In the latest installment of a house rabbit's guide to training humans, we cover that most dreaded event - the Vet Visit...
Greetings, fellow house rabbits.
Let's face it; most of the time our lives are pretty uneventful. We get up, eat breakfast, potter around, eat some hay, snooze, eat some more hay etc, etc. Throw in the odd treat or new toy and our lives are complete. Nothing much happens and that's just the way we like it - domestic bliss.
But there is one thing that looms over all of us; an unavoidable fact of rabbit life which none of us can escape from. It is.... the Vet Visit. We don't have enough words to describe how much we hate it. Strictly speaking, you can't train your humans on this subject - they will continue to do it however much we object but we can and should make them pay dearly for it.
If your humans have been reading the right sort of books they will no doubt leave your carrier lying around so you can "get used to it". You are expected to hop in and out, maybe jump up on it, chin every surface and generally show that you love it. Humour them; the poor things really don't have a clue. If it takes us to the vet, it could be made entirely of carrots and we'd still hate it.
Every house rabbit who is well attuned to their humans can easily distinguish a vet day from a normal day. There might be a guilty tone to their voice or a slight shiftiness in the eyes; once detected, react instantly. Retire to your safe zone and refuse to move at all costs. Dig your nails in and hold on for dear life. Of course, they will win eventually due to their conviction that they are doing the right thing for us but it's your duty to make it an epic struggle.
Once installed in the carrier, make as much mess as possible. Have a long pee, spread some nuts around - that sort of thing. This will pay off later, as we'll see. If travelling by car, brace yourself firmly in a corner of the carrier, accept that your human is a terrible driver and simply shut your eyes - and mind - to everything. There is no point worrying about something you can't control. By now your human's voice will be racked with guilt but don't show any mercy; the worst is yet to come.
At the vets
Firstly, accept that you are severely outnumbered and don't fight the process. The sooner it's over with, the better. The aim here is to make a really big mess while still looking innocent and aggrieved. If you managed to have a pee in the carrier, stand in it so you can leave wet footprints on the table (and on the vet, if possible). Pop out a few nuts if you can. Shed your hair like it's going out of fashion; ideally by the time you leave the vet's office it should look like a hundred or so angora rabbits have had a good romp around it.
Secondly, never, ever bite the vet. You will be classified as a "difficult rabbit" and subjected to severe restraint methods, possibly even being turned on your back - a very humiliating position from which it is impossible to take any action whatsoever. Behave well at all times; once released you can always gnaw on your humans a bit to relieve frustration and make your feelings clear.
On rare occasions, your humans might leave you at the vets for a day or even overnight. If this happens, droop your ears, widen your eyes (squeeze out a tear if you can) and maintain eye contact as they leave the room; if done skillfully this should ensure they go straight to the pet store and buy you a new toy. At the very least, you can get some satisfaction from knowing that you have completely ruined their day.
Always be extremely nice to the nurses; they have the power to make your stay either pleasant or unbearable. Try and think of it as a spa day; a chance to be pampered - you'll get all your favourite foods, probably a nail trim and some professional cuddling so it's not all bad.
It goes without saying that you should turn your back and ignore your humans all the way home. Relieved and happy as you are that it's over, and however much they apologise, punishment must still be given. Once home, give them major flicky feet as you run off to your den and refuse all treats and strokes for at least 2 hours. If you've had a longer or overnight stay, increase the ignore period accordingly. Make them suffer as much as you did, if not more.
And finally, a note to the humans: underneath all this bluster and bravado is a frightened bunny. We know you know this, and we also know that you know we don't like to admit when we're scared. So, thank you for keeping up appearances with us - we appreciate it.
Good luck, fellow house rabbits and always remember - it's a bunny world, the humans just live in it!