Sometimes the right decision is not the easiest.
As I stood today in the vets office I knew that the decision I had to make was not really the one that I wanted to make.......
It all started Monday morning. As every morning right before I leave for work I feed Harley. I opened the door and reached in for the food dish. Harley did not greet me at the door as normal but laid off to the side.
"Harley what are you doing still sleeping?" I asked (yes I talk to my pets).
He remained still staring at me. The only movement the twitching of his eye.
I reached in and petted him.This normally would would gain me some kind of reaction.
Harley may be small but he's quite spunky.
"What's wrong sweetie?" I reach in to pick him up.
All chaos breaks loose. He falls to his side and starts flailing about in what I believe to be seizers. I pet him and speak soothingly try to calm him down. It finally works.
I pull out my cellphone and call the vet. He was fine Sunday evening and I tell the vet that maybe he was stung by something and I just didn't notice. They tell me to bring him in.
I call in to work and tell them I'm going to be late.
Harley is keeping his head tilted to the left and his eye will not stop twitching.
At the vets office I learn my first shocker.... my sweet little girl bunny is a boy (I reported this in Post It Note Tuesday also).
Vet: "He seems to....."
Vet looking up at me: "He."
Me: "I was told it was a girl."
Vet flipping Harley over and pulls away hair: "Definitely a boy. When there so young it's hard to tell."
She then proceeds to tell me that Harley has an ear infection and it has caused his brain to swell. The left ear is the infected one, hence the head tilt.
Immediately I think I have done something wrong and have neglected my precious Harley. "What can I do to prevent it in the future?"
The Vet seems to understand my underlying question and explains that its the inner ear and there is really no way to clean it. That inner ear infections are common in dwarf rabbits.
She gives Harley two shots and prescribes two different types of antibiotics for me to give him. I ask if he will be ok. She looks at me as if she wished I wouldn't have asked and tells me that it depends if he has parasites in his ear that have made it to the brain. But that one of the medications is for that so he should be fine but that we will need to come back Wednesday for a check up.
Monday he seemed to be doing a little better. Tuesday he was no better. He wouldn't eat or drink. And he wouldn't move from where he was propped up on the side of the smaller crate he now occupied so he could be in my room and I could keep an eye on him.
The past days I have even taken him to work with me and he has chilled in his small crate under my desk. Every 30 minutes I hold the water bottle up to him so he will drink. Otherwise I knew he would not drink on his own. Last night I could tell his eyesight was faltering.
This morning I picked grass hoping he would eat some of that since he didn't want any hay or his grain.
As I prepared to leave for work I cleaned out his crate. I loaded the car and came back inside for him. He was soaking wet on his right side. "Did we spill some water while you were drinking?" I open the door. His entire left side is soaking wet. Then I realized he has used the bathroom and then because his equilabrum is off he feel down in it.
"Oh Harley I'm so sorry." I take him out of the crate and place him in the kitchen sink and proceed to wash him with a warm wash cloth. I again clean out the crate and apply fresh bedding and Harley and I head for work.
This afternoon we went back to the vet and I knew what I would be told but I hoped for the best.
Monday he had weighed a little over 3 pounds today he weighed right at 2 pounds. In two days he had lost a pound.
The Vet tells me she can give him another steroid shot but that it would just prolong him and if he won't eat he might starve himself.
I don't want him to be in pain. But I wanted so bad for him to just be ok.
I ask her if there is any chance he can recover and be ok.
She tells me the chances are slim that the brain swelling has not decreased and that the antibiotics should have made a difference by now. If by some chance he did make it thru this his quality of life would never be the same.
I thought about how every evening after work I would sit out in the yard as he played and ran around. He knew his name and would come when I called. How many rabbits do that?
I think about the first time he figured out how to climb the front porch steps but then was to scared to climb down and I had to go get him. I remember how just a few weeks ago he had finally climbed them and then climbed back down; so proud of himself for this small achievement.
I think of him getting mad at me when I would tell him no or not to go somewhere outside and he would "flip me off" - as mom would say - this is when he would turn his but to me and kick up his back feet.
Yeah there is no way he would want to live his life in a cage not aloud to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
"I know you can't tell me what to do. But I need you to tell me that he's not going to be ok. That there is no hope."
"The medicines should have worked by now. If we continue to give them to him it will only be prolonging it." (of course her speech was a little longer...)
She asks if I would like a minute alone. And I tell her I would.
I sit down in the chair and hold Harley close to me. I cry. I can't help it.
The Vet comes in and I pet Harley one last time and tell her I will wait in the waiting room.
I try to suck up my tears but with tear streaked face and red eyes as I enter the waiting room all faces look at me sympathetically.
I told the vet I wanted to take Harley with me. I couldn't leave him here. I had to bury him at home.
A sympathetic assistant brings out the carrier and I leave the office as quickly as I can. As soon as I walk out the door I let the tears fall.
When I'm in the 4runner I no longer hold back and let all the tears of the past month out.
During those last minutes it was just me and Harley I wanted nothing more than to pick up the phone and call Marine and ask him if I was making the right decision.
Marine gave me Harley the day of his deployment. I know it sounds silly but loosing Harley made me feel like I was loosing a small piece of Marine to.
Harley was only four months old.... how is life fair that he was fine one day and then deathly ill the next?
I buried him down at the barn under a small tree that I had seen wild bunnies under just days before.
I'm going to miss him and as hard as it was I know I made the right decision.
At the same time I have cried more tears than possibly anyone has over a rabbit.