Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Sad Farewell

I thought I would catch up on blogging this weekend by writing about our Labor Day weekend at White Sulphur Springs and our first week of co-ops.  Instead, I am sadly remembering our wonderful bunny Bruno, who unexpectedly passed away last night.
We got Bruno on Easter of 2014 from our friends Zachary and Karynn, who didn't have room in the apartment they were moving into for more than one bunny.  I was pregnant with Verity at the time, and I think it was my pregnancy hormones that convinced me that was the right time to get the bunny I had always wanted!  Bruno was a mini rex, which is the softest bunny breed ever.  Most bunnies have a rougher outer coat of guard hairs, but rexes don't have this outer coat.  They only have the soft undercoat.  We always said Bruno was the real "Velveteen Rabbit".  The even better thing about rex bunnies is their wonderful temperment.  Bruno was a happy boy, never biting or being crabby.  He was so good with all the kids!  He got his exercise by merrily hopping away from a lumbering Verity, squealing with glee as she got somewhat close to him.   
 Bruno started out in our study, but when Verity was born, we needed to put her downstairs pack-n-play in there, since it has doors that close.  So we moved Bruno to the schoolroom, where he had this spacious set-up.  He loved to nap on the plastic piece by the litter box.  It was a leftover piece from one of the chair mats for under rolling office chairs.  We had to put that cardboard on top of his cage after he learned he could jump on top of the cage and then hop on out!  Eventually we did get a nicer piece of cardboard.
 Bruno loved to go outside and nibble on leaves.  Once he discovered the shadow of the big van, however, all he wanted to do was hide under there, so we stopped letting him out in the front yard.  No one wanted to spend time urging him out from under the van by gently poking around him with a hockey stick!
 He did like going in the back yard as well.  Lots of things to explore, and no vans to go under!

 He looked like a long (fat) seal when he laid out like this.  It is hard for me to imagine anyone getting tubby on a diet of timothy hay, some pellets, and lots of kale and greens, but he was proof that it is possible!  I guess he needed Verity to chase him more!
 We let him hop around the main floor in the evenings.  We always shut the study door, because of all the computer cords, and we eventually had to shut the play room doors too, since he decided that was his own personal gigantic litter box.  He never peed in the family room, though, and he loved to race in a circle through the room, and behind our long sectional couch.  He would kick his heels up in the air and just have a good time.  We did lose a few computer charging cords and ear bud cords before we learned to be VERY careful about unplugging everything and putting all cords up on the couch so his sharp teeth couldn't snip right through them!  Although he liked to stand on his hind legs and look at what we were doing, he never did learn to jump up on the couch with us.  He also really liked nibbling on books and papers people would leave on the floor.  The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson was a real favorite.  He took some big hunks out of those delicious pages!

 When we had our tree up, Bruno loved sitting under it, occasionally nibbling on a present or two.  I was always worried that he might nibble on the cords for the lights, but for some reason he always left those alone.
 We also liked to let him out on the deck, since we could close gates so he couldn't get out.  When we had our big blizzard in January of this year, we cleared a circle path for him to run around on.  He was pretty interested in this strange white world!
We loved picking dandelion leaves and clover for Bruno to munch on.  His absolute favorite was kale, though.  In fact, I was a little concerned about him this past week because he only nibbled on a bit of the kale I was giving him, which was very unusual for him.

In thinking back, I remember things that were off, but he didn't seem sick or anything that really put up a red flag.  He was definitely eating less the past week or 2, and he was less active.  We would let him out of his cage, and he would hop around the school room a time or two, and then hop back into his cage and lie down.  He was spending more time in his actual little cage in the back, and not on his red carpet where he usually lay.  When I was petting him just a few days ago, I remember thinking I could feel his bones a lot more than usual.  He was molting, so I was thinking maybe his coat was just really thin or something.  But it was even the wrong time for him to be losing his summer coat--it certainly isn't seeming like winter any time soon.

Last night the older 3 boys stayed home, and the rest of us went to Bible study.  When we got home at around 9:30, I immediately saw that Bruno was lying on his side in his cage with his head down.  He was unnaturally still, and I realized he was just staring off into space.  I told the kids I thought Bruno was dead, and no one could believe it.  Jonathan was especially shocked because he had just petted Bruno's head maybe 30 minutes before.  He said Bruno was definitely alive, but he didn't lift his head up very much at all, so he must have died very shortly after that.  There was definitely no struggle, and he never seemed like he was in any kind of pain, so that's a relief.  

Last night as we were going to Bible study as well as early this morning, we saw a wild bunny across the street.  Grace said, "Maybe it's a sign for Bruno!"  I told them that bunny was definitely younger than Bruno (who was right around 3 years old--a birthday buddy with Verity), because wild bunnies don't live very long at all.  Bruno had a good, happy life where he was very loved.  We will all miss him very much.  He was the perfect pet for us--he didn't require tons of taking care of, and he was absolutely silent, except for his little hippity-hopping around the floor.  We definitely didn't need any more noise around here!

We will probably try to get another mini rex sometime.  Maybe after Christmas though.  Our fall schedule is so busy, and I don't know that we could spend enough time with a new bunny right now.  But in gray February, that might be just the thing.  In the meantime, we have 2 years and 4 months of good memories of Bruno.  He was such a sweetheart.  Rest in peace, Bruno!  We miss you!

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