"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Bunminster was a mini lop, aged 8 and a 1/2, a former local football star, followed by thousands on Bunstagram, named after the renowned inventor and scientist Buckminster Fuller, bun-wed three times and partly responsible for his humans getting married. He was, as several people put it, a "little legend".
Adopted from our niece together with his first bunwife, the late Bunzilla, he was the cutest little bun with a teddy bear face, sable-coloured fur and soft brown eyes. He had the usual rabbit distaste for being picked up, but on the ground he was quite the snugglebunny. He was also known as Dude, Puppyslug, Grumpy Tuftybutt, Idiot, Grumplebunskin, Boo and Bunnyboo. He’s been with us for seven years and we love him sooooo much.
We spent a lovely last day with him yesterday but we've actually been worried about him for several years, having nearly lost him in 2017. This time, it was a lump underneath his ear that kept refilling after being drained. An operation was an option but risky, despite having a rabbit-savvy vet in Rebecca at Oaks Vet in Cotteridge. It would have left him with an open hole in his ear but also there were no guarantees the problem would resolve. Without an op, he was facing horrible middle ear infections and possible brain abscesses. He was in discomfort at this stage, and in pain from the treatment, but still being very rabbity, running around and eating and even chasing Clem (bun wife no3) round the garden a few days ago.
And so we made that terrible decision and we have to hope it was the right one. Someone said it is the final act of love but that doesn't make it any easier.
Because of Covid-19 and social distancing, we were unable to be with him at the end, so I asked Pete to tell the vet that he liked a cheek and head rub, and apparently the nurses gave him lots of cuddles. He passed away peacefully and loved.
We brought him home for burial but also to show Clem so that she can understand what has happened and that her bonded bun has gone. She sniffed delicately at him while he was still warm and briefly groomed him before figuring it out, in whatever way animals understand things, that this was her mate but also no longer her mate. (This tactic is said to help speed up the grieving process in rabbits and she was eating normally afterwards, which is the big worry, when rabbits stop eating.)
At sunset we buried Bunminster under a raised flowerbed – in the same bed as Bunzilla's ashes – with treats and purple aubretia and bluebells. He still looked amazingly cute. We'll plant flowers there in a couple of weeks once it's safe.
We raised a glass to him, shifting up the garden as the shadows drew long, and ended up in a philosophical discussion about whether animals know they are dying, and not having a concept of death, and is it better not to know or to know, and having the power to end suffering. It felt very pertinent to the human situation right now.
We had a lot of lovely, thoughtful messages from friends, family and Bunminster's fans. Every one set me off yesterday. But today was easier and emptier of emotion, kind of like how you feel drained but also free after a funeral.
A couple of messages are worth reposting here in the context of an obit for a beloved furry family member.
"Bunminster that I followed many years on IG gave me such comfort, especially during a few years of personal hardship. Thank you little, handsome fellow. Much love tomorrow. Never forgotten. Always in our hearts."
"I’ve loved the stories of Bunminster since the start, and it’s so sad that his story is ending."
"He really fell on his paws when he moved in with you. Glad he enjoyed his day in the sun. Heartbroken it may be his last."
"So sorry for you both, but so grateful to you for giving Bunminster such an fantastic life."
Binky free over the rainbow bridge, little Dude. x
Donate to Fat Fluffs rabbit rescue here: http://www.fatfluffs.com/donate/