Tuesday, 22 February 2011

NEVER HAVE A PET IF YOU'RE POOR.

Is this a cruel thing to say to people on a fixed income? I don't think so. Six years ago, the high natural gas prices and my mortgage payments crippled my budget. Then, at the worst possible time, my beloved bunny, Gideon, became Ill. From When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), here's the agonizing dilemma I faced.

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One morning, I heard Gideon grinding his teeth. When I approached him, he seemed to be in a lot of pain. Having lived with rabbits for years, I could tell the difference between his contented tooth purr and that agonized gnashing sound.

Something was wrong with my bunny.

When I reached down to comfort Gideon, he became startled as if he hadn't notice my hand approaching until it touched his head. I knew the poor guy's right eye had cataracts, so I presumed that his left one must also have gone blind.

Wretchedness consumed me as I heard my beloved bunny suffering. I was torn between maxing out what little credit I had left and getting Gideon to the vet or waiting until February when I'd receive my pension. I'm ashamed to admit that I procrastinated once again.

Since I was broke and couldn't even leave town, I decided that there had to be something I could do that wouldn't cost money. I thought that maybe giving Gideon baby aspirin would help. After putting the pill in the syringe, I sucked up some
freshly boiled water to dissolve it. Gideon hated being medicated, but I knew that he would be sure to receive every bit of the dose if I used the syringe. If I put it in his water, he wouldn't get all the medicine, plus debris and germs would pollute it.

I continued my makeshift treatment for three weeks, but my dear boy kept grinding his teeth. Throughout January, I debated taking him to the vet. It would be an expense with no guarantee of success and my past experiences at the clinic weren't very encouraging. I often wondered if they really knew what they were doing.

I was also worried about exhausting my friends with my need for rides. Some had given me the impression, in a nonverbal way, that I was spending too much on what they
considered a pet fit only for children.

By the end of January, when nothing seemed to work, I gave in and made an appointment to see the vet. After lunch, I put Gideon in Esther's carrier.

It was getting harder and harder to pick my poor bunny up. He once trusted me implicitly, but that day he squirmed like a wild rabbit. He had become uneasy of late and he paced in the carrier as I sat on the basement steps, waiting for our ride to arrive. When my friend Helen took my beloved bunny and me to the clinic, we dropped my dear lad off.

After we returned from shopping, Dr. Doktor told me that Gideon had a small infection on his rear and that I was supposed to give him a butt bath each night for a week. Then the vet gave me six syringes of antibiotic and said I should put it in Gideon's drinking water. I reminded him of what the folks on the
PetBunny list had said about contamination and he agreed that it would be all right for me to squirt the contents directly into his mouth.

Giving Gideon the antibiotic each morning and evening was a struggle because he hated being carried. Fortunately, all the Medicam went into his mouth and not all over me. My bunny boy sure did try hard not to swallow it.

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When a Man Loves a Rabbit contains many more fascinating stories of life with house bunnies. These range from the tragic to the hilarious. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me directly if the comment form doesn't work.