(warning: LONG and DEPRESSING post ahead.)
I am a pet lover. Did I ever mention that? My weakness? Bunnies.
Last year for LJ's birthday we decided to get her a Rex Rabbit. Hubs had a connection at work, and the woman who breeds them, M, made us a deal we couldn't refuse. We ended up with 2 adorable bunnies. Molly and Roxy.
We did a lot of research before we brought them home and decided that it would be best if they were indoor bunnies. We live in a climate that can be quite brutal to these Fluffy Ones, and we decided that we would train them to be like cats; liter box trained, and family oriented.
We succeeded very well. Our sweet girls learned to do tricks by voice command, walk on a leash, and lots of other things that are mind-boggling to most people. (Bunny kisses, endless snuggles, and back massages included)
Last Thursday before we left for our trip, we took our babies down to the woman who we bought them from so that they would be taken care of while we were gone. At first we were going to take them, but simply couldn't fit everything required to do so in our car along with all the other camping necessities. We told her we would be back Tuesday morning.
By Monday morning, I was antsy. My allergies were killing me, and I was ready to come home. We decided to come home a day early, and continue our trip this weekend instead. We got home at about 4 o'clock and DH called M to ask if we could come pick up our bunnies. Her reply was that we couldn't. I wasn't sure what was being said, but M has had some marital issues and by the tone of DH's voice, I could tell something was wrong. He excused himself from the house and finished the call outside. I figured that she had a fight with her husband and that it wasn't going to work for her for us to pick them up that night. Oh, how I was wrong.
A few minutes later he opened the back door and asked me to come outside alone. Once outside, I noticed that he was shaking. He explained that we could not go pick them up. When I asked why, his face said it all. They were gone.
M told DH that she wasn't sure what had happened, and that they had been checking on them every 3 hours. They fed them at 9 that morning, and when they checked at noon, they were both dead. Dead -- I can't believe I just typed that.
This is about the time that I about collapsed in my backyard sobbing like an idiot. When I gained my composure, I had the lovely task of telling LJ. That is when my heart actually broke. She cried so hard she couldn't breathe. Her knees buckled and her whole body shook. It was the most heart-wrenching thing I have ever witnessed. I couldn't help but sob with her.
We dropped LJ off at my Dad's house and went to pick up our bunnies. When we got there, I lost my mind again, and stood weeping on M's front lawn. DH and M's husband went into the backyard to get our girls, and I -between sobs- asked M what happened. She told me (in a very irritated and defensive tone) that she didn't know, and proceeded to tell me how they had been so diligent and had checked their food and water, the cage, and all around the area they were in, and couldn't find a thing wrong. She told me how they took them inside during the heat of the day, and made sure that they had frozen water bottles in their cage to make sure they didn't get too hot. She simply "didn't know" what had happened. DH brought them into the front yard, and I again, cried my eyes out. I must have kneeled over them for a good 30 minutes telling them how sorry I was, and repeating how much I loved them both.
We left and took them to a vet who lives in our neighborhood and had him look at them. He took one look and told us that they died from heat stroke. He explained that rabbits usually do pretty good outside, even here in Utah, as long as they are in a shaded place. He told us how he could tell it was heat stroke, and then told us what their symptoms would have been. THEY WERE AWFUL! My poor bunnies suffered before God finally took pity on them and ushered them to Heaven. AND IT ALL COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED! He gently told us that there is no way that M wouldn't have been able to tell something was wrong if they had actually been watching them as closely as she claimed.
Today I am crushed. I could tell that something wasn't right in her story just by the way she told it. I know it couldn't have been that our bunnies weren't used to being outside because we let them play outside every. single. day. in our shaded backyard without ever having an issue. Our bunnies died from neglect. OUR bunnies. The ones that have toys scattered around my house, had just had their check-up with the vet 2 weeks ago, and that were a part of our family in every single way.
I will never again get to lay on my couch with Molly on my chest and look into her adorable little face and tell her how much I love her or thank her for being there for me through all the atrocities that occurred last year. She will never be there to sooth my tears, and nuzzle into my neck when she can sense I am upset. Roxy will never again re-arrange the rugs in my kitchen, or make me laugh by smoothing the wrinkles on their bed before she'll lay down. And neither one of them will excitedly hop to my feet when I walk in my backdoor.
I am SO angry! I don't know how to process this grief. I know how silly it sounds to be so upset over rabbits but nonetheless, these were exceptional little furballs! They are 100% irreplaceable. And to lose them in such a way... devastating.
To give you an idea of how much this has effected me: AF started today. IUI #11 was a complete and utter failure... AND I DON'T CARE!!! I can't express how much sadness I feel. I have never bonded to a pet the way I did with these two. I already miss them so much it hurts.
We buried them in my Dad's backyard wrapped in one of LJ's baby blankets, along with their favorite ball and LJ's stuffed animal, Ellie the Elephant. Ellie is who always makes LJ feel better when she is sick or sad, and she wanted to make sure that her bunnies would always have her to tell them how much she loves them.
Rest well, Sweet Bunnies. We will love you forever and will cherish every moment we had with you. Thank you for being a part of our family. We will miss you so much!