(In case you missed part one, here you go.)
The first night with Abby was a long one. She was in a new
place for the third time in less than six months. She was in another enclosure,
but without other bunnies around her. Before we turned off the lights for the
night, I remember looking at her.
She was perfectly still except for her nose, which was
twitching at about a million miles a minute.
She was scared.
The Missus and I went to bed, but I was restless.
“I wonder how she’s doing,” I mused aloud after rolling
around in bed and tangling myself into the sheets about six ways to Tuesday.
“I thought you didn’t want her or care,” my wife needled
Shortly after The Missus began to snore, I slipped out of
bed and walked into the bunny’s room.
“It’s going to be OK,” I whispered. “We’re OK people.”
The next morning, my wife found me asleep on the floor next
to the cage with Abby sniffing me.
We have to tell her. The words rang in my head. We have to
My wife was right. I know what it was like to learn the
truth much too late in life.
When I was about three, my grandmother had a old poodle that
was on his last legs. On some random Friday when we came to visit, I noticed
that the dog was missing.
“Where’s Pierre?” I asked.
“He ran away,” my grandmother said without missing a beat.
For the next several months, I’d sit on the porch at her
house whenever we visited, hoping to spot him if he came home. Eventually I
gave up the ghost when I was about eight or nine, figuring the dog had died
somewhere, wandering a strange road.
When I was about 25, we were at some gathering at Grandma’s
house when the topic of the dog came up.
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s too bad he ran away…”
My younger cousin scoffed. “The hell are you talking about?
They put him to sleep.”
I just glared back at him. “The hell do you know? You
weren’t even alive when they had the dog.”
The table got quiet. I looked up at my grandmother, who had
this guilty-as-hell look on her face.
“We never… We didn’t quite know when to tell you.”
After that, it became a running gag at the house, but the
sting never quite went away.
As The Missus went upstairs to pull the kid from the tub, I
did my best to clean up the downstairs near the cage and calm the
When I got upstairs, my child was still sobbing about her
This was not going to be easy.
As my wife explained that something was wrong with the
rabbit, The Midget’s eyes grew even bigger and filled with more tears.
“Nooooo! Not Abby…” she wailed.
We took her downstairs and let her pet the rabbit a few
times. Our presence seemed to calm the bunny down. Still, it was at least an
hour past the kid’s bedtime and she had school in the morning.
“But Abby can’t be alone!” she pleaded. “She’s scared.
Please can I stay?”
My wife looked at the clock and looked at me. She started to
say something to our child, who had suddenly been surrounded by about ten used
and crumpled tissues. I stepped in quickly.
“Honey, you have to go to bed…”
“But I’m scared to be alone! And Abby’s scared…”
“Honey, please listen. Daddy will stay down here tonight
with Abby. You can sleep with Mommy and we’ll take care of everything else
She sniffed back a river of snot. “Oh… kay…”
My wife looked at me with a mix of sympathy and concern.
“You shouldn’t have to do this… I can…”
“It’s OK. Sometimes there are things a Daddy has to do.”
As the rest of the family made its way upstairs, I pulled
out the hide-a-bed and nestled in for a long night.
After only a few short months, Abby clearly became part of
the family. In that, I mean she earned several nicknames and became stubborn.
She was Princess Abby when she was simply being aloof.
She was Thumper when she was loudly thumping her disapproval
at something we were doing.
She was The Rodent when I was pissed about something she had
done, including chewing on the baseboards, the carpet and the furniture.
She was Princess Consuelo von Fuzzy Butt when she was being
the Queen of Everything.
She wouldn’t allow us to touch her, but we didn’t need a
bunny dictionary to understand her moods.
When she was happy, she’d run at top speed around the house,
spirling her ass into the air in what is known as a binky.
When she was upset, she’d thump her back leg hard against
the floor, explaining that she found our work to be dissatisfactory in terms of
cage cleaning or food provision.
When she just had enough of us, she’d use a technique that
rabbit enthusiasts refer to as “bunny butt,” a form of shunning that would make
the most fundamental Amish man proud.
Her attitude and her nicknames converged into one we often
“Stubborn little cuss…”
It was a long night of brief lapses of consciousness for
both the rabbit and me.
She’d be silent for a long time and I’d drift into a
dreamless sleep. Then, she’s spasm and I’d jolt awake, offering the only solace
“Shh… Shhh… Shh… Shhhhh…” And she’d settle in once again.
And so it went for seven restless hours.
Around 5 a.m., I had the thought that was part merciful and
Just. Let. Go. It’s OK.
It had to hurt like hell. She had to be scared as hell. She
was 12 years old, which in rabbit years defies logic.
She flopped and flopped again.
“Honey,” I whispered. “It’s OK. It’s fine. You can let go.”
She went silent. A minute passed. Then five. Then ten.
She flailed about again.
Stubborn little cuss…
There’s something not quite right with Abby, my wife told me
one afternoon. Can you take her to the vet and see what’s up?
Easier said than done.
The rabbit hated being touched and held. Even worse, she was
fast as hell. We’d had her for about two years at this point and had managed to
stave off most of the “bunny-care” problems that various books and websites had
However, this time, she wasn’t eating and her poop was
really clumpy, two signs of an intestinal blockage or constipation.
Neither of these things was good for a rabbit.
After a good game of “Chase the rabbit with a blanket,” I
corralled her into a carrier.
The vet, a decent man who might have seen a rabbit once in
his life, noted that Abby was likely constipated, based on her symptoms. The
solution was to give her a laxative gel via an oral injection once a day for
three or four days.
Unfortunately, the man explained, he didn’t have any for
rabbits, but he did have some dog laxative, which was essentially a combination
of Vaseline and liver paste.
He handed me a plastic syringe and a tube of this stuff and
sent me packing.
When I got home, I gave her the stuff. It was easy enough
because she was still freaked out from the vet and the car ride.
Of course, the taste of liver appeals to rabbits the way the
idea of gay marriage appeals to Scalia, so she spent the rest of the afternoon
slapping at her face with her paws and trying to shake this stuff out of her
The next day, we had to do it again. I had the benefit of
having the Missus help me. Abby had the benefit of experience and mobility.
Upon my attempt to reach her, Abby darted out of the cage
and began flying around the room in a serpentine pattern. The Missus held the
injection as I tried to snag this bounding bunny.
She dove under the desk in the room. I chased her out. She
hid behind some boxes. I tossed them aside.
Finally, I had her in a corner from which she could not
escape. I went down on my knees to get her.
Knowing her only way out was through me, Abby darted right
in between my legs.
With a goalie-like instinct, I snapped the five-hole shut,
trapping her between my thighs, her head poking out near my ass.
According to my wife, it was quite a Kodak moment.
“NOW, GODDAMMIT! NOW!” I yelled.
The Missus dove toward my ass with the injection. Abby
whipped her head around and spit and grunted and bunny cussed us. About half of
the liver stuff got into or onto the rabbit. The other half was all over my
legs and butt.
“DONE!” my assistant yelled as I relaxed my grip.
Abby grunted twice and darted back into her cage, slapping
the crud off of her face with her forepaws.
I took of my pants and saw the wreckage my wife and rabbit
had wrought. It looked like I had been attacked by a grease gun filled with
“Fuck it,” I said to my wife. “If she isn’t unstopped by
now, she’s not gonna be. We’re not doing that again.”
That was the last time she needed to go to the vet.