Hops joins his sisters at the Bridge
I'm so sorry to post this -- the third one of its kind in 11 months... Juniper Hops passed away this past Tuesday. Once again, we were away. We think they chose times when we're gone to die because animals often choose to be alone. But this doesn't make it any less heart-wrenching.
Hops was having back-leg immobility problems in April, which were solved by medicine. He was back in action by May and was hopping all around, while not really being able to bend around to, say, scratch his ears. But he was about 80% better.
After Kayla died on June 18, he seemed very sad. He then developed a staph infection in his ears, which cleared up with ear drops and antibiotics. He perked up when his ears felt better. He was even following us around and begging for craisins at all hours. He was running around my desk chair following us into the bathroom and interested in life and us and loved being cuddled -- like he was a baby again.
Then, about a week and a half ago, he started falling over again and wasn't able to right himself, like he was in April. I put him back on the meds, which made a little bit of difference to the point he was able to hop around again. But when he fell, he couldn't pick himself up. So I had fashioned a basket with towels and food and water, and put him in it to rest. I kept the basket where I had kept Kayla's -- right beside my bed.
Being Hops, the acrobat that he always was, he kept trying to hop out, of course. He wanted to hang out under the bed, as that was always his favorite place. I kept putting him in his basket so he could be near his food. At any rate, we left on Monday afternoon for a trip to New Hampshire and he was just the same -- happy and hopping, but falling over. I had Maggie come to visit him twice a day to give him his meds and make sure he was in his basket with access to food and water.
Tuesday afternoon, she called me and told me that he was lethargic and not too interested in food or water. Apparently, he had been trying to get out of his basket when he got stuck. So she cleaned him up, replaced the towels in his basket and settled him back in. But he wasn't going for his food.
When she came to see him on Tuesday night, he had died right where she left him. Maybe he saw his sisters die of basically the same thing and didn't want to draw out the process any more than necessary. On Monday we had a nice cuddle on the floor like we used to when he was a kid and he gave me lots of kisses. Looking back, he was saying good-bye and that he loved me. I told him several times that day that I will love him forever and that he should go see his sisters if he wanted to.
It was a shock for me to get the message from Maggie on Tuesday night, seeing as how he was hopping around and happy when I left him the day before. But he went on his own time and I guess there's something to be said for him not being basically immobile for months like both Ariel and Kayla were. He's with them now, as well as with Amber, and I know they'll be waiting at the Bridge for me.
Hopsie gives some lovin' to his beloved, Ariel
Hops' passing is so, so hard. Much harder than Ariel or Kayla's and they were bad enough. But at least I got several months to say good-bye to them. Hops left so much quicker than I thought he would. At least he lived a full life, I keep telling myself. He had sisters and a family and love all around him. He had nearly 8 wonderful years and never learned how to be afraid of anything because I wouldn't let anything ever hurt or scare him. It seems to me that he saw Ariel and Kayla both die and decided there was no real point in being here without them, especially falling over as he was. Even in life, he reminds me that love is what you should live for. And he knew I'd love him whether he was here or not. That I loved him too much to see him suffer just to stay with me.
But that doesn't mean I'm not crying my eyes out every time I think about it. He was my buddy and my baby and my boy. I know mommies aren't supposed to have favorites, but I did. He was my favorite since Amber, and I told him that all the time, that he was my best bunny. "You're a wizard, Hopsie" -- I used to stroke his blaze crooked and tell him that when he was a baby.
Hops, Kayla and Ariel -- together again
So in the past 11 months, I've lost three of my four bunnies. The year has, in other ways, just been probably the worst of my life. I'm very happy with Paul, so that's the one thing that is always right. But the rest of life can only get better. It's about time for my luck to change, I think.
We still have SweetPea (whom I got in 2004) and Bandit, our kitty who adopted us last summer. We go from having animals flooding our house to just two in a relatively short time. My heart is sore from so much mourning, and yet I seem to never run out of tears.
I'll have Hops cremated, like his sisters were. My dad will make a box for him of beautiful woods, as he did for the twins.
I was hoping when my Popper got better in May that he'd be with me for another year or two at least. His passing was more sudden than I would have liked it, but it was as he needed it to be. He'll always live in my heart. Juniper Hops was a remarkable bunny with a wonderfully kind heart. Everyone's favorite and everyone's friend.