Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No Home's Complete Without a Rabbit

Today ends a legacy in our family, an era. Since 1998, for fifteen years, we have had house rabbits. My husband and I got our first bunny together when we were in college. Then our next bunny was my wedding gift from Jeff to me. After that, all our bunnies were adopted. Our third bunny was one a neighbor bought for their child on Valentine's Day but they could not keep it. Our fourth bunny was found dumped in a local park after Easter one year, and our fifth bunny was from a friend who could not keep her. We agree with Clare Turlay Newberry when she writes: "No home's complete without a rabbit."

Some people are not pet people and don't quite get the connection many of us have with our animals. We love our furry family members and are grateful for having them in our lives. House rabbits are not your typical pet, and having a bunny is a new experience in animal parenting. There is a lot of misunderstanding about how to properly care for a bunny and you need a vet that specializes in rabbits. They have special souls who bring a lot of love to a house. Having bunnies in general taught us a lot about life, but in particular, each one taught me something special.

Bunny #1: Freckles
Freckles ate through walls, box springs, and all other various furniture pieces. He begged at the table like a dog, and loved being with people. From him I learned that I could handle a lot more than I thought I could. Both Freckles and Dot got GI stasis often (where their stomach gets clogged with hair) because of their breed. If they do not get fluids fast enough, they can die, so we learned how administer subcutaneous fluids to the bunnies. You would often find us in the kitchen with an IV bag hanging from our ceiling. Freckles also taught me that even the smallest being can feel and give love and express gratitude for their family. He loved giving me kisses on the nose.

Bunny #2: Dot
Dot was the Queen Bunny. She was bossy and assertive. She nipped at your ankles when you were in her way. She taught me to be yourself, and interestingly enough, she was an example of a strong woman who knew what she wanted. Dot, Freckles, and Lando were also Mini Rex rabbits, the breed with the softest fur, which are also the breed of the rabbit in The Velveteen Rabbit. These bunnies have big hearts and share a lot of love.
One heart for each bunny was buried with Lando.

Bunny # 3: Val
Val was a little grey dwarf rabbit and he was really laid back. He just took life as it came, hanging out with his siblings. He taught me to be more relaxed about life. Nothing ever seemed to phase him.

Bunny #4: Circuit
Circuit was unlike any bunny we had before. He was an albino with red eyes and probably for that reason he was dumped in a park after Easter. Many people dump bunnies after Easter, but especially albino bunnies because the red eyes scare people and they call them "devil bunnies." Being abandoned effected him his whole life. He was sweet, yet cranky, and he totally fell in love with his bunny siblings. If you did something he did not like, he would snort at you and stomp his feet. He taught me that even if you have been hurt before, abandoned and left in the wild, you can learn to trust and love again.

Bunny #5: Lando Bunrissian
Lando was just a sweet bunny. For some reason, she was our only bunny that was sick a lot and we could never figure out why. She would loose weight rapidly at times and often had respiratory infections. We ran many tests and never could figure out what was wrong. Lando taught me to always maintain a bright outlook on life. Even when she was sick, she was always just a happy bunny. In her last days, she looked terrible, but she was hopping around and never seemed to be in any pain.

We buried Lando today under the "bunny tree" near her brother Circuit and five paper hearts, one for each bunny we have had. We all talked about our favorite memories of each bunny and we read our favorite poem about bunnies which of course ends with: "No home's compete without a rabbit." I don't know when our home will feel complete again without our bunny children who taught us so much.

P.S.: Actually, my first bunnies were a small litter of bunnies I rescued when I was a child. Most of them died right away, but one held on a little longer. I fed it through a dropper and kept it warm in a little box with towels. I really wanted that bunny to live and thought that if I just could give it enough love, it would survive. This little bunny taught me that we can't save everyone, no matter how hard we try. After my bunny died, my Dad wrote me a note reminding me that I had tried as hard as I could, the bunny was grateful for my love, and that we never completely loose those we love. I still have that note today as it was so important in my understanding of life and death. It is what I pass on to our son every time one of his bunnies has passed away.


Rev. Katie

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