I just received this really lovely card in the mail from the OVC, full of condolences from the DVMs and RVTs there who knew and loved Delilah during her time visiting as a patient these last two years. I’m in tears, it’s so touching that they took the time to not just write this for me, but that they knew her and loved her and remember her as the wonderful little creature she was.
Hello Tumblr. For some reason over the past week this blog has been getting 50-60 new followers a day, which has been… mind blowing? Also REALLY CONFUSING??
However you found yourself here, welcome to roughly 200+ new people. You’ve found yourself here at rather a depressing point—both Lahi and Delilah have now passed, as of this month.
I do plan to continue with this blog. I started it not just as a pet blog for Lahi and Delilah, but also as an educational blog about rabbits, hoping to help teach some things both from what I’ve learned and through stories of how I came to learn it.
So for some of you, here’s an important first lesson: (European) rabbits are intensely social animals. In the wild they will live in large groups of sometimes 100 individuals or more. In captivity, they form extremely codependent bonds, usually in pairs.
A rabbit in isolation is a rabbit that is suffering immensely. Don’t argue on this point. There are actual laws in many countries forbidding rabbits and other social animals being kept by themselves. It’s considered inhumane for social animals to be denied social stimulation.
Some rabbits can be kept very happily alone, bonded to their human—but they do need a bond.
And here’s something that I think anyone who has two bunnies needs to know: they can die of grief.
When Lahi’s sister Picca passed away, he became extremely depressed. Stopped playing, stopped eating, became very listless and lethargic. I have no doubt he would have quickly followed his sister, except by serendipity I had acquired Delilah by that point and she was essentially throwing herself at poor Lahi. Her sheer determination to shower him with love gave him the strength to pull out of his grief and keep living. In the end, he lived almost double the lifespan of his sister before cancer took him last December.
When that happened, I was older and wiser—I took his body home, and allowed Delilah time to sit with him and come to terms with what had happened. This is something that is important to all animals that lose a close family member, because we can’t tell them what happened. They need time with the body to process it and help them grieve. From Lahi’s point of view, one day his sister was there, and the next she wasn’t, and he would never know why. That likely contributed a great deal to his immense grief.
When Lahi passed, Delilah was there with him, to comfort him and help him go peacefully. That was for his sake. For her sake, I brought him home. I laid him down, and in the quiet and safety of their home, gave her time with him. At first Delilah was very distressed, digging and nipping at his body. This only lasted a short while, before she began grooming him, and then lay down next to him and stayed there for several hours. This is typical behaviour many people have described in their own rabbits.
After a couple of hours, she got up, left his body, and thereafter completely ignored it. She had accepted that he was gone, that his body was empty. I knew then it was okay to take him back to the clinic for aftercare arrangements.
I didn’t go out and find Delilah a new partner, and I’ll forever regret that. I was out of work, paying vet bills for both Delilah’s ear abscesses and Lahi’s cancer had been crippling, and I didn’t think it was responsible to get another rabbit until I had better income to support medical costs. Then the pandemic hit, and by that point she had started bonding more strongly to me, hopping into my lap for hour long cuddles. I hoped she would be okay until I could financially support a second rabbit.
I was wrong.
Her abscesses got worse. The bacteria was becoming more resistant to different types of antibiotics, and was eventually diagnosed as full-on MRSA. She developed facial paralysis and permanent nerve damage, and went on more and more meds.
End of March/early April she suddenly dropped half her weight and had to be hospitalized for 5 days for extreme muscle wasting and emaciation. Every diagnostic test we could throw at her found nothing that could have caused this. That was probably the beginning of the end, and I think I knew it even then. I began reaching out to local rescues asking about fostering, but was stumped by misunderstandings around the protocols of fostering vs adopting, and let the communication drop. Delilah’s vet bills started mounting again.
We fought long and hard but when she started crashing at the beginning of this month, the list of things wrong with her wasn’t fitting on one page anymore—and the cause of a lot of it was still unknown. She lasted almost a year without her husbun, but I think that in the end… she just gave up. Delilah couldn’t continue on without Lahi.
Losing Lahi hurt like losing a child. I had him nearly all 13 years of his life. He was my little boy. It was agony.
Losing Delilah too is breaking me.
Don’t let anyone say that losing a pet isn’t equivalent to losing a family member. Your fur child is an integral part of your everyday life. Every single day I find myself attributing odd noises to bunny mischief, only to have to push back a fresh wave of grief as I remember. In quiet moments I find myself listening for the sounds of bunny feet that will never come. The holes in my life are gaping and raw and ripping me apart
I know one day it will get better. One day I will be in a better place, and open my heart and my home to new rabbits. But for now… my empty arms ache, and I grieve
Me: *Removes my cat from my lap to do something else.*
My cat: Father is…evil? Father is unyielding? Father is incapable of love? I am running away. I am packing my little rucksack and going out to explore the world as a lone vagabond. I can no longer thrive in this household.
The spiritual successor to Miette
Might I also add
May i add the piece from artist Verbal Vomit
Glad to see we’re all in agreement that cats talk like disparaged victorian children
I am so incredibly glad we finally moved on from “i can has”. Cats are clearly smart enough for advanced sentence structure and dumb enough to draw entirely incorrect conclusions about what they’re talking about.
My cat, banging the cabnet door over and over and over: bang bang bang
Me: you will not earn what you desire by banging the cabinet door.
My cat: This is a test of wills, is it not? We shall see if your ability to put up with my incessant banging outlasts my eternal lust for snackie treats. Years of conditioning have hardened me for this purpose. bang bang bang
My cat, throwing herself to the ground like she’s been shot: Oh! Oh I have been assailed in my own home! Have mercy, have pity! Surely in the cruel darkness of your heart there is some mote of goodness that might stay your hand! Do not strike me, I pray you!
My cat, after waiting about 3 minutes: bang bang bang
Can haz snackytreat
The funniest thing to me is that when Delilah was hungry and her bowl was empty, without fail she hopped out to the middle of the room and started half-heartedly eating whatever bits of hay was on the floor, as if there isn’t three full litter boxes and two massive hay racks stuffed with hay.
In other words, it’s purely performance.
“Am STORVING, mummy. Have never been fed in mine ENTIRE LIFE. So mean to poor Delilah. Am scrounging for SCRAPS off the FLOOR. Am HUNGERY LIDDLE WAIF. Gonna wither away and DIE.”
After that, she would lay down DIRECTLY up against the food bowl/slow feeder/treat ball/etc, essentially cuddling it.
The fact that she was being free-fed to try and get her weight back up and had her bowl filled morning and night… didn’t change this.
Little drama queen.
Sweet dreams, Delilah. Give Lahi a kiss for me. 💔 Gone but never, ever forgotten. Binky free, baby girl.
The vet just called. Delilah’s vitals improved overnight—her heart rate, temperature, hydration and breathing are all better, and her pain is controlled… however, she’s not doing better. She’s weak and limp, he can barely get her to swallow her meds and doesn’t dare give her critical care for fear of aspiration. He can’t even get a blood sample because while her blood pressure is fine, the flow is terrible. She keeps falling over, and at one point he found her with her face in her water bowl without drinking. Her skin has a yellowish cast that likely indicates organ failure.
I firmly believe that we shouldn’t push the human ideal of life at any cost onto our animals. I made the call for Lahi when he was permanently deteriorating and it was starting to affect his quality of life. Delilah’s quality of life has been massively impacted by all her issues and I’ve just been clinging to this idea that the deterioration isn’t permanent, that she can come back from everything and be happy again…
But it’s clear now that’s just wishful thinking. I’m calling it. There’s so much wrong with her, I can’t ask her to keep fighting just so she can continue to suffer. We fought so hard against everything but the odds are so stacked against her, all I can do now is be there and make sure she doesn’t have to suffer anymore.
My baby girl. 💔😔
Please keep Delilah in your thoughts tonight. She’s being admitted to the ICU for pericardial effusion (liquid around the heart, super rare in rabbits, they have no idea what could cause it and are worried about how to keep her hydrated without making it worse) as well as emaciation (she dropped from 1.8kg in August to 1.4kg). Her abscesses have also returned with a vengeance.
The doctor isn’t sure she’ll last the night. They let me in to see her so I can say goodby before they take her to the ICU. They’ll be putting her on fetanyl for the pain and getting radiographs to look at her heart.
My baby girl 😢 losing Delilah so soon after losing Lahi will absolutely break me but she’s in so much pain, I can’t ask her to keep fighting much longer when she just keeps getting worse.
I’m currently sitting on the steps of the OVC waiting to hear if Delilah’s okay. She wasn’t eating yesterday, so I spent all night up with her feeding critical care. She pooped a big slimy mess late this morning, which seemed to clear the blockage, but the mucus indicates intestinal irritation and she didn’t resume eating afterward, and continued to look miserable. I called an Uber and managed to get her into the OVC at 4pm. Fingers crossed for the baby girl.
On this day, 1 year ago:
“But Lahi you get food in the morning, not at—“
Their faces don’t move much but they still manage to be very expressive. Sitting in my chair reading a good story and I can just FEEL him staring me down. I’m going to cave eventually and he knows it. He’s a patient bunny. He can wait.
It’s extremely sad, but buying a pet from poor conditions at a pet store or from an unethical breeder isn’t “rescuing”. That animal will be replaced by another animal and another as long as people buy. It’s only directly supporting poor animal welfare and continued suffering.
This!!! Every now and again I hear people at my work say “oh I know exactly where these puppies come from but someone had to help him!” Okay that’s great how about instead of knowingly continuing the cycle of puppy mill abuse we actually put a stop to all of it instead of giving them more money and enabling abuse for hundreds more puppies.
Yes, I see this SO OFTEN in rabbit groups. “Look at this poor thing in these awful conditions is someone in the area to go save them?” Do not buy that animal you see for sale in conditions of horrible neglect. It’s really hard to leave an individual in suffering but buying that animal will only enable continuing abuse for countless more animals by fuelling demand.
BANANA FLAVOURED MEDS ❤️❤️❤️
August 28, 2016. Rabbits pair-bond for life, and Lahi and Delilah were so in love ❤️ I hope soon I can help her find a new husbun to love.
Delilah is doing so much better! This week, finally all the things that had been put out to help after her hospitalization have been put away. No more towels to catch pee accidents, no more boxes to help jump into the litter box… Delilah went from 2.17kg in March to suddenly dropping down to 1.43kg in May. Through a ton of work, it’s now the beginning of August and she’s been holding stable at 1.85kg for the past two months. \o/ My very good girl has been hopping around and exploring like she used to, happy and not in pain. I’m so relieved ❤️
However, the sardonic grin seems like it’s here to stay. Unable to close her lips, she now makes a PHENOMENAL mess when she eats, crumbs absolutely EVERYWHERE. You can see the massive pile of crumbs in this video that are the leftovers of a cookie.
Delilah has some VERY itchy ears! I always thought Thumper’s depiction of a bunny thumping their foot when HAPPY was false… until one day I found out that REALLY GOOD EAR RUBS results in just that.
Delilah was getting really unhappy with 2.8mls of Tramadol twice a day—it’s really nasty stuff, apparently, and she was honestly hating the sight of me. Last week the vet agreed to talk to a special pharmacy to get a more concentrated version, with added banana flavouring.
Based on Delilah’s reaction, the banana flavour doesn’t make up for how awful the Tramadol is, but now there’s only 0.28mls instead of 2.8mls, so it’s over quickly. Today for the first time in probably months, Delilah’s been happy to come spend time with me. She doesn’t seem half so miserable, which is pretty great.
Controlling an animal’s physical symptoms doesn’t help if the process is so emotionally stressful their quality of life decreases!
I bought a K&H Coolin’ Pet Pad and it just got the Sploot & Tooth Crunches of Approval from Delilah!
The nice part is it’s not powered by any electric cords, and has no gel or anything. I’m still a little worried that she might nibble on it a bit but if she does there’s no risk of electrocution or outright poisoning.
20 minutes is too soon to say for sure if it gets MY stamp of approval but for what it’s worth Delilah has taken to it right away.
At the vet again for a checkup, more blood tests! Only it’s 39°C (102°F) outside and even with the AC on full blast it is SO HOT in the car! I put a flat cold pack wrapped in a towel on the bottom of the carrier, and Delilah is neatly perched on it and looking very pleased.
Doing us a MISTY MIST to try and stay cool in this horrific heat. You can also see Delilah’s current favourite method of staying cool, a chilled ceramic tile. I don’t think she’s decided yet if the indignity of being sprayed with water is worth it.
NEVER soak a rabbit! They have difficulty drying out fully and can become very ill from wet fur. Swimming or bathing is a BIG no-no. Run a wet cloth along their ears or lightly mist them at most.
Good Delilah Monching ASMR ❤️
Did Lahi pass away? :(
Yes, in December 😢 he made it his lifelong goal to stump the vet, and so of course he went out in style by developing a malignant cancer that has only ever been seen in dogs. Once the oncology specialists finish arguing about whether or not every single test and expert is actually returning the correct results, Lahi’s case will be published in veterinary science journals as the first ever case of hepatoid carcinoma in rabbits!
Delilah and I both miss him dearly. This is a picture from the final vet appointment—we fought that cancer as hard as we could, but it spread incredibly fast and soon there was a tumour in his mouth interfering with eating. He was happily accepting a liquid diet of Critical Care, but once he started limping and couldn’t run and play anymore I knew it was time to say goodbye. His final moments were spent happily on a fluffy fleece provided by the vet, surrounded by family, with Delilah by his side.