RIP Andy

I received the sad news that my little bunny Andy died a few days ago, just a few weeks shy of his 11th birthday. So far as we can tell, he died peacefully of (very) old age, without suffering any illnesses aside from a little bit of arthritis. Andy and I had a complicated relationship, and I wanted to share a few stories and photos from the decade we shared together. Click through to read more.

As a child, my only desire in life was to have a pet bunny. I was born the day before Easter, and the holiday usually fell around my birthday, so I often received bunny themed gifts, and I have a very special stuffed bunny who I hold dear to my heart. Bunnies were just ingrained in me. No matter how much I pleaded with my parents for a pet rabbit, I was always denied one on the grounds of them being too expensive, or not getting along with our two Jack Russell Terriers. Then one day we met Andy. On a trip into PetCo to pick up some dog food, I was checking out the cats available for adoption via a local animal shelter, and was advised by the sales associate that they had bunnies available for adoption in the back of the store. Of course I had to see them, and I fell in love with a precious blonde mini lop with big brown eyes - not Andy - who was kind of just chilling off to the side. As I pet the silky little lop, Andy became jealous and barged forward, demanding attention. I should've seen it as a sign for our future together. I once again asked my parents for a bunny, knowing I'd be denied. And I was.
Two weeks later, we popped into PetCo and the mini lop I fell in love with was gone, but Andy was still there. He ran right up to the edge of his cage to see me. The process repeated every two weeks for FIVE MONTHS. Andy grew from a baby bunny to an adult dwarf rabbit, and I was still in love with him. On one visit right before Thanksgiving, a sales associate told me Andy would be leaving soon in place of a more adoptable rabbit, and I was heartbroken. I'd bonded so much with this bunny, and I went home and cried about him. Without my knowledge my mum and my boyfriend at the time, Erich, decided to adopt Andy for me. On Black Friday, when everyone else was going out to score a deal at the mall, they took me out under the guise of needing something from the store, and they took me to get Andy. I'm pretty sure it was one of the happiest days of my life. I finally, after 8 years of asking for one, got my bunny - the perfect one, in my eyes (at the time).
Andy came home with me, and after a few days of settling in, his true personality came out. He was demanding, obstinate, and only wanted attention on his terms. I'd done a ton of research on rabbits in my bid to get a bunny, and I knew they weren't as affection or playful as a cat or dog, but I was still a little taken aback by how the affectionate little guy I'd been playing with for five months no longer wanted anything to do with me - unless he wanted his litter box cleaned. He never changed. Til the very end, he wanted things HIS WAY. He'd knock his litter box over if he deemed it too dirty (he used it perfectly by the way, and NEVER had a single accident in his life!), throw his bowl against the bars of his cage if he was hungry, and would rattle the cage door when he felt like it was time to come out for a run. He got into anything and everything when he was left loose in the house, and needed to be watched like a hawk. He was a naughty, grumpy bunny.
He was a naughty, grumpy bunny, but he was still my baby boy. When I'd catch him in the right mood, we'd nudge a tennis ball back and forth, or play tug of war with a paper plate. He loved to shake baby rattles, and dig at phone books. His absolute favorite treat was a slice of banana, which I taught him to stand up to beg for. When he was scared, cold, or had an upset tummy, he'd cling to me and burrow into my hoodie or a blanket in my lap and stay there for hours. I cherished the rare times he'd let me hold and pet him. Despite not being very affectionate to humans, he developed a close relationship with our dog, Missy. He loved to groom her and sit close to her - sometimes he'd chase her playfully, even though she was more than twice his minuscule size (he weighted a whopping 3.5lbs/1.5kilo). He was tiny, but had a huge personality. He was a well known personality among my friends and neighbors, and was adored by his vet who praised him as one of the healthiest rabbits she'd ever seen. As Andy grew older and older, surpassing his expected life span in perfect health, I'd joke that he was too grumpy to die - he'd probably bite death (though he'd only bit me once).
I left Andy in the care of my mother, his 'gram', when I moved to Australia two years ago, and I knew I'd never see him again. He was coming up on his ninth birthday, and was frisky as ever, but he did let me have a short cuddle before I left for the airport. I'm struggling to process his death a little, because I wasn't there, and hadn't seen him in so long. I'm sad but in a way it doesn't feel real. My mum, who is a very softhearted animal lover, is really grieving his loss, as is Missy.
Andy wasn't the sweet little bunny I'd always fantasized about. I often use him as a cautionary tale when people get googly eyed over little baby buns. I loved him very much nonetheless. While I now have Caroline, an extremely different bunny (who also isn't the bunny I always wanted, but much closer), no one can take the place of Andy in my heart - he'd bite them if they tried.

RIP ANDY JUNE 10 2007 - APRIL 28 2018. 

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