The number and choice of pet products can be so dizzying, it's nice to take a punt on one, order it on the internet, and discover that it's as good as you hoped. This is not always what happens.
The other night, my partner and I spent a couple of hours in our cold garage, putting together a kitset rabbit hutch that had been bought off Trade Me and delivered that day. The instructions were mysterious in that Chinese kitset manner - we had to follow "stap" 1 through to "stap" 8 while interpreting hand-drawn runes that furnished oblique hints as to which supplied screw or bolt to use.
Certain sections came together the wrong way, but with kitsets I always say that it's not where you start, it's where you finish: we took the bits apart and tried again till it worked. Thank you, Ryobi, for making an electric drill that can reverse its direction and unscrew what one has screwed.
The hutch took shape, all the pieces fitted, nothing was missing, and the result (see photo) looked fine and robust. It's now in our backyard, our two rabbits are in residence, and we can work out how to dispose of the old hutch, which was falling apart.
It took a long while to reach this point. Kitset hutches we saw advertised online often didn't suit, because of space or design or shape. We bought and assembled one, but lost confidence in it and left it in the garage, from where we onsold it on Trade Me. Ready-made hutches that we checked out in petshops suffered the same design problems plus the extra one of being twice the price.
(Also, I have learnt not to touch hutches, kennels and cages that I see in petshops. Every time I go too near one, I slice myself on some vicious brass extrusion. In his respect, ready-made pet homes remind me of the Tonka trucks that I grew up with - full of razor edges and impossible to handle without injury. I kind of miss them.)
So yes, it was good to find a product that turned out well, and credit to my partner for keeping up the hunt.
And he's already on another hunt, checking out the market in steps, ramps and baby-gates. Phoebe's back injury (she's getting better, thanks for asking) means we're looking for gear that'll help us keep her climbing to a minimum. But it's turning out hard to find a simple, not-to-steep ramp that'll let her walk from the floor up to her loved sleeping spot on the couch. Suggestions welcome.
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