The Original Rabbit in the Hat

Rabbit in the Hat (2)

Grand Champion Cleopatra (French Lop) (2002)

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate, and Happy Sunday to those who do not. Since bunnies are synonymous with the holiday, I thought today would be an appropriate time to introduce you to a rabbit dear to my heart, and the cool story of how I acquired her.

I’ve loved bunny rabbits since I was involved with 4-H many years ago. I wanted an English Lop, a bunny with extremely long ears, similar to a Basset Hound. Well, I got my breeds confused, and answered a newspaper ad for French Lop bunnies for sale. They’re also large rabbits but with much shorter lop ears. Think of them as the Beagles of bunnies.

The man selling them raised his bunnies for rabbit shows and also for his magic act. A magician! How cool is that? I brought home a doe (female) with chinchilla-colored fur, and named her Cleopatra, or Cleo for short.

She was a big, beautiful bunny with a lush gray coat and expressive brown eyes, loaded with personality. She was more dog than rabbit, nudging my hand with her large head for attention. Cleo was friendly, and loved to pluck yogurt drops from my open hand. She tolerated well the gentle brushing and nail trims, but was never a fan of ear cleanings, not that I could blame her. She was groomed often, as I was into showing rabbits at the time, and Cleo fit the breed standard for a French Lop. However, she wasn’t the greatest specimen of her kind, as the judges noted time and time again in their remarks.

Show after show we would try for a ribbon. Sometimes we had success, and other times we left empty-handed. Aside from taking home a prize, it was a good day if your entry didn’t pee on the judge or hop down the table to visit the competition.

An inconsistent winner, the magician’s bunny had a trick up her furry sleeve. She went on to become a Grand Champion, a prestigious achievement in the rabbit show world. I had other rabbits reach this title, but somehow Cleo’s award was a bit more special. I knew she was close, just one step away from the big prize, but that last needed win eluded her for a long time. Persistence paid off, and she finally won the last leg required for her grand championship.

Although I was overjoyed by her achievement, that was not my proudest bunny moment. That came when we were on the show floor when a spectator asked to take her picture. Someone else saw in her what I did, and wanted to capture my big girl on film. I can’t remember her wins specifically, but I can recall this incident with great fondness.

After Cleo became Grand Champion Cleopatra, her rabbit show days were over. She was loved and spoiled the rest of her days, passing away around eight years old of what the vet suspected was a brain tumor. Our time together may have been short, but it was magic.

Rabbit in the Hat (1)

Grand Champion Alice (English Lop) (2002)

Two Little Pigs

As long as I am physically able to care for them, I think I will always have pocket pets. I currently have a French Lop bunny named Rambo, and in the last two weeks I have acquired two guinea pigs (also known as cavies).

Piggies make fun pets. I was first introduced to them by way of my third grade classroom pet. A brown Abyssinian pig, Whiskers was well loved by everyone. Abyssinians have rosettes all over their bodies, giving them a perpetual bad hair day. I brought him home over summer breaks until one day my teacher said I could keep him. I was thrilled. Whiskers lived to age eight, which is geriatric for a guinea pig.

An example of an Abyssinian

An example of an Abyssinian

At some point after Whiskers passed, I acquired a pig named Lucy. She was a sweet piggy, and one day I discovered another piggy mysteriously appeared in her cage. The baby was a female, so we kept her and named her Suzy.

The sad fact about guinea pigs is that they don’t live long, the average life span is around four years old. That’s why I gave up on guinea pigs and switched to rabbits. Bunnies can live upwards of 10 years, which is far less depressing.

I had two piggies recently, both passing before last Christmas. My last guinea pig Bob lived to four, and I miss him. He lived in our basement and would greet me whenever I went downstairs. Guinea pigs are cute, friendly, and entertaining. They make some interesting sounds compared to silent bunnies. My guys already know the sound of the rustling of the plastic bag containing their parsley.

Cavies are social animals who do best in pairs. Meet Bert and Ernie, our cute little brothers. They are best friends, they snuggle together and enjoy each other’s company. Welcome to our zoo, kids!

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Bert and Ernie

Rabbit in the Hat

We lost our last bunny right before Easter this year, a Flemish Giant named Jack.  Looking to add another to our home, I incorrectly assumed that our county shelter would have a surplus of rabbits after the holiday.  Instead I reconnected with someone I had gotten a bunny from in the past, a local magician who raises French Lops for his shows.  My previous French Lop, Cleo, was one of the best rabbits I ever had the privilege to love.

On June 22 we brought home a two month old fawn Frenchie male.  His parents were huge in size, and anticipating that our little guy may grow as big, we named him Rambo.  His mother, Winnie, looked just like our Cleo, only a larger version, but the same chinchilla color.  Rambo’s father, Joe, was equally huge, with broken fawn colored fur.

Rambo is relatively small for now, but his body will eventually catch up to his large ears.  It won’t be long before he is big enough to fill a magician’s top hat.Image