Friday 12 September 2008

Thx for all the comments! Some answers to your questions..

Wow I still can't believe how many comments Buster has received in the last few days!
Your comments are all wonderful, thank you so much!

I will try to answer some of the questions that you've been asking... but first.. I want to show you all what Buster is doing right now:

Yes, she's taking a nap as usual!

Okay, back to the questions:

Q.: Have you bunnyproofed?
A.: We've tried to as much as we could, all electrical cables have been removed and I always have to make sure I don't leave anything around for her to eat, I've often found she chews on jacket sleeves that are left at the back of the kitchen chairs.
Once I had a pile of clothes for ironing that I had left on a kitchen chair, let's just say that Buster helped reducing the number of items that had to be ironed as she chewed on shirts and t-shirts and whatever she could reach!
Thankfully she doesn't nibble curtains, furniture or carpets..
Occasionally, she climbs on vases and eats the earth and leaves, but I think that's okay for her to do as it's all roughage.
To show you what I mean...

Q.: Did the eye specialist ever tell you what causes his (or her) retinas to deteriorate like that?
A.: To be honest, just for Buster eye sight alone, we brought her to 4 different Vets so far (the last being the eye specialist) to try and get a definitive answer. Nobody seems to know much about it and we've heard different opinions.
The first vet 'flicked her fingers' in front of Buster, she reacted and the vet concluded she had sight (eh, really)
The second vet examined her eyes with a small light and did not pronounce herself either way.
The third vet examined her eyes with a light also and agreed that Buster pupils are permanently dilated and do not react to light, hence the retina not developed theory.
Finally the 'eye specialist' said that Buster has very little sight on both eyes, but just enough to see lights and shadow, no more.
Having said all this, Buster has been at home with us for 4 months now and ever since she was a little ball of fluff we noticed that something wasn't right as she kept on running into things, she did not see a wall or a door in front of her.
Hares are supposed to have great eyesight, so we knew there was something wrong with her eyes. We initially thought it was cataracts but we've since been told the damage is all at the back of the eyes, that she was born this way and she was most likely abandoned by the mother.

Q.: Will you guys get to keep her? Or perhaps this would be too much to take on permanently? (or possibly they won't allow you to)?
A.: Yes, this is a decision we faced few months back. The plan was to release Buster once she was weaned (hares are usually weaned at 6 weeks of age) but we've been told that being blind, release was not an option.
So the three options we were suggested were to either keep her (we already had the Irish Hare Org. approval), or to give her to the Irish Hare Org. which is based in Northern Ireland, or to put her down.
The Irish Hare Org. had offered their help and support should we decide to keep her, and so we did! Buster's been with us ever since!

Q.: Are you sure that's a hare? That leg length to body ratio looks more like a deer or moose.
A.: LOL, yup, I know, she's some legs on her!

Q.: Is Buster still drinking her morning bottle of milk?
A.: Yes, unfortunately she is. And the reason why I say unfortunately is because she relies on her morning bottle as her only mean of fluid intake. Buster never learned to drink on her own. We have tried all ways we could think of: we got one of those upside-down bottles with the metal tip, we used a drinking bottle and tied it upside down (just in case she didn't like the metal tip and preferred the soft teeth), we used sauces and cups of water; nothing ever worked and she never drank on her own.
So for weeks and weeks we gave her a milk bottle in the morning and in the evenings we fed her some water (either in a small syringe on the side of her mouth or on a bottle).
Only last week, after collecting her from the Vet Clinic, Buster was incredibly thirsty, so she took a full bottle of milk, followed by a full bottle of water, and then she approached (for the first time!) the cup of water and she tried 'eating' and 'biting' the water. For about 20 seconds she knew water was what she wanted but she didn't know how to lick it. Eventually she figured out how to lick it and she's been at it for a full 10 minutes!
We've since stopped giving her a water bottle in the evenings, as we wanted her to get thirsty and drink on her own. Unfortunately she hasn't been seen drinking since!
So for the moment, we're still keeping up the milk.
Her bottle of milk in the morning consists of:
- 1 and a half scoop of Welpi (puppy's formula)
- 1 capsule of Acidophilus (to keep her guts healthy)
- 12ml of fresh cream (hares milk is naturally very fat)
- 30ml of cooled boiled water

Buster stretching her back legs!

Q.: Did you build the rabbit run and if so, will you photograph it in a future blog entry?
A.: Unfortunately we haven't got around to build her a run. However, we did get a hutch. Rabbits hutches were not suitable for Buster as they are on two levels with a 'stair' connecting the two, and we thought it would be too dangerous for Buster as she might 'walk' from the top floor right into the hole where the stair is, from the wrong side, in which case she'd fall. So instead we got her a large wooden kennel with a door (vs a flap). The idea was to use the kennel as a hutch where Buster would find shelter in rainy and cold days. The reason why we haven't built the run is that we're starting to doubt whether it's a good idea for Buster.
There are a number of cats in the neighbourhood and our next door neighbour has two dogs. When the dogs play and bark Buster gets very agitated but the real issue here are the cats. We fear that the cats will be all around (and sitting on top of) the run and Buster will die of a heart attack, stress or gut dysfunction (caused by stress). This is the reason why she's at home most of the times and in the evenings she's let out in the garden always guarded.

I hope I have answered most of your questions, if I've left out something, please let me know.
BTW, all advice is welcome re. Buster, if you have any suggestions on how to wean her off the bottle, or getting her to drink on her own or regarding the run outside and what's the safest option for her.


Karen said...

I've been reading since C.O sent me over and I have to say Buster is just gorgeous! Fair play to you both for taking care of Her. I'm sure she will have a great future with you :D

Elaine said...

I'd like to know more about her personality and what she's like. I have a sense that she might be a real character. Is she intelligent? (I realize you have nothing to compare to on all those points.) Also, does her blindness seem to be the only health issue?

towwas said...

Well, *I* think Buster is a *perfect* name for a girl. So there. I hope you'll keep posting pictures!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how it's possible for me to love Buster so much already. I mean, I love all animals, but I've never given any particular thought to rabbits. Yet Buster has me completely smitten!

DrunkBunny said...

Buster is the luckiest rabbit on the planet to have found you. It's obvious you are going out of your way to give the best care.

I have two domestic rabbits, one who is going blind. At first, since they are prey animals I thought it would be cruel to keep my elderly rabbit alive and blind, but she seems to do fine with it, guided around by her hus-bunn.

I spent $30 for some cube shelving (the kind students buy before they go off to college, just wire grids that can be stored flat and assembled into cubes). Then I bought some electrical plastic zip ties, and used those to hook the cubes together into a huge playpen that can be stretched out to take up my entire kitchen. The rabbits get safe, unsupervised exercise, and I don't have to worry about chewing unsafe things. (you've probably received this suggestion already - sorry, I'm new here). I'll be back! :)

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for loving and caring for Buster. Best wishes to you all!

warrior rabbit said...

Behold the power of Cute Overload -- Buster is an overnight success! Now she'll need an agent, bodyguards, an accountant... :)

"Thankfully she doesn't nibble curtains, furniture or carpets." Yet. :) My bunnies each had _one_ episode with carpet, but there was usually an underlying reason. Like, one wanted desperately to get under a particular piece of furniture, which she loved to do, but had gained weight. So, she thinned her environment. ;)

You never know what the little buggers will gnaw on, especially in the 'terrible twos' stage. You almost have to assume everything ground level and up to 3 feet up could potentially go at any minute.

I also have lots of little nibbles at the bottom of various T-shirts.

But we love them, because they are cute.

Go, Buster!

Andrea said...

I came to (Miss) Buster's Journey via C.O. yesterday. Last night I kept thinking of the sweet baby. Buster is a very, very lucky hare to have been rescued by you and your husband. I will visit your blog often and share pics with my mom (she's originally from Northern Ireland).

Best wishes,
Andrea (Palm Springs, CA)

Just me said...

it is a wonderfully touching story of pure human kindness...i congratulate you on your family addition and hope your story inspires others to be just as kind and giving...

meimei said...

I just found out about lil buster. I am glad she is doing well!

I think I am going to add you guys to my blog, so I can see busters progress!

Liz said...

Its wonderful the lengths you have gone to make your home a Bunny home. I also love reading the Q & A. I have never had a bunny before ( and won't be getting one b/c I have a cat) and its interesting to read about Buster.

Granuaile said...

How beautiful! Thank you for rescuing her!

warrior rabbit said...

Liz, don't let that stop you -- cats and bunnies often make the best of friends. There are many multispecies households in the house rabbit world (dogs are trickier, though).

Meg said...

It's great to see Buster has gotten a second chance with a fantastic family! Put her down? Because she can't see? Call me crazy, but that doesn't seem like an option to me.

Oh, and photo #8, with just one piece of grass hanging out of her mouth...that kills me.

Anonymous said...

You're good people to have chosen to raise her. That said, I have to say she's a gorgeous girl, and you're lucky to have her.

Ippo456 said...

Thanks for answering my question :-)
Have you tried rubbing raisin on the metal teat of the water-bottle?
I think it's important that Buster learns to eventually drink on her own (for practicality on your part & for her independence).
I'm guessing that Buster's sense of smell must be sharpened because of her lack of sight.
Don't give up weaning her off the bottle. I don't think water in a bowl is a good idea (it can be tipped / kicked).
Have you tried this type of water bottle, where you hang it from the ceiling of the cage & the animal just licks water from the hole?
I use this for my hamster, not sure if there's a big one for rabbits.

matt said...

lol, i know all about the cats. i let my bunnies run outside (an 8 year old black polish rabbit, and a 2 year old american chinchilla, both males). there are always cats in our yard, i have to shoo them away, sometimes forcefully.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I just found this site from Cute Overload and I'm now hooked! What a precious little bunneh you have there! A baby bunny is so unbelievable cute! She certainly has amazing parents and its so great to see how much you care about her. I am a HUGE animal person, so it's great to see other people out there as passionate as I am. She's spoiled rotten. :) I am now a huge fan of little Buster!!!

Lorna said...

Well, she's an Irish hare, maybe she's waiting for her water to be served in a pint glass? *inno*

I have both water bottle and crock for my furballs. I found they only drink filtered water.. spoiled little divas! I know with my cat who eyesight problems I had to dip his paw in his fountain any time I cleaned it or moved it. He'd give me the disgusted cat look, clean the water off his paw and then go back to drinking from it as usual, as if he hadn't just gone however many hours whining he was thirsty.

Julia Pequlia said...

Buster's drinking problem might not be so bad! Our rabbit JoJo *never* drinks, yet her litter box is thoroughly drenched every day, so she clearly gets what she needs from all of her fresh produce. We rinse everything really well and leave water on it. Our vet told us she had heard of one other rabbit like that. We rescued her from a park and don't know her history, but other than drinking from a bowl the first day we got her, she's never lapped another drop from anything although we have water bowls all over the house for her and our cat.

Jessica said...

I am sooo glad you have decided against a run. I have friends who tried this with a chinchilla. They came home one day to find a hole dug under the run, the metal ripped apart and the nothing but fur left inside. We don't want Miss B to end up like that!
Thanks so much for answering all of the questions and for new pictures!
Will you consider introducing her to a male companion at some point since she is endangered?
May the Bunny Gods smile upon you!
Jess (California)

Anonymous said...

What an adorable sweetheart!!! You both sound like wonderful 'parents' to Buster. Isn't it amazing how the universe put you both together?

I understand the differing opinions about Buster's sight. I was told my kitten "Helen" is blind in one eye by one vet, but another thinks she may be able to see light/shadow. I was afraid no one would adopt her, so I adopted her permanently. (I was fostering her mom and siblings for a shelter.) She gets around quite nicely except for the occasional bonk on the head!

Congratulations on the great job you're doing with Buster and I look forward to keeping up with her escapades on your blog!!

Frankie said...

buster is so adorable i can hardly stand it! i just want to eat her...she's that cute.

i have a question...if you get around to it.
do you let buster roam freely about the house? what about when she does her business? have you litterbox trained her like i hear you can?

my rabbit just doesn't seem to catch on and ends up leaving her mark all over the house complete with a poo trail.

lovelyshrike said...

I just found your website and thought I would drop a note. Not sure if you've already seen this or not.

I know Buster is a different kind of rabbit from the domestics I've had but I had huge help from the House Rabbit Society here in learning how to care from rabbits at home.

Not sure if that will help since it sounds like you have other support groups through the Irish Hare Org. but I thought I'd throw it out there!

Take care.


Rachel said...

Buster already associates milk with food. What you do is, you put a little milk in a bowl and see if she takes it. It might take a few days for her to understand that the milk in the bowl is the same as the bottle. Offer the bowl of milk first, then the bottle so she associates the two.

The minute she starts to drink out of the bowl, praise her and after she is done give her a special treat.

Soon enough she should associate the bowl with liquid. Feed her less and less milk everyday, and add a second bowl for water while still feeding her water from a second bottle if need be.

It will take a while, but it should work.

gattagrigia said...

Thanks so much for sharing Buster's story and especially for posting great pictures! Only place I'd ever seen that kind of hare before is in medieval manuscript illustrations - like she walked out of the Book of Lindisfarne.

Beth said...

A few days ago a friend sent me a link to your blog. At that time it ended with the Aug. 12th entry. When I got to the end, I actually yelled at my computer "yes, but it's Sept. 9th and how is Buster now??". I am totally hooked. It's so wonderful of you and your husband to take Buster in and to care for him so deeply! Keep those postings and pictures coming!

Molly said...

that face! those legs!
anyone who'd try and resist the charms of this animal would be fool. it's a lovely thing you've done to take her in and love her. keep the pics and updates coming!

woozelmom said...

Buster is so sweet and very lucky to have found her way into your hearts. Thank you for taking such good care of her and sharing her story with the world. My family and I fell in love with Buster at Cute Overload and we so appreciate being brought along on her journey.

Erica said...

It is really great that you are doing this, and Buster is beautiful!
I have nothing to add to what already has been commented, but I would like to sent follwing link:
perhaps you already know the book (being in contact with the Irish hare Org.), but in case not:

Kind regards,
The Netherlands

ffleur said...

Thank you for responding to my questions in your blog entry.

Since the rabbit run is not an option, I wonder if I may suggest another way for Buster to get exercise in a safe manner?

A halter leash with a long lead and a school/university field in the evening or early morning. There should not be any dogs or cats on those fields.

Tom said...

Oh what joy, to read such a lovely tale, I wish you and Buster many happy years together. I hope you don't mind me visiting, as a link to Buster's blog was posted on my rabbit message board.
Gentle headstrokes to Buster.

Sara said...

Hi, My daughter Nina and I found your blog. She is really into rabbits and wants one badly. (She is also 5) We have a dog and cat. with no plans to get a rabbit. So this is a great way for her to keep up with one and we don't have to clean up after it. :) The only downside is she wishes it would sleep in her arms! and climb up her stairs! Thanks for being an inspiration. Good luck with Buster, we'll be watching from over here in Minnesota, USA.

gretty said...

cheers, what a great thing you are doing

Jennifer said...

Greetings from Toronto, Canada! I linked her from Cute Overload as have many of Busters followers.

I must say that you and your husband are obviously exceptional human beings, having been selected to be her parents by such a special and wonderful hare. ;-)

Best wishes for a long and happy family life together.

Ceci said...

Aaaww! Buster is so cute!

Drusilla Kehl said...

Bless your hearts!!! What a wonderful story! I will definitely continue to follow it!

soupdumpling said...

Make sure you get her spayed at some point--apparently 85% of unspayed female rabbits get uterine cancer.

rabbitowner said...

You could try giving her the water in a bowl or adding apple juice to the water to entice her to drink. Also, fresh greens contain water, perhaps it could be enough. Wild hares/rabbits dont drink water(that weve really seen), so perhaps the greens could be enough?? Perhaps she needs more since she is still young? Make sure the house plants are toxic to Irish Hares, too. Keep it up guys, I know owning house rabbits/hares can be challenging, but the snuggly reward is worth it.

Angry Woman said...

Thanks for the update on Buster. She is so adorable and extremely lucky to have a home with you and your husband.

I'm smitten by her and I think my poor dog is jealous ;).

Anonymous said...

I love your website and I'm glad you take good care of Buster. Continue doing a great job of taking pictures of Buster and keeping us readers updated! :)

Channy said...

I think you're right with the run. A neighbour of my partner's used to have a large aviary with budgies in it. He was trying to breed them, but he couldn't figure out why they weren't breeding. The reason was because the neighbourhood cats found the aviary facinating and would sit on top of the aviary all day long. They wouldn't all sit on top at once, they'd make a line on the fence and took turns!
And it wasn't cat proof either, my partner's cat managed to get in and take one of the poor things :(

Have you thought about a cat wheel for Buster? They're good exercise for indoor cats and she seems about as large as a cat now. But they are rather large.

Best of luck with Buster :)

zhakora said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer all those questions -- fascinating. I hope Buster continues to do as well as she's managed so far -- you go girl.

kathy said...

Buster is just darling! It's wonderful that you took action when you saw she was in trouble.
Will you be spaying her? Just wondering as I know that unspayed females can be rather bratty and are also at high risk for cancer. I would think since she is blind that mating her could result in passing along her condition to her kits.

zapfino said...

i just wanted to tell you to be careful if she keeps drinking out of a water bowl; i just had to take my bunny to the vet last week with a pretty intense skin infection under his mouth. we think it's because his skin would get so wet drinking from the bowl. plus i couldn't ever see under his mouth because of his chin fluff, so i have no idea how long it was like that! i only saw it when he was reaching up for a toy in my hand. now i know to keep an eye on it. judging by what i've read i think it's recommended for them to use a bottle. hopefully she can learn. it took my bunny a few days to re-learn how to use one after i took the bowl away.

milla said...

She's a lovely looking animal. As an owner of a small mongrel rabbit she looks really rangy and elongated to me, but still has the appeal my compact little guy has. Here in NZ hares and rabbits are pests, so there's very little sympathy for them, but we do have endangered fauna, so I fully appreciate the value of what you're doing. Good for you!

Something I wanted to ask, since you're planning to keep her, is will you 'fix' her? I know that entire rabbits that aren't bred are prone to uterine and ovarian cancer, and though I'm not sure if all lagomorphs are like this, you might want to check that out with Mike. It might be best to either get him to match you with a buck to breed, or get her speyed, just to ensure her wellbeing in the long term.

Please keep posting your news and photos. She's very sweet, and I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing to follow her progress.


margaret said...

Incredibly adorable! Bless you for rescuing Buster and raising her so lovingly. She is a beautiful hare, and I can see she will have a happy life with you.

She's so cute when she's sleeping, I can't stand it!

Always-a-Student said...

Greetings from Austin, TX.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE her bunny legs! I just want to nibble on them!!

Thank you for saving her life. She's a real beauty.

Ducky said...

I love, love, love Buster! It's so much fun to check in on her, and I never worry for her welfare. I wish all domesticated creatures could be in the care of such a loving, responsible family. My hat is off to you.

Holy Cuteness said...


Buster is on holy cuteness now...
Hope you like it!

Anonymous said...

You and your husband are amazing people and I hope that one day karma rewards you 10 fold. Your kindness overwhelms me with hope and happiness, thank you so much.

phil said...

what a wonderful story! thanks for sharing it with us :-)

Anonymous said...

I just finaished reading Busters story! How wonderful! She is a cutie, and you are incredible for giving her a home.

Gina said...

Yay! I am so glad to see an update on Buster! I was brought here from C.O. a while ago and the story touched my heart!! She is such a pretty hare and looks so healthy!! Please keep us up to date.

Junior said...

Oh my goodness! Buster sure is a cutie! Those baby pictures made Meowm go "awwwwwwww". We are sad to learn that Buster doesn't ahve much eye sight, but we are so happy that you are taking care of her!!!!!!

Junior, Orion and Meowm

Habitual said...

I've been reading since the C.O. post too, and I'm hooked! Buster reminds me of the book "Guess How Much I Love You" -- so precious! Cheers to you for doing such a good deed :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful hare! I love the loooong legs.

lynnesharpe said...

I think you are both wonderful people.You obviously care very much for this wonderful animal and I wish all three of you all the best of luck and love - Lynne xxx

kathydip said...

Thank you so much for the update. I check your blog often to see how she is.
My suggestions for litter training her are:
Do NOT use a clay cat litter. If she eats it she could get blockages. Instead use a wood based litter. We have a brand called Feline Pine in the US or you can use wood stove pellets. I am not sure what corn seeds are. I don't think you will need them with the wood pellets.
Or you can use a non scented paper based litter. Our brand is called Yesterdays News.
On top of the litter put her hay. This way she can nibble and do her business at the same time. It sounds gross but it's what they tend to do.
She may have some stray poos but the most important thing (I am sure you will agree) is for her to piddle in the box.
Bunnies can be hard to completely litter train if they are not spayed or neutered. They follow their urges to mark areas as their own.
As for not taking liquids on her own - I read that rabbits get most of the moisture they need from their daily greens. If you are giving her veggies she may not need many more fluids. And if you are giving her two bottles a day I would guess she is just not thirsty during the day. I also would think she enjoys her time with you when you are bottle feeding her.
Ask the vet first but maybe you should cut down how much you give in each bottle to try and get her thirsty enough to drink out of the bowl.
The pictures show what a wonderful job you are doing with her. She is getting so big! She is turning into a lovely young lady.
Sorry that all my references are to bunnies - I don't have any experiences with hares but I doubt they are that different.

Konkurrencer på nettet said...

Something wrong with her eyes. We initially thought it was cataracts but we've since been told the damage is all at the back of the eyes, that she was born this way and she was most likely .

Casino Bonus said...

We've since stopped giving her a water bottle in the evenings, as we wanted her to get thirsty and drink on her own. Unfortunately she hasn't been seen drinking since!

BJJ said...

so we gave Buster a large branch to nibble at.. turns out she's really fond of it and it's nearly time to find another branch for her!

Låne Penge said...

mixed with apple juice), we have tried the drinking bottles (the upside down ones with a metal tip) and we tried with a feeding bottle however Buster does not drink on her own!

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