Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Harry Hardie

Well. Hello.

Its been too long. I promise not to neglect you so for the rest of this year. In my defense, 2011 was not great fun. Better than 2010, but not amazing.

And the year finished with me moving house (I hate moving house) and a series of hungover mornings after some crazy Christmas celebrations.

And then Harry got sick :(

Harry is my lovely and wonderful black dwarf lop bunny. He was born on January 29 in 2006 and came to live with me at 7 weeks old that following March. The runt of the litter, he had multiple health problems in his first year. I spent a fortune in vet bills, as bunnies are considered 'exotic pets' by most vet clinics.

I think he was the only bunny in the world to be allergic to hay - at one stage he couldn't go near the stuff without sneezing constantly and going mental. He did eventually grow out of that! And hay became a staple in his diet.

He spent the first couple of years of his life outside and inside - outside in a hutch when we were not home and then inside when we were. He was, of course, toilet trained, and usually well behaved (although several of our couches suffered on the odd occasion) however in rental properties and sharing with friends, he usually put a strain on households. Eventually around 4 years ago I moved into an apartment without an outside area or balcony and Harry moved inside with me. We've never looked back.

He became a full-time inside bunny, and a loving member of our family. Mum & Dad would look after him when I was away, but mostly he lived with me. I used to love coming home to him after a horrible day - pets really are good for the soul. And Harry would always settle down on my chest for a cuddle and a nose rub - he was quick to lick me if I wasn't paying enough attention to him and if I failed to respond to that he was even quicker to give me a bite to remind me who is boss!

Life as I knew it always contained a bit of Harry. I could never go for a drink after work as bunnies need feeding every 10 hours so I always had to head home. I could never crash on someones couch after a few drinks as Harry would be waiting at home for me. I couldn't go away on a trip or for the weekend without organising someone to look after him. The big one I never considered prior to getting Harry was that I could no longer live overseas. I had always wanted to live overseas again, but now this was not possible.

But despite those annoyances, Harry was the best. So curious and inquisitive, he'd be into anything if you left it alone long enough. one of my favorite memories is when he snuck into my sister's handbag and found an apple (one of his favorite foods), and ran off with the whole thing (the apple was about the size of his head) in his mouth! Once I found him on the couch eating some chocolate - he doesn't even like chocolate!

I used to lock him in the kitchen behind a baby door when I wasn't home and if I left him there too long after getting home from work, he would grab the door in his teeth and shake it until I opened it. And then if I dared to go out again after feeding him, he'd crack the shits when I got home again and hide under a table or turn his back on him. When he did that I'd sit on the floor and wait for him to come over and see what I was doing - then he'd get a nice pat and all would be forgiven!

Last year Harry went to stay with my folks just before I went to Meredith. He ended up staying there right up until Christmas - they'd not had him for a long time and I needed a break and with Christmas being so busy it made sense for him to stay there. After Christmas I ended up getting ready to move, so again it made sense for him to stay there until I'd moved into my new flat.

The day after I had moved I woke to a bunch of missed calls, text message and hysterical voicemails from my Mum. My sister came home from work and told me - something was wrong with Harry. He was really sick. I had to go right away, to Mum and Dad's place, an hour away. I later found out that Mum had filmed him on her phone on the way to the vet as she was sure he'd have to be put down and wanted me to see what he was like.

When I arrived he was being held by my brother. We couldn't put him down - he was semi paralysed and had lost his balance. He had developed head tilt, quite common in bunnies and although horrible to look at, manageable compared to his other problems.

A very long story short, we discovered he had developed clinical symptoms of e. cuniculi, a very common parasite for bunnies, but one that rarely presents symptoms. We don't know why it appeared suddenly in Harry one day. Despite the fact we didn't get the results until after he had died, we knew that was what was effecting him and treated him accordingly. He started on anitbiotics and other drugs straight away. We held him for around 36 hours straight, in shifts, thanks to my amazing family. I slept in blocks for 2 hours at a time, checking on him constantly

He got better for a few days but sadly passed away in the early hours of the morning on January 11, 2012. There is not much more you can really say, or explain. It was an awful time and I am still coming to terms with not having him around after 6 years.

But what an amazing bunny he was! I used to love watching him just laze around the house, jumping up every once in a while to clean his face and ears with his paws (cute), or flop down on his side when he was happy (ridiculously cute) or 'binky' around the house when he was ecstatic (crazy cute). He was pretty cute.

We buried him at Mum & Dad's property in a wonderful spot. We added a memorial paver this week. I think he'd be happy there.

Rest in peace Harry Hardie - the best bunny ever!


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