I must start this post with a confession. I was very slightly disingenuous in Part One of the Sad Tail of Spunky The Rabbit. There was one tiny, tiny detail I left out.
My beloved cats, Sam and Peanut, both came to fairly tragic ends.
Poor dear Sam went to sleep in the garage one day, which would have been fine, except that he chose to sleep under the wheels of the car, a fact a certain family member of mine failed to notice when he turned on the ignition. Enough said.
And lovely Peanut, well, she died of feline AIDS, and no, I'm not even joking. I had no idea my cat was living a life of promiscuity and shame, but clearly that was the case (although to be honest, it is possible that feline AIDS is not actually related to sexual activity).
It seems I do not have a great track record when it comes to pets. So when we brought our little Spunky Nutella home, I shouldn't have been surprised when things did not go smoothly.
For a start, it turned out that our new pet hated us. HATED us. No matter how gentle and loving we were with our fuzzy bundle of joy, he refused to let us cuddle or pat him, choosing instead to flee across the garden whenever we came within arms reach. When eventually we sought advice from the pet shop, we were informed that 'It happens. Some rabbits just aren't friendly'. Fabulous. At least he's decorative.
Spunky also refused to be toilet trained. Actually that's not true. He was toilet trained for about a month and then, out of the blue, he decided he didn't like pooing in the designated spot in his cage, and way preferred to poo all over the garden, the steps, the outdoor furniture, and, most especially, the welcome mat. We tried poo repellent, wee repellent, Spunky repellent... NOTHING worked. We have had to resign ourselves to a life surrounded by little black pellets. There is no other choice.
Spunky also likes to dig. Now, I know that rabbits like to dig. But Spunky REALLY likes to dig. As in, to China. He digs holes the length of outdoor brooms (we know, we've measured them with outdoor brooms). We fill the holes up and he digs them out again. I have resorted to stuffing sheets - yes, real cotton sheets - into the holes to prevent Spunky from undermining the foundations of our house. Which is somewhat inconvenient when I need a change of bed linen.
In summary: Spunky has not turned out to be the cherished family member we had anticipated he would be. In fact, he is a bit of a pain. Okay, a LOT of a pain.
And then, last week, Spunky broke his leg. The family Pain was in pain.
We took him to the vet. "I can't feel any break," she said. "It's probably just a sprain. Give him anti-inflammatories for four days and keep him on cage-rest. If there's no improvement, bring him back. We'll have to operate."
"Er... at what cost?" I asked.
"Depends," she said. "Between $1000 and $2000. Poor little darling," she cooed.
My husband and I exchanged glances. The "little darling" was a PIE INGREDIENT, an unpleasant pie ingredient at that. We weren't spending $2000 on a PIE INGREDIENT.
We took Spunky home. He actually looked very sad and sweet in his cage with his paw in the air. I felt a rush of affection. My husband did too.
We gave Spunky his medicine for four days and kept him in his cage. There was no improvement. I felt strangely anxious about my pet, and strangely disturbed about him being uncomfortable. It was an unsettling experience. I didn't like him, remember?
I returned to the coast with the kids, so my husband took Spunky back to the vet on Saturday morning. "He's having Xrays," my husband told me on the phone. And bunny anaesthetic to keep him still."
"Good lord," I said. "How much will that cost?"
"All up about $200," he replied. "Plus the $70 we've already spent. We should probably decide if we want anything else done while he's under."
"Like what?" I asked.
"Cosmetic procedures," he answered. "Get his big ears pinned back?"
Still, the results of the Xray was no laughing matter. Spunky's "sprain" turned out to be a rather horrific fracture.
"$2000," my husband told me on the phone. "It costs $2000." TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS??? For a RABBIT???
I opened my mouth to say no. Spunky was not worth $2000. But then I thought of his sad face, and his poor sad paw. His poor paw. Poor paw! And I knew we couldn't say no.
But it was too late. My husband had already done so.
"I told her no," he said.
"Oh." I fell silent for a moment. "So what happens now?"
"She said she'd splint him up. It will probably work just as well."
"OH! So he's okay?"
"He's good. He's at home and very cute."
"Can I see a photo?"
And there it was. Spunky Nutella. Our beloved bunny. In his cage. Healing.
It's been a long sad tail. But I think it has a happy ending.