Friday, August 19, 2005

Bad News

I've been blogging less this week due to a heavy workload, but I've also been preoccupied with concerns at home. Raider, our pet rabbit, started showing signs of illness on Sunday--he appeared to be having convulsions and trying but failing to urinate. We took him to the Animal E.R., where we were told he had a urinary tract infection. Two days of syringing antibiotics later, we took him in for a follow-up, where we were told his fever was down and he seemed to be improving. Wednesday night he started having terrible diarrhea and sat miserably on our bathroom floor, panting and refusing to take more than a nibble of food. Thursday morning he seemed a little better, but we took him to the vet again. They kept him to test his urine and do an X-Ray to look for possible bladder stones. Alas, a bladder stone was the culprit, and the vet said he could do surgery that day to fix it.

Raider woke up from surgery and appeared fine, the vet told me, but an hour later he had died. This is not uncommon among rabbits given anesthesia, but not performing the surgery would have condemned Raider to a life of miserable pain and suffering that would have ended within days or weeks, whereas this gave him a chance to have a happy life again.

We buried him last night in the front yard of my parents' house. He was only three years old. We know we gave him a good life--the right diet, plenty of freedom to roam the house, and lots of love. But we're both devastated to have lost the third part of our little household so suddenly and so early in his typical lifespan. So please forgive me for a lack of posting this week, and probably next week.

Everything in the house reminds us of Raider--the empty spot where his cage used to be, his favorite spots in every room to curl up or sprawl out, and his perch at the top of the stairs, where he'd watch everything that happened and decide when it was worthwhile to run down and try to beg for a little taste of an oyster cracker. The place he occupied in our daily routine was so much bigger than we realized--he was the last one we each said goodbye to every morning and the first one to greet me when I entered the otherwise empty house at night. We miss him.


Michele said...

Richard, I am so sorry to hear the news. (I have tears in my eyes as I write this). Raider was more than just a pet rabbit--he was a member of your family. I am glad I had the chance to know him and will never forget him.

Sage said...

The loss of a friend, particularly a pet one has cared for and loved, is truly heart-breaking. My thoughts are with you.

Victoria said...

Lots of *HUGS* and love being sent your way. I hope that, in time, all of the reminders of Raider are able to turn from sadness to happiness knowing what a loving family you all had. My deepest sympathies.

Jessica said...

Richard, I'm so sorry to hear about Raider. Did you take him to the Animal ER on Golf Rd.? That's where I had to take my cat about 10 years ago. There's a cheezy poem called "The Rainbow Bridge" about the loss of a pet--it makes me cry every time I read it. If you haven't read it, maybe you should--cheese and all, it does make one feel better about their departed pets.

Hallmark has cards for loss of cats and dogs, but sadly, none for rabbits. I did check. :) Know that I'm thinking of you two.

Richard said...

Thanks to all of you for your sympathy.

Jessica, it was the Animal E.R. on Palatine Road in Arlington Heights, behind the Cub Foods on Rand.

That poem is a bit sappy, but the sentiment is appealing nonetheless, so here it is. In keeping with the rest of my spiritual beliefs, I can only say that I hope it's true.

"Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.


James said...

My sympathies.