My rabbit, Hefnerita, passed away this morning.
I came home from work yesterday and noticed she didn’t look right. I set her down outside her cage and when she attempted to hop, she flipped over and to the side. I knew it wasn’t good, but I never have gotten her medical care in her 7 years, and pretty much knew it would do nothing for her anyway. My fiance, Shannon, and I laid her on her side and comforted her as she labored through her last few hours. I made sure she wasn’t treated like Terri Schiavo by rubbing water on her lips with alfalfa. She couldn’t even lick it, but she tried getting at it with slight openings of her mouth. I knew it was the end, because she was letting me touch roll of fatty skin under her chin, which usually would be met with a nip or a grunt. All we could do was comfort her as much as we could.
She took her last breath shortly after midnight.
I like to say I gave her a much better life than she would have had. Sure she was kept in her cage a bit much at times, but we did let her run around the basement periodically and gave her more than her fill of bunny food.
I came upon Hefnerita while volunteering at Gardenville Community Center in January of 1999. It was mandatory to do this for a month in order to graduate from high school. This is where I got stuck. Anyway, they had a outdoor garden area on the second floor and a floppy eared bunny named Barney that regularly resided there. Somehow, a lady bunny came into the equation and they had two litters. Apparently this was too much for the people that were running the center, so they told Dallas, the older, leathery gentleman I was working with, to get rid of them soon. He told me he tried to take a few from the first litter home and his dog ate them. I figured I could give one a better home than the digestive system of a canine, so I asked if I could take one home. He said as long as I caught her myself. I attempted to chase the tiny bunnies around. I believe there were four or five of them. Dallas and Brad, another man that worked there, told me to corner it in the hutch that they stayed in. I chased her into it, then lifted the roof.
To my horror and disgust, this rabbit family was sleeping on matted fetal rabbits. It was literally a layer of dead pink bunnies mushed together. I couldn’t do it, so leatherface stepped in. He put her in a bucket and agreed to take us home. His car was half made of wood. You see he was the resident handyman at the center, so of course this translated into his everyday life as well. His bumper was missing; in its place was a two by four. The console inside the car was gone; instead, a wooden box. There were no handles on the doors on the outside. You had to get it to open by sticking your hand in a hole and shimmying a bar. I considered failing high school at this point.
We arrived home and I named her Hefner…ita, because I’m not really sure about the sex one way or another.
I’m sure she outlived the rest of her family. The horrors they must have seen and the life they must have lived.
Burial for Hefnerita was held in the easement way behind my house. She was buried in a fine casket made from a box that used to contain mass quantities of soy sauce. My religious mother read “The Lord is my shepherd…”
So long Hefnerita.