Why do people spend thousands of dollars on their pets and their veterinary care? Like Judas Iscariot, some folks balk at the very idea of spending that much for what they perceive as an extravagance. What those individuals don’t understand is that the companionship of a beloved pet can’t be measured in monetary terms.
Mark was one such animal. Back in July of 2008, a local woman called me about two bunnies that she rescued from her cousins. They had lost interest in the bunnies and had left them outdoors in tiny cages, enduring the summer heat. I didn’t want any more rabbits at first but I finally adopted the pair.
I was captivated by the sweetness of both rabbits when the woman brought them over. Both were Dutch bunnies but with chocolate brown markings rather than black. One I named Carolyne and the other Mark.
Once the bunnies got to know me, their characters blossomed. Carolyne was outgoing and a licky rabbit while Mark was more laid back. Both animals enjoyed being petted, especially after I had them spayed and neutered. We spent many happy hours together as the months passed by.
After a year, both rabbits developed cheek abscesses. The local vet never prescribed any antibiotics for them since the liquid he extracted from the abscesses was clear. He assumed it was saliva. Since I have a hard time finding rides, I felt reluctant to travel to a distant vet for better treatment of my bunnies. I wish I had found somebody reliable.
Carolyn died of bloat in August of 2009 but Mark lived on. His abscesses got worse and the local vet finally removed a large, foul-smelling swelling from his chin in January of 2012. Because of that man’s callous treatment of my bunnies over the years, I searched for a rabbit-savvy vet and somebody to drive me there. I finally got Mark to a good clinic an hour’s drive away. After all sorts of tests and an X-ray, the vet determined that Mark had bad teeth as well as a thymoma or lymphoma on his lungs. He also had a bad abscess which was drained that afternoon. Marks teeth were burred as well since the tooth pain prevented him from eating hay properly. It cost me more than $900.00 but at least I had a proper idea of what was wrong with my fur-clad lad.
After another vet appointment in November, in which I paid $300.00, the vet gave me the bad news that Mark’s problem was hopeless. The infection went into his jaw bone and antibiotic beads would only prolong his life temporarily. I’m on a disability pension so paying thousands more for treatments was out of the question. The clinic gave me some Metacam for Mark’s pain and Chloramphenicol to fight the infection. By the beginning of this month, I saw that Mark was feeling miserable because the medicines ran out.
A neighbour drove me to a clinic, about 45 minutes away, on January 18th. It was a hard decision to make but I decided that my Dutch dude would be better off out of his misery. Instead of handing Mark’s body to me in a black trash bag, as the local vet had done with euthanized bunnies in the past, the clinic staff covered him with the towel in the carrier. Ten days later, they sent me a signed sympathy card.
I’ll never forget Mark. He loved canned pumpkin and went wild when he knew it was coming. Check out my www.youtube.com/ve6xtc channel to see him and some of my other bunnies. By the way, I wrote about my adventures with my long-eared friends in When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies). Check it out at my Bruce Atchison’s books page.