After over 10 years of life and 4 years as part of our family, we said good-bye to our rabbit Snoopy last Friday. Over the last month we watched him waste away with what had started as only an ear infection, but spiraled into other issues, we think at least partially because of his age.
It has been a hard month, and it has been especially hard to say good-bye to him. In some ways it feels strange to feel such grief for an animal, but he was definitely a part of our family, and in some ways he and his partner Beatrix were the first pets I had.
Over my childhood we had two rabbits, Hoppy (yep) and Pepper, but I feel that in some ways I was too young to completely appreciate them, and I wasn’t the one primarily caring for them. When I was older we got two Siamese cats, Alex and Ashnaa. They were both very special to me, but as they got older they really became my parents’ pets, especially since moving away to go to college.
Shortly after we were married in 2009, we went to Rabbit Rescue and after long consideration adopted our Snoopy & Beatrix. This picture is from when we first adopted them, in a large cage we built for the apartment downtown we were living in then. They quickly captured our hearts, and became part of our daily routines, and part of some of our favourite memories as we started our life together, and continued to grow.
In the summer of 2012 we said good-bye to Beatrix as she passed away from cancer, and Snoopy adjusted to losing her. It was remarkable and very sad to see him grieve for her even as we did, and see the changes in his activity and personality after her death. In some ways he became more prickly (he always had some of that in him) but in others he craved more attention from us, especially likely in times when he would have curled up with Bea. They had been almost inseparable, and for the first couple weeks after Bea died, my wife spent hours lying beside him every evening, comforting him.
We’re so grateful for the time that we’ve had with both of them. Though we adopted them a little later in life (we think at age 6 or so, and rabbits generally live between 8-14 years with good care), we feel like they completely became part of the family, and we advocate strongly for animal adoption. Rabbit Rescue is a great Ontario organization that fosters rabbits in volunteer homes, and the Humane Society always has rabbits (and many other animals) needing to be adopted.
Snoopy and Beatrix had both, separately, been abandoned. (Many people abandon rabbits when they realize they are not stuffed toys, and are every bit as time consuming and expensive as a cat or dog to maintain.) They were both very lucky that they were caught and rescued, because domestic rabbits who are abandoned outside usually live only a few days, if that. Both of them were physically and emotionally scarred from their early years, and it still showed by the time they entered our lives. Our other rabbits also came from bad situations. Sammy was being abused, and when we rescued him was near starvation and ill. Dolly was rescued from a rabbit meat farm on Manitoulin Island, as part of a rabbit hoard. All of our buns are special, and there are so many more that need loving homes.
Though I hoped to start January strong with writing, all of this has weighed a lot on my mind, despite lots to write about, including:
- The London mayoral race heating up
- Lively debate around the 2014 budget
- Continued debate about the Ombudsman’s “Billy T” report
- Baby due in 3 months!
I’m hoping to keep moving ahead with writing, and especially to write more about the London political scene, with so much happening this year.