Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Mario

The last year or so I am suddenly struck by how much Mario has aged since our early years together.  This is quite a depressing thing for me so I try to not think about it too much.  The changes have happened so slowly I wouldn't even think anything was different if I didn't stop to reflect sometimes. 

For example, his appetite is quite reduced from when he was younger.  He used to inhale his pellets in one sitting and now he will graze on them throughout the day, sometimes leaving some behind.  I used to use his pellets as treats in training and would have his full attention when I had some to hand out.  The last time I tried this, he lost interest after eating just a few.  He still does Bunny 500's when he is out to play, but not every day.  And he rarely does vertical binkies anymore.   He naps more often and sleeps much deeper than when he was younger.  In his younger days if I just looked at him hard when he was sleeping he would pop up onto his feet.  Now I can pet him and wiggle him around a bit and he will barely stir.  Not that he doesn't get into mischief sometimes, but I am not constantly on alert to what he is doing when he is out.  He spends the majority of his playtime bunny loafed in his favorite spots.  I remember when he was younger it was like a toddler out to play who was always exploring and I had to keep an eye on him all the time.

I bought Mario the 36" exercise pen when I converted him from his cube cage.  I was told it was a rare rabbit who would jump out of the 24" pen, but I wanted to be safe and he used to jump onto my window ledge when he was younger which was about 2 feet off the ground.

c. 2005  Mario on the window ledge in NYC.  Oh, the stuff he got into back then!
And that was with slippery wood floor traction for a launchpad, too.

I sometimes regret getting the 36" since it is much more obtrusive and not possible to pet him from the top.  I also thought down the road I may adopt another rabbit who was a jumper (Chloe for sure could have jumped out of the 36" if she put her mind to it) so I figured it was a longterm investment as well.

This past week we had to take down Mario's pen for some maintenance work in our home.  I usually construct a 2 panel wide x 2 panel deep x 1 panel high temporary pen (if you scroll down on this post you can see it -- for new readers, visit this post to see Mario at the Grand Canyon) for him.  I dislike it, though, because it doesn't allow him to stand up on his hind legs.  As I was getting that pen out from under the couch I pulled out the Christmas tree barrier.  I figured I'd see if it would keep him contained.

What do you know!?  It worked.  He lived in the above for three days and never once jumped out.  It was actually nice because it was so easy to stop and pet him and I briefly considered making a bigger one for his new permanent pen (having nowhere great to store the exercise pen, we ended up going back to it).

But then I got to thinking...  Back in NYC when I wanted to do a really deep clean of their cage, I would barricade Mario and Chloe in a hallway using the above panels.  I would make a baby gate barrier that was 2 panels high, sometimes even 3 panels.  And do you know, the two of them would find a way to jump out.

It was sobering to realize that Mario would now spend all day in a much smaller space than a hallway, contained by a 1 panel high barrier and be totally content.  It breaks my heart.

Anyone else notice similar trends with aging pets?


Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run said...

Awww, Mario is just realizing that resting is so much more fun. I have the same problem. With myself, not with Bunnypants. ;-)
My buns is only 2 1/2 but she's definitely a lot less crazy now than when we first got her. We notice her calming down but she still runs around like a champ right now.
But such is life. Mario may not be able to do all the little things he used to but he's still a happy buns.

P.S. My husband just jumped up to see the pics of Mario. haha, he LOVES him so much.

bunnygirl said...

I haven't been lucky enough to have a bunny get old. Tidbit's sudden illness and death broke my heart. She had been so lively right up until the day before. I wasn't ready.

I watched my cat Pixel age, though, and it was bittersweet. There came a point where I realized he had lived far longer than I could've reasonably expected and I decided from that day forward that I would treat each day as a special gift.

I'm so glad I took that attitude because when I finally had to say good-bye it was with no regrets and with a feeling that I had been very blessed.

I hope you have Mario with you for a long time to come.

Jade said...

I've definitely been seeing the effects of age on Mick as well--although he's always been more of a lounger than anything, he's definitely become even more loungey over the years. His digestion's always been an issue, but even moreso now; any odd thing can set it off, so it's been a guessing game sometimes as to what I can and can't give him. Otherwise, he's a healthy, happy 5-year-old bunneh who still loves to snuggle and beg for treats, and hopefully he'll still be doing that for another 5 years or more. Give Mr. Mario some hugs and smooches for me. :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

It's so sad to see a pet ageing. Mario looks adorable in those photos though

Rabbits' Guy said...

It's called life. We have 7 of them aging .. and I have noticed that after about 3 years old there is much more sedateness - although Racer (7) and The Princess (10) can really run back and forth beside each other in their next door looooong pens!

Mario has been (and is) a lucky bunn.

d. moll, said...

As with older people we have to appreciate the wisdom that comes with age. Even if he is less active, it doesn't mean he is less happy or loved, and that's the main thing. Tyler and Sydney are 5, and do not get in quite as much trouble, which is a blessing, actually....

Glenna said...

Such an interesting post. I feel the same sad tug when I notice that my gang are getting older. It's not just that they're more sedate and get into less trouble, but that even their little faces are aging. In the same way that we do, their eyes become tireder looking and a little more sunken, and their faces don't look as full and firm--maybe just a bit more jowly or saggy.

We are all fans of Mario, young or old.

cliff said...

actually, now that i've gotten the younger cat, it seems like it's energized sebastian. i haven't seen him so alert and active in ages (although i sometimes feel bad, because it's because he's watching his back - she pounces on him). he's going to be 15, and she recently turn 1, so it's kind of unfair when she does that.

i am concerned about him though, and i spend a fortune on his food these days (and hers), not to mention friggin' vet bills.

The UDG said...

Just found your blog and really enjoy it. We got our Mandie (dog) when she was in two and now three years later I practically sob everytime I notice new grey hair (recently I noticed a rather large patch under her chin). She's still young, though, and keeps up with the puppy but is definitely happy curled up in a nice sunny spot.