The Rabbit Hypnotist

29 Jul

This is Alasdair, the head hypnotist at Broadleys Veterinary Hospital. He also happens to be the head surgeon, but it’s his shamanic skills that impress me the most. Like Gillian the Bird Nerd, who captures wild birds with her bare hands, he has this notion that he is not a wizard – but as you can see, he clearly is one.

The entranced Broccles in the crook of his arm is a rabbit of a few strong opinions. One must not pick him up. One must not touch his mouth or legs. One must not prod him with instruments or stabbity needles. As long as one follows these simple rules, he is a perfectly unfrenzied ball of non-fury.

For whatever reason (probably involving witchcraft), the vets and nurses of Broadleys can convince him to go along with all the sorts of things he normally disapproves of. Alasdair is the king of coercion, thanks to his hypnotic approach. He picks up Broccles, flips him onto his back and then sits there, stroking his forehead until that excitable rabbit nose stops twitching. At this point, Broccles will remain motionless while Alasdair presses his bad eye, feels his guts, sticks endoscopes into various orifices, shaves his leg or ear, inserts needles, and draws blood. Once he’s done, Alasdair flips him back onto his front and pets him. Broccles spreads out under Alasdair’s hand like he does at home when he feels relaxed and sleepy.

Chillin’ at home

Broccles is one of those incident-prone pets who always seem to be in and out of the vet hospital. Recently one of his back teeth grew all misshapen and gave him a tongue abscess. Then his tearduct got blocked and his blind eye got infected. Then we feared a kidney infection. It now looks like he will need to have his blind eye surgically removed by one of the Broadleys wizards.

Here he is bandaged up after Alasdair extracted blood from his ear this week. As soon as he got home, he went back to investigating ways of reaching Bunty’s herbage. Bunty has had to place his fruit, flowers and vegetables on higher and higher levels over the course of the summer. Several of his plants are on the roof, thanks to Broccles. That rabbit is fond of his Sky Cabbage and Sky Strawberries, and he brooks no argument – except when he’s being hypnotised.

I once asked Alasdair what his secret is. He was amused that I thought he had a secret. (Like I said, he is oblivious to the fact that he’s a shaman.) He replied: “I think it’s just a case of taking your time and not rushing it.”

He lies the rabbit along his forearm, with its head tilted slightly downwards, then gently strokes its forehead. “It helps if your forearm is the same length as a rabbit,” he observed.

I noticed that he has a very calm and low-pitched way of speaking around rabbits too. Nothing sudden, nothing loud. He sounds like my yoga teacher when she’s getting us to drift into meditation.

He makes rabbit hynotism seem like something any muggle could do. But it’s not true. I’ve tried it. Broccles was immediately beside himself with indignation. There was no option of “taking my time” about it. He kicked his way out of my arms and stamped every square foot of the living room floor, before retreating under the TV table to sulk. It appears that only wizards can hypnotise rabbits.

72 Responses to “The Rabbit Hypnotist”

  1. Molly July 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Alasdair does seem to very much the miracle worker.

  2. Jigme Datse Yli-Rasku July 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    He lies.

  3. The Smile Scavenger July 31, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    I raised bunnies as a kid and I can do this too. :)

    You do have to go into it with a confident, calm mindset.

    • Snailquake July 31, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Confident and calm. Confident, and, calm. Confidentandcalm. I may need some practice…

      • The Smile Scavenger July 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

        It’s also a good deal easier if you get the bunny used to it when they’re younger… ;)

        • Snailquake July 31, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

          Ah, Broccles came from the Pet Rejects Bin. He used to belong to some kids, apparently, who didn’t get on with him at all well. We were told he was “very nervous and in need of a patient owner”, but he’s always been an ebullient soul with us. I’ve a theory that when a rejected rabbit is classed as “nervous”, it really means he doesn’t like being picked up.

  4. followechoes July 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Miss my bunny :(

    • Snailquake July 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

      Sorry you have lost a bunny. They are such huge personalities.

  5. Bunny Eats Design July 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    The Smile Scavenger is right, you need to go in confident. It helps of course if a bunny has never said “no” to you too. So you don’t harbour past failures while trying. Don’t give them the option of being anything but a lovely cushion of non-fury. Good luck with your shamanism.

    • Snailquake July 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

      Thanks, I think I need it. I gather you are another shaman. I’ve been wondering if peyote might help me…

  6. welikethemoon July 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    ….maybe your forearm just doesn’t have the same length as your rabbit?

    • Snailquake July 31, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Exactly! Thank you. It’s not me, it’s my short arms.

      • welikethemoon July 31, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

        You could try buying a smaller rabbit that matches your arms and then try again.

        • Snailquake July 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

          Yes, I will definitely be doing that. One can’t have too many rabbits.

    • Bunny Eats Design July 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

      Sounds weird but I sit down and wedge the rabbit between my legs. It’s not dodgy at all and leaves both arms free. We call this voodoo magic a “bunny trance”. Great if a certain bunny is being particularly annoying. I wonder if kids can be set into trances too?

      • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 12:11 am #

        That sounds eminently doable. I will certainly try that method. Do you kneel on the floor or sit in a chair?

        • Bunny Eats Design August 1, 2012 at 10:59 am #

          I sit on a couch, chair or step. Hold bunny snuggly against your chest and belly, sit down, then lower him backwards, head towards your knees until he is wedged in your lap. If his bottom is supported the whole time, he should feel secure and not struggle. Let me know how this goes.

  7. LaVagabonde July 31, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Broccles is a lucky bunny to have such a vet! What a cutie. Broccles, I mean. ;)

    • Snailquake July 31, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      He’s got a lovely Scottish accent, too. Broccles, I mean. ;)

  8. becomingcliche July 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    I may have to try his technique this weekend on some of my rabbity pals. Although they are both considerably bigger than my forearm.

  9. Mad Queen Linda July 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    “A matter of taking your time and not rushing it.” That seems to be the answer to most problems in life. Congrats on Fresh Press and for letting us see a little magic.

  10. WestEastern July 31, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Try as I might, I can’t seem to phrase my response in more than three letters: OMG. As a bunny enthusiast, I find this particularly amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  11. OmegaAfroVivaldi August 1, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    Great post! Please come and check out my blog @ The more followers, the more posts :)

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      This looks like an automated comment. Did you read my entry, I wonder?

      • OmegaAfroVivaldi August 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

        Snailquake, I did read your entry. I am a wildlife biology major and I also want my blog noticed and read.

      • OmegaAfroVivaldi August 5, 2012 at 12:22 am #

        Snailquake, is your comment automated to reply to automated comments? (Which mine is not)
        You haven’t replied to my reply.

        • Snailquake August 5, 2012 at 1:41 am #

          Hi, Omega.

          I missed your last message to me, so please excuse my rudeness. I am glad you’re a real person and not a bot. It was difficult to be sure in this case, as a bot’s MO is usually to post a link accompanied by a comment that might apply to any blog entry. I had just deleted a collection of very obvious advertising ones from my comments page when I read your first comment.

          As your link was to a WordPress blog, it gave me pause, and I went and had a read of it. Your “Quotes to Fill Your Thoughts” entry again confused me, so I figured I would just ask you. Looking again, I really like your Painted Hills entry, and your poems are also fun. It appears that, like me, you are torn between the arts and animal science.

          • OmegaAfroVivaldi August 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

            Thank you for your reply. I just wanted to let you know that my comment wasn’t automated. And you are one hundred percent correct about me being torn between the arts and animal science. And cooking :) May I ask why the quotes entry confused you? I always am open to feedback so I can make my blog better. Thanks again.

            • Snailquake August 7, 2012 at 10:14 am #

              It confused me because it was very long and was nothing but quotes. I mean, they were good quotes – there were just so many that I again wondered if you were human or bot. There are automatic blogs on the web that create entries by copying and pasting bodies of writing from other sites. This makes life difficult for genuine bloggers like yourself, who are trying to introduce readers to interesting things they’ve found around the web!

              • OmegaAfroVivaldi August 9, 2012 at 12:16 am #

                I completely understand where you are coming from. The list is one I have been working on for a decent amount of time. It was on a Microsoft Excel type format. And it does make it difficult (answering your last statement), but nothing near impossible. Best regards, Snailquake.

                • Snailquake August 9, 2012 at 12:29 am #

                  Indeed – nothing near impossible! A bot could not reply as you do.

  12. judysp August 1, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    Who knew about bunny magic? I loved this. We are not allowed to keep rabbits in our state (Queensland) which is such a shame. I would love to have one. Broccles sounds like a wonderful pet to have. I am a follower now and look forward to more adventures from Broccles. Congratulations on Freshly Pressed that is terrific. cheers Judy :)

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks very much for following me!

      Yes, I gather rabbits are considered quite the pest in Australia. I suppose the marsupial equivalent would be the kangaroo. The litter tray alone would be quite the logistical nightmare.

      I had fun browsing your blog, by the way – especially the entry about the bus-riding cat.

  13. limitlessons August 1, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    This blog made me smile (: Thanks for sharing

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Glad to bring a smile to your face.

  14. Cafe August 1, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Aww I found this so cute. I love the rabbit :)

  15. Kiya Krier - Runs With Blisters August 1, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    Obviously Alasdair is a wizard. I mean, just look at his name!

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Yes – it makes so much sense. I’m surprised nobody else has spotted this.

  16. juststartwithmonday August 1, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    What a great and fun post. I love stories like this. I never knew there were bunny hypnotists. I wonder if Cesar the Dog Whisperer could do this with a bunny? Obviously, takes a lot of patience…and a lot of love for animals! Thanks for sharing. You Matter!
    And so does Alasdair! Smiles, Nancy

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      I do like Cesar Millan… And yes, something I really like about this vet hospital is how crazy about animals all the staff are.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  17. Osama Hussain August 1, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    awesome ! I ♥ Rabbits :)

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

      Always nice to meet fellow rabbit lovers. :)

  18. Sarah Doyle August 1, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    What a wonderful story! And a wonderful vet. Loved seeing this. Congratulations on being FP!

  19. Alyssa August 1, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    He has an amazing talent or skills. What if the bad guy has that special ability; that’ll be scary, huh?!

    colorado springs divorce lawyers

    • Snailquake August 5, 2012 at 1:43 am #

      I’m confused by your tagline. Sorry to have to ask, but are you a real person or a bot?

  20. sittingpugs August 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I’ve always wanted a bunny but I’ve been told by other owners that bunnies have a tendency to relieve themselves whenever they feels scared.

    I’ve heard good things about chinchillas.

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      What on earth are these people doing to scare their bunnies? I’ve never heard of such a thing. An un-neutered male will spray like a tomcat, but they are generally as easy to housetrain as a cat.

      • sittingpugs August 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

        An un-neutered male will spray like a tomcat

        Hmm. If I see those people again, I will make inquiries.

        • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

          I have heard good things about chinchillas too. :)

  21. Brandey August 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    I used to have rabbits & we were also able to achieve this trance like state with our rabbits. By laying them on their backs & stroking their noses we were able to get them so relaxed that they would show their teeth. It really is truly amazing for an animal that rarely is still! Great post.

  22. christinasr August 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Oh I miss having rabbits. I don’t think we ever achieved this but I remember vividly how if you stroked the bunny’s head long enough, it would grind it’s teeth in pleasure so you could feel it in it’s skull. And I remember El Floppo – and watching the bunnies dance :-)

    • Snailquake August 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Ooh, Broccles does that grinding thing too. I think of it as his version of purring.

      • christinasr August 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

        I think that’s exactly what it is. It’s just such a treat when they do that. When my daughters get a bit older, we’re going to get bunnies – and I can’t wait. We can’t have them in the house as I did before (we have a dog and I don’t want to risk it) but we big plans of building a great home for them. Bunnies are such incredible animals!

  23. Brianda Domecq August 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Hi Snailquake: you haven’t heard from me for a while because I don’t seem to be getting the notices of your publications anymore. Thought you had given it up. Glad to be reading you again, please check that I am on your notification list, I am subscribed. Loved this blog. Brianda (ps. just checked “notify” box so I should get notices again now.

    • Snailquake August 2, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      Hello, Brianda. It’s always a pleasure to see you here.

      How strange that it stopped notifying you! I wonder if it happened at the same time that some of my friends stopped being able to reply to my posts. Anyhow, I’ve double-checked and you are on my list of people WordPress is allegedly notifying.

      I’d like to say you haven’t seen me on your blog for the same reason, but really it’s because I am lackadaisical and random about my blog-reading – even with writers I admire as deeply as you! I enjoyed your Saint of Cabora book recently, though. Despite dropping it in the bath, twice.

      • Brianda Domecq August 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

        Just reading this reply and laughing at you bathing my Caboran Saint. Thank you for reading me. What a pleasure that you enjoyed it. Wonder how Teresita felt about the dunkings, b

        • Snailquake August 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

          She didn’t complain, at least not in my hearing. She still managed to be a page-turner.

  24. golden retriever adoption May 1, 2013 at 5:00 am #

    Excellent site. Plenty of helpful info here.

    I am sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thank you on your effort!

    • Snailquake May 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

      Thanks for the lovely message – but I’m confused by the link to your name. Sorry to have to ask, but: are you a genuine reader?


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