Monday, January 30, 2017

A Much Loved Bunny ~

Hello my friends!
Your visits always bring joy to my day.
Thank you, for the sweet comments you so graciously bless my heart with.
The photos in this post are not in order of what I am sharing with you,
just random from the day we brought Lakota home to his passing.
God bless you!


On Tuesday January 24th the life of our precious rabbit, Lakota,
came to an end peacefully as he rested  in the loving arms of my husband. 
Lakota reached his 8th birthday two days prior to his passing,
a birthday we didn't expect him to see after a health issue
that began on December 5th over one year ago. 
A parasite (which is common in rabbits) went to Lakota's brain,
he had an inner ear bacterial infection that brought his immune system down.
Lakota then got what they call "Head tilt" a balance disease. 
Head tilt in rabbits is difficult to cure. Treatment often takes weeks
or even months of medication and supportive care.
The key is commitment,  perseverance and a lot of love.
In most cases your bunny can be back on their feet and doing binkys,
 but unfortunately that was not the case with Lakota.
You can Google or U Tube Head tilt in rabbits, but let me forewarn you, it's a sad sight. 
With the help of our veterinary and her assistant, 
we chose to care for Lakota rather than put him down. 
In many cases people will put their precious pets down
believing they will not return to normal, we were willing to go the distance
and take the chance that Lakota would be well again. 
We're thankful we made that choice, because this past year
through heartache and tears yes, but oh such enjoyment and love we experienced
as we cared for him and looked after his many needs
hopeful day after day that he just might pull out of it.
A couple of months after he was diagnosed it was looking promising 
until the parasite returned and made another attack, 
this time with no hope of coming out normal. 
But what is normal? 
No, he wasn't able to walk or even stand at times,
but he fought to be a rabbit and we owed it to him to go the distance
as long as he was willing to fight and survive. 
Lakota was willing to be a rabbit, even if it meant lying on his side
 where he found comfort with his balance.
Lakota was a brave and valiant fighter unwilling
to let go of life without a battle.
God graced our lives with over a year of precious unforgettable time spent
with our Lakota, and all the while we believed we were doing the right thing.



In the beginning stages Lakota was on critical care, 
between my husband and myself we spent many hours
feeding Lakota by syringe, which was our only hope of keeping him alive. 
Was it time consuming? Oh yes. Would we do it all over again? Oh yes.
I was no longer working with hospice due to my own balance disorder 
which freed me up to care for Lakota and his needs.
Jokingly,  I said that my role had changed from caring for people
to now beginning "Hospice for Hares."
Lakota certainly required a lot of one-on-one care and I was more than happy to give it.


Over the coarse of this past year my husband and I have learned a great deal
in the way of how to care for your Head tilt rabbit.
This may sound like a clinical post and maybe it is,
but our hopes are that we can encourage others who may find themselves in this same situation that we found ourselves in and take comfort in knowing
there are ways of helping and keeping your rabbit (or any other animal) alive
until you believe it's time to put them down.
We told ourselves that his eating or lack of would be our deciding factor
as to when the time was right in putting him down.
Lakota ate and loved to eat right up until he took his last breath. 
My husband was sensitive to the cries of Lakota in the night hours
and was blessed to hear his last cry.
He gently placed Lakota in his arms, tenderly loved on him,
until Lakota took his last breath.
We believe it was a stroke that took Lakota's life.
If you have never heard a rabbit cry you are not missing anything,
their cry is more of a scream, it's horrible!


We soon discovered ways in which to administer Lakota's food and medication
so that he was sure to consume it. 
We experimented with different amounts of high protein pellets
trying to put weight on him. We gave him Pedialite (baby electrolytes)
believing it would help replenish his body.
Towards the end of Lakota's life he wouldn't drink water
so we were forced to syringe his water. He was like a camel,
and would often times take nothing at all 
and other times drink in ten syringes at a time. 
With a lack of water he would get dehydrated causing his muscles to cramp, 
so we learned to massage him out of a cramping episode. 
We learned to do therapy (as taught from my vestibular therapist) 
for his balance in hopes it would help. 
 We believe these things made life more comfortable
for him, so to us, it was worth it all.
A rabbit needs their hay so we had to experiment with different
types trying to find what was easiest for him to grab a hold of and chew. 
The GI track of a rabbit needs to be constantly moving 
so daily we would give one tablespoon of pumpkin by syringe to Lakota.
That was one of the delights he looked forward to,
not to mention it was good for him.
Lakota went from using his own litter box to wee wee pads that we would
place him on, and believe it or not, he knew what he was supposed to do; and
even though he lost vision in his left eye and partially his right eye,
he knew to stay perfectly on that little pad circling until he found the right spot. 
At one point our daughter made a cloth eye patch that we would 
place over Lakota's right eye so as to keep it from wandering.
You see, because of his balance being off on the left side
his right eye would roll up and his balance would go with it
causing him to either fall over or do somersaults.



*I'm  going to take you down a rabbit trail for a second*
When I was seeing the vestibular therapist for my own balance problem
my therapist told me of a gentleman who's balance was so off
that he felt more comfortable standing on his head rather than his feet. Amazing!
Because I had gone through and still continue to deal with balance issues
(not vertigo by the way) our veterinarian said that Lakota
couldn't be in a better home or under better care
because I could relate to him and his balance issues,
boy was she ever right!
Many times I would catch my husband trying to place Lakota
on his right side and Lakota would scramble trying to roll over.
Till this day I cannot sleep, lay or look to my left side with out feeling off balance
which is my effected side. Lakota was the same.



Once Lakota could no longer come and go
from his home (rabbit hutch) on his own my husband made a carpeted ramp
that made it easier for him, but that didn't last long.
Soon after we tried using the ramp to assist Lakota we found that he was too
unstable falling and doing somersaults down the ramp,
we knew then that Lakota would soon became house bound, 
sort of like bed bound.  :(
Though he could pull himself up and move slowly around his cage ,
a greater part of his time was spent lying on his left side leaving him in a position where
he would be laying in his urine, not good.
We discovered that fleece (made from plastic by the way) is not absorbent, 
so we then placed the wee wee pad underneath a piece of fleece material
allowing his urine to go through the fleece and on to the pad keeping him dry.
One of the issues we dealt with on a regular basis was the thrashing that took place
with Lakota in his home.
Remember, it's all about balance, and he did all that he could to stabilize himself.
We created bumpers around his home, sort of like bumper pads in a babies crib
to prevent him from catching his feet in the bars of his home,
plus, he could use those bumpers to support himself on his effected side,
or rest his head upon  for comfort.
We were amazed at watching Lakota make adjustments
that would help him to do what was needed so he could manage as a rabbit. 
But many times my husband and I would have to make changes 
and come up with new ideas for making life easier and more comfortable for Lakota.
We created a safe haven for Lakota to live in.
Lakota would spend many hours of the day in our laps
or wrapped up in a blanket and snuggled into a covered cat bed 
belonging to our cat Toby.
Toby was kind in sharing his bed with Lakota,
just as Lakota was willing to share his home and water with Toby.


Toby and Lakota were buddies especially in Lakota's early years of life,
they would chase one another through the house,
of course Toby in the lead as I believe he was the instigator. 
Toby used his fluffy Persian tail to antagonize Lakota to run after him. 
Toby's behavior caused me to think on some verses in Proverbs ~
"It is sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding has wisdom."
*Proverbs 10:23*
"My son, if sinners entice thee,consent thou not."
*Proverbs 1:10*
During Children's Church I used Toby and Lakota as character illustrations 
pointing out the Scriptures and what they tell us about following after fools. 
My husband took pictures of the two getting into mischief
and I used those photos as my props. 
Lakota was used for the Lord in sharing the Truths of His Word.
In Psalm 148 the psalmist called everything to praise the Lord.
He included in his call sea dragons (v.7 )
beasts, cattle, creeping things and flying fowl ( v.10)
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Even though animals do not praise the Lord with words,
animals bring glory and praise to God by their very existence.
They show forth God as the Creator, the Creator who loves life so much that
He creates in seeming endless variety.
With God as the Designer and Artist, I see animals to be a 
living display of the natural beauty God has built into creation,
and we have the joy and blessing of His wonderful goodness.
The psalmist was lighthearted when he described the joy animals feel ~
"There go the ships: there is that leviathan (sea creature)
whom thou hast made to play therin."
*Psalm 104:26*

"Surely the mountains bring him forth food, 
where all the beasts of the field play. "
*Job 40:20*

All things were created by God and for His good pleasure.
He gave us the pleasure and joy of caring for one of His created animals.
"For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls of the mountains,
and the wild beasts of the field are mine."
*Psalm 50:10&11*

In this life we will in counter the good the bad the ugly
some wonderful moments sad moments hurt and pain tears and joy
and those sweet and precious moments that make life what it is.
Every day is a blessed day in which the Lord gives us,
a day for which we are to be thankful for.
We had 8 years of pure enjoyment with Lakota, our pet,
and now he's no longer with us.
But, how about life in general? 
Do we take and make every day the best that we can
with what God has graciously given us?
Are we grateful for our own lives, the lives of our loved ones
and those with whom God brings across our paths,
even if some aren't so lovely?
In this life there are seasons that come and go.
Are you graciously receiving what God places in your life with a thankful heart
and making the best of your days with those whom 
you have been blessed to share life with?
Many times it's our losses that cause us to reflect on life in a deeper way.

We received the most beautiful pet sympathy card from a dear friend and I just had to share the words with you.

A pet is a special part of your family
who will always have a special place in your heart.
They are gone from our sight...
but never our memory.
Gone from our hearing...
but never our hearts.
Gone from our touch...
But their presence is felt,
and the love that they gave us never departs.

God's Blessings

~ Debbie ~

Forever loved♡

40 comments:

Mildred said...

My deepest sympathy in your loss of Lakota. Thank you for sharing his story and the dedication and lessons learned in caring for his special needs. So many of us blog friends have experienced similar loss of a beloved pet. Please know I care...God bless you and your husband.

Pom Pom said...

Oh, you loved him so well.

Sylvia said...

I am so sorry, Debbie, that must have been hard on you to watch him suffer and hurt like that. Bless you!

Anne Payne said...

What a sweet tribute to Lakota! I'm so sorry about your sweet bunny passing away. :(

You are soooo right! God can use anything to bring glory to His name! Lakota was blessed to have you as his caregivers. I don't know much about bunnies but have one son that has always wanted one. They are super cute, for sure! I would want to keep it in the house and my husband would not. :)

{{hugs}}

Brenda Fricke said...

What beautiful words you have shared today. I'm sorry for your loss. This past October, I lost my my precious miniature dachshund, Frazier. He was almost 13. He died in my arms. I sincerely believe the Lord gives us these precious pets as gifts from Him to bring us joy and comfort. I love the Scripture reference you included. Hugs to you dear sister.

Debby Ray said...

And why should I be surprised that you used a post about taking such good care of and losing a precious pet to the love and care that our Savior has for us? Well, frankly, I'm not at all surprised...you have such a wonderful way with words and a tender loving heart for God and every living creature! I am so sorry for the loss of your darling bunny, Lakota, Debbie...oh but what great love, compassion and caring you and your hubby gave to him throughout his life! This was truly an educational lesson as well...I had never heard of this syndrome in bunnies. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. Much love and hugs to you.♥

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I'm so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Lakota, Debbie. However, I can't think of more wonderful caregivers than you and your hubby, for so patiently loving and caring for Lakota's special needs, until the very end of his life. What a sweet tribute you've shared of his eight years that he graced your home, along with Toby. Thank you for sharing Lakota's story with us. Love and hugs are sent to you.

Sandi said...

Forever loved. I love that.

"He gave us the pleasure and joy of caring for one of His created animals."

There is something about caring for someone else that brings a happiness found no where else.

Elizabethd said...

You truly invested your selves in dear little Lakota and his health. What a beautiful bunny he was. I know he will leave a bunny shaped space in your life, but there will be so many memories to smile over.

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

Oh, Debbie, I am so terribly sorry!

What a beautiful bunny - and so loved and well cared for - oh so adorable with your beautiful kitty too. What a wonderful household you have.

I am so sorry and sad for your loss.

Keep your mind on Rainbow Bridge! https://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm

Love and prayers for you all.♥





Debbie Harris said...

Hello Brenda, thank you for your visit and tender comment.
I'm sorry to hear that you too have lost your dear pet, Frazier. I totally agree with you, in that "God gives us our precious pets as gifts from Him to bring us joy and comfort" and that they do. :-)
God bless you!

Debbie Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashley said...

Dear Mrs. Harris,

I'm so very sorry about the loss of your dear pet bunny. He was such a cute thing! Bunnies are almost my favorite animal, and when ours died, we were all sad. I pray God will comfort you during this sad time.

Love,
Ashley

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

So sorry you lost your sweet bunny. You took such wonderful care of him. I have never had a rabbit as a pet but my granddaughter has one. It is always hard to lose a pet, no matter what it is.

living from glory to glory said...

Hello Dear, I am in tears to read this very long journey and life of your sweet rabbit! Both you and your husband shows such compassion and dedication. I have no words...
Hugs, Roxy

Rose L said...

My pets have always been more like children and I have cherished their love and companionship. You gave Lakota such wonderful support when it was needed and I believe they realize the love.
God bless you all.

Stephanie said...

This was such a bittersweet post. I know how much dad loves his rabbits and it breaks my heart to see him suffer after the loss of Lakota. I know through the care and attention you gave to Lakota that you, too, became just as attached to him as dad was and I know you are missing him as well.....

Lakota was well loved and most definitely well taken care of. He was a precious rabbit and one that brought smiles, joy, and laughter to you and those that "met" him. What a blessing to have been able to spend 8-years with him especially when rabbits don't always live very long.

Your post was beautifully written in remembrance of Lakota and it was very informative about what rabbits can go through when a parasite goes to their brain. Your compassion and perseverance gave Lakota an extra year....an extra year for you to love him and enjoy his presence.

Your photos brought tears to my eye, but I must say that I couldn't help but laugh at Lakota and Toby. Oh, those two!

Love you and dad so much!

hobbyloes said...

What a sweet story you wrote about Lakota, your lovely rabbit.
He had a good life with good people.
I understand it was a good team; Lakota and Toby.
Hugs

Marilyn Mathis said...

So sorry for the loss of your pet. I never knew how attached you can become to an animal until the Lord sent me a lost, lonely,starving stray that the man was going to kill. He has become so special to me as I know your bunny was to you. God bless you and fill the empty space with His comfort and love. Hugs.

Cheryl said...

Dear, precious friend! My heart just aches when I think of how much you have lost! What a dear, sweet pet! And the way you and your husband went to such lengths to make sure his life was as comfortable as possible is just truly heartwarming. You never gave up on him, and he was a very blessed bunny to have had the privilege of living in your home under your tender, loving, watchful care. Surely God is so pleased with the way you cared for His precious, little creature! He was SO cute, bless his little heart. I know you miss him terribly, and you will never forget him. May Jesus hold you very close as you grieve. Sending you much love, many hugs, and my deepest sympathy, sweet friend. :)

Sheryl S. said...

Gosh Debbie, I can hardly see to type, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved pet. what a tribute to such a much loved animal, I am amazed at how you and your husband tirelessly looked after and treated Lakota, few pets are so cared for until the end. hugs.

Skyeler said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I have a pet bunny and I know how much love they bring to our lives. It looks like you gave him a wonderful bunny life. Thoughts and prayers are with you! <3

Deborah Montgomery said...

What a beautiful post Debbie. I've always had a soft spot for rabbits, although I've never had one as a pet. I love it when they come into my backyard and I always say, congratulations! You made it!! because I know so many baby bunnies die from predators, and there's a lot around here.
The unselfish love and care you showed your little rabbit is so inspiring and sweet. How kind you were to think of so many ways to make his life easier. And I do love those passages in Scripture about creatures playing and leaping for joy.
How adorable to see the kitty and bunny together.
So very sorry for your loss Debbie. Blessings to you, Deborah

NanaNor's said...

Dear Debbie, So very sorry about the passing of your Lakota. When I was little my parents raised rabbits for meat-though I didn't know it. I was always heartbroken when one would disappear-never knew that the bbq Chicken was actually bbq'd Rabbit. My daughter's dog got a parasite from being around bunny holes and thankfully the worm worked its way out of the dogs belly. I'm sure it's the same parasite you mentioned.
You gave Lakota such a wonderful home and life.
Sending hugs your way.
Noreen

Ida said...

Oh my gosh this is such a sweet tribute. I am so sorry for your loss as I know how much your loved Lakota. He was indeed a precious little Rabbit. My heart goes out to you as I know how it feels to lose a furry family member. Many hugs to all.

Lady Linda said...

So so so sorry to hear about your bunny. When my girls were little, we had rabbits and although I am not much of an animal lover, I did love the bunnies. How sweet of you to care for you dear pet.
Hugs to you Debbie.

SpicingUpIdaho said...

I do believe this has to be the sweetest tribute for a pet that I've ever read! I felt like I was right there with you throughout the most difficult moments of taking care of your precious Lakota. Oh how I can relate to the care we give to the animals we love so much. I will never forget when our little kitten jumped from the woodpile to the stove, burning all four paws so badly that he couldn't walk on them. I had to carry him around for days. I thought that was a huge responsibility and care, but the care you gave Lakota went on so much longer. What a dear precious couple you are to care so lovingly and creatively for him in his last days. Such delight he brought you. I loved the picture of him sitting at the table, oh my goodness, that is precious! I never knew you could get so attached to a rabbit, but his sweet bunny eyes stole my heart as I read your story. I feel your grief, sweet friend. My heart aches for you and your husband, such a hole this has left for you now, after all the care recently for him. I pray that writing this post, and the sweet memories of your time with him, plus the extra year will bring comfort and healing to your heart. Many hugs to you dear friend!

Celestina Marie said...

Dear Debbie, I am so sorry for the loss of sweet Lakota. What a precious rabbit and the care you gave him right up to the end, I know was a blessing not only to him, but for you and your hubby. It's in the giving that we receive and you did this so beautifully in giving to one of God's dear animal creations. Debbie you have a beautiful and giving heart. God has truly shown favor upon you!
I know Lakota will always have a special place in your heart. Loved the verse from the sympathy card you received.
Sending hugs of friendship and love your way, xo

Laura Lane said...

Oh God bless you and comfort you in Jesus' Name!
Hugs,
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Ginny said...

Oh that is so sad! You really were given a gift of this precious rabbit. God's creatures are so special. What a wonderful story of love and tenderness! Those animals really tug at our heartstrings don't they? Sending you thoughts and wishes of comfort and hugs of friendship. Ginny

Susan said...

Debbie, so sorry for the loss of your furbaby Lakota. Pets give us so much. You were great caregivers. We just got a new puppy. We lost our doxie 8 years ago and I said no more pets, cause it is to hard when they go. But now we have Minnie! Thanks for sharing the Bible verse in Psalm 50.

Melanie said...

Hello, Debbie.
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I came over to say 'hello' to you. :-) You have a beautiful blog, and I look forward to seeing more of your posts.
I am so sorry about your bunny. I have always had pets, and know the pain of losing them. :-( It looks like Lakota was much loved, and he no doubt knew that in the tender way you cared for him♥... your Toby is beautiful! It sounds like they enjoyed each other's company.
What comforting words in the sympathy card. They are so very true.
I pray God will continue to give you and your family comfort.
God bless you.♥ Hugs,~Melanie

Brenda said...

Debbie,
your post was absolutely beautiful. Although the sadness is in the death of beautiful Lakota, the love was in his life and you and your husband's care for him.
I understand where you are coming from Debbie as we have had cats from Cats' Protection all our married life. One of them, a female brindle, lived until she was twenty four years old and it was traumatic when she died.
One thing that has greatly comforted me was that in my 'near death experience' I saw animals as well as people.

God bless you Debbie, and all your family including your lovely cat.

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

A heartfelt post indeed, Debbie, and God knows how we feel about such things and cares when we weep He's with us in that sorrow. I was so surprised at how big Lakota was, such a beautiful rabbit and rather a look alike colour wise for your cat.

Lord bless you dear Debbie and thanks for your encouragement too.

I've candy over at my blog and for non crafters I'll do a personalised calligraphy piece.😊

Thanks for sharing,
Shaz in Oz.x

{Calligraphy Cards - Shaz in Oz}

Kelly @ Homespuns 'n Hayfields said...

What a nice tribute to Lakota, he was such a sweet little guy. He will be missed. I love all your photos of him, the one in front of the fridge is adorable. It looks like he was picking out what he wanted for a treat. Take care Debbie!

Teri said...

Dear Debbie ... I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Lakota. The beautiful words that you have shared throughout his life were so very heartwarming. Sending warm hugs to you. Warmest Blessings ♥ Teri

Weekend-Windup said...

I'm sorry for this, hope you recover from this sadness soon.

Betsy Brock said...

Oh, I'm soo sorry! What a sweet bunny!
We lost out bunny of 9 years in 2015. He was adorable, ran loose in the house, and we still miss him! He was a lop earred black ball of fluff.
Lakota was handsome...reminds me so much of our Nugget. ♥

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Debbie, so sorry for your loss. Sounds like Lakota had the most love and best care possible. And he sounds truly unforgettable.

Linda Walker said...

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your precious bunny! How we love our pets!...Lakota looks very well loved on in these photos and imagine he knew how loved he was. My sincere condolences....xo
Linda

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