a summer tasting

Posted in animals, New Zealand, short stories, Small animals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2010 by fangybunny

pohutakawa trees with deep red blooms sticky and ripe for native birds. tobacco filtered sky meets sepia tinged grass in an unbroken horizon. swelling scent of summer flowers heady perfume for the lucky.  cicadas like badly oiled machinery wind in the gathering dusk. feline forms lurk on fencelines for prowling time hence. cloudforms scudding  free and wild, faster than any sunset could uplight. smells of barbequed food drift tantalising, from unknown source to welcoming senses. faery lights sprinkled in shaped trees sparkle like dewdrops. rounded moon shape low and bulging yellow, begins an upward arc. peaceful seat on weathered boards eyes full of beauty, soul a contented sigh.

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Where the Birds Aren’t

Posted in animals, Keeping pets, New Zealand, short stories, Small animals, Wanderings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2010 by fangybunny

A magpie warbles longingly on a power line. Silhouette cutting a sharp shape against a salmon watercolour sunrise sky. I sit, fumbling fingers grasping errant shoelaces. Double knot tight.

Prickles crunch underfoot. Bees loop mad insect designs around scrubby daisy weed flowers. Pleasant childhood memories dance in my frontal lobe, daisy flowers are magic.

Sparrow gangs sketch races on open grass. Crumbs left are gobbled as swooping, twittering arguements ensue. A small fledging sits, feathers askew. Yellow tunnel pleading mouth squawking a hunger story until an adult brings food. My bell jingling approach causes the flock to move en masse to the nearest treetops.

I pass a fence. Its height is forboding, a crack near the gate. A nose leathery and glistening, snuffles to greet. Husky WOOF warning. I grin. No gatekeeper better than a large hairy wolf dog.

Jasmine. Flower samples fragrant, gorgeous and perfectly shaped. Plucking one is tricksie, a jagged stem end prize. Behind my ear where the smell is heavenly, matching my mood.

On a bench,  the water sparkles in the harbour distant. A small sound announces the landing of a Waxeye. Delicate eye markings enchant my visual tastebuds. Rounded small body bounces on his sprig of a shrub. Eyes beadily examine me, head moving quicker than blinking. He begins an enchanting trill song. A car toot breaks the spell. Waxeye flits off to another branch, I am forgotten for nectar flowers.

City proper. Benches for sitting and benches for looking. I scuff the earth with my shoe. A pigeon approaches, bobbing, purposeful in his own importance. He sneaks up on my blind spot.  My scuffed spot is analysed, but no food in sight. The pigeon huffily wanders, geometric circles away. Checking left, right, left for prospective eats.

Back into my suburb. Typically Wellingtonian, old villa houses crowd together like a colourful flock of parrots. A steep hill rises protectively behind them. Colours and styles clash like bad 80’s fashion. Gardens mingle like neighbours, unkempt scramble meeting manicured rose bushes. My street. Snails trek slowly along a window ledge. Silvery stories left behind to speak of journeys had, plants to find. I walk, trailing my fingers on concrete walls.

A Starling riding a telephone pole sings of alpha male goodness. Colours of Spring, magnificently peacock. He preens, sings louder. Green spotted, purple hued black, he proclaims his might in long notes of love.

His song carries my feet and ears home. The road angles upwards. Footpath alongside rickety fences and cars parked, coupons displayed. My feet enthusiastic, my bag heavier with time.

Blue trimmed house, and an unkempt garden. I peer in front windows. Mishmashed face cats mew exhuberantly, silent behind sparkling glass. My keys rattle in the lock. The thud of four footed creatures announces my return.

Home, where the birds aren’t.

Doors, Drawers and Heartfelt things

Posted in New Zealand, rabbit lore, short stories with tags , , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by fangybunny

She is warm, snug, enveloped in proverbial blankets. Smile large and beaming.  Eyes open to new scenery sighted through familiar sparkling windows. A girl lusting life, sating pleasure, her emotions flow and ebb. Time passes like treacle. Learning, growing, heart swelling,  body spirit encompasses new thought.

Her Door creaks open, then SLAM!

Loud and painful, back against its jamb.  Thudding treacherous heart pounds heavy, stone-like. Her ears ring a bass deep hum, lips part in disbelief. A blackness swarms close, entering insidiously. Steals warmth, feeling, sounds. The girls soul inner shape shrivels. Autumn leaf brown, a dried carcass husk. Extremities are numb, conversation sounds crackle, daily tasks flitting by like traffic, unregistered.

She learns to leave her heart, tied like a dog, in a Drawer. Her glistening eyes sharpen their creases daily, their reflections in matching photo frames. Sorrow brims and combines with thrumming feelings to make numbness. Restless partners to sadness, defeat. Mind, chaotic turmoil. Endless questions un-voiced, already answered by daylight, repeat infinite in moonlight.

Ahh but for repetitive business.  Her smiles start to break through. Facades of stability become houses of truth. Tendrils of green emerge in her bubbling laughter, writing creative processes. Fingers bustle like hens in a dooryard, pen moves on paper, faster with purpose.

The girls heart opens, stretches out tiny arm-like fronds. Compiled of pulsing, glowing love. Waiting. Cat-like. Patient.

for Spring.

Natures beauty stretched like guts…

Posted in New Zealand, rabbit lore, short stories, Wanderings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by fangybunny

Neatly, quietly like a wayward partner returning home in the wee hours, she snicks the front gate.  Firmly.

Down a slanted, potholed street, the Fangy Bunny scuffs through drifts of Saturday night detritus. Major chain fast food wrappers abound. Shiny red, bold shouting papers grasping at her shoes like pleading souls in purgatory.  Beer bottles perch on fencepost stumps like crows at a hanging. Half empty, half full of soggy ashy corpses, bottlecap eyes glinting in the morning sun. Balanced on walls and posted in letterboxes. Mailed on Saturday evenings as if careful placement excuses flagrant disregard.

She spies forlorn items of clothing lying in wait on unkempt grass verges. Wet bedraggled creatures dropped by mistake or discarded as too heavy by alcohol soaked owners. Soggy, muddy plastic scraps caught high in branches of trees. Calling to unseen beings in a slapping, alien language. Slap tap skippedy, her feet speak in answer. Rubbish muck crawling, disgraced and forgotten into gutters. Collecting leaves, twigs and fizzy drink cans in a clinging embrace. Grasping small, dead animal bodies alongside plastic remains.

Fangy traipses past human bodies found in various styles of conciousness. Curled, folded tightly like daylit sprung hedghogs into doorstoops. Trails of spittle leading from mouths open slackjawed to unforgiving pavement pillows. She finds them visual serenity in drunken concrete hugging states. Snoring like brachycephalic dogs or prone and silent like mortuary residents.

Her steps a jingling slide into footpaths coated with wind-dropped flower heads. Brown and flattened like trodden on dog faecal matter. Natures beauty stretched like guts from one power pole to another. Matched in artistic talent by fresh scribbles on property nearby. Her eyes devour cheap vivid marker colours running rampantly in meaningless patterns. Car wiper blades outsprung like childrens arms for presents. Scatterings of glass from ruined shop front windows, sparkle in morning sun rays.

A small girl bunny hybrid wanders. Positive spins woven of  interestingly messy, inner city streets.

Let’s Spend the Night Together

Posted in animals, Keeping pets, New Zealand, Small animals with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2010 by fangybunny

Can a small chittering Cavy live with a Rabbit happily?

Firstly, the new abode. Your indoor cage or hutch needs to be large enough for both animals to have their own territory, a space alone as well as having plenty of “zooming up and down” room. Provide a small tunnel or igloo for your Guinea Pig to feel safe alone in and ideally, a shelf that your Rabbit can jump up onto to spend time away from his or her squeaking little buddy. Then yes, you can more than happily accomodate a Guinea Pig and a Rabbit together.

I have personally found that a Guinea Pig seems to be less threatened by a Rabbit friend than perhaps another Guinea Pig. They will often relax out in the open more  – almost as if they know that  the bigger, bolshier Rabbit will charge off any intruders. I have seen Guinea Pigs co-habitating with Rabbits who often sleep on their side with one eye open, like a bunny does. Rabbits can spend hours happily grooming their small cavy friend and vice versa. It does not seem to matter which sex of Guinea Pig you put with which sex of Rabbit either, but please bear in mind that male small animals seem to require a larger territory than female small animals.

Introductions must be made slowly and without pressure, preferably in a neutral space outside the cage/hutch. It is a good idea to allow a couple of hours where you can keep a close eye on both animals and HAVE A BACK UP PLAN. If your two animals are not enjoying each others company ie showing any signs of violence, bullying, ear biting, stamping or charging and chattering angrily – then you must be prepared to re-home one of them into a separate cage. Do not try to introduce them later hoping it will work itself out.  If these animals do not like each other at the first introduction then unfortunately it will probably never work as a shared cage scenario. It will only escalate into serious fighting where one or both gets badly injured.

If your pets do seem to be happy, comfortable and relatively relaxed in the neutral territory after at least an hour,  prepare their new abode by doing a full clean of their cage/hutch. Clean it completely, change  any runs/tunnels around, supply fresh hay/bedding, and if possible, move the water and food to ‘new’ unfamiliar areas. Pop the new pet in first to scout the place out alone for approximately twenty minutes.

Once this chap seems relatively secure and settled, put his new buddy in with him and observe.

If  life on the range all seems Disney and Chill City after an hour, you can probably relax and know you have just introduced two new, firm friends. Well done!

Both Rabbits and Guinea Pigs can eat the same pellet food, hay and vegetables. Speaking of greens, remember that Guinea pigs must have veggies at least twice a week as they cannot manufacture Vitamin C  (Rabbits can) Your wee cavy friend will quickly get very ill with Vitamin C deficiency without these vegetable superfoods. Carrots, apples, parsley, fresh corn, milk thistle, dandelion, grass and fruit tree branches are all choice treats to a squeaker and your Rabbit will love sharing a carrot with his small buddy on the other end.

I have worked in a Vet environment for the last 9.5 years and have learned the things I know from experience more than following strict guidelines. Researching a prospective pet as much as you are able to, BEFORE getting the creature is highly recommended  but sometimes using common sense and carefully trying new things can also lead to a positive, joyful relationship with your new friend(s)

Time + Patience (often) = Firm Friends!

Said the Bunny “Travelling is…”

Posted in animals, England, Japan, Melbourne, New Zealand, Wanderings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by fangybunny

Travelling is noticing the moon is upside down in a crazily mixed up, starry sky. Landscapes made up of unrecognisable trees and plants. Fauna that still make an interesting shadow against a different skyline. Listening for native birds and delightedly watching them flit around in a foreign accent on different colours of grass.

Travelling is being in a place I am actually lost in. Being swamped by jet lag and yet still thrilled to be alive. Seeing the shapes and speeds of different people. Knowing the smiles still translate. Trying my smile in a different country and having it work. Walking down any street/lane or pathway and looking at things that the people that live there never notice.

Travelling is sweating in breathlessly hot, dry climates. Wishing I had a hat, freezing yet snug inside my travellers clothes in snow up to my thighs. Camera an extension of my wrist and sunglasses a growth on my head. Shoes that are worn in still reeking of walking and overuse.

Travelling is being enveloped wonderfully by families I had only pictured. Partaking of friends reunions, flurries of names I may not remember. Constantly translating accents and words in my head. The sharing of meaningful times/holidays and celebrations.

Travelling is photographing the big, the small and the colourful. Collecting momentos carefully and saving them to card or internet site. The parks, the squares, the skinny alleyed roads, discovering the age of the  things that I see. Sending postcards back home to shout of my discoveries and jog my memory upon my return.

Travelling is shuttling to airports. Learning to ring ahead to book meals and seats, to ensure I have a flight. Taxis, buses, trams and boats. Taking me places I couldn’t previously imagine, totally devour when I’m there. Crowds of pushing people lining up quietly in organised queues. Zoos, Museums, shops, stores, markets and wide open spaces.

Travelling is food I couldn’t wait to try in a foreign land. Meals that are served in different ways. Herbs I had never tasted before and maybe wish I hadn’t tried. Tasting drinks, flavours, ingredients and fruit that are now authentic. Realising they are better than I had imagined. Appreciating the kindness of people who didn’t know me at all. Sharing their food, opening their wine and putting my wobbly shape to sleep in crispy clean bedding.

Travelling is coming back home with no money but a case full of gifts. A book full of new friends and a mind full of dreams. Plans to go back, go on, go further afield are fresh in my heart. I  firmly decide to save, to barter, to bargain and plan…

Until I can travel all over again.

Gnashy teeth and flailing claws

Posted in animals, Keeping pets, Melbourne, New Zealand with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2010 by fangybunny

“It isn’t natural

“They need to be outside, playing in the grass, catching birds and hunting mice”

“They’ll get bored and ruin your house”

The choice to have cats that predominantly reside indoors is an easy one. Once you have decided firmly to restrict your cats unsupervised outside access the rest is as easy as your imagination and finances will allow.

Cats do very well as mostly inside pets. No fleas or worms to speak of, no cat fight abscesses and certainly no danger from speeding cars.  It seems to me that very few cat owners seem to be aware that FIV (feline aids) is fairly rampant, especially amongst the un-neutered, unowned, unwanted cats of our world. Sadly these stray fellows need to fight viciously for territory and food – this is where they may come into contact with YOUR pet and pass the virus through saliva or sexual fluids. Vaccinations for FIV are available, yes –  but these are expensive and it is arguable that they work effectively, it IS a virus after all.

Instead, why not consider keeping your beloved pet as a permanent inside dweller? Or if you have the room, construct a ‘cat run’ to keep their wandering in the confines of your back garden/courtyard. Many owners have merely modified large bird aviaries to make a safe enclosure and some of the fencing options available are rather ingenious. Large PVC pipes cut in half and nailed to the top of the fence-line will stop a jumping cat, as will a carefully installed 6F bamboo ‘screen’.

It is not enough to merely shut them inside safely or restrict their outside movements. Their environment needs careful planning  and they need interesting things to do. A cat who cannot play (small, light toys) hunt (moving toys, cardboard boxes) sleep (beds, climbing platforms, boxes) mark territory (scratching posts, tree trunks)  toilet in peace (quiet location or hooded litter pan) and eat without interruption is potentially a cat who will develop major behavioural issues. I still believe in the basics – yearly vaccinations, deworming, microchipping and always desexing my pets, I just no longer believe they need to be out roaming the neighbourhood to have a fulfilling, long life.

Inside, occupy their curiosity and natural behaviours with things like large climbing trees or scratching posts. These can be kitted out with platforms at human patting height, tunnels and angled scratching bits and are an excellent idea. Such inventions as these save your furniture, your carpet and tickle your cats fancy with hanging toys and hiding holes. Furry mice, yes those simple grey and white fur numbers, are inevitably any cats favourite toy and you can never have too many dangling, feathery strands about the place. These catch any small breeze or air current and help to appease a cats natural hunting instinct.

Growing some catnip grass, or even just a pot of ordinary grass will benefit your furry companion too. They like the roughage and it aids their digestion as well as being an enjoyable treat. When you are home with them, blowing bubbles into a breeze, running up and down hallways with a feather dangler dangling and using a laser pointer are only three ideas of many that you can do to play with your cat(s)

There are so many wonderfully designed toys and treat dispensers for cats on the market that we as the new breed of  ‘inside cat advocates’ are utterly spoilt for choice.

Some relevant sites you may find interesting:

http://www.fabcats.org,  http://www.infopet.co.uk,  http://www.celiahaddon.co.uk,  http://www.cat-world.com.au