The story has been rumbling through my heart and my head for over a month now. With today being the 5th anniversary of her stillbirth, I was planning to put bits of surrogate baby Genevieve’s story in writing today in her honor. As much as I’ve thought about it and carried it with me every day the past while, I had not committed it to typewritten words yet. I didn’t feel quite ready for that.
Apparently I was not meant to, because plans changed at 7:30 this morning.
Three and half month old Oak woke Winnie up like usual at 7am this morning to be let out, but he usually goes back to sleep for an hour or so before getting up again for breakfast. This morning though he would have nothing of it, he fussed and fussed until Winnie relented and took him back downstairs.
That’s when Winnie found Twizzler, struggling on her side and looking not very good at all.
Not very good at all as in very very bad.
Twizzler came to us three years ago, she’d lived 6 years already as the classroom pet of a middle school science teacher. When school wasn’t in session, she sometimes lived with the teacher and sometimes was passed from temporary home to temporary home.
The teacher had a new dog (who wasn’t fond of the rabbit) and none of her students would adopt Twizzler. We got word of it and brought her home as a friend for our male dutch rabbit, Roosevelt.
For Roosevelt it was love at first sight. He adored her and preened for her and immediately offered her affection and protection. Twizzler hadn’t been around another rabbit before so was slow to warm up to him but once she did, they were smitten.
In our home she learned that all people don’t poke and prod and rattle the cage and that fresh greens and fruit stems are way more delicious than processed pellets any day. She’d run around the dining room and living room and after trying to steal your popcorn or lick your ice cream bowl, she’d jump up in your lap and check out Pinterest.
She hadn’t been spayed when we got her, so we took care of that in short order. We always joked that now that she was “married” to Roosevelt, she’d want to start a family and lamented that she’d never have a baby of her own “to raise from infancy.”
At her last vet visit a month ago, she had a lump in her breast, probably caused by the unrelenting hormones of the 6 years she wasn’t spayed. We opted to wait and see about removing the lump, since she was already on the frail side and struggled a bit after her spay. Now that 3 years had passed since then, I really doubted she could make it through another surgery.
So this morning after Oak forced Winnie to come back downstairs and she saw Twizzy suffering, she woke all of us up.
It was clear to me that trying to take her to the vet, a rabbit specialist 45 minutes away, was a bad choice. I knew she couldn’t take the stress of the car ride out there and I didn’t want her last moments with us to be in a carrier on the highway.
Aster distracted Roosevelt with some pellets to keep him away from the pen. Twiz’s fur was all crusty on her side, clearly Roosevelt had been tending to her during the night, licking and licking her in hopes of bringing her back to health.
Caty sat with her, gently stroking her until she passed, around 8:30am. We were all very glad to have chosen to stay home.
She has a lovely resting place in our front yard, under a holly bush that attracts nesting birds each spring. There will be eggs laid and baby birds hatched in the branches above her.
And she now shares a special day with Genevieve, whose story will be told another time.
Twizzy, your baby is right there with you, ready to be raised from infancy. Give her a kiss from me.