Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Million Dollar Rabbit

When I was growing up, we had a little bunny named Smokey. I got him for Christmas when I was six, and he finally died when I was a sophomore in college. I honestly couldn't tell you what we did right to make him live so long. We fed him when he was out of food. We changed his cage when it smelled bad. We let him run around from time to time. We took him to the vet once because we were too dense to figure out if he was indeed a he. Basically that was it.

So two years ago, when my co-worker found a small, obviously domesticated, rabbit on his doorstep on Connecticut Avenue, I figured it would be a charming, low-cost addition to the little menagerie. Bun Scott did turn out to be an awesome little guy. Very personable, cute as hell, and compact-sized for apartment living. Even people who tend not to like animals like Bun. What could go wrong?

What indeed?

A few months later, poor little Bun stopped eating, and we took him to the bunny vet. This was, of course, after locating the apparently only bunny vet in the greater DC area, which took a bit of doing. It turns out Bun's teeth are such that they grow into his tongue, and make eating pretty painful. So twice a year, I have to plunk down $200 to get his teeth filed. Lame. But, at the time, managable.

Fast forward to the great free-fall that is 2009, where for various and sundry reasons, my financial position and access to vehicular transportation are not what they once were. No matter. I'm still making it work. Then, Bun stops eating again. His teeth are fine. He is rushed to the vet, made to stay overnight, and discovered to have a bit of hairball trouble. He comes home, is fine for 24 hours, and promptly relapses to the point where he's clearly in pain, and an emergency visit is paid to a hospital in Vienna, Va., in the middle of the night.

Turns out there is (and this is kinda gross, sorry) a bunch of hairballs in his stomach that need to be pumped out. As he is all of two pounds, this is a dangerous procedure. We do the potential goodbye visit, and I am presented with a bill for $1100. Yours truly decides six months of Are You Kidding Me? is enough, and now it is now time for a not-insignificant public meltdown, of which the good people at Pender Veterinary Hospital find themselves on the business end. After this is done, payments are arranged, the rabbit pulls through, I collect what shreds of dignity remain, and go home.

Low-maintenance my tuchas.

I don't expect everyone to get why I didn't just look at the rabbit, and call it a day. But if you know me, you know that that's just not an option. So what if he's now on so many meds that it looks like he's the John Belushi of rabbits.

He's doing much better now, and that's what's important. He hops. He eats. He poops. He does everything a rabbit should do. His poor little feet had to be shaved to accomodate IVs while he was in hospital, which is kinda pathetic and makes him look like he's wearing Ugg boots, but that's the extent of his physical scars. And considering I'm pretty sure he has the cognitive capacity of cauliflower, I don't think we need to worry about any emotional stress. For him anyway.

Though if this happens again, the little shit is hasenpfeffer.