Friday, December 16, 2011

A Fuzz Butt Frenzy

It's been a while since we've had a Gus and Fiona update. Gus and Fiona will have been home with us for three weeks exactly tomorrow and it is amazing to see the progress in bonding. It is a task that requires patience and persistence, but once these two little Sugar Gliders are fully bonded, I think it will be a wonderful thing.
Our living room still contains the one person tent, set up for the purpose of providing a safe place for Mr. K, Gus, Fiona and I to play and bond. We try to get in the tent every night if possible in order to increase the amount of time Gus and Fiona are exposed to us. Mr. K has been great about handling the joeys in their cage and the crabbing, which is the noise they make when frightened or mad, has decreased. If there is crabbing at all, it can usually be calmed by the humans clutching the grouching glider close to our bodies and talking softly to the little furious furry one. Due to schedules and such, the tent hasn't been a go every night since Gus and Fiona have arrived in our home, but more often than not, we are spending anywhere from an hour to three hunkered down in the tent. If we are not able to get into the tent, Fiona and Gus will spend at least part of the day snuggled in a bonding pouch, slung around either mine or Mr. K's neck. All of this time is paying off.
The interesting thing is that we think Gus and Fiona may be bonding to Glacier and Roscoe as well. This happens and we're not really surprised since the dogs' scents are everywhere in our flat. Sugar Gliders, as I have mentioned before, bond primarily through scent and Glacier and Roscoe probably have a very strong scent. A few nights ago, Gus made a great escape from the cage when Mr. K was leaning in to adjust some of the sleeping pouches. We were both a bit concerned, but Gus hung a left and scurried over to where Glacier and Roscoe were curled up together sleeping. Gus leapt on to Roscoe and didn't crab or even try to run away when Roscoe looked at him confused and then proceeded to sniff him. Mr. K was able to catch Gus in a piece of fleece and he was returned safely to his cage. It was just interesting that Gus chose to go straight to the dogs instead of out into the rest of the flat.
Tonight we climbed into the tent to two free Sugar Gliders. We had placed the bonding pouch in the tent while we finished supper and the two little stinkers managed to open the zipper on the pouch and free themselves. Did I mention they have opposable thumbs? Scary smart little monsters.  The tent was zipped shut and there were no great escapes at least from there. Mr. K and I were not long in sucking down our suppers and climbing in with the frolicking "flying monkeys," as we like to call them. We spent a good solid two hours letting Gus and Fiona climb on us. We are now able to move slowly and pet them and quite often Gus thrusts his head under Mr. K's palm to have his head rubbed. It is adorable. Both Gliders were also fascinated with Mr. K's pocket and more than once he had two sugies clamoring over each other to climb in. Gus even climbed on to Mr. K's shoulder tonight and began grooming Mr. K's hair. I think those two are going to be little buddies.
Fiona is a bit more skittish than her brother, but she is coming around too. Up until this week, she would avoid getting on your hand. She would run the length of your arm and stop just at your wrist, refusing to go anywhere near your hand. Tonight she was climbing all over my hands. I am still not able to really pet her, but she is becoming more tolerant of my fingers brushing her as she runs by. Everything we have read says that the more you handle them, the better. So, we try to touch them as much as possible.
Whenever I am wearing the bonding pouch, I will unzip the pouch and pet the babies. Since they are such good sleepers they hardly notice. It used to be that if they heard the zipper, they would crab, but now I can unzip the pouch and pet without any protests.
Not only are they becoming more friendly, but the two little monsters are growing. They aren't really getting any bigger per se, but their bone structure is becoming much more dense. Their fur is incredibly soft-kind of like petting a bunny-and it is getting thicker as well. It's like watching puppies losing their fuzz and it being replaced by grown up  dog fur.
Quite honestly, they are some of the coolest little creatures. Sitting on the floor with your feet falling asleep for two hours is so worth being able to play with them in close contact. They are highly entertaining. When we were in the tent tonight, Fiona ran up my back, perched on my shoulder and barked at Gus who was being petted by Mr. K. You just never know what they are going to do next.
They are both now fast asleep in their cage, tucked in their hammock with their Pet Safe Snuggle pad, but give them an hour and they will be out running in their Wodent wheels. Yes, I said "wheels;" plural. We bought a second because they enjoyed the wheel so much and it allows them to both run at the same time. Fiona also loves running in one and then gliding over to the other, where she continues her running. I think she is trying to show me how to really train for a triathlon. Do they need two? No, probably not, but they're our babies and they can be spoiled a little bit. Right?

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