Sadly on March 18th, 2015 our sweet and beautiful rabbit Rocky passed peacefully in my arms. Rocky had begun to show signs of stasis so we force fed him critical care, administered some simethicone drops and gave stomach massages in the hopes that he would improve. As this all happened in the wee hours of the morning, we anxiously waited for our vet to open so that we could take him in. As we drove to our veterinarian’s office, Rocky began to fade in my arms. Our worst fears were confirmed when our vet told us that Rocky’s stomach had flipped and his temperature and heart rate had dropped so much that his body had begun shutting down. He assured us that we had done everything right but that the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep. As I held him warm and safe against my chest with Mr. Bb hugging us both, I told him how special he was and how much we loved him. I told him that it was okay to let go and I promised to take good care of Honey. I thanked him for everything that he taught me and for choosing me.
My love for rabbits began by doing everything wrong. I wasn’t prepared and my knowledge on them was limited. Like so many others, I was suckered in during the Easter Bunny madness at a pet shop and wanted one of my very own! I had a look at the dozens of tiny baby fluff balls but none called out to me. Then I noticed one rabbit sitting off by himself and twice the size of the others. He was mostly black with some white on one side of his neck, mouth and on his one paw. He had been there for a few months and was now being passed up for the younger, smaller babies that had come in. I asked the associate if I could hold him. She placed him in my arms and he nuzzled in to my neck. At that moment I knew he was coming home with me. I carried him around the store while I picked out all of the wrong things including a bag of muesli mix and a horrendously small rabbit cage. I laughed at her when she recommended a small rattle and told me that rabbits liked to throw things but I bought it anyways. Later, I was glad that I did because that became my new little rabbit’s favourite toy.
On the way home my husband and I threw names back and forth but nothing fit. Then Mr. Bb, being a big Rocky fan, suggested the name Rocky. I didn’t like it at all but I looked down at our new bundle of joy and said ‘Shoot, he does look like a Rocky.’
When we got home I set up his cage in one of our spare bedrooms, which was later to become the Pet Room. I put in his food and water dishes, set up his hay rack, filled his litter box and threw in a few toys only to realize there wasn’t any room to put Rocky! From that moment I quickly became a Bunny Slave.
In the coming months Rocky taught me how incredible, intelligent, gentle and loving rabbits are. He taught me that rabbits love to run and play and that a binky meant he was happy (the first time I saw him kick up his heels I was frightened something was wrong)! He greeted me when I came home from work by running up to me making happy little grunts and looking for snuggles. Before being neutered he would pee on my foot. Most people would find that disgusting I’m sure, and it was a little, but it was also endearing that he was marking me as his. Years later and with a WifeyBun to keep him company, Rocky always remained a Mama’s Boy and would pout when he felt I wasn’t giving him enough attention!
As I learnt more about Rocky, I wanted to give him more. I wanted him to have more space and lots of fun toys to keep him busy. I wanted him to have a companion to share his life with so he would never be lonely when I wasn’t there. I learnt that rabbits were the third most abandoned animals in shelters and that many end up there because people didn’t know how to care for them properly. They didn’t know that pet shop cages weren’t big enough. They didn’t know that spaying/neutering was essential for the well-being of their rabbit and also curbed a lot of hormonally driven behaviours. They didn’t know that when given the chance to thrive and the patience and dedication to tame, these animals are just as amazing as a cat or dog. As my knowledge on rabbits expanded, so did our household – from one rabbit to four – and eventually inspired me to begin BudgetBunny so that I could educate others about how incredible these animals are too.
Rocky was more than just an incredible rabbit. He gave me a purpose and provided direction in my life at a time when I was struggling with where I was headed. If I had never brought that sweet little rabbit home that day in March 2008, Ollie, Willow and Honey wouldn’t be living the great lives they have now and BudgetBunny wouldn’t exist. Knowing that he not only touched my life but has inspired so many of you has been so comforting to me during such a difficult time.
I find peace in knowing that Rocky began his life with us safe in my arms and surrounded by love and took his last breaths in the same spot, safe and warm, with those who loved him most. There is a beautiful symmetry in that. We miss you dearly, sweet boy.
If you would like to know a little about this incredible rabbit you can watch his Rabbit Profile video here.
You can watch a special tribute to Rocky here.
Binky Free. 2008-2015