Thursday, 8 October 2015

Update - a year or more later

Well, it's been over a year (again)

What a year it has been, sometimes things still haven't really sunk in for me.

Some stuff happened between Hans going to Norway and me leaving to join him 6 weeks later, but I think that I shut down a bit and just went on autopilot, especially after the bunnies left to go to Cuddly Critters.

Update on the buns:
The last we heard, both had been re-homed. Boo has a new husbun called Romeo, and Penny also has a mate.

Boo and Romeo

Penny and her new friend

So, it did work out for them. But we still miss them terribly. Since being in Norway (15 months almost!) we first adopted a bunny from my new boss - originally called Popcorn, we discovered that he was a she and we named her Sue (A Boy Named Sue) but sadly just 2 months later, Sue passed away. We don't know why exactly, but she was a few years old already so may have been just her time. Another very sad time. At that point, I was ready to give up having bunnies.

Lovely little Sue, RIP
We took Sue and buried her out in the forest on one of our favourite walks, so we go and pay our respects every so often.

THEN - A few weeks later, we saw 2 bunnies that were up for adoption here in Horten. I was very upset and wasn't sure if I wanted to get more, but Hans was even worse as he was still looking for work at this point and was at home a lot with no bunnies at all. As soon as I saw the pictures of the bunnies, I knew we had to try to give them a good home. So we called - and were put in contact with their previous owner. Then one thing led to another and 5 year old Edvard and his 4 year old daughter Mumfie came to live with us.

Mumfie and Eddie

 So they are still with us, all settled in and very happy. So this was a quick update on my lunch about the bunnies :) hopefully won't be another year until my next one.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

What is, is what must be

Well, it's been a while since I posted. I have had a lot to do, and to be honest I've been too upset to write about it. Even for therapeutic purposes.

The dispensation for the bunnies to fly to Norway with us was denied; they have a zero-tolerance policy on the vaccinations. It's sad, I mean - I can understand why they're so strict, I just wish it wasn't so. As they are vaccinated a serological (blood) test would have shown positive for Myxomatosis and RVHD, so therefore they cannot allow them into the Country. Essentially, if we had been irresponsible pet owners in the UK and not vaccinated, we would have been ok. But, what can be done? Nothing else, we have tried our best and hardest and this was not meant to be.

Anyway, we had to say goodbye. It was a very hard thing for us both to do, and honestly I think if we had known this we wouldn't have gone through with the move. Things had gone too far though, we had both quit our jobs. Made plans. I still feel like this is the path we are meant to be walking right at this very moment, but still...  it f*cking hurts.

In the van, they have no idea they're never going home
We managed to get them into a good re-homing shelter, Cuddly Critters. Leaving them there was so hard, I wanted to take them out and cuddle them one last time but I couldn't, they looked ok though, they weren't scared. The lady at the shelter said she thought they had a good chance of being re-homed, but I just know that until they do, they won't be out of their cages much. No more free-run of the house with eternal fusses and fresh kale (their favourite) It's also totally put me off kale. To us, Boo and Penny meant - MEAN - a lot. We feel like we have let them down, and I feel like I have sacrificed them to do what I want.
Little Boo, always by my side
Penny, her beautiful fussy face
Some people (I know) think me being this sad is an over-reaction, I mean - it's just a rabbit? right? you can see it in their faces, they don't get it. Well-meaning friends say "you can just get another rabbit in Norway", like that's an obvious f*cking solution I just hadn't thought of. I don't want to get another pet, not yet. I know that Hans wants another bunny soon, but... we had Laila (our last bunny) who died from cancer Jan 2013, our hamster, Girlie, died of old-age about a month ago. I've just abandoned 2 beautiful bunnies who were bonded to us, and as I write this post, our last pet - Woozles the hamster - is literally dying in his cage from old-age and cancer. I mean literally, I have to keep turning around to check. I don't want to do this anymore. I need to be pet-free for a while, I need to be sad and be angry and recover.

I have had some overwhelming kindness and support from some friends, one particular friend even helped me with hiring a van and driving us the 3 (or 4 hours when you get lost) drive down to Essex and 3 hours back. And on the way back he did the best thing anyone could have done; made me laugh. Took my mind off it and distracted me. Shared in the the drinking of coffee. Thank you Az. Once I was home I had strict orders to go to the house of another friend to eat and have a glass of wine. I told her I wouldn't be in the mood, I would be upset - but she just shrugged her shoulders and said "so? just let me know what time you're ready..." so thank you too, Harriet.

The blog title is a quote from 'Watership Down', by Richard Adams - it's one of my favourite books and animated movies about rabbits.  And right now that quote means a lot to me.

Goodbye, bunnies. I love you - we love you - and I'm so sorry.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Well that was difficult...

Hans just left for the airport, it's ridiculously sad. I managed to hold back the tears until the taxi drove away, got that weird feeling you get when you try not to cry - like you have been punched in the throat. I know it's only a couple of months until I see him again, and this will all be worthwhile, but man... this isn't fun. It's all the little things now;  the half-finished drink Hans has left on the side in the kitchen; I can still smell his aftershave, and oh of course there's a pair of scrunched-up socks on the floor. Normally that's not nice but today it's the saddest ball of socks ever. Jesus. Pull it together Becky! Hans was sad too, and it's hard to see him like that. Miss him so much already. Thank you Hans for doing this, I know it's been a very hard decision and a tough time for you, I'm looking forward to the life we'll build together in Norway.

Hans waiting for the taxi at 6.30 this morning. Bye angel, see you soon x
We also waved goodbye to the car yesterday - my first one since passing my test!
This has been a pretty draining week. It just happens that so many things need to be done at once; trying to sort the bunnies, packing, selling the car, recycling, charity shop trips, closing down accounts and putting others in my name, Hans going... I've been off work to knuckle down and get this all done, we've been working long into the night for the last 5 nights, going to bed on average at  3am and getting up at 7am. Last night we pulled an all-nighter to get things ready for Hans' departure. So very tired, I shall now go to bed for 4 hours or so - get up at 11 and get the packing inventory sent to the shippers.

Just had to post this, to take my mind of the sadness really. Will be back with more updates soon.

I'm really sad :(

Monday, 2 June 2014

No joy so far... and possible re-homing

So, we are still trying hard and doing what we can, but it's looking highly unlikely that we can't take our bunnies along to Norway. It's been a very stressful and upsetting week. Lots of tears.

We've been given the run-around really with Mattilsynet, sent from pillar to post and not being given the right information. I understand people are busy and this isn't their priority, but for us it really is. It's just such a shame that doing the right thing and getting the bunnies vaccinated against Myxomatosis and RVHD has ended up meaning we can't take them.

We are trying one last time for the dispensation, but as Hans is leaving Friday and our car is being as sold soon as possible, we have had to just grit our teeth and try to find them a new home. There is a group we have followed for a while on Facebook for a re-homing place called Cuddly Critters Small Animal Rehoming, we've always been impressed with the work they do so gave them a call this morning. It was a bit embarrassing, crying and blubbering away on the phone, but the lady was very nice and we are taking the buns on Wednesday (unless we have some good news from Norway tomorrow). Cuddly Critters are a not-for profit, home-run sanctuary and have a no kill policy for healthy animals, so if we can't take the buns and give them the life they deserve, at least they have a very good chance with Cuddly Critters.

I'm still confused as to why it's such a problem. Apparantly Norway doesn't really have a wild rabbit population, and they do not have Myxo or RVHD, but the fact that they're indoor bunnies and vaccinated surely isn't a problem? I don't understand.

Also, apparantly rabbits are classed as commercial import, not a pet like dogs, cats or ferrets, so maybe this has something to do with it.

Big sigh... Will update when I know more, we have so much to do and this is hanging over our heads and  we're not really getting sorted. At least I have this week off work, I hope things start to get a bit easier.


Friday, 23 May 2014

Possible problems with moving the Bunnies

Oh no.... Possible hiccup with taking the rabbits along...

(Just a short post as I'm on my lunch break)

Hans rang the Norwegian Mattilsynet to double check we had everything we need, and also to check an odd line on the 'Import of Rabbits' form (which to be honest I had thought might have been a translation mistake. One point on the form reads that the Fit to Fly certificate confirms that the rabbits:

'Have not been vaccinated against myxomatosis or rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease (RVHD)'

Being responsible pet owners, we have our bunnies vaccinated yearly as recommended with Nobivac Myxo-RHD Vaccine. Apparently the form is right - we technically can't take the bunnies because they HAVE been vaccinated!

Hans was told to email the district office, explaining that they are house rabbits and have never been outdoors. Hopefully they will give us special dispensation to bring them along. Fingers seriously tightly crossed as we will be so sad to leave them behind. I can't even think about it.


Edit: I have booked the bunnies in for a blood test next week to text for Myxo and RVHD, hopefully official lab results showing them as clean will help our case. Apparently we need to include this in our import form anyway.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Emigrating with Pets (Bunnies!)

Anybody who knows me knows I love animals, and I adore our two house-rabbits, Penny and Boo. It's absolutely unthinkable that we go anywhere without them, so an added 'stress' of the move has been researching how we go about that, what we need to do, gathering quotes for animal export, etc.

Penny and Boo, gorgeous little buns
We've had them for around a year and a half - they are house bunnies and have never been outside as we live in an apartment (so I am very excited to see them running free in the Norwegian grass!)

Penny (Penelope!) is the white bun: she is half English Spot and the vet reckons she has some giant in her too. In the picture above she is still small, she is a big girl these days. She is lovely and very fussy, she adores Hans (and he adores Penny) and she gets too many treats. She is a bit aggressive with food and grunts and growls when food is around and a careless person gets too close. She has helicopter ears (as you can see!) but as she gets older her upright ear is getting lazier. I hope she doesn't lose it completely as it's adorable and she looks confused and/or inquisitve all of the time.

Boo is the fawn coloured bun; a Dwarf Lop. Boo is.... difficult. They're both adopted / rescued bunnies and we found out (too late) that Boo was seperated from her brothers and sisters for fighting. She still fights; any other rabbit, slippers, sometimes socks (when you're wearing them). BUT to her credit she has developed a close friendship with the vacuum cleaner so it's not all bad. After lots of hard work we gained her trust and she is affectionate with us. Honestly, we did discuss putting Boo up for adoption and taking only Penny with us, but decided no - Boo is a little bit 'special', but she is our bunny and we love her. So she gets a new life too!

Luckily with Norway being a part of the EEA, the process hasn't been too difficult. The most awkward thing has been finding rules specific to rabbits, as they tend to state 'dog, cat or ferret'. 
On the Norway side of things, the rules for pet import are goverened by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Mattilsynet. It was on this site I found an 'import of rabbits' form.
The down-side of it is the cost - you can save money if you do everything yourself, but it would be too difficult for us to do that as we are going seperately and the rabbits are going alone. After gathering many different quotes and lookng at different options we decided to go with a company who would take care of everything.

In my own Little Miss Organised way, I made a spreadsheet showing the different companies I contacted, what the quotes offered, price differences (including comments on how the customer service was (because that stuff is IMPORTANT damn it!) In the end a company called JCS Livestock won. Obviously, the event hasn't happened yet (and I'll report back once it has!) I was given their details by a girl at work who used to work for Twycross Zoo, the Zoo apparantly use JCS and are very happy with them.

We got one of the best quotes from JCS, and then after researching reviews and checking out their Facebook page that did it for me - lots of happy customers! So fingers crossed and watch this space - I'll report how it goes.
JCS will pick up the bunnies from home, drive them to the airport, x-ray them (I think), provide carriers, sort all of the paperwork, arrange the flight, etc... we just have to collect them from the airport at the other end. We have saved some money by arranging to get the vet letter ourselves. We don't need passports for the rabbits, but Mattilsynet specify that we need a Vet letter specifying:
  • we've owned them for more than 6 months
  • they're older than 3 months
  • they're healthy
  • vaccinations are up to date
  • they have had exams for myxomatosis and rabbit VHD
We just got them microchipped too - it wasn't necessary before as they lived indoors, but thought it best to do it now. We made sure that our vet registered them with Petlog, as we can tranfser the information once in Norway and it's officially recognised.

Will update on the pet situation when I have more to say! Bye x

Thursday, 15 May 2014

All Steam Ahead!

So we are still going, it's definitely happening! I have changed my blog description now as it previously read 'My ramblings following my return from Norway and of my continued efforts to get back there...amongst many other things!'. This doesn't exactly apply now, but hopefully the new description will serve.

It appears almost all of my photos have disappeared from my older blog posts, this makes me sad and I did consider starting a whole new blog. But instead I will just replace what I can over time and delete the rest - this blog means a lot to me (I wrote it during an important part of my life) and I don't want to give it up. I think I deleted a 'picassa' album on my phone (not realising it was my blog pictures!) so it's sort of my own fault - I had no idea that would happen.


Hans is flying to Norway in 3 weeks time to get us settled. I think I'm lucky in the sense that although I am moving abroad, Hans really is just going home, so many of things will be easier; we have somewhere to stay initially whilst we find our feet, have family there, etc... I will be sad though to not see Hans for 2 months, but it's all for a good cause.

I've handed in my notice at work too, so no turning back (not that I would!) My last day at work is 4th July 2015. I plan to leave the flat where we live now around the same time and visit family. My sister is getting married at the end of July, so after the lovely event I will go to join Hans.

I can't believe my (not so) little sister is getting married :)

My little sister, Ruth x