R.I.P. BunNov 28, 2016
Today’s memory on Susan’s Facebook was from a year ago today. Amelie’s rabbit was poorly and so we had to take her to the vets.
She had two rabbits in a hutch in the garden and it turned out they were escape artists! They would get out and run around the garden. We have a lot of wild rabbits in the garden to they would try and play with them. Unfortunately the wild rabbits aren’t as friendly and they would attack Amelie’s rabbits. Although it was disturbing to watch white fluff flying everywhere as they scrabbled over one another, no real harm ever appeared to be done.
The wild rabbits suffer from myxomatosis periodically throughout the year and so when Bun started having problems with her eyes, we worried that she might have caught it.
After about a week it was getting worse and worse and so we took her to the vets.
‘You take Amelie and Bun’ Susan said to me, ‘and I’ll get the rest of the kids ready for bed.’
‘Ok. Ams, have you got something to bring her in?’ I asked Amelie.
‘What will they do when we get there?’ Amelie asked, holding up a rabbit carrier.
‘Well that depends what is wrong with her’ I said, ‘they’ll know what the best thing to do is and they’ll advise us.’
When we got called into the little consulting room, Amelie carried Bun in her little carrier like a parent.
‘Hi I’m Olviva’ the vet said looking at each of us in turn, ‘is this your rabbit?’
‘Yes’ said Amelie.
‘Let’s have a look at her shall we?’ she said kindly, taking her out of her carrier and putting her on the counter top.
After taking her temperature, listening to her heart and asking a few questions, she hesitated for a few moments, and then said to Amelie ‘Have you talked about the options if she was sick?’
‘Dad said you would advise us what the kindest thing to do is.’ Amelie said, sounding far more grown up than a 10 year old.
‘Well we could wait and see if she is any better in a few days, but if it is myxomatosis, which I’m almost certain it is, then she will be very uncomfortable until she dies.
I think the best option is to give her a little injection now, and she will just go to sleep with no pain and she won’t wake up again.
‘I’ll leave you for a few minutes to think about it and then let me know what you want to do.’
‘What do you want to do darling? I said to Amelie. ‘It sounds like she is very sick.’
‘I suppose we should do the kind thing and put her to sleep.’ Amelie said fighting to hold back her tears.
‘I think that’s a very brave and a very kind decision Ams’ I said to her, with a real mixture of sadness and pride.
A few minutes later Olivia came back in ‘What do you want to do Amelie?’
As Amelie whispered her reply, I remember thinking what a very special experience this was.
Olivia looked at Amelie with a face full of compassion ‘Ok, Amelie, when you’re ready, I’m going to give her a little injection that will send her to sleep, and when she’s asleep I’ll give her a bit more and then her heart will stop beating.’
Amelie held little Bun and stroked her and talked to her while I rubbed her Amelie’s back. As Bun took her last breath and then slumped down peacefully on the counter top, it truly was a magical experience that I will never, ever forget. And I’m sure Amelie won’t either.
Life is so precious, so beautiful, so short.
We left the room in tears and took Bun home to bury her in the garden. ‘I’m so proud of you to take responsibility for your pet like that Ams. Mum will be very proud too.’
The more I thought about the whole experience of going to the vets with Amelie and Bun, the more I realised how good it is for children, in fact all of us, to own a pet and love and look after something other than ourselves.
A few days later, Amelie got a card through the post. When she opened it, it was a card from Olivia the vet.
Amelie’s experience was made all the more powerful because someone she had just met took the time to give her a kind word and a very sincere compliment. When Amelie showed me the card, I could see how much it meant to her.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve noticed something in someone, and thought, 'oh that’s lovely' or 'that’s great', 'that’s kind' or 'that’s impressive' .. but I’ve never told them - I have never taken the time to let them know they are seen and appreciated. Often it's people very close to me, not people I’ve just met. But seeing the difference a kind word can make, I resolved right then to do a much, much better job at it in the future.
12 months on, and I am making some progress, although there is always more kindness to spread. We can all try harder at this, and my goodness .. what an impact you and I will make on those we take the time to acknowledge!
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