Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Long Night...

Very late, last night a terrible squealing was heard outside the barn. William leapt to his feet in time to see that a very large raccoon was molesting the rabbits. Sanka was, in her loft, kicking and running. But Flopsy's hutch was open, and empty. William called to us, from the garden, and in that timeless, urgent way, everything seemed to register at once. Geoff was already running down the stairs. Maria woke startled, and I calmed her before rushing outside.

"It's Flopsy!" I heard someone say, with anguish. I thought her dead, or worse.

I ran out with towels, and dread. Geoff carried her into the light. Still breathing. Heart pumping. I did not want to know. I did not want to have to make the decision to give her mercy. This was too familiar.

Upstairs, through open windows, I could hear Maria crying. She's become practical... some call it "mature," about these kind of events... injuries, the death of pets, but this is her Flopsy bunny, and roused from sleep this way, I knew she was in her own distress. I brought Flopsy into the room, and I sang to Maria and her bunny.

"She's alive?" It was a statement, as much as an inquiry, and I was trying to assure Maria, and myself, "Yes. She's alive."

I put Maria's hand on Flopsy's body, so she could feel the bunny's pounding heart, her frantic breath. "We have to help her feel safe again. We need to make her heart beat gently."

Maria sang with me, we stroked Flopsy's back, slowly, lightly. Around her eye is a severe laceration. She was muddy. She'd been either dragged or chased around the garden.

Outside, Alex and William were tracking the raccoon, forcing him out from under the barn. Alex set the live trap. They made doubly sure Sanka, the chicas, and the goats were safe, secure. Alex patrolled the yard. William came up to learn about the Flopsy bunny.

The bleeding stopped. We found no other wounds than the one around her left eye. The eye itself appears intact, but the injury is something like a ripped upper eyelid. Still, my biggest concern was her heart giving out. As I pet her, I gently felt along her spine... bunnies very easily break their backs. She stepped forward, she stretched out. Her breathing slowed. Maria noted her improvement, her calming. We agreed this was good.

"Maria, it's good that she is feeling safer, and her heart isn't beating too fast..." and my thoughts trailed. Maria wanted to feel safe, too, "Will she live?" After midnight, with a dear pet in your arms, you want to make promises, and deliver hope, but I could not muster false hope. I reasoned with Maria, "If she can live through the night, it will be a good sign, and we can get her more help. But. If she is hurting too much, if her body wants to let go, then we will know that it's what is best for her. We'll know she needed to die." Maria understood.

Flopsy drank water. William brought a box, lined it with paper. I brought up sweet timothy hay, and we set Flopsy in the box, on our bed. She sniffed, stepped around, then drank more water. We were careful to approach her from the right, otherwise she startled.

Geoff stayed in the barn, alert to any more visits from the raccoon. Alex patrolled until dawn. Maria was sure she would never fall asleep. I read aloud, The Flame Trees of Thika. Maria said she couldn't sleep because she was thinking about Flopsy, that the story distracted her. I explained that the distraction was good. I knew the long descriptions, and slow reading would lull her back into sleep. Flopsy was in her box at the foot of the bed. An owl hooted until sunlight.

And now, Flopsy is in her box at my feet. She is eating a carrot. There is a veterinarian appointment for her, and Maria is sorry to miss it. Max, thankfully, slept though all of the excitement, and only this morning was brought up to speed. He gently examined Flopsy, and kindly expressed his concern for her. It will be a long day... for worry, for lack of sleep. And once again, we are faced with rethinking our farm security. Coyotes, bobcats, skunks, hawks, and raccoons... we've had unwelcome visits by each of these, and we should assume any of these will call again.

Flopsy is not out of the woods. I think she'll need antibiotics, at the very least. She'll have no end of affection, and tenderness. Is there more to say? I only sigh, and wish...


  1. Heck your mini farm is like a magnet school for carnivorous predators. You raise up the stock sweet and plump. Maybe the goats could be trained as sentries. Hope lil Flopsy makes a full recovery.

  2. Bless you, sweet Flopsy. You have many many people sending you good thoughts for strength, healing and calm. Be well.

  3. sending hugs of comfort to Maria and Flopsy.

    Jennifer (in california)

  4. Oh! Oh! What a terrible night for Flopsy and Sanka and your whole family. I hope all went well today with the vet appointment, and that Flopsy's heart keeps beating - slowly!. Imagine, an entire family leaping from bed in the middle of the night to rescue, stand guard, snuggle up and calm down - Flopsy must be feeling surrounded by love.

  5. Flopsy is in good hands. She is so cute too. That has to help

  6. She's in very good hands...and I hope/pray things turn out well for Flopsy.

  7. Oh no! Not a little girl's bunny! We have two and I worry about bears, coyotes, mountain lions all the time - hadn't even thought of racoons! I sure hope Flopsy fully recovers, that must have been quite a scare for her. But then ALL THAT LOVE! and the singing. So sweet.


  8. Oh! I'm so happy that Flopsy made it through the night. Maria is so sweet & mature; she could have handled it, but I'm glad she didn't have to.

  9. There are tears in my eyes and my heart is pounding with concern for little Flopsy... I so hope she will be all right. I can feel for Maria, going to school with nothing on her mind but her special pet. This is so scary. I'm so sorry it happened. It's wonderful how you all care for her.


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