Shades of Shadow – A Little Leo Gallery

We don’t know a lot about Leo’s personality yet, but what we have seen is reminding us so strongly of Shadow that we keep starting to call him Shadow and then have to stop and correct ourselves.  Leo is very active, playful, boyish and interactive.  That is when his remaining post-neuter hormones aren’t ruling him.  We don’t have lots of stories to tell about him yet as we are just in the early stages of getting to know him.  Like Shadow, Leo likes to lurk at times, just peaking around the edges of furniture.  He also loves to play with toys and like Shadow has a habit of landing his toys in his water bowl.  Unlike Shadow, we have been able to give Leo a blanket.  Shadow would have eaten the blanket and put his digestive system at great risk.  Leo is playing with his blanket and the blanket follows him around his exercise pen.  It too has landed in the water bowl once so far.  Also like Shadow, when I start taking pictures of Leo, he bounces up to find out what I am up to making it hard to get lots of pictures of him in action.

On Thursday some of the things we learned from Shadow when he was ill …

Leo the Lionhead – A Ballsy Bunny

Little Leo the Lionhead Rabbit

Introducing Leo the Lionhead

A little over a week ago, I had written that we had been really distracted here and thrown a bit off schedule.  Since the loss of Tigger and Shadow, I have been following a number of rescues and looking at for rabbits.  I wasn’t really looking for a rabbit right now as I thought it might still be too soon.  There are belongings here in the house from Tigger and Shadow that need to be cleared away or bleach cleaned and the rooms with carpets need to be steam cleaned or have the carpeting replaced to be more sure that a new rabbit isn’t exposed to common rabbit illnesses that can be contagious.  Instead, I was looking for shelters or groups I wanted to keep an eye on for a bunny down the road.  That is until I saw the picture of Leo the Lionhead who was at a city shelter within a few hours round trip drive.  His picture called out to me in a way that no other rabbit photo had since the time I had seen our bunny Portia on a rescue site and had to meet her.

 Leo had been described as a personable, male Lionhead rabbit, neutered with an estimated age of a year and a half.  We were told his original owners had surrendered him to the shelter because they worked long hours and weren’t able to give him enough attention.  It saddened us to hear that he had not really been given a name, but had been called Mr. Bunny, but not even enough by that to recognize it as his name.  The shelter thought Leo was more fitting, but told us he wasn’t used to that either, so we could still change it to anything we wanted if we adopted him.  We thought Leo was a great name for a little Lionhead.

Leo was just as cute in person as his photo had been, very active and he liked to have his head petted and started begging us for attention quite quickly.  He had two scabbed over healing wounds in his side that were thought to be from Fly Strike which can be deadly for rabbits.  We were concerned about the status of the wounds and the staffer helping us took him to see the vet who was there at the time to verify the care still needed.  We didn’t realize we should also have asked that they check that Leo was actually neutered as advertised.

In a nice game of who has the ball, the answer is Leo does.  He has two of them actually, even though he wasn’t supposed to have any.  So the cautionary tale here is if you are told a male rabbit has been neutered, flip the bunny over for a double-check looky see.  Blaine said it must have been really cold when Leo was examined for his nice little set to have been missed.  We trusted the staff and didn’t try to do a full exam on Leo ourselves since we had planned to take him to our vet for a well check right away.  So, surprise, surprise when our vet turned him over and we had an obviously intact male rabbit.  He has been scheduled for surgery later this week.  Neutering a male rabbit even if he is your only rabbit can be a big help to curb territorial spraying, aggressiveness and other bad behaviors and lessen the smell of the urine.  Leo isn’t spraying or aggressive, but whoa, he is a stinky little fellow first thing in the morning when we let him out of his cage.

So once again, we seem to have a truly Rabbittude rabbit on our hands who was trying his best to keep a few things secret and hidden. Leo is going to be our office bunny for now.  We had one room in the home, one of the largest, that we had completely renovated to move our home office into.  It had been newly painted with a new floor installed.  We had just moved the office furniture and equipment in.  So little Leo now has a brand new cage and exercise pen there.  We will look to give him access to other areas once we have gotten the carpets cleaned or replaced in some rooms.  Since it turns out Leo needs to be neutered, there will be some time where he will need to be a bit less active anyway while he recovers.  So we have opportunity to get more running area ready for Leo.

We are just getting to know Leo and find out just what his tales will be and hope to have many to come down the road.  He is just so cute, we hope he will make it through the neutering surgery safely without any issues and won’t be too mad at us for being the ones to bring him in for that.  It is one of the reasons we were looking for an already altered rabbit, so that we would not have an issue of a rabbit associating us with pain and medication right at the start of our relationship.

Coming tomorrow, Shadow in Havana Heat Wave …

Bunny Games with Shadow

Shadow taking as bunny back rider.Shadow loved to play.  He was always looking for ways to have fun.  He would try to get Tigger to play with him. Tigger wasn’t a terribly playful bunny, but was very much like a cat and quite serious. She had to be in the mood to play.  So when Shadow wanted to play games, he usually came looking for us.

Shadow would hop underneath us when we were down on the floor on our hands and knees and run back and forth underneath us, head butting our stomachs or hopping up on to our backs for a bunny back ride.  I usually had on really oversized V Neck T-shirts.  One time I was down on all fours talking to Tigger when I felt a tug on my shirt.  I thought Shadow was pulling on it.  I glanced down and got a real surprise, because he had hopped up inside my shirt and was now peeking out through the V Neck looking at me nose to nose.  That is when I discovered if you wear oversized clothing around rabbits, they just might surprise you and join you in wearing the same outfit at the same time!

If we sat on the sofa to read a book or magazine or look at a catalog, we could count on having Shadow hop up and want us to surrender the paper goods.  We started to play a game with pulling out the advertising cards from magazines.  We would hold some of those in our hand peeking out from the side of whatever we were reading.  Shadow would hop up and “steal” the card and take off with it.  Then he would come back for another and another.  We would run out of the cards and have to go gather them up again so that we could keep reading and he could keep playing the game.

Shadow waiting for a bunny bus ride.We had a special cardboard box with multiple holes.  Shadow and to a lesser degree Tigger liked to have us give them bunny bus rides. Shadow would hop in the box and wait for us to pick it up and carry him to another location in the room.  Sometimes a bunny bus ride was the only way to get him to go to bed.  He would hop into the box and we would carry it over to his cage and put it down with the hole he was facing right up against the doorway to his cage and he would hop in for the night.  That is unless he was still feeling playful and then it might take a couple of bus rides before he was ready to call it a night.

In the evening, Shadow loved to hop onto the sofa and would pull and dig at me before settling down for snuggles and petting instead.  Sometimes if  I was laying down or semi reclining on the sofa, I would suddenly have a bunny on my hip looking at me eye to eye.  If I happened to be eating something he wanted, he would be hopping up and down on my lap and patting me all over the face, arms and shoulders trying to get a treat.  If it was banana, well then I would have a rabbit actually sticking his little nose right up to my lips as if he was going to go in after that banana he could smell on my breath.  It was like having a pat down with a breath check by the bunny police officer appropriately all dressed in black.

Coming next week, Shadow’s favorite toys …

Shadow the Puppy Bunny

Shadow on the bed checking things out.
 Shadow just has to get in to this corner
Shadow boxes himself in

Shadow was a very happy bouncy puppy bunny, always ready to have fun. He would steal your heart with his wonderful playfulness and sweet nature.  He was always ready to hop up and introduce himself.  Like a dog, he considered everyone to be his friend.  He had that same doggie way of tipping his head to the side as if he was asking a question.  It was just so much fun to watch him checking everything out.  While Tigger was quite a serious rabbit, Shadow was all lightness and play.

He just loved to run around like crazy and play with things.  Unlike most rabbits, Shadow liked to be chased.  He would run up to you and then take off again looking back to get you to chase him.  Shadow would just love it when Blaine would instigate the chase by pretending to charge at him.

Shadow loved to be petted, especially his head.  If either of us started to pet Tigger and Shadow was nowhere in sight, within just a minute or two, he would be charging up and flopping down.  If you weren’t petting his head, you would get the little head butt on your palm as a reminder to pet his head.  He would also burrow under your hand to position his head just right for petting.

The little boy was decidedly a beggar too.  He would get up on his hind legs and do the begging dance to get his bunny biscuits.  Once he realized that the top of the cages was the closest to where the biscuits were kept, he would leap up there and dance around.  He got so crazy one time he hopped himself off the side of the cage while he was up on two legs begging.  After that, we would position ourselves right at the side of the cage so he couldn’t hop off in his excitement.  Instead, we would have a bunny batting his front paws against us if we took too long getting those bunny treats out of the container.

Also like a dog, he loved to dig.  We had uncovered litter boxes until Shadow came along.  Then Shadow showed us he saw the litter boxes as multi purpose.  He would use them quite nicely to do his business and then he would dig them all out.  His skills at excavation were quite remarkable.  He could empty a whole litter box of pellets and have it spread out over a six-foot area.  We had to invest in a number of litter boxes with tops which both rabbits actually loved since the tops provided another hang out spot for them.  We had to get more small throw rugs so that the plastic tops weren’t quite so slippery.  We used Acco binder clips to fold and shape the corners of the rugs to be a close fit  to the tops.

We read at one point that use a spray bottle filled with water and squirting a misbehaving bunny could deter bad behavior.  Tigger did not like being squirted with water and would stop, but we gave up on using that to deter Shadow.  We could give him several squirts and he would just shake himself off like a little dog and keep on going with whatever he was doing which was usually chewing something.

Coming Wednesday, Shadow the bunny goat …