I chose to adopt Rocky shortly after I had lost my precious Dusty in February 2009. Rocky looked so much like Dusty that I couldn't resist. I got him through the House Rabbit Society of Chicago. He was living in a foster home. At first, I was a little leery of adopting him, because I wondered why his foster parents didn't want him enough. He didn't seem very engaged with me or anyone else. Having followed in Dusty's footsteps, my expectations of Rocky were high. Too high. Well, as it turned out, Mr. Rocky did not have Dusty's outgoing and warm personality. Rocky was a rabbit with an "attitude" problem. |
Not surprisingly, the going was rough initially, but I eventually came to view Rocky as his own rabbit. I loved it when he would "beg" for those yogurt covered rabbit treats every morning after I got up. He would stand on his hind legs and place his front paws right on my desk chair, sometimes even touching my leg. He always wanted more than I gave, and I gave him a lot. Before the treats, though, both he and Belinda would be waiting for me to greet them in the morning with a nice back and nose rub. And, then, as an extra reward, they let me rub their backs and noses again after the treats! Rocky was very savvy in how to position himself best for this - he would sprawl out right near my desk oftentimes, so that I couldn't help but see him when I was done working at the computer. Sometimes, he would do the same thing when I was relaxing and watching tv: he would sprawl out right near me. I also loved those times when he would plop himself down on the floor and expose his belly -- which had a perfectly beautiful mane of white hair -- and, supposedly, fall asleep. I would quietly approach him - as if he didn't know it -- and start stroking his ears ever so gently - or the bridge of his nose. Sometimes he would jump up startled, but many times he just let me continue stroking him, maybe because he actually was sleeping - I don't know. But, in any case, he felt safe enough to expose his midsection to me, which I consider an honor to be so trusted by such a naturally distrustful species!
Rocky recently discovered what Belinda had learned awhile ago: sitting on top of one of the plastic boxes was euphoric! He was like a King surveying his territory so proudly. I always got a kick out of that. Sometimes the simplest things can make animals and we humans (animals that we are) so joyful.
Rocky was a very handsome mini-lop rabbit. His fur was incredibly soft, and it had what is called "agouti" or banding throughout. His fur's color was a beautiful mixture of browns, reds, and grays. He might have been bred for show purposes - I don't know, but, if he was, and there was inbreeding, that might explain his liver problems. Unfortunately, the photos shown below don't do him or Belinda any justice, except the one taken at about 1 year old.
He died much too soon. Way too soon. Assuming he was 1.5 years old when I adopted him, then he was only about 4.5 years old when he died. A preliminary necropsy suggested that he had major liver problems. A pathologist's report indicated that he had a virulent form of cancer(hemangiosarcoma) that usually starts in the spleen but spreads rapidly to other organs, including the liver. According to the pathologist, most likely Rocky's spleen burst and he bled to death. (I thank Laci Schaible, DVM, at VetLive.com for her very detailed analysis of Rocky's blood results and for her very clear interpretation of the pathologist's report, which was, of course, written in medicalese. Dr. Schaible consulted with another vet and did online research before she summarized her conclusions in an extensive and crystal clear document. I will be using her services again in the future, I am sure.) Rocky showed no signs of ill health until I took him in for a physical exam, where it was discovered that he was substantively anemic and had an infection.
This little guy grew on me over the all too few years that I was fortunate to be his caretaker, and his death has been a very traumatizing and painful experience for me. Naturally, I keep wondering what I may have done - or not done - to inadvertently contribute to his death. I just have to deal with the guilt and move on, but it is so painful to have lost this beautiful child. He will never hop around my home ever again -- just in my heart!
I had Rocky privately cremated and his ashes will be set on one of my bookshelves next to the remains of my other beloved rabbits Dusty, Cassidy and Lacey .
Rocky, my child, you will be fondly and lovingly remembered by me for the rest of my life, and both Belinda, your companion, and I miss you very much. May God bless you and watch over you forever!
May 14, 2013
May 15, 2016
April 30, 2017