Matt Brundage

Archive for the 'animals' category

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Sniff Bun-Bun Brundage, 2007-2016

Sniff Bun-Bun Brundage, spring 2008

April 2008: Sniff, in one of Annie’s favorite pictures

It is with immense sadness that Annie and I announce the death of our first rabbit, Sniff Bun-Bun Brundage. Sniff was born circa June 2007 and died on Friday night, September 2, 2016. He follows his adopted brother, Munch Dallas Brundage into paradise. He is survived by his human sister, Tanya, and his human parents.

We adopted Sniff from a very generous family who was trying to find a new home for their rabbit. We went up to meet them at a nearby mall, and they gave us pretty much everything: cage, food bowl, food, litter, chew toys, and a cute little bunny, wearing a purple vest with a detachable leash. We are forever grateful for their priceless gift. Sniff gave us tremendous joy for nine years.

Sniff Bun-Bun Brundage, September 2007

September 2007: Sniff, a few days after we brought him home.

He was truly part of our family. Sniff was a mama’s boy. He would hop over to Annie for a petting and then Munch would follow suit. In his younger days, Sniff used to do his corkscrew hops around the family room. When we lived at the townhouse, he would hop over to Annie from the kitchen and he would circle around her feet, and play with her sweater, which was dangling from a chair. We used to take him for walks outside in his purple harness. Once, during the fall, we took him outside and he got scared of a falling leaf. It was hilarious.

Sniff never liked to be held, but he loved to be petted. He would put his head on Annie’s lap, and just curl up on her legs for a petting. Annie would scratch both sides of his cheeks and rub the top of his head. When we moved to the single family home, Sniff and Munch shared a bedroom and they would hop over to the master suite at night and sleep under our bed. That lasted for a while. After Munch died, Sniff had the bunny room all to himself. He would come over to the master bedroom whenever he heard us, such as when we were giving Tanya a bath, or when Tanya was drinking her milk on the bed. In whatever bedroom we’d happen to be in, Sniff would find us and tunnel under the bed. Tanya and Annie would go up to see him during the daytime, and also in the evening time until I get home. On the rare occasion that Tanya would be sick or cry in the middle of the night, Sniff would hop over and inspect the situation. Whenever Annie would go into Sniff’s room to visit him, Sniff would run circles around her, or flop down over her feet, asking for a petting.

Sniff and Munch used to have a little toy elephant hanging from his cage door. The elephant had this little bell attached to it, so we’d know whenever they entered or exited their cage. Sniff also had this other little metal bell toy. Whenever we’d put it in front of him, Sniff would pick it up with his teeth and fling it out of his way.

Sniff, July 2016

July 2016: Sniff, in his last outdoor photo session.

We would give him lettuce, kale, carrots, and dandelion leaves, but his favorite was kale. We decided to almost completely cut out kale, as we were afraid that he’d get kidney stones like his brother. On the rare occasion that Annie would give him kale, Sniff would smell it coming and get excited before it arrived. After Sniff started to have dental problems and had to get one of his incisors extracted, Annie started shaving his carrots, which were easier for him to gnaw. Recently, Tanya would go outside and look for suitable treats for him, such as dandelions, clover, and occasionally, dried leaves. Sniff used to love to eat dried leaves. I’d call them his bunny potato chips.

Sniff slowly turned into an old rabbit, and was actually on arthritis medication, Pepcid, and pain medication. Annie took Sniff to the rabbit emergency room on Friday afternoon, after he appeared listless and didn’t have an appetite. The doctor said that he had stomach ulcers and a low temperature. Sniff died shortly before midnight. We were planning to go see him the next day, and we thought that we’d be able to hold him at least one more time. Annie was even holding out hope that he’d bounce back and recover. It wasn’t meant to be.

On Saturday, we went back to the animal hospital to pick up Sniff’s body. Annie held him in her arms all the way home. We held a funeral in Sniff’s room. I said my Catholic prayers, and Annie said her Buddhist prayers. As before with Munch, we buried Sniff in the backyard, under a new rosebush just a few feet away from his brother.

Annie still goes up to turn the light on in his room when the sun goes down. Most of Sniff’s things are still where they’ve always been. It’s hard to break routine. We still half expect to see him hop over to the master bedroom, or to open his door and see him lying down in his usual spot on the carpet. We told Tanya that Sniff is in bunny heaven, reunited with Munch.

Sniff and Munch, July 2011

July 2011: Sniff and Munch, sniffing each other.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Munch Dallas Brundage, 2008-2015

Munch on the day we brought him home

July 2008: Munch on the day we brought him home

It is with immense sadness that Annie and I announce the death of our second rabbit, Munch Dallas Brundage. Munch was born circa May 2008 and died on Saturday afternoon, June 27, 2015. He is survived by his adopted brother, Sniff Bun-Bun Brundage, his human sister, Tanya, and his human parents.

Munch was ever true to his name and greatly enjoy meal time; his favorite foods were carrots, kale, and lettuce (in that order). We have seen him finish his own bowl, and then help himself to Sniff’s bowl as well. And of course, he loved to munch on hay throughout the day.

Munch used to do what we call “corkscrew hops,” where he would dash across the room, then leap up and twist his body in mid air. It was a riot.

Munch never liked to be held, but he loved to be petted. He was a very petable rabbit. He would start out in a “Sphinx position” with his two front paws under his chin — kind of scrunched up, but as you pet him, he’d kick out his two hind legs and go into full “long Bunny mode”, with his entire body sprawled out on the floor like a pancake.

When we first adopted him, he was so small that he was able to tunnel behind the shelves in our living room, but as he grew older, he was still trying to go through the same tunnel even after his increasing size caught up with him. For the longest time, he would still attempt to go through his old tunnel.

When Munch was young, he used to go up and down the stairs on occasion. It was the cutest thing watching his butt shimmy down the stairs.

Of the two rabbits, Munch was the laid-back one — in relaxed mode most of the time. Munch was content as long as he got his carrots and his grooming.

Sniff and Munch

April 2009: Sniff (left) and Munch

When we first moved into our current home, the rabbits got their own bedroom at the opposite end of the hallway from the master suite. They were always free to roam around upstairs. Sniff and Munch are not just rabbits to us — they are members of our family. I know that sounds clichéd, but we have to say it. They used to run down the hallway to the master suite, with their ears flopping up and down, like they were about to take off on a runway. We called it the Bunway. Bun-Bun Airlines. Once they got to our room, they’d tunnel under our bed, and used to sleep there — more so when we first moved in. Whenever we got up or disturbed them, they’d thump at us as if we were disturbing their space.

When Tanya was born, we moved the rabbits into the spare bedroom closest to us. The rabbits had previously enjoyed a bedroom with a walk-in closet (a hop-in closet), but now they had to settle for just a regular closet.

Earlier this month, Munch was diagnosed with kidney stones and kidney dysfunction — a fairly typical disorder for domesticated rabbits. On Friday night, we had to put him in overnight intensive care in Virginia, but we knew that the situation was grim. The following morning, the vet called to say that he was not doing well and that he might die in the ICU. The last thing we wanted was for Munch to die all alone without his family, and in a strange place. On Saturday afternoon, we arrived at his side. The vet made it clear that he would not last very long if we brought him home, and that he would be suffering immensely. We had to make the heart-wrenching decision to put him to sleep. We wanted him to remember that Mommy and Daddy were holding him as he drifted off.

We brought Munch’s body home and laid him in his room one last time so that Sniff could say his goodbyes. Sniff had his closure. We’re spending more time with Sniff, as he’s lost his companion. He used to be content to stay in his room with Munch, but lately, he’s taken to hopping around upstairs, looking for us.

On Sunday afternoon, we conducted an hour-long funeral. I said my Catholic prayers and Annie said her Buddhist prayers. We buried him in our backyard under a new rosebush, where we can see his grave site when we look outside.

Today, Tanya asked, “Where’s Munch?” Annie replied, “Munch died and went to Bunny Heaven.”

Tanya and the rabbits

November 2013: Our three babies sharing a snack. Left to right: Tanya, Sniff, and Munch (foreground).

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Deer population control: the final solution?

Recently, Annie went walking in Sligo Creek Park and saw a sign announcing the ongoing deer population management initiative, which involves mass killing. The Montgomery County Dept. of Parks will be reviewing public comments through November 10th, and Annie felt compelled to respond.

The letter below is her response to the Montgomery County Dept. of Parks.

cute little deer While my husband and I understand people’s concern regarding the current deer population, we strongly oppose your plans for a mass killing of deer when there’s a more humane alternative available. We’ve found information about a protein contraception vaccine that has been effectively used in Gaithersburg and other areas[1]. We’ve also found information that supports the effectiveness and safety of this method and it shows a 60% reduction in the deer population[1][2]. The cost of this method is lower than what is shown on the reports cited on your website.[3]

From NIST: “Two-shot PZP vaccination programs, sponsored by the HSUS, have been more than 90 percent successful at blocking pregnancies for one year in white-tailed deer and wild horses in other areas of the country. In addition to its proven effectiveness, the PZP vaccine can be delivered easily by darts, cannot pass into the food chain, does not affect normal mating behavior, shows no side effects and allows a return to fertility when no longer administered.”[1]

Even if the contraceptive method has to be done annually, the deer population and the need for contraceptive vaccines will decline[2]. This is a better solution than the annual killing of these deer.

If deer have no natural predators, are we to reduce ourselves to the levels of animals and simply kill? What makes us different is that we have the ability to feel compassion. I’ve been in a car accident involving a deer; deer have eaten plants from my garden. However, I don’t see this as justification for a mass killing of these animals. Deer can’t come to public meetings, send emails, or protest for their right to live. It’s our responsibility to protect those who don’t have a voice and are being inhumanely treated.

Works cited

[1] Deer Immunocontraception at NIST
[2] Deer Contraception Works!
[3] Immunocontraception (Deer Birth Control)

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The bunny diet

Matt with Munch A couple days ago, I was attempting to feed our rabbits something delicious: I believe it was a grape.

“That’s so unhealthy for them!”, Annie interjected.

Our rabbits tend to subsist primarily on hay, hay/alfalfa pellets, leafy greens (kale, lettuce), and carrot pieces. Sugary treats such as dried mango, raisins, and plump red grapes are apparently out of the question now, as we want our sniff machines to live as long as possible.

Then it dawned on me: kale — by far the healthiest food in our fridge — was more or less reserved for two eight-pound Holland Lops. So that’s when I decided to start eating raw kale. It’s actually quite tasty. And healthy as all get-out.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Adult Onset Pescetarianism

It all started on May 22, 2009, en route to Bethany Beach. Annie and I pulled up at a stoplight somewhere near Bridgeville, DE. Next to us was a big red truck full of live chickens, presumably heading to a slaughterhouse. The chickens were virtually motionless and didn’t look too happy. Annie became distraught and I’ll admit that I was a bit freaked out by it as well.

The “Cluck Truck” incident has slowly changed our eating habits. While I had been observing meatless Fridays for some time, Annie soon started the same. Once a week became twice a week. Then thrice. Meatless days became the rule, rather than the exception.

Over the summer, our meat supply dwindled and was not replenished. Beef, pork, and chicken: gone. By fall, practically the only non-vegetarian food in our house was fish and seafood. And we’re starting to wean ourselves off the cholesterol-laden seafood as well.

If we had to put a label on our eating habits, we’d be “pescetarians with rare exceptions.” My recent exceptions include a trip to Outback Steakhouse in November (rationalized with a $10 coupon) and a hamburger at a company party last week. Perhaps with time, these dalliances will become less frequent, and then peter out.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sniff and Munch: What a Bunch!

To the right: Sniff and Munch enjoy a summer morning in the front yard. They’re usually house bunnies, but if the weather is just right, Annie will take them out for a little while.

Below: Annie writes about the rabbits.

It’s interesting to see how these two bunnies have been developing their unique personalities and bonding with us since we’ve adopted them. They make us laugh and smile and are a lot of fun to have around.

Sniff is still a mamma’s boy. He likes to hop over to me and either nudge me or lick my feet or slippers, which is his way of asking for a petting. Sometime he gets so into it that he doesn’t even realized that I have taken off my slippers and walked away to do something else. I have used my slipper as a “pacifier” until I can come back and give him a proper petting. Sometimes, he wants a petting so bad that he won’t even take his favorite treat. When I hand him a piece of pear, he would put his head down for a petting rather than gobble it up. That’s when I know he wants love and attention. I’m training him to get on his hind legs and give me a kiss for a treat. He’s starting to make the association and starts to get on his hind legs and stick up his nose whenever I make a kissing sound. It only works when I have treats and when he’s hungry though. Most of the time, he just looks at me like “dream on, lady!”

Munch, the little guy, is a little more independent. We keep calling Munch “the little guy” but he has now outgrown Sniff. Munch is the fun and active one. He likes to do corkscrew hops and dash across the room which scares Sniff half to death. One time, he was dashing around in the living room then he jumped onto the hardwood floor in the foyer which sent him slipping and sliding everywhere before he could recover. Matt and I were on the floor laughing at him. It was like watching Bambi ice skating for the first time. Munch also loves to run upstairs to our bedroom as soon as I open the kitchen gate and burrow under the bed. He doesn’t seek out pettings or treats like Sniff but will come running if he sees me giving Sniff a petting.

I like having them run around upstairs while I work. They occasionally run into the office for a petting.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Munch Dallas Brundage

Annie writes about Munch:

Munch, July 2008 Meet the youngest member of our family, Munch Dallas Brundage. We adopted Munch, formerly known as Dallas, from a family in Taneytown, MD last Friday. Munch is a playful nine-week-old Holland lop. He looks nearly identical to Sniff, but is currently a third of his size.

They both live rent-free in the storage room adjacent to the kitchen :-) Their spaces are divided by a wire barrier and they both have free run of the kitchen. They can see and sniff each other but do not have full contact unless they are being supervised in the living room/dining room.

On Munch’s first day home, the two weren’t formally introduced until after nine hours of curiously sniffing each other through the wire barrier. Most of the time, Sniff ignores Munch unless Munch tries to snuggle his belly. Sniff — not having had any contact with other bunnies (except for wild bunnies from afar) and is normally afraid of things such as falling leaves — probably gets scared and attacks. Although Munch is only a third of his size, he doesn’t always let Sniffie win. He’s a little fireball! Munch takes every opportunity to snuggle up to Sniffie, however, with the same results.

The only time that they don’t fight is when Sniff snuggles up to my feet for a petting. Munch follows suit and snuggles up next to him to get a simultaneous petting. I turn their noses toward each other and continue petting them. This always goes well and is a good sign.

Most of the time, Munch — being true to his name — munches away on various veggies and goodies. He has an extremely healthy appetite for such a little guy. He’s very curious, playful, and friendly. He’s also a “lap lop.” Even Matt, who could never once hold Sniffie is his lap, manages to snuggle with Munch. This one is definitely Daddy’s little boy.

-Annie Brundage

FYI, Munch is named in honor of the rabbit belonging to Firefox evangelist Asa Dotzler.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Guitar and thump duet

Matt playing the guitar with Sniff While I was singing and playing the guitar for Annie, Sniff hid under the bed and kept thumping his hind legs. We sounded like a badly rehearsed duet between a guitar and a bass drum. After a while, either my playing had improved or Sniff’s curiosity got the better of him as he came out from under the bed and began to inspect the cause of the ruckus. Pictured: Sniff helps me tune the “G” string, as I was presumably a bit flat.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Curious George is not actually a monkey

No, you heard that right. Despite being referred to as one in the original books, multiple television shows, and the recent feature film, Curious George is not actually a monkey, but is more likely a stylized chimpanzee. A chimp is technically not a monkey but an ape. While the great majority of monkeys are tailless have tails, the macaque is a notable exception. George looks nothing like a macaque; the chances that his likeness was adapted from an actual monkey are slim. Curious George is not a monkey.