Tuesday, April 9, 2013


This little guy was named Nimbus, and was only about 5 months old. He was transferred to the shelter from Etobicoke, where they can't keep small animals. Rabbits, like most animals, are not fully mature the instant they are weaned. People understand that puppies and kittens have different needs than adult dogs and cats, but for some reason people seem to have a hard time understanding that young rabbits have special needs too. Rabbits don't actually completely finish maturing, physically or mentally, until they hit a year old.

Because of this lack of understanding, most young rabbits that arrive at the shelter are skinny. People don't realize they need Alfalfa hay when very young, or that they need more food and more variety in order to develop properly. Sometimes, young surrenders are very skinny, and because of this, they are a little lethargic. Typically we feed them properly and they perk up in a week.
When I went to take Nimbus' photo, he was pretty quiet and inactive. I could feel that he was on the skinny side, and when I gave him a mint leaf he practically inhaled it, so I assumed he was one of the many underfed youngsters we get at this time of year. But that's not what this blog post is about.

When we went to leave the shelter a few hours later, I noticed Nimbus hunched over oddly. A closer inspection revealed that he was breathing heavily. My friend had come to the shelter to drop off a foster animal, so I sent her to fetch a staff member.
Before she got back, Nimbus began to have some sort of fit, stumbling into the walls and crashing around his cage in a panic before collapsing. Nicola, one of the staff members, arrived and she and I wrapped him up in a towel. We discussed euthanasia options but before we could do anything, Nimbus' little heart slowed to a stop and he died in my arms.

I have no idea what happened. Sometimes things happen and rabbits die. He's certainly not the first rabbit to die at the shelter and he won't be the last. I always write a blog entry when one dies, but I don't really know why. What does that accomplish?
I think I always want to write something because I want these guys to matter to somebody. Nimbus was not a member of any family when he died. He wasn't someone's beloved pet - he never got that chance. He's just another number in a records book. But he was a sweet young rabbit who never did anyone any harm, and it seems like his passing should be noted. So consider it noted.
Rest in peace, little guy.


selkie said...

Laura, i completely get why you write about the ones that die - there is something so poignant about a little life just disappearing with no acknowledgment that he ever was. What you do with your blog is tell people about them, you give them value and say, yes, you did matter. Poor little boy. At least he had some affection and some delicious food before he passed.

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