Tuesday, March 16, 2010

HEARTBROKEN

Those who know me know that I’m a strong advocate for animals. I’m not freaky about it, but it’s a subject very close to my heart. I’ve adopted many rescued animals in the last few years, including several house rabbits. Recently I helped a shelter by taking in a trio of bonded house rabbits to foster. They have their own room, plenty of toys, and lots to eat. We enjoyed them so much we planned to adopt them in a few months.

Last night I lost one of the foster bunnies to sludge. I won’t describe that particular ailment here, but if you’re interested in house rabbits, please look it up. In short, the animal can really suffer. We realized during surgery that Chris had too much damage and would not survive recovery. I was devastated. As we left the vet without him, I realized through my tears it had been quite some time since I’d experienced the loss of an animal—seventh grade—and I remembered distinctly why I hadn’t adopted another animal for at least twenty years. At one point during that ride home, I actually got angry that I did this to myself again, that I’d put myself in a position for loss and heartbreak. It’s impossible to focus on anything today except that little white bunny. I’m torturing myself with thoughts of things I could have done differently, even though the vet said we did everything in the proper order. I find it odd that death doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on me except when I experience it with an animal. Maybe it’s because our pets are our babies. I know Chris was mine.

Short story long, I had several topics in mind to blog about but none that seem important today. I’m at a loss as to how to mesh this experience with writing. Except that maybe the next time I experience rejection, that loss, I would do better to focus on everything that came before it, the enjoyment I had in writing the book. I think it’s the only way to keep moving forward.

11 comments:

M.V.Freeman said...

Hugs to you,
So sorry for your loss, its hard when an animal you love and care for dies. You have a great amount of compassion and I admire you for it.

Callie James said...

Thanks, Mary. It's a difficult day. The thing with rabbits, because they're prey animals, they don't show pain until they're almost near death. So by the time they let you know, it's too late. I think the most difficult thing is knowing he's been in pain for a while and there just wasn't any way to know. Tough bunny. He was a real sweetie.

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Animals have a way of quickly finding places in our hearts and in our family. I know it hurts, but don't let the hurt keep you from being able to enjoy your love for the other furry members of your family. They are lucky to be in such a loving and warm home.

Callie James said...

You're right, Heather. I immediately visited my other animals when I got home, and each of them sensed something was wrong. I got tons of nose nudges from the bunnies and a concerned nose-whistle from my beagle. Even my cat got in my face and stared at me seriously for a good minute.

JoAnn said...

Even though it was short, Chris had a great life thanks to you. You gave him a wonderful, loving home. And -- like your vet said -- you did everything right.

God bless you for loving animals, Callie!

Callie James said...

Thanks, JoAnn. It amazes me how attached one can get so quickly. The founder of Alabama EARS discovered Chris with his two brothers on a golf course over four years ago. She took them in from the time they were babies and she was with me last night when Chris passed away. I've had the bunnies for only four months and it feels like a lifetime. Luckily, Chris left a brother, Elliott, and girlfriend, Chaz (the bulldozer), who are bonded and have each other, which eases their loss, I think. Chaz only recently came into their circle, which is timing on God's part. Otherwise, Elliott would have been devestated. Bonded bunnies can form attachments so strong that, without the other, the remaining bunny will sometimes pass away from depression.

Jeanie said...

Callie, I am so sorry about your sweet bunny. But you gave him a safe and loving home, and compassion and care when he was sick. I am sorry you are grieving, but you have the right attitude. Remember the good things and the joy.

Callie James said...

Thanks, Jeanie. I appreciate that. :)

Louisa Cornell said...

Big hugs to you, Callie. It is so hard not to blame ourselves when we lose an animal. Like writing, while much of what happens is in our hands and grows with the care and love we give it, the ultimate outcome is always in God's hands. The hardest thing about letting him handle it is letting go of it completely ourselves.

Never, ever underestimate the gifts you gave Chris, even at the end. He had a wonderful loving home far removed from a golf course where he lived in terror or a tiny cage cleaned only when some fool remembered to do so. He had friends to play with and "parents" to love him and look after him. Never ever undervalue what simply being loved can mean to any creature. You were there when he left this world. And no matter how deeply he slept he knew that.

My mother's people believe that when we die we go to the edge of a great chasm. On the other side the Great Spirit calls together all of the animals we have encountered in our lives and asks them if we are worthy to cross the chasm into heaven. If the animals say no we are doomed to fall into the chasm, to fall forever in darkness away from the light, away from love, away from the Great Spirit for all eternity. Isn't it nice to know that Chris will be there waiting for you, waiting to tell the Great Spirit what a great Mom you were?

Callie James said...

Oh, Louisa. That story made me cry. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel better already.