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RandomWiktor

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Myia, have you ever considered a much cheaper option like modifying a bin or stock tank into a hamster cage? Personally I think both $75 and $140 are a bit nuts! Extremely large bins can be bought forunder $20, and if you want something more sturdy/chew-proof (though I find most hamsters don't bother chewing bins), you can get good sized stock tanks for about double that. Here is a site with some instructions and links for making bin cages for hamsters. If you get creative with a drill and tie-wraps, you can even add a second level. When done correctly they make for a well ventillated, spacious, and very appropriate habitat.

I have a 30L x 12H x 15D bin from Target, which is close to the size you're describing, that I've used for hamsters in the past and it seems like a pretty OK size, especially if hammy gets out to play. I believe the link, if you explore the site, even has tutorials on how to connect multiple bins with PVC tubing to further enhance the livingspace.

I guess if you want to spend the money, the two tanks you mention both seem like a pretty good size. But I'm a budget sort of gal myself, and personally really like the level of customization one can achieve with a bin tank.

And nope, no jeweled lacertas (unfortunately!). Maybe some day.
 

RandomWiktor

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I know I said I'd post a bunny update but... NOPE. Fish update!

Bettas: Next week I ship out eight bettas to new homes. I'm very excited, even though my net count only went down by four since I also accepted four fish with TB, who obviously will not be adoptable due to having a contageous and zoonotic illness (they're putting on weight and doing awesome, btw). This leaves my betta count at a whopping twenty fish, down significantly from when I had a maximum capacity of 60, but still more than I'm fond of having at any given time.

I think part of the problem is the lifespan. The overwhelming majority of my bettas reach 4-6 years of age. So when fish don't get adopted, they're here for a long haul. Compounding this problem is that no one wants to adopt a betta much over the year of one, since most bettas live about 2-3 years. Try placing a six year old, or a four year old with disabilities! Here's a hint: it doesn't happen.

Goldfish/Coldwater: The TB exposed goldfish and loaches are settling in nicely so far. The loach with neurological problems is still panicking each morning, but the tank lid has sufficient give that he doesn't hurt himself smashing against it. The calico fantail that was so subdued and sickly has perked up quite a lot; I regularly see her out of the cave now, accompanying the smaller, peppier, healthier ryukin. They're also both putting on weight nicely. Personally, I'm hoping they'll pass a prolonged QT and will turn out to not have TB at all. They're very cute and I wouldn't mind them hanging around my life until I'm 40. Heh.

The six foster goldfish are moving downstairs tomorrow. I can't wait. It is literally impossible to maintain water quality for them these days; I clean daily and I still find ammonia starting to creep up by the next morning. That's with multiple filters AND zeolite. Oy. (Let's see if a filter rated for 1,500 gallons will do the trick in 100g of water, hah!) Better still, when they move, I will be moving Bub, the baby goldfish who has WAY outgrown his breeding net, and Oedipus, the blind goldfish, into the 20g together until they put on enough size to go in with the big fancies in the 75g (which by summer will be upgraded to a 110g).

Cortex and Fogarty are thriving, but Uggo keeps getting minor infections. I'm iso'ing him in a small tank with a high salt level and keeping him extra clean and extra oxygenated to see if we can't knock this out of his system. The water params and other two fish are good, so it must be a problem inherent in him.

And... *dodges tomatoes* I did accept one more fancy today. HEY. I have a 110g tank, dangit! She was the unlucky lone female in a tank full of males owned by a local woman, who realized they were stressing her too much and that she might get eggbound or sick. "Cali" is a GORGEOUS calico fantail, pretty good weight, excellent finnage, and very healthy. I think even with Cortex to bug her, she'll be happier in my 75g; her previous tank was very sparsely planted and smaller, so there wasn't much opportunity to escape an amorous male.

Unfortunately she completely despises me and won't let me get a photo. Maybe when she's more settled.

Other: Wolfram the wolf fish's eye is sloooowly but surely healing. I want it to pick up the pace so he can move out of that dreadfully boring hospital tank! He's taking medicated feed well and growing (oh no), so I do think he's closer to "on the mend" then "ill," but I hate how long his eye is taking to recover - makes me nervous. On the bright side though, he's now parasite free - stopped crapping out little white wigglers this past week. So that ought to help.

Scofflaw, my runty spine-kinked convict, is moving into bigger digs soon. He doesn't really NEED them, being smaller than a betta still, but he'd probably like them. I bought a bunch of red lava rock with cool little caves and holes in it, so I think he's really going to like it if his current lone rock cave is any indication. DIRT cheap too - on clearence, so stuff that normally costs $10-20 was $5. Definitely expect major picspam of that tank when completed.

Finally, I'm thinking of running a round of anti-parasitics on Harar Goldeneye the Chinese Algae Eater. I got him back before I did prophylactic treatments of all fish for parasites, and it's possible that some stress (maybe the last power outage) is causing a flare up. All I know is, I'm dumping food into him - higher protein than usual even - and he's still a bit scrawnier than I'd like. He's not emaciated and seems plenty active, but I'd like a bit more meat on his bones. (Or maybe I'm just thinking of my first CAE Reebum, who was a major chunker, and only THINK this one is thin.)
 

Myia09

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RandomWiktor wrote:
Myia, have you ever considered a much cheaper option like modifying a bin or stock tank into a hamster cage? Personally I think both $75 and $140 are a bit nuts! Extremely large bins can be bought forunder $20, and if you want something more sturdy/chew-proof (though I find most hamsters don't bother chewing bins), you can get good sized stock tanks for about double that. Here is a site with some instructions and links for making bin cages for hamsters. If you get creative with a drill and tie-wraps, you can even add a second level. When done correctly they make for a well ventillated, spacious, and very appropriate habitat.

I have a 30L x 12H x 15D bin from Target, which is close to the size you're describing, that I've used for hamsters in the past and it seems like a pretty OK size, especially if hammy gets out to play. I believe the link, if you explore the site, even has tutorials on how to connect multiple bins with PVC tubing to further enhance the livingspace.

I guess if you want to spend the money, the two tanks you mention both seem like a pretty good size. But I'm a budget sort of gal myself, and personally really like the level of customization one can achieve with a bin tank.

And nope, no jeweled lacertas (unfortunately!). Maybe some day.
Yeah, like I said in my blog, a bin cage will be okay once we get a larger apartment, but right now there isn't room...becaue his cage is on the breakfest bar and simply a large bin would not fit. I am just going to keep looking :/
 

Dragonrain

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Aw I would adopt an older betta. I love betta fish, and most of the ones I've had in the past have been 'rescues' from a college science lab. They do behavior experiments with the bettas then "get rid of them" when they're done. :( I took in 26 bettas one year the day before the lab was going to stick them all in the freezer - and ended up finding good homes for most of them and then kept the rest until they passed.

I'm trying to decide if I want more fish, or if I want to call it quits for awhile. I have the space and a few empty tanks, but I think I might hold off on getting any more pets until we can move into our own place instead of renting. We'll see how long that lasts.
 

RandomWiktor

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If you ever do feel like getting into bettas again, let me know ;) You're the sort of driving distance I'd be willing to make for a good home.




The thing about working with animals is, sometimes you let your guard down when you really shouldn't. For example, when you're extremely busy working, going to school, remodeling your herp room, preparing fish for shipping, and more, there's a distinct possibility that you might spend a day vigorously cleaning frogs, fish, and birds between pet sits. And maybe, just maybe, you won't wash your hands very carefully since you're rushed. And you MIGHT get salmonella.

:grumpy:

Needless to say, my last few days have been very unpleasant. In addition to being severely sick, I've had to go to my pet sitting job three times a day in the pouring rain chasing after an exhuberent puppy and two other dogs. I could only eat rice and millet without getting sick; when I dared to have a bit of soup, I puked all over the lawn while playing with the dogs. They of course promptly tried to eat it. *sigh* Dogs.

Scruffy_and_his_Shadow_by_RandomWiktor.jpg

Note to Scruffy: being cute does not absolve you of complicity in the puke-nomming scheme!

One perk of being sick is that Wendy apparently finds feverish people a cozy thing to snuggle up to for warmth, much like Leo so often does when I fall asleep on the couch. I'm actually surprised, given the bunny's preference for slightly cooler temperatures, but I suppose a feverish person is a good analog for snuggling a warm, fuzzy conspecific - a pleasure Wendy's sadly been denied due to my mother's reticence to let me have her spayed. Speak of the devil, said mother snapped this cute photo of Wendy and me:

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Wendy sapping some nice, feverish warmth from me while I snooze.

Brindam did not have similarly cozy feelings towards me; she was much more excited about the opportunity to explore the livingroom, a rare treat for our buns (who normally play in the kitchen). It's also possible that her age and less-than-lithe frame prevented her from getting up on the couch, of course. She got her own interaction with another mammal, however. Leo is normally restricted to the back room when the buns are out, but my father opened the door and he bolted into the living room. I panicked, thinking he would attack Brindam before I could react. However, Leo stopped dead in his tracks as the rabbit reared up for a sniff and inspection. Wide-eyed, his tail puffed up and he backpedalled out of the room as fast as his legs could carry him. Too funny!

In other critter news, my horned frog Fetus has been under the weather yet again. Fetus has never been a healthy frog, from his anorexia as a froglet, to his severe parasite infestation, suspected bought of chytrid, and near-starvation when he failed to aestivate properly. Lately, he's been refusing to soak himself, which has resulted in constipation and loss of apetite.

Thankfully after a long soak in warm water and some mild harassment, he did finally pass his waste. I have been boosting him with slurry, b6, and calcium glubionate to good effect; he self-fed on a nightcrawler yesterday and has not been quite so depressed behaviorally. Still, I wish he could consistently be well.

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Fetus during one of his "well" periods.

I think the problem with captive bred frogs is that natural selection plays a powerful force in the wild, and is eliminated in captivity. Wild frogs are born in the thousands, but only a handful survive to maturity; the rest fall victim to predation, disease, competition, and other environmental forces. Some froglets are simply inherently less fit than their peers, and these froglets become the sacrificial lambs that ensure the survival of those better equipped.

In captivity, however, unfit animals persist. While they do not meet the short, painful ends that they would in the wild, they often are still less hardy and healthy even when kept under ideal conditions. I believe Fetus to be such a frog.

I sometimes wonder if I am being selfish keeping him alive when he seems to chronically run into a myriad of health problems. However, when he is well, he has an excellent quality of life for months at a time, and his well periods are longer than his sick periods. Under my moral philosophy, I could not deign to destroy such an animal. I instead view him as having a disability. It may not be as glaringly obvious as a gross physical deformity, but he is "special needs" nonetheless.

Animals with disabilities hold a special place in my heart. Perhaps it is because of my own chronically poor health and childhood obstacles. In a day and age where millions of healthy, whole animals are being euthanized every year, I feel that companion animals with disabilities need advocates desperately. Because of this, I have a long track record of readily tackling the challenges of every blind parakeet, diabetic hamster, deformed frog, fish with swim bladder disorder, and lizard with neurological problems that comes my way. Of my vertebrate companion animals, more have special needs on some level than don't. Both of my bunnies technically have minor disabilities; Wendy is deaf, and Brindam can only see properly out of one eye.

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Peg the three footed European Green Toad, one of the PWDs here

I have a rarely updated Best Friends Animal Society network called Enabled Pets. The concept behind it is that the limitation of a disabled animal is often occuring on the "other end of the leash;" we have preconceptions and prejudices that cause us to focus on what the animal can't do rather than what it can, and too-often write them off as a result. When we enable these animals with (often minor) accomodations for their needs, they can and do attain a very high quality of life. I've had a bit of creative stagnation on the site, so if anyone has ideas on the kinds of topics you'd hypothetically like to see relating to animals with disabilities, please do post them here!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from a great book called Flawed Dogs by Berkley Breathed:
So in this world
Of the simple and odd,
The bent and the plain,
The unbalanced bod,
The imperfect people
And differently pawed,
Some live without love...
That's how they're flawed.
 

Myia09

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I hear you about the samonella..but I never exactly had it, but I caught ringworm, and right on my neck. It looked like I had a huge "love bite."
Even a customer went out of the way to complain "Its disgusting to see a hickey on her neck"
I then, with my manager, had to explain it was ringworm.

I also have overdosed on calcium about a billion times due to Petsmarts fishtanks..cleaning them and sticking my hand in and out w/o washing. I would get a rash up and down my arms.

I really think frogs are not a good pet species..due to a lot impaction issues that seem to arise. But your definatley not being selfish; your being loving!
 

RandomWiktor

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I'm agreed that they aren't good pets, or at least that they certainly don't belong in the pet trade - especially with the strong potential to spread disease and become invasive, and the more pressing issue of how many are still WC in the age of amphibian decline.

That being said, impactions in frogs are husbandry-related; a properly cared for frog rarely runs into issues. The problem is, we haven't really perfected captive husbandry for most frog species, so "properly cared for" isn't as common as we'd like to think even in good hands. We generally aren't mimicking their natural diets and only come marginally close to mimicking their natural living conditions. Consider the ever-common cane toad; in their native range, despite their reputation as a voracious consumer of everything that moves, they eat termines! It's unsurprising, choking down massive hissing cockroaches with thick chitinous shells as they do with many owners, that they sometimes get impactions simply from their prey.

Compounding this is how many animals are massively overfed to obesity; physical activity is important even in fairly sedentary species to preventing constipation, and I've seen many frogs so fat they can barely move. They don't self-regulate feeding, so the "feed it till its full" mentality just doesn't fly with them. This is why I always look at photos & videos of wild specimens and try not to get a body condition much over that for my exotics. Folks sometimes comment that my horned frogs look "skinny," but really they're slightly plumper than their wild counterparts, where most captive specimens are morbidly obese.
 

RandomWiktor

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Speaking of frogs...

OMG So happy! Lichen, AKA Jimmy Legs, is a horned frog I adopted a few months ago. He had baaaad nutritional deficiency and was so weak and wobbly that he couldn't even walk. He hasn't self-fed... until TODAY! :D :D :D He just looked at a superworm, wiggled his toes, lunged, and ate it on his own! I'm so excited.
 

JadeIcing

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RandomWiktor wrote:
Speaking of frogs...

OMG So happy! Lichen, AKA Jimmy Legs, is a horned frog I adopted a few months ago. He had baaaad nutritional deficiency and was so weak and wobbly that he couldn't even walk. He hasn't self-fed... until TODAY! :D :D :D He just looked at a superworm, wiggled his toes, lunged, and ate it on his own! I'm so excited.
Aweome!:bunnydance:
 

RandomWiktor

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I've decided that in defiance of animals for Easter gifts, I'm going to give easter gifts to animals this year.

The idea was a bit spontaneous; Steve just re-modeled his rabbit room in preparation of the (hopefully soon) neuter of the boys, and realized that his buns had destroyed virtually all of their toys. He was bummed that he didn't have anything to give them to play with that night, so while I was out, I scoured dollar and discount stores and got together toys for his bunnies, which I placed in rabbit-safe baskets and tada! Bunny Easter basket.

I plan on doing a modified version for my buns; they have a loooad of toys and don't really need much more, but they'll probably get a couple of things and some treats. My chickens will be getting a special Easter meal as well. And I sponsored a bunny :)

Steve's bunnies got an early Easter since they needed toys. Here's the photos!

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The basket; each bun got an identical one.

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Its contents. Includes a home made hanging toy, two balls, two wooden hanging toy, a rattle, a stuffed animal with a bell in it, and a hanging stuffed animal that "jingles" when played with.

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Leon claimed the ball quickly.

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He was also curious of the rattle.

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Lucy thought the basket itself was a great toy.

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She also set to work chewing on this very quickly.

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Thanator wasn't really big enough to carry the basket like Lucy did... he does fit in it, though.

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He also found the rattle very interesting.

Speaking of Thanator, he's gotten big since he was found!
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lucythanator.jpg

... Big is relative, however. :biggrin2:



I should add that Steve did an awesome job on the rabbit room. The ceiling is fixed, the bunnies have huge runs that put my rabbits' enclosures to shame, and he gave each rabbit a nice big heap of hay to play with since there was a surplus at the end. Do they like it? Well Lucy just might.
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The rabbits were outside during this operation and really enjoyed it, so Steve is currently pricing materials to make them outdoor runs where they can graze and run around as well.I know that there seem to be mixed opinions on rabbits being outside, but personally I find safe outdoor time to be just an excellent form of enrichment, as well as a good natural source of free nutrition! My rabbits poos always look awesome all spring/summer/fall and I credit it to spending most of the day grazing. Everybun is different, of course, but so far all of my rabbits have been nature lovers, and it seems Steve's are the same.
 

RandomWiktor

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On a much less cheerful note...

I got home at 6:30am from Steve's. I began my typical feeding and health check rounds, later than usual. Things were going extremely well; the wounded female betta with TB is finally colored up and eating, the cane toads have put on weight since their last weigh-in, Rosa ate well last night after having more fluid drained, Pretty Bird figrued out her new foraging toy. Everyone else was asleep, and I was really enjoying a quiet, peaceful morning with my animals.

Then, I went to change Ngala and Tiresias's water and collect their food bowl. I noticed that the water was red and assumed Ngala had broken off a toy piece and the color had leeched into the water; I've seen the water yellow, blue, and green in the past from her destructive habits. But there was no floating piece of wood responsible for the color to be found. Then I looked to the floor of the cage. It was completely spattered with blood. The perches were also coated.

I panicked and looked up to see Ngala huddled in the corner with blood all over her. I found the culprit quickly: Tiresias with blood soaked beak, Ngala's tattered blood feather sitting in a pool next to her food bowl. Damnit.

Tiresias and Ngala have been living together for about four years. I adopted them from a breeder who got overwhelmed and needed to be rid of her stock; Ngala at 13 years of age was past desirable for a cockatiel to most adopters, especially with her bald nape and broken wing. Tiresias the budgie was blind. Ngala has served as Tiresias's "seeing eye bird" since they started living together at the breeder's.

Unfortunately, Tiresias has started showing signs of aggression. It started with some food bowl squabbles; adding a second bowl ended this. But then I started noticing that Tiresias was chasing Ngala away from certain toys. One day I came home and found Ngala with a bad bite wound by her eye. I know Tiresias can't see what she's biting, and wrote it off as a fluke; surely she meant to just nip her while chasing her away from her food bowl and hit a sensitive spot. But I knew if anything like that happened again, they couldn't continue to live together.

Now this has happened. Ngala thankfully seems to be OK; the bleeding stopped and she's eating and drinking. But I now have to scramble to set up a suitable cage and just HOPE they do alright seperated. I can't risk the stress and injury of a 13 year old bird. A torn out blood feather can cause a small bird like this to loose so much blood that it proves fatal. I was lucky that Ngala doesn't have any of the clotting disorders common to parrots, or I doubtless would have lost her.

*sigh* I hate days like this.
 

RandomWiktor

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Oh wow. They do have strikingly similar markings!

I set up a cage for Tiresias and split them up about an hour ago :( I hate this so much. Tiresias is so frightened, since being blind a new setting is very alarming. She's pacing back and fourth with all of her feathers pinned. It's awful. Ngala seems really confused by the sudden absence of her buddy. I put their cages right next to each other, and she's sitting looking into the other cage making all of these soft little trills and whistles. Completely heartbreaking.

Downgrading animal cages is something I loathe, so seeing her go from a massive flight cage to a much smaller cage is making me feel awful. I might have to bite the bullet and buy her something bigger or I'm going to feel dreadful. It's not that it's an exceptionally small cage by most people's standards, even by a bird lover's standards, but it's definitely too small by *my* standards. You must understand, my budgies are never kept in anything smaller than flight cages larger than the cages most people put parrots in; my budgie cage is as large as my amazon parrot's home. While Ngala and Ti's cage isn't quite that big, it's still close to twice as large as the new cage.

Bleh. I'm really, really unhappy right now. My parrots are my children to me, so having to make a choice like this is completely devastating.
 

RandomWiktor

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Animal Easter has hit my house! The bunnies andchickens got gifts since their kind is often given as gifts this time of the year. My guys have waaaay too many toys already, so I decided to do some food treats and only a couple of toys for them:

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Frog rattle, pellet dispensing egg toy, and a hay/yam/apple mix with a little oatmeal on top.

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Brindam was VERY excited about the food treat.

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Organic dandelion greens were a hit as well.

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Clever bunny figured out the pellet toy right away.

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Wendy munched away too, albiet without the same zeal.

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She too enjoyed the greens.

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She was more interested in the rattle than brindam.

The chickens got a fancy meal:
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Greens, yam, apple, lentil, egg, millet, and caterpillars!

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Rosa hasn't been eating well so I was glad she liked this meal. She is a "middle aged" bird but has been in congestive heart failure for a while now. We drain fluid from her abdomen and keep her as comfy as possible, but she's on borrowed time, so it was nice to see her enjoying her meal. She was actually an abandoned Easter gift. My neighbors got their kids chicks every year and every year the kids would have killed all them through rough handling, neglect, and mishaps before they reached a year's age. Rosa was the only survivor a few years ago and almost died when they left her out in the cold winter, emaciated and parasite ridden, to fend for herself. We took her over and when they were deported, we kept her.

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Nuru was very happy with his food as well.

Oh and here's a pic of the bun I'm sponsoring! She lives at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah and came from that huuuuge rabbit rescue effort in AZ. Apparently she has neuro problems.
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Our family skipped church and instead spent the day at an educational farm & wildlife rescue called Green Chimneys in our area. They take inner city kids with major behavioral problems and have them work closely with wounded wildlife and rescued farm animals while receiving a quality education. It's a WONDERFUL organization and I really enjoyed spending the day there. I took a ton of pics which I won't post here as they'd take up the whole site's bandwidth, but here's some of the rescued bunnies that live there. Many of them, sadly, are former easter gifts.
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RandomWiktor

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I'm currently glancing over our local craigslist and slowly feeling my blood pressure rise as I see all of the "easter leftovers" from breeders being posted for sale. Rabbits that were $25-50 two days ago are now $10 rejects with an uncertain fate ahead of them. I fancy many will end up where those purchased for easter did: in uneducated homes, forgotten in a cage until they get a little too stinky from infrequent cleanings. Then, off to the shelter or woods.

At least some rabbits are more lucky. I love coming to RO an reading about everyone's bunnies; spayed and neutered, living with other bunnies, lounging in huge enclosures when not busy running around the house or yard, etc. It is a comforting departure from what is for all too many bunnies a grim reality of a nation-wide crisis - not only of homelessness, but socially accepted/ignored negligence.

It only gives me all the more conviction to do well by my rabbits when I see ads like this. Steve must be feeling it as well, as a few days back I went over to find he'd dug eight post holes in his rocky lawn and erected the beginning of a fence. He's building an enclosure so his bunnies can come out and graze regularly. I helped him put up some of the fencing on Saturday; I think it's going to be REALLY nice when completed (expect picspam).

I feel very lucky that I have found Steve. We have drastically different views on the matter of animal rights, and the pet trade in particular. However, we are both completely on the same page when it comes to how one should treat their companion animals. I love that he calls me, even if it is interrupting my busy schedule, to tell me that he set up Zule's outdoor summer cage so he can get some UVB, or because he's excited that he made reggie a new foraging toy, or that he has a great idea for an enclosure for one of our animals and wants help building it. My animals have always been a problem in prior relationships; this is the first time I've found someone as animal-crazy as me... which I guess is why I'm marrying him ;)
 

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