Monday, August 17, 2015

igloo left me

Igloo just passed away yesterday early morning. :'(

In 2 months' time he would have been 5 years old. Rabbits usually live from 5-12 years but lops usually get 8-10. He had left me before he was meant to.

Yesterday in the wee hours of the morning at 3am I was in the living room watching TV and he was still hopping around and playing with his toy ball, the blue one in the picture. That ball had a bell in it so he likes to push it around.

This morning at 9am he was found exactly like in the picture... His body was already hard. 😭 Even his usual soft floppy ears are hard. 😭😭😭

My heart broke when I felt him like that... When Ellen told me she woke up to find igloo dead, part of me chose not to believe her and wanted to nudge him awake. But he wasn't his usual floppy, soft self. He was rigid. Even lightest touch confirmed the nightmare; I didn't have to nudge after all.

I feel overwhelmed with guilt. Sadness too definitely, and a huge sense of loss. But a lot of guilt.

In my old house I used to let igloo roam around my Princess room. He was perfectly litter box trained (bunny safe cat litter) so that was great.

However, after we moved, almost the entire house was carpeted. I continued letting him roam around the whole house. 

For some reason, igloo kept peeing on the carpet (yes he is neutered). He likes to pee at obscure corners like under cupboards where I can't find the pee puddle until weeks later and it would stink like crazy. The smell wouldn't go away and I suspect there are still some pee somewhere that I never managed to find since the colour isn't super obvious... My Princess Room didn't stop smelling like pee till about 1 year later.

I then moved igloo to the kitchen, which had no carpet. I really saw no other choice. The only other places in the house without carpet is mike's workshop (not suitable for a rabbit) and the balcony, which I already bought furniture for and had no space. So igloo stayed within a partition in the kitchen (it is much more spacious than a cage) and often he is allowed to roam the whole kitchen and gets his fresh veggies from our cooking.

To most people who never owned a rabbit, they will think this amount of space is enough. But to rabbit lovers, we know that they should be allowed in the whole house or at least in a room, like dogs or cats. They don't belong in a cage.

It would have been great to be able to let him roam the whole house, but the new house is so big and he is so small... we can't possibly keep an eye on him. And I can't keep hunting for pee puddles.

Dash just got born too, and I was so busy with the newborn. I feel like shit for neglecting igloo's needs and finding all these excuses and I wish I could have given him a better life. 

But at the same time, I feel angry because I know self righteous animal lovers will accuse me of torturing him. He had ample space, he had food and water and hay. His living quarters was clean. Except for his first month after being born, he was never in a cage. I still played with him and I still loved him. Yes his attention got less after Dash's arrival, but I am not going to apologize for putting my human child first.

And I don't know why I feel angry if I know I didn't do anything wrong. Ffs many pet rabbits live in cages all their lives. I guess it's because part of me feels like because his quality of life deteriorated after I moved house, that is somehow responsible for his death. And I really don't want to hear further confirmation of it because I already feel like shit, thanks. 

Anyway I'm gonna try not going to go into defensive mode because this post isn't about me or my chip in the shoulder about being called a bad pet owner.

This is about igloo, my lovely pet bunny.

About 2 weeks ago Mike said that since Dash is no longer using his playpen and is old enough to play with igloo, we should move igloo out to the balcony. 

The furniture that used to be there was gone, so there is space. It's easier access for the family to play with him. 

And so we transferred him from kitchen to balcony.

The space he had was about the same but at least now he enjoys aircon and more attention. He seemed happy. Dash played with igloo too but he wasn't very interested and would just pet igloo a few times then ask to be let out of the playpen. 

I didn't post about igloo's move to the balcony because it was still in a trial stage. We wanted to see if the new living area worked.

And just after 2 weeks of enjoyment, he is gone. :'(

I have no idea why he passed. He didn't seem injured, had no wet poop, or vomit or any other symptoms. His pen still had hay, food (he ate normally and had a bit left over) and water. I fed him some cabbage just yesterday. He isn't old either. He basically had absolutely no abnormal behaviour, was active and seemingly healthy just hours ago. It feels so shitty not knowing WHY! It's so damn sudden.

Two days ago he jumped out of the playpen (I'm shocked! Can jump so high) and roamed the house for a bit while everyone slept until Ellen realised he escaped and put him back. He didn't manage to escape again but could it be during one of those jumps he fell and injured himself? Or had a heart attack or something? I guess I would never know.

I'm also told that since rabbits do eat their own poop, it could be that he had a viral infection from that, which can cause very sudden and immediate death.

I called pet cremation and they came to take his body away. The guy was very kind and asked if I wanted a last look. I gave his fuzzy head one last rub. He would never use his paws to wash that head again. Even in death, he looked so adorable... He looked like he was sleeping soundly, all flopped out.

Just like that, he is gone from my life after 5 years.

I will never see him periscoping in curiosity again. I will never again see another binky or feel his warm body as he leans against my leg to sleep. And I wonder if I will ever handle vegetables in the kitchen again without automatically thinking I should cut a portion for him.

Igloo was a great pet. He had a gentle, affectionate temperament. I really liked his character.

He taught me so much about bunnies that I never knew. That rabbits are intelligent and have just as much character as a dog or a cat, even though they don't make a noise.

People think that rabbits don't like being touched because they often scamper away and appear scared.

Truth is, they love being touched and pet and scratched... But in the wild, rabbits' defense mechanism against enemies is to stamp their feet to warn their burrow mates, then immediately bolt.

So when they are lifted off the ground for a hug like humans like to do, they feel super unsafe and paranoid, because they are unable to stamp and bolt if anything happens. I guess it's the human equivalent of binding your hands and feet then forcing you into a hug. Surely you won't feel like a hug when you feel trapped.

So igloo doesn't like being picked up (although he tolerates it if it doesn't last too long) but he LOVES being close to me. He never bit me before.

When I'm using the computer, he would lie down next to my feet and either sleep there or give me bunny licks. His tongue is small and darty and it's really cute.

Sometimes he would use his head to keep bumping me until I give him a head scratch.

Even after Dash was born and he moved to the kitchen, whenever I opened his pen he would still hop out, nuzzle me and give me his licks. He didn't hold a grudge, he still loved me. He is just easy going and affectionate like that.

You will be missed, looloo. Thank you for all the wonderful, wonderful memories. I don't think I'll ever love any other pet as much. Thank you for all the love you showered on me unconditionally.

Ps: I'm on my way to the airport after posting this. I had to rush it out, or I would have posted more of his cute pictures... I have no time to look through picture archives in my computer.

I'm going to Tokyo for a business trip. It's small consolation that at least I have some distraction instead of staring at the empty space that once was his pen.