By Theron Peck
It is 5:20 am and the day is just beginning. Six short steps down from the second floor reveals a large living room with our Dutch rabbit eagerly awaiting our arrival. With hardwood floors and several rugs, this is the habitat and home for our house rabbit named Poot. Poot is normally sitting in a “loaf” mode under our coffee table with a direct view to the staircase. Upon our arrival, he becomes very excited and runs around the perimeter of the room which is also attached to a dining and kitchen area. After receiving a customary scratch on the head, he nudges our feet, demanding a forehead rubbing in front of the couch while we watch the morning news.
Within an hour, we usually give Poot his breakfast which consists of a little hay, a ration of pellets, and a small slice of banana which he adores. Poot loves a slice of banana so much, he will stand up, run circle eights, and complete several laps under the dining room table to receive his reward. Poot normally eats the slice of banana first, barely finishing it before he returns to the couch, still chewing and licking his lips. We call his teeth his “buckies” because he loves to grind them when content and happy, or when finishing his morning banana.
Poot will sit with his head on the floor, body extended until we have to leave for work at which time he retreats to his private corner for a drink of water or some hay. Poot’s corner consists of a large matt with a rubber underside where we place his litter box in the corner. On the opposite side we place his bowl of water, hay, and his bowl of grain. This setup works well for cleaning and keeping his area tidy. Poot has learned to hop from carpet to carpet to maintain traction as the wood floor often causes him to slide like he was on ice. While this is very entertaining for us, I’m confident Poot is most offended by our comments by his returned gaze.
Poot loves the sunshine and will follow the sunlight as it tracks across the floor from the skylights. I’ve watched him move every few hours to stay in the full sun so that he can sprawl out on the floor and rest his head on the carpet. We do provide Poot with apple sticks and chew toys so he keeps his furniture chewing to a minimum. We also keep all power cords out of reach and behind furniture so that Poot is kept safe while we are not home. As house rabbits go, we find this 4lb Dutch rabbit to be a very mature 9 year old with a fabulous personality exhibiting independence yet a solid bonding to us as his owners.
Poot receives monthly shots for arthritis after being diagnosed with the disease a few years ago. At the time, he jumped up on the couch and put his head down, and was breathing very hard. I could tell he was trying to communicate with us and got him to the veterinarian. Now he acts like a 2 year old bunny, having no difficulty jumping or running, an amazing transformation which has given Poot a high quality of life in his senior years. Arthritis is very common to older rabbits that may otherwise be in perfect health. I encourage folks with older rabbits to watch for this problem as it is easily corrected for a small price.
I am still surprised after all these years when I tell people I have a Dutch rabbit living inside our house. They usually say, “Oh you let him out of the cage?” “No” I reply. “He has the run of the house!” The expressions I get after that are priceless! May your house rabbit provide you with as much love and fun as our Poot.
http://pootthedutchrabbit.blogspot.com/ My name is Theron Peck and I am a manager, writer, and rabbit enthusiast.