Note: the "insert picture" function is not working tonight, so this will be posted without the pictures of my beautiful Sweet Savannah.
Saturday night one of my favorite bunnies died while I was close by her side. She was old and had been feeling poorly for a few days. We knew it was her time, so we kept her comfortable and eased her passage from this life to wherever bunny spirits go.
It is my belief that the animals in our lives find us for some reason. Perhaps it's simply a self-preservation tool to avoid sounding like a nutcase when admitting we had seventeen rabbits living in our house at one time. Although five were babies and only here for two months, so they hardly count.
Savannah was a Mini-Rex, but there was nothing "mini" about her. She had been likened to a large loaf of French bread with feet. Rex Rabbit fur looks and feels like velvet. She was particularly beautiful because of her broken castor color -- white with well-placed deep mahogany spots. A moving Rorschach inkblot test, with deep brown, friendly, trusting eyes.
She was the first rabbit purchased for Shoofly Farm, a daughter's farm camp for kids which is evolving to one that conducts special programs for kids with PANDAS as well as others on the autistic spectrum. Animals and kids are a winning combination when it comes to any kind of healing -- for both the animal and the human.
Savannah had a pleasant interlude with the handsome Don Juan, a castor buck, and she produced seven kits right on schedule at Shoofly Farm. Little campers learned much about rabbits at that camp, and each of her babies was adopted and taken home at the end of summer.
When the last of the camp remnants had been cleaned up, Savannah remained off to the side in an outdoor hutch. At my request, she came here to "winter" before repeating the whole process the following spring. But alas, she convinced me she had served her time on the camp circuit, and wanted to remain here with us. A special place was created for her in the kitchen, and she lived there happily for more than seven years.
She gave much joy and love to us, and readily accepted petting and treats from anyone who visited. In return, her demands were few: plenty of tasty, healthy food; a soft fleece blankie for comfort; and exclusively a Crown Royal box (acquired periodically at the liquor store) to serve her needs for privacy indoors.
She also managed to secure the prime outside spot in the front corner of our big second story deck completely taken over by rabbits. Three big planter pots filled with hay, and a colorful umbrella anchored in the center spot, provided shade from the sun, protection from a drizzle, and the perfect place to enjoy the sweet fragrance of Lilacs in the spring.
She brought a smile to the face of anyone who saw her sitting in her favorite pot. Their affinity for rabbits was irrelevant. The sight of her pure enjoyment was a gift to all who viewed her over the years.
My eyes involuntarily drift to Savannah's now-empty spot in my kitchen, and it will take me a few days of remembering to cut eight instead of nine little squares of wheat bread to serve with banana slices at breakfast time. Perhaps it will help when a new bonded pair moves into Savannah's renovated quarters.
Although, in my heart, it will always be that sweet delicate face and warm brown eyes I long to see the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night.
A friend, who learned of Savannah's passing, wrote the Tibetan mantra: "Om Mani Padme Hun ten thousand times for the beautiful Savannah ..."
There is no more fitting tribute to that sweet, loving little spirit.