Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Cure for the Middle Age Blues

If I were a guy, I might have bought a sports car, got a few plugs, ran off with a 23 year old secretary fresh from a double D boob job, and called it quits. I could have done the plastic surgery thing, though not really my style, or gone the cougar route. But could you see me cruising the college campuses looking for a 20 something boy toy? Don't answer that.

It began, I suppose, as it does for everyone else: a little life dissatisfaction, a little depression (Okay, a lot of depression). Yet when it came to acting on my peri-menopausal, sailing-into-the-sunset-of-my-fertility angst, I didn't quite do it in stereotypical fashion. My midlife crisis did manifest as a love affair, but with animals, particularly small livestock. Eww gross, not THAT kind of an affair! I thought I could stop with the dog and the cat. But then I reasoned, what would be so wrong with a couple chickens? They make eggs, right? It wasn't enough. I needed more. Next came the goats. I really intended that to be the end of my animal collecting. Really.

Enter Julio.

The hubby is jealous. Who wouldn't be? It's hard to compete with 2.5 pounds of velvety, white fluff combined with a little pink nose that squinches in the most adorable way. And those ears! I could devour them like candy they are so darn sweet.

Julio came to me from a parent at my daughter's school who told me that she was having problems with a stray rabbit eating her garden. She wasn't able to build an adequate shelter for the bunny so she asked if I would be willing to take him until they could set something up. I agreed because I couldn't bear the thought of some helpless house pet braving the elements, especially one with a messed up, weepy eye. Honestly, I thought I would take him in for a couple weeks and then give him back. Honest.

I've owned rabbits before, but not one this charming. Julio is a curious little bun, who loves to snuggle, head butt various objects including any bodies that may be in his way, and rub noses. I'm not kidding about the nose thing. This guy must have been an Eskimo in his past life. He also eats like a horse. In one day, he probably munches his weight or more in alfalfa, orchard grass, and fresh veg. I've never seen anything like it.

As it has been a few years since I've cared for these creatures, I was so grateful to have met someone through this blog who has been rescuing bunnies for years. My blog friend Karen graciously offered to come give Julio a look over to assess his general condition and give me some bunny keeping tips. She surmised that he was in pretty good shape for having been left to his own devices and that he was DEFINITELY a boy. There was no mistaking those orbs hiding in Julio's fluffy underside. She also recommended getting his eye looked at.

Insisting on continuing my D.I.Y. vet practice, I attempted to treat Julio's weepy eye with warm compresses and some terramycin ointment that I had laying around from the troubles with the chickens. After three days neither seemed to improve his condition, so I broke down and took him to All Pets Animal Hospital, one of only two places in San Francisco that sees rabbits. More money than I wanted to pay later, Julio seems to be on the mend.

Given the eye situation, I wanted the rabbit in a relatively dust free environment so I've been keeping him locked in Ute's room, which has been none too pleasing to the dog and cat. In a traumatic breach of bunny security, Mr. Tinks broke into the room and made an attempt to bond with Julio by administering a neck massage with teeth. I heard the distinct shrieks of a rabbit screaming, a horrifying sound that would send chills through even the most hardened of hearts, and raced to the rescue. Grabbing the dog by the scruff, I tossed him out on the front porch unleashing a string of expletives that I probably should have refrained from uttering in front of my six year old. I found Julio scrunched in a ball, frozen stiff, eyes not moving. But other than a slight abrasion on the cheek and a small non-bloody puncture in one ear, Julio escaped relatively unscathed. I was relieved, to say the least. Scared the piss out of the poor bun, though. Literally.

The cat is displaying her dissatisfaction with the situation by shitting in the bathtub. Nice.

As for giving the bunny back? Sorry, he's my man now.


  1. Heidi,

    You crack me up! I love your politics and your descriptive accounts of your urban farm life! One of these days we have to get together for a meal and to let our six year old girls meet up!


  2. Yep, I know the "I can stop with just this animal" train of thought. Don't be fooled! If you have to say that to yourself you CANNOT STOP! LOL

    We're planning on getting rabbits this summer. Unfortunately they won't be pets....

  3. Rabbits were the first real pet I had as a kid, not including the goldfish I routinely tried to "pet" (it made sense when I was four). Many years later, my mother still has rabbits, much to the chagrin of everyone in the family. What began as an innocent childhood desire for a furry friend has now exploded into a fluff-induced frenzy of obsessive behavior. Now, after many years of other pets, I can safely say that I'm not interested in being a rabbit person. Perhaps if they show up on the summer grilling menu I'll change my mind about that.

  4. Hysterical! Hmmm, midlife crisis. Maybe that explains why my husband so desperately wants goats, pigs, rabbits, bees, etc. Chickens just aren't enough for him. =)

  5. Tell me that you're not going to go all nigella carpenter on him...

  6. Yep, that's how I got started with chickens: rescuing one with full intent of finding her owners and all it took was a day and she was mine. MINE.