Alvin with us 2012-19

Alvin was a shiny black lop buck who we first got to know in 2007 when he took Pearl home to be his lovbun. After Pearl sadly passed on in 2010 he came back and took Holly home with him. When Holly became very unwell she came back to us for medical care and Alvin accompanied her. They came all the way down from Scotland because Holly needed to be here. Alvin is quite a character. His face was unbeleivably expressive, and he had fixed ideas about how the world is supposed to be. Holly was very dear to him and they were extremely loved up. But she really was in poor health and the time came when we had to let her go. It took several attempts to rebond him as the girls we tried were too bossy for him. He is not the tough bun he used to be as he developed head tilt just before he lost Holly, so he felt somewhat delicate for a while. It was difficult to rebond him but finally he accepted both Fern and Ivy and they now happily share an enclosure.

Snowdrops1
Fern, Ivy and Alvin

I think he may be developing cataracts which would explain some of his odd behaviour. He has now had ear problems for years but carries on regardless. He used to have big problems with stasis when he was a house rabbit but has had no bother here with us outside. I think it suits him much better as he really doesn’t think much of humans. If you try to pick him up he goes into mad escape mode and runs into things trying to get away. He has a very long thick coat and needs regular grooming and so does have to tolerate being handled every so often but I only ever pick him up in the morning so he feels safe the rest of the time. Over time his head tilt has improved so much that I had almost forgotten that he ever had it.

When he was about nine Alvin stopped coming out of his hutch very often. I thought at first it was because of a recurrence of his head tilt due to the worsening of his head tilt. Then I saw that his cataract had turned completely opaque so he really can’t see anymore. Fern has always been a bit of a bully and he was afraid to come out of his hutch with her likely to pounce on him. I don’t often separate bonded rabbits but when Ivy became ill too I took her and Alvin and put them in with Nutbrown and Dachs. It made a world of difference to Alvin. They are in a big shed instead of the hutch so manoeuvring is easier and the run was bigger too, and best of all no bun was inclined to pounce on him. Despite being blind¬† he quickly learned his way around and is even put on a bit of weight. His ear was still nasty and needed frequent cleaning but he was as happy as I had ever seen him. This core group expanded to become our group of oldies as Nutbrown, August, Chester and Willow joined them as they lost partners.

Alvin lived until he was twelve. When he became distressed at not being able to get about the way he wanted to we took the difficult decision to let him go. Characteristically he bit me on the way to the vets, true to himself to the bitter end. He was a big character and we miss him.