. We adopted Cam from Red Door in April of 2012.

In a lot of ways Cam was completely different from our beloved Mac. Mac couldn't judge depth so he only spent time up on the couch when we put him up with us watching TV. Cam on the other hand jumps easily from the floor onto the back of the couch from behind it. When we brought Cam home we used a folding fence to give him a run while we bunny proofed the house. Mac also didn't chew anything but Cam thinks chords are a delicacy so we had a lot of work to do.

Cam was all about getting vertical as soon as we got him home. He would sit up on the back of the couch and try to figure out a way to get up higher. Mac was terrified of heights, and Cam is fearless. Cam’s jumping across from one couch to another like he’s Superman with his paws outstretched scared us. It was hard to get used to him wanting to climb everything at first because Mac couldn't do those things. Once we realized his cat-like abilities it went from “oh no he’s going to fall” to a cute Cam thing. He just loves heights!

I'm on top of the couch, so this is my couch.

Then we discovered 1 tiny/big problem: Cam can jump a 4-foot fence with ease. His very short stay in a pen was over, so we watched what he might get into and picked it up or got rid of it. He was our little shadow; whatever room we were in he wanted to be in so we went through our process of elimination based on what he seemed interested in destroying. Because he is an expert Cord Sniper we actually ran cable wiring that had been down low up to the ceiling and put in conduit to protect other wires we couldn't move.

What's up there?

It took Cam a month to realize that the bed was just 3 feet off the ground and an easy jump. He has slept with us ever since. He is our little sentinel guarding us most of the night. He goes out on patrol around the house and out to the living room to eat a little, play with some toys, and eventually comes back to bed. All we have to do is ask, “Cam, are you ready for bed?”, and he tears off into the bedroom and waits for us (he LOVES bedtime!). Lately he’s taken to flopping on my pillow and snuggling with my head. By morning he’s usually out in the living room playing, but when he hears the alarm he sprints back to the bed excited that we’re getting up.

You will feed me breakfast in bed, humans.

Cam enjoys his routine of napping in the afternoon on the dining room chairs. He eats his salads in the living room and brings us food off his plate from time to time to share (usually a piece of Romaine or a cilantro stem or Italian parsley). Once in a while I wake up with a piece of lettuce or a toy he’s carried in to leave for me. He hangs out with us at night on the couch watching TV and playing in the living room. We have a litterbox in every room we/he spends a lot of time in, so he has perfect litter box habits. So perfect that 2 years ago when we put the Christmas tree where his litter box should be and moved the box about 4 feet over, he wouldn't use that box all month and instead went all the way to the bedroom to use the box there instead. There were no accidents, but he wouldn't use the box in the wrong spot out of protest! We moved the tree location last year, and he was thrilled. We also had to build a fence around the Christmas tree. Mac used slept under it, ran around it, unwrapped presents, and do other cute, harmless bunny things, but Cam wants to climb it and eat the light strings. He does spend a lot of time in December trying to brainstorm ways to get inside the fence. He’s quite the little problem solver.

Look at this rude fence.

Cam loves when people come over. He assumes everyone is there for him and makes his rounds for pets and attention. I take that back - Cam loves everyone except our cleaning lady. We love her, but to him she’s the woman who moves his toys and gets him locked in the master bedroom, bathroom and office for 3 hours once every 2 weeks and “it is so rude that I am being confined” (he wanted me to make sure that was a direct quote for all you humans out there). She adores him and cares so much about our rabbits that she will dust off Mac’s ashes and paw print mold. Cam repays her love and affection for her by grunting and charging at her. He really thinks he’s tough when it comes to defending his turf!

Cleaning is so stressful.

I was in the hospital last summer for a month because of pneumonia. I had been getting sick for weeks (lesson learned, go to the doctor and don’t assume it’s a bad asthma year!), and when the paramedics took me out of the house unconscious Cam knew something was really wrong. Once I came home he never left my side for more than a few minutes. He brought me lots of food from his salads, and he would wake me up every 20 minutes to make sure I was breathing. It seemed like he was barely sleeping at all trying to take care of me. He is one of the best nurses I have ever met.

People who've never had a bunny or had one and locked them in a cage/didn't interact with them are missing out. Both of our bunnies had huge personalities and were eager to be part of the family. We never planned to have a bunny when we agreed to take in Mac all those years ago, and we knew nothing about them. Both Cam and Mac have shown us how loyal, caring, thoughtful and funny rabbits can be. I can’t imagine our lives without a bunny in it now that we've had 2 amazing little guys to share our house and lives with! 

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