My youngest has always loved all things small and fluffy, children included.
She barely remembers my last cat, Zoobie. My only memory of the two of them is the youngest standing over the cat’s corpse where she’d gone to sleep on top of the heating vent and didn’t wake up and the youngest screaming in my ear as I’m kneeling next to my dearly departed friend, “Is she DEAD YET?!” She was little so she can be forgiven. She hated the cat as much as the cat hated her and only one of them was getting out alive.
When he and his came they also brought a cat, a sweetie who only wanted to love. She was a good cat for the youngest but she wasn’t her cat, born and raised, and the cat left with those the youngest looked on as her second father and only brother. They didn’t bother/have the opportunity to call and let us all say goodbye when it was finally time.
And then the bunny got sick.
We were just coming up on the anniversary of two years of life with bun.
I’d never had a rabbit but the youngest wanted one for a couple of years, read up on them and was ready to take on the responsibility of an animal. We got one from a shelter. She was probably just under a year old when we got her and hadn’t been properly trained or socialized and with us being novice bun wranglers, it was slow going on making up for lost time. But there was progress and she wasn’t especially difficult we were all just hoping for and working towards better behavior and socialization.
She was a much more interesting pet than I’d ever imagined she’d be. I’d had a guinea pig for a short time as a kid and been expecting something like that. Those memories weren’t especially fond ones either.
So we ended up with this nine pound rabbit living in the main public space of the house in a huge two level condo right next to the tv.
Life with bun was much, much different.
She had a personality. She could recognize behavior patterns and act appropriately. She knew when she’d been naughty and caught doing it and wanted the absolution and reassurance of a pet and a sorta snuggle after apologies were made.
For some reason she also inspired multiple nick names and even little jingles. The eldest would wiggle Clementine’s ample bundonk and sing “super bun bun, super bun bun” to a funky beat.
She came with the name Clementine from the shelter but we hardly ever called her that. I don’t think she even recognized it.
We called her Super Bun, Clem, Clemmy, little baby angel (that was also the eldest’s contribution) and then there were the times she was bad (like when she chewed through the electrical cord of the bestest heating pad in the world in literally a second) and she got called things that children shouldn’t hear.
She ruined the aforementioned heating pad, at least one iPhone cord and some cord for one of the game systems. There was always hay to be found in the oddest of places all across the house and then there was the POOP.
Rabbits are eating and pooping machines. It is literally what they live for. Be prepared for this before getting one.
But we all loved her and I think in her own bunny way she loved us. She certainly knew she was safe with us. There’s nothing in the world like the trust of a prey animal feeling safe enough to fall asleep in your presence.
The first time Super Bun got sick and stopped eating was during the middle of a blizzard followed up with 2″ of rain that immediately froze. They closed all the state roads and the city had a travel ban. I couldn’t get out of my driveway because I just couldn’t shovel all that in one day and the damn bunny was inside the house dying while I’m making the attempt. Managed to scrounge up safe passage to and from the vet er and 2 hours and $350 later I’m syringe feeding a thoroughly pissed off bunrito four times a day and antibiotics twice.
Fun times for all involved.
She recovered. I’ve never been so happy to hear the almost incessant chewing of hay. It becomes background noise that’s missed when it’s gone.
After he and his left I starting coming home to an empty house three nights a week.
It was nice to have the bunny to come home to. She reacted to my presence because me coming home from work meant dinner and freedom to roam outside the condo.
It was nice to be welcomed.
Then she got sick again.
Back to the vet er because this time it’s a Sunday on Memorial Day weekend and they’re the only ones with dedicated exotic vets anyway. So another $280 and back to antibiotics and syringe feeding.
I loathe the smell of Critical Care as much as she seemed to hate the taste. She never did like bananas and I never managed to get the other flavor. It was on the list, just hadn’t had that critical balance of available funds and having enough left over to get to the wants after the needs had been fully taken care of.
Right now I’m seriously struggling with the latter let alone the former.
She didn’t get better so back she went to the vet and after many phone calls and tears the decision was made to end her life.
Economic euthanasia is a horrible thing.
Yes I recognize that it’s only a pet. My grandmother would have been horrified if she’d lived to see one of her grandchildren with dinner in a cage in the house like a member of the family. I know the horrible things that are happening in the world because of lack of imaginary bits of wealth that you can purchase peace and prosperity with.
Pain comes in many flavors and it’s tough to watch your youngest drink it down but there’s no way out but through.
She made me proud and I told her so. She stayed through the end and after.
If your life has to end what could be better than to be pain-free and surrounded by those you love and who love you as you drift off to sleep?
A couple of weeks afterwards we donated all the perishable bunny keeping supplies to the shelter we’d originally gotten her from. There was about 40 pounds of litter, 10 pounds of two different kinds of hay (I’d bought her favorite oat hay during her final illness to tempt her into eating. I knew we were in trouble when she only ate a piece or two and ignored the rest). There were also brand new toys and other appropriate things to chew, I even gave them the pumpkin stem I’d saved and dried. She loved those things. It felt good to be able to give them this gift but the rosy glow didn’t last long.
Of course we had to walk around the shelter and see who was there. Get in some pets and conversations if nothing else.
Her name was Pixie and she was this tiny little rabbit with the cutest little ears and she was only six months old and wanted to go home with someone to love her ever so badly.
The youngest was good. She didn’t even ask.
I’ve gotta finish paying for the first bun before we get another one. We also have to be able to budget for its food and care.
Damned if I can see when that might ever be possible again.
Yeah, just freakin’ great for the ego and tottering self-confidence.
It’s so quiet when I come home now.
I really do miss the sound of her chewing on orchard grass day and night.