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Forum RAINBOW BRIDGE My Journey with a rabbit – Mine and George’s account of the last decade

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    • George the mini Lop UK
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        George Dobson

        My beautiful boy mini-lop

        George was my first and only mini-lop breed (but I had other rabbits before)

        26 August 2013 – 20<sup>th</sup> November 2023 – Ten Years, Two Months

        (I classed the 26 August as his birthday as this was when I believe I collected him, its more likely to be July when he was born)

        Me and George live in Southeast England.

        Today (21/11/2023) I am burying my little George.

        I love rabbits. They have always been my favourite animal and brought me joy. I had other rabbits over the years but George was my companion and my connection to him was on another level.

        George’s and my story together started in 2013. I already had two rabbits called Little Girl and Big Girl. Big Girl died very young at one year old. The two of them were a pair of bonded sisters. I saw a advert in a shop window for free baby rabbits to good homes and I jumped at the chance. I have taken care of pet rabbits before, so I was happy to bring these two girls home.

        Once Big Girl died expectedly, I decide my remaining rabbit Little Girl needed a friend. So I went looking for adverts online. I saw mini lops for sale, myself and my mum went out on a nice sunny summer afternoon to see the mini lops. (I think this was the last week of August 2013) I was 26 and had recently passed my driving test a few months before and had my first car. I drove myself and my mum to go see them.

        The family that was selling the rabbits lived in a nice house in a small beautiful village out of town. The family were also cat breeders we found out when we arrived. They had these were a very unusual breed of white cats that were docile. The family that sold George to me had their grandmother there that afternoon. The rabbits they were selling were cared for and bread by a young girl as a hobby. I waited in the kitchen lounge area, and she brought a few into me and place them on the table. Two of the mini lops were like two twin brothers, both white mini lop babies. They were both boys and brothers. They were adorable. I will value this memory forever. I was unsure which to take home and talked with my mum. The choice I made was the start of mine and George’s journey together, I took and wanted the smaller of the two boys and paid the best £30 of my entire life.

        I had a ‘Build a Bear’ box (carboard box with handle) that I brought with me for carrying/transporting the George and it seemed okay. The grandmother at sellers family house thought it was hilarious and said it’s a good fit and unexpected suitable box for carry the rabbit home.

        I chose the name George as it was the same name as Prince George that had just been born in the royal family around the same time.

        Later in Georges life a few times many years later when George was six or seven, I wondered and said to my mum ‘what would it have been like if I took both brothers’ My mum said it would have been very different and you would not have gotten to know George as well or it wouldn’t have been the same dynamics. I agree with this as I think if I took both George and his brother, I would not have truly known George on the same level.

        Once I got George home and to introduce him to Little Girl… George and Little Girl did not get along. I used all the techniques to bond them I could find online but Little Girl would bite his head. George was still a very small baby and very young and I thought I can’t leave them unsupervised together. So, they were two separates unless they were together with me.

        The first year we had George, myself and my mum thought we had a giant moth infestation as we kept finding holes in our clothes and tee-shirts, I even went around looking for moths one day and trying to work out where the holes came from in my favourite shirts and jumpers. We had such a laugh when we realised it was when George when we held him against us and he would have a nibble and quick bite of our clothes.

        I was close with my grandmother and saw her very regularly. The following year that got George in 2014 I invited my grandmother up to our home. I picked Nan up and drove her to my house, we sat in the garden with my two rabbits. She held both George and Little Girl. She loved George and stroked him, and we sat having tea in the garden with the two rabbits. This is one of my last memories before my grandmother had a stroke and passed away. I was happy that she got to see George and know him.

        I decided early on George and Little Girl were too different (and different breeds) and could not live together permanently as a couple. At this time George had always been separate. I decide I wanted to breed George and Little Girl and hopefully one of the offspring of Little Girl had would be her bonded friend to live with.

        This plan was successful and George became a father. Little Girl now had a friend, her daughter and I had an infant of George. I was also relived as I had a worry if anything happened to George or Little Girl I had their family. Over the many years Little Girl and the child rabbits passed away of natural causes and lived their lives. The children of George did not look like mini lops and took after their mother Little Girl in appearance and seemed to be larger than the dwarf father George.

        George lived the longest and was with me until the end by himself until he passed away yesterday 20th November 2023.

        Originally, George lived outside in the outhouse in a cage directly opposite Little Girl so they could see each other, and I moved the cages directly in front of each other at times so they could be close. In the summer months in George’s first few years, I moved the cage from the undercover out-house to in the garden during the summer with the other rabbits. Then I moved the cages back in the winter. He lived with the others outside in his own hutch. I had three hutch’s in total, George was alone so he received the maximum of attention and being brought in doors.

        I would place George in the run but divided so he could see and speak 😊 to the other rabbits in his family. But unfortunately they would bite his head. So had to have a fence dividing the run. But he would speak very regularly and stood at the cage bars, he loved looking in and watching them up close.

        I bought a indoor hutch and then George moved indoors as a permanent house bunny around him being 3 or 4. He was my only mini rabbit. We had his hutch in the Livingroom . George was like a little dog and we would let him run round like he was like a little dog my mum would say. My mum loved George and she would hold him and speak to him everyday, and he would run in and out the house. He would look at my mum and run out the kitchen and backdoor and then come in again into the house Livingroom look around then go back outside.

        George would sit with us on the sofa in the evening and of course he kept his trademark habit of biting holes in our clothes, I even had my special George holding Tshirt at one point so he could sit with me while I watched TV.

        Major surgery for George. George had a mutated toe. One of his toes grew three or four times its size. It was also like a burnt scaly skin to it. I took him to a vet I visited before as it was a good location for me. I had been to this vet before but had a low opinion of the friendliness of staff and condition of the building. This vet said it was an infection and gave him antibiotics. I decided to get another opinion and went to a different vet practice with better reputation though slight more expensive and a little out of town. This is the vet I have used ever since, and they are really good. I recommend them greatly. I would now not go anywhere else.

        This vet told me George had a mutant abnormal toe. Also, he would have to have it removed via surgery. They said luckily, they could remove it easily from his paw joint. I took George in a few days later and he had his toe removed. The days after collecting him I was obviously worried but he did really well.

        My and my mum made a joke he was a little freak of nature, and nothing could stop him. The night we brough him home from having surgery he kept taking the wrapped bandage around his paw. He would not keep it on. I remember looking at his paw and it looked dreadful and I could see stiches and it was looking horrid. I remember thinking he can’t get this dirty or he will get an infection. He was such a little thing and I thought he must be a real little fighter to manage his large toe being removed completely from the joint.

        The vet said it wouldn’t affect his balance or being able to put his paw down. They were right when it healed you would never have known he was missing a toe. Literally not at all. It was zero notable and he hopped and moved as normal. I forgot as the years went on it and it became a long distant memory as it was not something that changed him. I never knew why he had the mutation I just guessed it was breeding genetics. To me it made him more unique and special.

        George was very sweet he never bit or scratched and was very docile and tame. This was his breed as mini lop. I learnt this breed of rabbit are known for their very good temperaments and personalities. In 10 years, he was very rarely in a bad mood and loved attention and being held and picked up and made a fuss off.

        When I was on holiday with my family in Spain and few times over the years we always spoke how we missed George and after ten days we wanted to go back and see him and how we were all ready to go home so we could see George.

        One day when I was at work my mum had him out of his cage to run in and out the back door. She could not find him anywhere for the first time. George’s presence was notable, and she thought he got out the house. She panicked and called around our neighbours and had people looking up and down the street for a little white rabbit. Only to turn out he was hiding in the living room asleep.

        My family got our first ever dog a puppy in October/November 2018. Therefore, I bought a brand new upgraded indoor hutch and George‘s hutch location moved from the living room to my bedroom in his new hutch. My mum bought online an indoor playpen for rabbits that could be folded. So he could still come downstairs. George pretty much destroyed it almost in a few days as it was made of fabric and he kept chewing it to bits.

        My family wanted a dog and we put off finding one for many years as we said we had George and he was like our little lap dog. When talking about dogs with my mum we said we would like one but George is keeping us busy and he is like our little dog. The only difference when we finally got a family puppy was that George moved upstairs and got a new hutch. He also no longer roamed the house.

        The puppy was a family pet and bonded with my mother. My mum is the owner of the dog and became her master. I love this dog but it is my mums dog and with her majority of the time. George and I grew even closer together. He was in my bedroom for many years until he passed away yesterday.

        I saw him a little companion and a friend. I would see him when I wake up every day and before I went to bed, “Goodnight Georgie” Always when I was in my room doing stuff, Also when I worked from home I had my desk set up and he would watch me. When I got home from being out I would come home go straight to my bedroom to change, George would hear me and suddenly look up and perk up with me arriving. He would also look around when I turned the lights on every morning he was still observant until the end of his life.

        I would take him out and let him walk about on my bed and speak to him. I would also in evenings take him out and put him on the sofa. He destroyed his cushion I would put him on. He would chill out and fall asleep while I watched TV. He would hop on me sometimes then hop off. Some of my names for him was George-Gin & Georgey

        He loved being stroked and petted. His yearly moulting of hair was something else entirely. I will always remember helping him shred his white coat then as the years went by light grey. I would sit on the sofa and help him move some of if off him thinking we would be close to getting free of it, but I would take him out his cage again another day later and it just kept coming. I used to enjoy the mess it made and tidy up of all the floating fluffs of fur

        Sunday 12 October, I noticed he had a sticky eye and it was only a little crusty and it was something I took notice of but it was not really bad or soar or pink / inflamed at this stage. But I was monitoring it and cleaned with cotton pads and was going to keep my eye on it.

        Sunday 19 October – I took him out brought him downstairs and sat on the sofa to spend the evening with him on the sofa. I bathed his eye that I noticed now I would take him to the vet to get drops it was not really bad but the eye didn’t improve.

        I noticed George fell asleep on a book while I was watching TV this evening which I noticed as unusual. I picked him up put him on my chest and stroked him for ten to twenty minutes then moved him so he feel asleep right next to my face while I watched TV. Cuddled up. That night when I put him back in his cage, I noticed he was going to move himself understairs hideaway part of his cage, which he never does.

        I thought to myself before getting into bed oh god what’s wrong with you. I moved him to his normal sitting spot and he led on his side which he never does and he was lying in a odd position. I knew he was unwell, and it was not good. It was around 11:00pm and he did not look like he was in pain or discomfort. He was just very sleepy and wanted to sleep. I could tell this was the end that I feared and dreaded so much.

        I asked my mum if I should hold him or leave him in peace. I thought that night was the night he is going to die. I left him in his cage, and I decide to sleep on the floor next to it and rested my hand close to him for the night.

        But during the middle of the night, I took him out and held him in my arms while he was asleep for hours. I told work I could not come in that Monday. I called vets and took him in. The vets we use I really like, that operated on him many years before and they have a good reputation. I took George in as an emergency case and the vet said to me they would do tests and blood work and IV fluids and raise his low temperature and try to get him eating, I was to go and they would call me in two hours.

        We left him at the vets and I waited nearby with my mum and I felt better and was feeling optimist and so was my mum. We felt he would be okay and could pull through and we felt like there was a chance for him to make it pass this. I waited anxiously in a Starbucks coffee just around the corner from the vets for a few hours with mum talking about George.

        It got just before 5:00pm and we were expecting a call from the vets but we couldn’t take the wait and any longer we called ourself slightly before 5:00pm

        We spoke to the vets and had to wait on hold. We were outside the coffee shop now with loud speaker on the phone.

        The vet said

        We got his temperature up but unfortunately it lowed down again. He is more stable. We got him eating food from a syringe. But unfortunately, we found a large lump on his rib cage on one side. Due to his age and condition, we are not comfortable operating and removing it. The best thing to do would put him to sleep.

        The vet spoke about cremation and how this process would happen also the putting George to rest. The cremation or burial decision was going to be the hardest I ever made. I had a short 40 minutes to decide and spoke with my mum and messaged close friends for opinions.

        We got back to the vets, and I burst into tears at reception and couldn’t speak to form words. The kind receptionist worked out who I was and I sat down. I cried in the waiting room and tried to compose myself and did so. I am not someone to get upset easily but this was at my point of despair, my little George.

        We were taken into a side room and George was brought in. I got to spend some time with him. I sat in the room with just my mum, and I stroked George and kissed him on the head. He was not himself and I decided not to take any last photos as I told myself this was not how I want to remember him. I told my mum I was ready, so she left the room to tell reception. I was completely alone with George for a minute. This was where I felt my bond, I spoke to him and looked him right in the face and I could see and tell that he still could see and I knew he still had his hearing. I know in his little head he registered it was ‘his human’ with him. That minute with George was a real moment – I do not have the words to describe it. Looking right at him with our faces close together I kept stoking him and gently reassuring him.

        The vet spoke about if they wanted to inject him after we had gone also if we wanted cremation. I will not go into too much detail making this about the end of his life. But I made the choice I had to be with him holding him while he passed on. Also, I felt I could not leave him there at the vet clinic. George had to come back with me even if he was no longer alive. It was a deep and thought-out decision I had little time to prepare but I this was the choice I made with quick pros and cons. I took him home to be buried.

        It is now a few hours ago I held him as he was put to sleep peacefully at the vets in my arms. I have dreaded this day for years. I remember speaking to colleagues at work two three years ago saying how I would not be able to comprehend and cope with losing him. I remember other conversations with my work friends about how I worry about the day I lose him.

        I have thought many countless times I must take more photos I must keep doing “photoshoots” I need to honour his memory before he dies, and I need to celebrate him. I do feel grief and the common traits of grief tremendously. I did not expect for him to die the day he did. I thought he would last longer another year or two and thought he was a robust little thing after his surgery when he was younger and pulling through. He was also a very health rabbit with no health problems or conditions at all over the years other than his toe. He was very healthy and well.

        George has taught me in life change is inevitable. When I first arrived day one home with him his fur was paper white like snow and slowly over time, he went grey. It was never notable by me but only when I thought back and look back at old photos. George was grey in the end, and I have noticed I have grey hair coming through at the front of my head. I feel like me and George had gone grey together in the last decade. George’s life has taught me I want to be a better person. He has changed my life for the better.

        I will miss his presence in my bedroom and not being there watching over me.

         

        Here is a mixture of photos from various points of the years

         

         

        [gallery ids="1993050,1993051,1993052,1993053,1993054,1993055,1993056,1993057,1993058,1993059,1993060"]


      • George the mini Lop UK
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          I have made a YouTube video to honor George https://youtu.be/SdwXfsZtlNE?feature=shared

           

          I speak about my time with him. Thank you


        • Bam
          Moderator
          16929 posts Send Private Message

            (YouTube link checked by Bam).

            I’m very sorry you lost George. He was a beautiful rabbit. 10 years is a long rabbit life and it seems he was only ill for a short time, which is a blessing. I’m glad you got to be with him when he left for the Rainbow Bridge.

            Your tribute to him is beautiful. He was very lucky to have you as his human. I cried when I watched your video, but I also felt happy for him, he got to have such a long and happy life filled with so much love.

            Binky free, sweet George


          • DanaNM
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            9038 posts Send Private Message

              I’m very sorry for your loss and that was a very beautiful tribute. I agree 10 years is a wonderful old age for a rabbit, although of course it’s never long enough.

              (((Binky free George)))

              . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  

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