Sunday, July 19, 2020

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

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.
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 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).

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

She had a perfect little white cotton ball tail.

10 pounds of crazy in a 3 pound sack


  1. I'm so very very sorry! Heartbreaking! You all are in my prayers!

  2. Dear Sam, Through the years I have enjoyed all your comments and musings and writings about Bunya, Ethel and Lucy. What a fabulous lovely life you've given these buns. I know your heart has an empty space in it now for Ethel too. My thoughts and sympathies are with you and Bunya and their Bunny Mom.


  3. I knew I would cry when I read this. I never knew how wonderful and full of personally bunnies were until we rescued Lola. That little pain in my butt stold my heart. My wife and I have been following you guys for years. The buns felt like extended family. We miss Lucy.
    God bless you both. God bless Bunya. And God look over Lucy and Ethel

    1. I could have watered the house plants I cried so much writing it. Thank you for reading RR.

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss. My little girl passed over the bridge at the end of March and Jackson and I still miss her daily. I know Bunya, and you and the DrMrs, will hold Miss Ethel in yours hearts until you see her again. Jackson sends nose bonks and whisker kisses.

    1. Thank you, Kat. I'm sorry for your loss, too.

  5. So sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you, DrMrsBunnyMom, and especially Bunya.

  6. Binky free sweet Ethel ❤️. How are you all (including Bunya) holding up?

    1. If we think about it, we get wet faces. Bunya, I am happy to say, still seems interested in treats, food, water, and using his litter boxes (eating hay in there, too). He has also ventured out of the pen, which I wondered if he would without her. He is old and naps a lot, so it's hard to tell the impact. He was with her when she passed and we all sat for a while on the floor at the vet's office with her body.