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.
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!