Enough time has passed for me to be able to put this in words.

After the sudden death of Max I was between pets and was looking for another rabbit, so in the fall of 2004 I went to the Vancouver SPCA to see what bunnies they had. I had a few specific things I was looking for: I didn’t want a lop or a dwarf, and I wanted a larger rabbit with big ears.

After looking around I found a brown rabbit of unknown pedigree named Antonia; she needed a home so I “borrowed” her for a week to make sure we were a good fit. After the week had gone by I was sure I wanted her so I filled out the paperwork and she was mine.

When you get a shelter animal you’re expected to have them spayed or neutered if it hasn’t already been done, so I made an appointment with the vet to have her spayed. When I went to pick her up after surgery the vet asked me into his office and informed me that it wasn’t until they’d opened her up that they noticed that not only didn’t she have any girl bits, she’d never had any– she was a neutered male. So much for assuming the shelter staff knew how to check a rabbit’s sex.

Anyway, from that point on Antonia was known as Antoine.

My rabbits have tended to have unusual names such as Judah Bun-Hur, “KISS’s Toblerone” (the pedigree name of Toby), Chip (so called because he had a piece missing from one ear, the result of a difficult birth), and Max (named after one of the characters in the Sam and Max Computer game series). Antoine’s full name was:

“Louisiana Back Bay Bayou Bunny Bordelais, a la Antoine.”

(Yeah, I like Bugs Bunny cartoons – so sue me)

I’m sure unnecessary surgery didn’t improve his disposition any, but Antoine was always a bit of a cranky fellow. He never bit, but he certainly didn’t like it when you made sudden moves around him – rabbits are prey animals but I’ve been around enough of them to know that his reactions were a bit more pronounced than usual. While I don’t know for sure, my guess is that he was either a school pet or kept by kids who would poke him through the bars of his cage.

Still, Antoine settled into our lives and made himself at home. Even though he was never a snuggle bunny you could tell that he enjoyed being petted because he’d get up from wherever he was watching the world go by and come over to pester you when he felt you weren’t giving him the proper amount of attention. He especially enjoyed having his ears lightly stroked and strangely enough, if you scratched his butt he’d start reflexively licking the floor.

Everything was going well until a few weeks ago when he stopped eating. In rabbits this is Not A Good Thing and we started taking steps to resolve the problem; things seemed to be improving when he suddenly took a turn for the worse.

I was downstairs with him when he suddenly hopped upstairs to visit my wife (she said he ran around and binkied a couple of times) and as he came downstairs I heard a loud thump as if he’d lost his balance and fallen. I found him lying at the bottom of the stairs, breathing heavily, and before I could do anything he had what appeared to be a heart attack and died.

I think he knew his time was coming and he wanted to say goodbye before he went, which is why he went upstairs that one last time.



Good bye, Antoine. I miss you.

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