Supervised harmony

Hello again, we're back at you for an update on Buffy and LaFeet's slowly blossoming friendship!

Okay, maybe 'friendship' is an optimistic anthropomorphism, but at the very least, Buffy is now enjoying daily basement hang time with LaFeet and Athena free to roam (and full human supervision, of course). Buffy, as we know, is a chill gal, and LaFeet is much like your grandpa - he's gonna do what he wants because he's old and he's earned the right. As such, depending on the time of day (active or snooziful), as soon as the bunny pen is opened for him, LaFeet makes a beeline for his favorite activity station, the towel-filled carrier that doubles as a diggy box. Buffy is generally already cozy on the floor, sometimes with a nice bone and sometimes not, and each go about their very important business. Here are a couple of shots of Buff and LaFeet cheek to cheek (as in tushies):

Buffy sometimes takes the liberty of rolling over to sniff a bit at LaFeet's rear, a canine custom that LaFeet doesn't quite understand, but tolerates nonetheless. There have been a few more nose-to-nose greetings and Buffy does sometimes get up from her down-stay to do a lap or two before settling back down in an ever so slightly different spot than before. None of this bothers LaFeet in the least. The reason that no photos have been taken yet of Athena's overtures toward her potential poochy playmate is that they are all over with in the blink of an eye. She'll take one opportunity each session to run out from the pen to Buffy, sniff Buffy for a few seconds, and then hop back to the pen. She's calm and clearly undisturbed, but she's taking things at her own pace (which has kind of been the theme of this entire experience). Buffy has, in turn, tried wandering into the bunny pen a couple of times in order to partake of the delicious timothy hay that is stuffed conveniently into the buns' trough, but we've discouraged this behavior since we want to ensure that the bunnies' pen is always a haven only for them. Besides, there are plenty of hay threads that migrate outside of the pen's perimeter, and are available for snacking before I can sweep them up.
Meanwhile, Buff is enjoying as many nights on the town with the humans as possible, and has become a welcome sight for friendly neighbors, their dogs, and their children alike (Buffy loves kids and can't understand why some of the little ones recoil from her at first, despite polite behavior and calm tail wagging...I've tried to explain to her that her wolfish silhouette might remind the kids of big, bad wolves from fairy tales...that is, before they get to know that Buffy is really a kind-hearted princess!).

Buff and mama out at Cassatt's in Arlington
And finally, because I KNOW you're clamoring for them...LaFeet's feets:

Update! LaFeet steps forward...

Perhaps emboldened by composing yesterday's blog entry, husband and I seized an opportunity this evening. Buffy had spent a good hour+ with us downstairs chillin' with a bone while we enjoyed one of the more addictive Showtime series offerings via Netflix. Still in full relaxation mode, Buffy had her leash clipped to her collar, and then we opened the bunny pen door. Bunnies, as you may know, will not necessarily gallop out of their pen when initially summoned. So we waited for a while, petting Buffy as she lazed with her bone, and then LaFeet (by far the braver and more outgoing of the bun pair) made his move.

LaFeet hopped on out of the pen and came right over to touch noses with Buffy (who was in full side-recline). They sniffed for a few seconds, and then Buffy turned her head away, back to her bone. LaFeet went along his merry way, looping the room and then going back into his pen for some hay.

And thus went the first up-close-and-personal interaction between Buffy and bunny! Athena, by the way, elected to stay with the hay trough for the duration.

Happy Sunday,

The sloooooow track

For you Buffy fans out there, we're happy to report that our slow track strategy is going quite well - we're now spending long sessions (movie-length!) downstairs as a furry family together, with the bunnies in their pen and Buffy relaxed in the room off-leash. We've graduated from 'treating' her continuously while downstairs, to treating her initially and periodically, and then treating her only when we first get downstairs and then when it's time to stand up and go upstairs together. Sometimes we'll give her a treat that she can savor for a while, like a dental bone or a frozen marrow bone, but she seems to have learned at this point that downstairs time is for laying down and optimum relaaaaaaxation. In that state, she gets nice pets, massages, and tasty treats.

Buff chillin' in the den - the bunnies' pen is off to the right
Buffy HAS developed an occasional taste for the wayward bunny poop nugget that is flung from the pen, and if she's feeling especially snacky she'll cruise about for a bit looking for morsels (she also likes a strand of hay now and then). She won't consistently listen to me when I call her away from her doody patrol, which means that I'm not 100% in control at all times downstairs. As such, I still feel there's work to do before we have the bunnies released when Buffy is in the room, even when she's starting in a down-stay and on-leash. She rarely even pays attention to the rabbits, but we are still cautious. We are strategizing a next step, with Buffy on-leash, being treated while in a down-stay (we still put the leash on her downstairs occasionally just so she's still used to it) and with the bunnies allowed to emerge from the pen. We'll keep you all posted!
Buffy's diet is also going well, and she has now been transitioned to high-quality food via slowly reduced portions. We're keeping her treats nutritious and relatively "micro" as well.
In other fuzz family news, LaFeet still detests being groomed, Athena loves strewing strands from her trough of hay, and Buffy is busy friending all of the neighborhood doggies.