Remembering Bunya

DrMrsBunnyMom and daughter are allergic to cats and dogs. However, daughter dear really wanted a fuzzy, cuddly pet, as opposed to the son’s reptiles. Around the holidays, we had actually talked about it some, considering it.

I don’t recall exactly how I found out. My daughter may have pegged me as the weak link when she brought me down to the basement (where her bedroom was) and showed me this little fluffster she “rescued” from a pet store for $5; he’d been in a tiny cage all by himself, away from the other bunnies.

We knew NOTHING about rabbits.

First two actions:
1. Return to the scene of the crime and find out what supplies he needed.
This was STUPID MISTAKE #1.
Sadly, rabbits are a pet stores way to sell you a bunch of GARBAGE. I do not know the level of knowledge they have about the dogs and cats they sell, but they know squat about rabbits. They sold us a little cage that might have been okay for transport but NOT to live in “for the rest of his life”. The food they sold us was awful and the “treats” they sold us with seeds and yogurt could be DEADLY to a rabbit.
2. Take the bunny for a vet visit. We really lucked out here. We didn’t know that you need a rabbit-savvy exotics vet for a bunny, not just a dog and cat vet. The vet in our neighborhood was exactly what we needed. Bunya was healthy, we were given educational materials about rabbits, and scheduled his snip for when he was old enough.
In his first days, when we knew less than nothing, Bunya would sit perched on daughter’s shoulder like a pirate parrot and watch her on her computer. One time when he had to go potty, she held him over her trash can, and he put out poops like he was a Pez dispenser run amok. But all into the can. She wanted him to keep her company in her bed but Bunya liked to pee there, so that was short-lived.
Six months later, daughter left for college.
Bunya did not.
Since he was now my bunny, I started learning more than our misinformation from the pet store and the literature from the vet. Thank you, internet. I always felt badly about the tiny cage from the pet store and he got increasingly larger quarters as I read more and found them online. We always housed him inside as a house rabbit, so at least we got that right.
Remembering Bunya
Little baby Bunya “helping” me with an annual mailing to my clients.
Eventually, I purchased a chain link fence dog pen that was about 7’x7′ and assembled it inside the house. That’s the one that stuck. Although the gate was mostly open so he could roam around, that was still his safe space and he would hang out in there. His original cage, to which he was still attached, was a litter box for a while, before we put it away for good.

Remembering Bunya
This is a recent iteration of the bunnies’ pen.
Over the years. we bought castles, ramps, towers, tunnels,
a fun house with a digging section, an elevated bed, and much more,
from bunny auctions or the Hop Shop to support rabbit rescues like
The Georgia House Rabbit Society.
From time to time, we would rearrange the furniture
and change out the rugs.

Bunya was a solo bun for about 1-2 years, so he became used to humans. More research led to learning about how social bunnies were and I came across the The Georgia House Rabbit SocietyLearned about bonding bunnies and adoption. Lucy & Ethel were added to the mix.
Our bunnies taught us so much. I love animals and have had several over the years, dogs, cats… but hadn’t really thought about bunnies… such different and distinct personalities. Who knew about binkies and NASbunny/zoomies/Buntona 500!?
Ethel would love on everybunny and was an escape artist, our own Bundini. We were never sure if she was deaf or just had selective hearing. In her later years, she would run circles around my recliner, thumping for treats.
Lucy was a fearless explorer, the  most likely to get into mischief and be found in unexpected places when you walked into the room. She could also read minds if your thought was “I’m going to pick up Lucy”. You didn’t need to look at her or say anything, just think it – and she was gone. One of her favorite hiding places was in the corner of the room under a heavy (immovable) desk, where we could not reach her.

Bunya was the alpha and the brains of the group – so smart! He could even tell time, which always amazed us.

Remembering Bunya

Bunya got poopy butt, which we determined was from vegetables as a regular part of his diet. Bunya became a hay bunny. Well, a hay-and-treats bunny. We had a bout or two of stasis over the years, but Bunya was a champ at taking his medicine.
Love the tongue and cheek action

Bunya became an old man, and lost his sight to cataracts. We got a stuffed bunny to try to have a “third”, something for the last bunny to snuggle up to and recall old companions. Bunya and Ethel didn’t really take to it, but it’s all I have left.
Remembering Bunya
By my recliner.
Ethel would stand there, staring,
thumping, or pooping for treats.
Bunya would pancake there while
I scritched his head, ears, and cheeks.
This is what
it looks like now.

As I said, they never really liked the stuffie and just kept snuggling with each other – all the time (unless there was a treat involved and Ethel would leave Bunya’s butt in the dust).

We thought Bunya would go before Ethel, but he was here first… and he was with us last.

Remembering Bunya
Miss you, Mr. B
A few posts from over the years:

Bunya joined Lucy & Ethel today

Bunya joined Lucy & Ethel today

Resources for pet loss
For Bunnies
Pet Loss Support for Your Rabbit
When A Rabbit Loses A Friend

For their humans
Tragic, Sudden, Unexpected: Grieving for Traumatic Pet Loss
Four Steps to Take After Experiencing Pet Loss
Pet Loss Support and Grief
Facebook group: Broken Hearts Bunny Loss Support 

Rainbow Bridge

If you have the means, we would appreciate if you would donate to GHRS in his memory. Here is the link to Bunya’s Facebook post, with a Donate button.
If that does not work for you, try this link to GHRS.
If you would prefer to donate to your local rabbit rescue, that’s all good, too. It helps bunnies.
#Donate #Adopt #Foster #Volunteer

Ethel got her wings

Resources for pet loss
For Bunnies
Pet Loss Support for Your Rabbit
When A Rabbit Loses A Friend

For their humans
Tragic, Sudden, Unexpected: Grieving for Traumatic Pet Loss
Four Steps to Take After Experiencing Pet Loss
Pet Loss Support and Grief
Facebook group: Broken Hearts Bunny Loss Support 

Rainbow Bridge

Ethel got her wings

Last Wednesday, I was going though the bunnies’ morning ritual and noticed Ethel seemed a little off. When I opened the pen gate, she usually bolts for her pellets (sometimes between the wall and a row of boxes, sometimes just a beeline “out in the open”). That morning she hesitated a little and didn’t quite follow a straight line, but she got there and started eating.

A couple of minutes later, before she finished, she stepped away from her bowl and started seizing. You could see the fear in her eyes. I called for DrMrsBunnyMom and tried to settle Ethel, as if I had a clue what I should do.

After several seconds of writhing and flopping around the floor, “running” on her side against the wall trying to twist upright, she managed to right herself, and lay awkwardly splay-legged, breathing very heavily for a few minutes.

Ethel got her wings
Whenever something happens with the bunnies,
I try to snap pictures to show the vet.
We were on the phone with the vet’s office. Pandemic protocol is curbside service; they come get your pet for the exam. The vet discusses the results with you when they return your furbaby. The practice was booked. We made an appointment – and then…
THIS is the behavior Ethel exhibited – perfectly normal!

Coordinated hopping.
Objective in sight.
Target acquired.
Typical Ethel – finished her breakfast and heads directly over to Mr. B to see what she can scarf from his breakfast bowl.
The day before, Ethel was zooming around at top speed, binkying, and cutting tight corners. She seemed to have retained her youthful exuberance and energy, whereas Bunya started slowing down years ago.

WTH, Ethel, why are you scaring the poops out of the humans!?
We booked the next available exam time, on Friday. For the rest of Wednesday, all of Thursday and Friday morning, Ethel was fine and her behavior was pure Ethel – right down to hanging out by my recliner, staring at me for treats all evening. To Ethel, no treat tasted as good as the one she would snatch out of Bunya’s mouth. (He tried to adapt by instantly turning 90 degrees away from Ethel as soon as he sunk his teeth into his treat, but she would run circles around him.)

Friday morning, DrMrsBunnyMom took Ethel and Bunya in their carrier for the appointment (if you have read this blog with any regularity, you know we always take the bunnies together to help maintain their bond). The nurse carried them inside for her appointment. The doctor heard Ethel seizing again in the carrier as they were brought in. As he went to get her, Ethel passed.

Ethel got her wings

Ethel was almost 10-1/2 and still spunky. Bunya is over 12-1/2 and started slowing down years ago. We didn’t particularly talk about it but we both thought he would pass first. You learn in estate planning, people don’t always die in the order you think they will.

Now we wonder how Bunya will get along without her. He can’t see. We don’t think Ethel could hear, but it may have been she didn’t listen. When she would come begging for treats – thumping, racing around my chair or whatever to get my attention – I’d ask her “Where’s your boyfriend?”

I swear, lately, she would go back in their pen where he would be snoozing in their favorite hidey box, rouse him, and lead him out so I would give them both treats. Bunnies are smart. We would tease Ethel sometimes about where did she leave her brain cell, but then she would demonstrate some brilliance, like when she figured out how to get past the bunny barrier. I remember one morning after we had the trio, I came to feed them; Bunya and Lucy were in their pen – Ethel was running around like what’s up! She was tiny enough to fit through the pen fence.

Bunya was our first bunny. He was a bachelor for a couple of years. We learned about bunnies and found GHRS. We added sisters Lucy & Ethel (about 6 months old or so at the time), adopted from the Georgia House Rabbit Society to form our bonded trio. We lost Lucy suddenly almost exactly 5 years ago (read about Lucy here).

Ethel got her wings

And now old man Bunya is alone again. We will continue to give him lots of love, but we are all missing Miss Ethel.

Ethel got her wings
Ethel got her wings
She had a perfect little white cotton ball tail.

Ethel got her wings

Ethel got her wings
10 pounds of crazy in a 3 pound sack