Thirteen Years

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This bunny-girl is dying.  And has been, for more than a few weeks.

But she’s 13 years old and it’s hard to say that it isn’t time.

When she was young and we were young – like, really young – we would walk down to the local, boutique (read: overpriced) grocery and buy her organic vegetables and fruits for her “veggie ball” and then sit down to ramen noodles and admire her cuteness.

Once, I splurged on a $20 pair of sandals from Dillard’s. It was an extravagant purchase at the time, when ramen noodles were a staple.  I sat them on the floor and later that evening found that one of the straps had been chewed mercilessly.  The next day I took those sandals back and innocently told the cashier “I don’t know…it looks like some sort of rodent may have gotten to these?” I still feel guilty. Mostly because I called her a rodent, when she was so much more.

My husband had a gaming system from his youth, which traveled from Iowa to Kentucky to Arizona, and then met its demise by being at just-the-right-height for a little bunny to gnaw through.  Similar tragic ends came to the printer, the stereo, a pair of Nikes, a window screen, the duvet cover, and one leg of a dresser.

But still, each week we would walk to the local, boutique (read: overpriced) grocery and buy her organic vegetables and fruits for her “veggie ball” and then sit down to ramen noodles and admire her cuteness.

Three years and a dog later, when it was time to leave our little apartment in Arizona, we moved our bed to find that over the course of time, she had eaten ALL of the cheap, nylon carpet underneath.  That day, we decided that organic vegetables and fruits, maybe weren’t a necessity.

And now, here we are, in the final hours.  And she’s eaten nothing but bunny-fruit-loops (basically, bunny-crack) and yogurt chips for the past three months. We don’t admire her cuteness anymore (because dying bunnies, aren’t really that cute).  And we’ve moved from ramen noodles to something more substantial.

But we tell stories and remember-whens.

We remember how soft she was (because dying bunnies, aren’t really that soft).

And how no one, could ever get her name right. (Sniffles, Snuffles, Snickers, Fluffy, Thumper…)

We remember the first, and only time we put a leash on her.

Or how in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, my grandmother found such delight in watching her hop from behind the television to her outdoor deck area, exclaiming with a high pitched squeal, each time she’d appear!  And then, how years later, when Alzheimer’s had taken every recognizable thing from my Grandmother, she still brought a little joy to the room with her fuzzy head and little bunny-butt.

We roll our eyes with jealousy, at her special adoration of my Father (she seemed to love it when he would play the drums!) and her tendency to sell the farm over a yogurt treat (of which, my Mother over-indulged her, when trying to win her affection!).

And we remember all the churches that she’s been in (a total ‘E and C’ Christian), tolerating finger pokes and ear pulls and children’s delight.

She’s been a constant in our lives. For thirteen years.  Like when we were young – really young – and we would walk down to the local, boutique (read: overpriced) grocery and buy her organic vegetables and fruits for her “veggie ball” and then sit down to ramen noodles and admire her cuteness….

And we’re better for it.

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Goodbye bunny-girl.  Goodnight sweet Shuffles.

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