I used to love to say that when I came home from work. I would mix it up and throw in the occasional “Hi honey, I’m home”, just to keep my girlfriend guessing. I could always see the look on her face after I walked in…..”Was he talking to me?”
My bunny is my baby. My girlfriend’s baby too. She’s an American Chinchilla Rabbit. We loved her like she was our child, which, since we don’t have any children worked out well for us. She was adorable. She was sweet. She was innocent and couldn’t hurt a fly even if she tried her hardest. She was beautiful, the most beautiful rabbit I’ve ever seen. She was quiet. She was calm. She was perfect. Since I don’t use anyone’s real name on this blog, let’s call my baby bunny Honey.
If you haven’t guessed by all the past tense that I’m using, Honey died last Thursday…..
Wow. I didn’t think writing that and seeing it in front of me would be so hard. Boy was I wrong. I know that there are those, maybe not anyone who reads this blog but, there will be those who think “It was just a rabbit”. Well she wasn’t just a rabbit to me or my girlfriend. Honey was a part of the family. She was the fun part of the family, the family member who you couldn’t wait to see. The one you always bragged about. The one that made you say that you couldn’t stay out too late because you had to go home and check on her. Not because you had to…….but because you wanted to.
Honey was free to roam in our home. She had a cage, where lately she would spend most of her time but, the door was always open. She stayed in our dining room because we wanted her to be somewhere where people would always be around for her. The hub of the house, so to speak. Honey always loved people. When I would lie down on the couch she used to hop over to me, jump up on the couch and lie with me for hours. Her fur was soooo soft. She probably spent half her life cleaning herself, so she smelled…..fresh. I used to love snuggling up to her and just taking a deep breath. I’d pet her as she lay beside me on the floor, which inevitably led to her standing up eventually so she could clean more. Apparently she would put up with being touched by dirty humans, but it just meant more work for her. She didn’t mind though, because when she was done cleaning she would just lie back down and wait for you to pet her more.
Last Christmas we bought her a blanket which came with a little stuffed animal which was probably about half her size. It was a porcupine I believe. I didn’t really expect her to like it, she certainly wasn’t a fan of any other stuffed animals she’d ever met. This one was different though, that much was clear right away. The first time we put Needles (everything has a name, right?) in Honey’s cage she walked up to it and poked it with her nose. Then she promptly started cleaning it, just like she cleaned herself, and when she was done she layed down and cuddled right up next to it. Needles would go on to become Honey’s best friend, I think she thought it was a baby that she needed to take care of. She would spend as much time cleaning her friend as she did cleaning herself. I mean I couldn’t have washed this thing in bleach and gotten it as clean as she did. It was so sweet. So….motherly.
I can’t stop myself from looking over to her spot in the dining room constantly now. Half the time I’m looking because I forget, and I expect to see her. But there’s just a big empty space there now. The other half of the time I know she’s not there but, I can’t help looking anyway. I find myself going out of my way to do things quietly in the kitchen, trying my best not to bang anything on the counter too hard. She always spooked easily, she was so timid. As I’m doing it now I realize that she’s not there anymore. I don’t have to be quiet anymore. Yet, I will continue to go out of my way to be quiet because I wish I still had to be. I want to have to be quiet in my own house, I want to have to come straight home from work to feed her. I want to…
The house is so empty now. Not just literally, the big empty space where her cage used to be, but figuratively it just feels….hallow. She was the joy in our home, she was what always made us smile. Always. There is no joy now, it’s gone. There is only quiet and emptiness now. I can’t stop my eyes from wandering over to her spot. Constantly. I don’t know what my girlfriend is going to do now. She is off work, and has been for a while, because of a car accident she was in. I don’t know how she hasn’t gone crazy being home alone for so long. She doesn’t drive since the accident, and we live a half hour away from pretty much anyone she knows. I think the only thing getting her through was having Honey to take care of. To sit out in the backyard with for hours. To get up in the morning to make sure she was well fed and happy. To talk to. I worry about what it will be like now when I go to work…..when she is home alone in this quiet, empty house for 10 hours a day. Honey was her love, her life. I worry now.
Honey had never been to the vet in the years we had her. Not once. Until something spooked her about a year ago and she slid on the floor and cracked one of her nails. Then she had teeth problems, which after a handful of vet visits ended with her having her front teeth pulled out completely. She was so strong. So brave about it all. I beam with pride when I think of how she handled it now. For the last few months she would spend more and more time in her cage, the only thing that got her out on a regular basis was opening the patio doors, which would have her running to go spend time in the backyard. For the last week or so, even when she went in the backyard she would mostly just lie around in the grass. Then Wednesday of last week she really slowed down on her eating. That was the one thing that had our hopes up, that with all she had been through, she never lost her appetite which was key the vets said. To see her barely eat broke my heart and crushed my girlfriend.
Finally she just stopped eating. We took her into the vet again and they gave her some more medication, something about good bacteria to stimulate her stomach. Sort of like yogurt for people. My girlfriend gave it to her the rest of the day but, we could see she was getting weak. Even then though, she would still get up and head outside if you opened the patio door. She’d only go a few feet onto the grass though before she layed down. Just before we went to bed that night we looked over at her cage and saw her get up and start to eat some hay. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a bigger smile on my face, or seen more relief on my girlfriends then at that moment.
The next day I decided that I’d go to work for a few hours and then come home early to see how she was doing. It took 2 hours to get there because of accidents on the highway and I don’t even think I ended up staying for 2 hours. Honey hadn’t eaten anything again and she could barely stand up by herself my girlfriend told me. She was having trouble just holding her head up. We decided to make another vet appointment for that day, and decided that we would need to put her to sleep. For her sake. She had given us so much for so long, we didn’t want her to suffer. Even after making the appointment though, we were still torn. We didn’t want her to suffer but, we didn’t want to give up on her too early either. It’s such a difficult decision to have to make.
I went home around noon and got to spend about an hour with her, even to the end she was still so sweet, so loving. Oh, how I love her. When we were ready we got in the car, my girlfriend sat in the back with Honey wrapped in a blanket in her arms. It was the first time Honey didn’t ride in a crate in the back of the car. She was so good about it the whole way there. It’s an hour drive to the vets, mostly because he is the best rabbit vet in Ontario and that’s what Honey deserved. When we were about 5 minutes away from the vet’s, she made a few crying noises….which broke my heart to hear…….and still breaks my heart to remember it. I pulled over quickly asking if she was okay. My girlfriend, through her tears, told me to keep going. I drove the rest of the way and jumped out of the car and ran around to open the door for her and help her out. As soon as I opened the door I heard my girlfriend say, “She’s gone”. She was devastated, she is still devastated. She hides it well and tries to be strong for me but, I know. It breaks my heart to know how much she hurts.
I didn’t think anything could possibly be harder than driving for an hour up to the vet’s office, knowing what we were going to have to do when we got there. My baby made the decision for us though. She saved us from having to go through it. I think that was her last gift to us. The drive home was just as bad as the one up there though. It was so quiet. So empty in that car. We didn’t want to leave when we were done at the vet. We stayed for a bit and chatted with one of the nice girls that assist there. She had her German Sheppard there, he was adorable, just a puppy really. It lit my girlfriends face up for a moment when he jumped up to try to lick her face. I think I could have stayed there all day just so she could keep smiling. Just so we could forget that we had to drive home without our baby.
I miss her. I miss saying goodnight to her when I go to bed. I miss seeing her when I come down the stairs in the morning. I miss asking how she’s doing when I call home in the middle of the day. I miss getting her dinner, filling her water bowl. I miss holding her, rubbing her ears. I miss taking her outside in the backyard. I miss her looking at me from across the room, running through the house to see me. I miss her laying down and throwing herself onto her back and just laying there half upside down. I miss sitting on the floor with her. I miss cutting up her lettuce and watching her eat it. I miss watching her clean, leaning over trying to reach a spot and going a little too far and falling on her face, then jumping back up like nothing happened. I miss seeing her find her own spot in the house and just flopping down by herself, laying there for hours. I miss just staring at her, looking over into the dining room and seeing her. I miss everything about her……..I miss saying “Hi Bunny, I’m Home!”