Pet tragedy

Last Saturday we had a distressing accident with one of our baby rabbits. A plank of wood which held down the rain cover over one of our rabbit hutches fell down into the hutch and hit a little rabbit named ‘Oreo’ on the head. It was a severe impact, breaking her front teeth and causing concussion and some sort of injury to her nasal passages making it hard for her to breathe.

We took her to the vet and they gave her oxygen, pain relief, and kept her as comfortable as possible. Then it became a case of waiting to see if she improved or deteriorated. She remained in the vet clinic overnight and we were pleased she survived the night. Unfortunately the blow to her head must have caused major brain trauma and severe injury to her nose because she was still struggling to breathe, was partially paralysed on her right side and seemed to still be in a lot of pain.

Our vet considered her long term chances of survival to be low and the poor little rabbit was distressed so we made the hard but hopefully humane decision to euthanise her to avoid further suffering.

I find the decision to end the life of a pet to be difficult and haunting, the internal debate of whether it was the right choice remains with me for a long time. I’ve had to make that call for two dogs in the last five years and despite it being the rationally obvious decision in both cases I still feel terrible for making that choice for both of them.

I’m well aware that in nature survival is a constant struggle for all animals and their normal state of existence is probably what I would call suffering for a pet, but as  Christian I consider this a result of the Fall rather than the original plan for creation (see Isaiah 11:6-9).

Oreo
Oreo
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Vida

We said goodbye to Vida today. She was finding it hard to get around and had lost a lot of condition but it still is hard to put a dog to sleep. She was a good friend and always happy to see us.

We got a kakabeak plant for her spot in the garden, she loved to lie under our other one and dig holes under it so now she has one all to herself. Unfortunately we are ending up with a doggie memorial area in our garden.

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Vida

Vida as a puppy

Vida as a puppy, sitting expectantly looking at the camera
Vida as a puppy, about 3 months old (this is a scanned copy of an old photo)

Vida was born in March 1999 and lived 15¾ years, a good age for a dog and she had an active life as a much-loved member of our family.

As a young dog she loved to chase oystercatchers as they flew along local beaches, running so far she disappeared from sight and coming back with a big exhausted smile (she never caught them, oystercatchers were too smart to let her get close, but I think they enjoyed taunting her).

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