Layne (aka "Lambers," "Son," "Mr. Britches" and a few others) 1/19/19

Discussion in 'Rainbow Bridge Announcements' started by Imbrium, Jan 30, 2019.

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  1. Jan 30, 2019 #1

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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    [​IMG]

    September 4th, 2015 ("gotcha day") - January 19th, 2019... that just wasn't anywhere near enough time together. It's a little weird figuring out what to call him in his obituary, as Layne had way to many nicknames!

    Incoming huge wall-o-text... sorrynotsorry, lol... when all this happened, I had JUST gotten bummed out that my old blog was no longer on the forums and was debating starting a fresh one to introduce (or in Nala's case, re-introduce) our bunns to RO. I didn't get the fun of debuting this adorably precocious Polish mix before he was so rudely taken from us. Anyway, I talk too much but right now it's really therapeutic and I won't be offended that people don't read it all!

    ~~~~~

    Some backstory...
    My husband had a cat, Roo, who was born on his 11th birthday. Nearly 17 1/2 years later, in May 2015, Roo had a blood clot and spent some time at the emergency vet. He recovered from that initial clot but suffered a second stroke in his neck/shoulderblade region that wouldn't break up and we put him to sleep on 8/5/15.

    On 9/4/15, hubby abruptly decided that it was time for another cat. We went to the HSPCA website to look at kitties but somehow detoured to the small animal section first, where we saw Layne's pic and bio. As soon as Jay set eyes on him, he announced that we HAD to get him, too! He later told me that he originally picked Layne out mostly for me... but regardless, there was something about that cute little bunn that called out to both of us immediately.

    I said that the last thing we needed was another rabbit... but that he really was adorable and I'd take a look at him when I went to the shelter (hubby didn't feel ready to look at cats for a couple hours, so he sent me to scout/narrow down the choices before bringing him back the next day). Sure enough, Layne won my heart and I brought him home that day. He was only maybe 4-5 months old at the time and about the size of our dwarves. Before we knew it, though, he grew into an 8 lb potato of a rabbit!

    On the way home, I had some old-school Alice in Chains songs playing and our new bunny seemed to really enjoy the music... so when I got home, I asked my husband if we could name him "Layne" (after Layne Staley, the original lead singer). At the time, I never imagined how many nick-names he'd pick up in his 3 1/2 years with us!

    Layne came home adorable, sweet, soft and snuggly. As I cuddled him, we joked that he was like a little lamb - earning him his first nickname of "Lamb" (or "Lambers"). After we'd had him a few days and he'd settled in, he started acting a bit cocky and entitled. I accused the little bunny of "getting too big for his britches" - earning him his second nickname of "Mr. Britches."

    Once we'd had him a while and really bonded with him, hubby started referring to him as "our son" or "our rabbit son," which caught on and became his third (and most popular) nickname - "Son." Eventually, we also decided that he looked like a giant potato, which became another inside joke.

    At some point, I got back into our Nintendo DS and was playing a lot of Pokemon. I thought Layne looked a lot like Ampharos or maybe Flaffy. Also, we'd joked a bit about previously about how he reminded us of an anteater or something because of his long, slender snout. Combined, these two things led to him being called "Lambers, 'the anteater pokemon.'"

    We also always laughed when we saw a human who reminded us of Son. Spike on Buffy, Bart on The Simpsons, Justin Timberlake when he's dancing around (I will forever laugh at the mental picture I created of Son wearing a little rabbit-sized suit and tie)...

    Lately, whenever I went out into the living room, I always looked over to the rabbit condo and greeted Nala and Layne in a sing-song voice, calling out something like either "Good morning, *****es" or "Hi Nallies, hi Son-potates (mocking his potato-like physique)."

    ~~~~~

    Anyway, I got up around 2:30 pm on Friday the 19th and went to make the rounds (food/water check for cats, rabbits and birds and removing the previous night's dinner dish from the gliders). When I got to Nala and Layne, they still had some pellets left from the night before, which immediately got my "mommy" senses tingling.

    Nala's a dainty eater, not one to sit there and destroy a pile of pellets until they're gone. She eats until she's full and then stops... and while she likes treats, she's usually content with a small amount and then goes back to her hay eating. She's also a little less than half Son's weight and is 6 1/2 without ever having a single medical issue.

    Layne did something silly-seeming a couple days before and I didn't think anything of it at the time. I caught him sleeping with his chin rested on the edge freshly filled water bowl, dewlap hanging down onto the surface of the water a little. He also seemed a smidge loafier than usual the previous day or two but not enough to make me realize that something was actually wrong.

    When I found the pellets still there, I immediately grabbed the blueberry-infused Craisin bag and offered treats. Nala, unsurprisingly, rushed to shove her nose through the condo grido as soon as she heard the bag and eagerly gobbled down her treats. Son, however, showed no interest. I tried every tempting treat, fruit and veggie I had on hand with no luck.

    I wasn't sure how long he hadn't been eating and didn't know if he was pooping or not since he shared a condo with Nallies... but we're pretty poor these days and it was nearly 3 pm on a Friday, making the "wait and see" approach potentially very costly. We definitely couldn't afford the emergency vet at $125 just for the exam fee, so I immediately called the regular vet to make sure the exotics guy was in and then packed the pair of rabbits up and got in the car. Unfortunately, we also couldn't really afford an extra $129 for x-rays to determine for sure if it was a blockage (especially in light of the fact that, if it was, he'd need surgery which would most likely be in the $1000 range). It makes me really sad that doing anything and everything to try and save him wasn't an option... I curse my car for blowing the slave cylinder to the clutch among other issues and racking up over $800 in unexpected repair bills at the start of January.

    Anyway, at the vet, Layne got sub-q fluids (100 ccs), a pain medicine shot and a shot of some sort of antacid (with another shot due to be given 24 hours later). The vet said his tummy felt a bit bloated. He didn't want to give metoclopromide in case it was a full blockage but said the antacid would also help stimulate the gut to keep moving (just not as forcefully as metoclopromide) and said if Layne wasn't better by the next afternoon, I could come pick up more pain meds. He also told me to syringe-feed him. I was iffy since I was under the impression that you shouldn't syringe feed if a blockage was suspected but the vet assured me that small amounts would be ok.

    Throughout the next hours, I dosed Layne with Simethicone, syringe fed him about 5 ml at a time of pellet slurry and syringed him water. He threw a bit of a fit about the water at times but always ate up the slurry without complaint. I tried to get him to run around (since that can stimulate the bowels). I also kept him in a hospital cage set-up so that I could monitor whether he was pooping.

    I didn't want to poke at him and bother him too much but was syringing him food, water and/or medicine every 3 hours or so, plus snuggles and nose-rubs, of course. I'd checked on him last a little after 1 am. Just after 2 am, I was about to clean the cat boxes 'cause someone had made 'a stinkin' and I didn't want Layne having to smell that... but as I crossed the living room, I could see him flat on his side in the dishpan litterbox I'd put in his hospital cage. I knew the second I laid eyes on him that he was gone... then I had to break the news to my hubby (and poor Nala).
     
  2. Jan 30, 2019 #2

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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    To be honest, I knew from the start (when I first found the pellets leftover and he wouldn't eat a Craisin) that it was going to end badly, though I did everything I could to convince myself that he'd probably be okay if I got him to the vet. Jay and I had both felt for a day or two before that the living room rabbits were trying to tell us something, but we didn't know what. My initial assumption was that our darn neighbors had re-infested us with their stupid fleas and we were going to have to treat the pets and have the complex exterminate our apartment again (the fleas always seemed to start near the rabbit condo in the living room, so they notice them first). When I realized Friday afternoon that something was wrong with Son, though, I suddenly saw the whole picture and realized just how badly I'd screwed up.

    After returning home from the vet, I tried to convince myself that I was paranoid... that Son was getting treatment and maybe by morning there would be poops and everything would be ok... but in the bottom of my heart, I knew that Son was really worried and that both Nala and our cats were telling me that something very, very bad was coming. Animals know these things, you know? I remember when I was nine and my dad died while I was out of town staying with my grandparents, my mom told me that the family dog had been acting really weird and unsettled for the couple of days before my dad died.

    Many years ago, I came home from JoAnn fabrics with this 2 yard length of fleece that's got skulls and music notes and stuff on it... my husband instantly fell in love with it and I couldn't help but give him the whole thing, lol. He used it as a blanket until it got pilly, then it became a pet blanket. Over the years, I've cut a little piece of it off as a burial shroud any time one of our finches or doves died (or one of their little babies didn't make it) and it's become a way of staying connected to our lost pets. I cut a big piece of it off and wrapped Son in it after I was done letting Nala see his body, then double-bagged him with kitchen trash bags, sealed him up in a cardboard box and refrigerated him. We were up until just after 7 am talking about and mourning him... then I had to get up at 10:30 so I could take him to the cremation place (since it closes at noon on the weekend).

    ~~~~~

    After Son died, I found a great deal of comfort in the fact that almost every time I went over to check on Nala, she was munching hay. I feel so guilty over the fact that I suspect he was feeling off for a couple of days before I realized and got him to the vet... so I resolved to never forget that "a Craisin a day keeps the veterinarian away." I got lazy about it because it had been darn near 5 years since Gazzles died from a blood clot in her intestines while experiencing GI stasis [technically, we're still unsure whether the clot caused the stasis or the other way around] and none of our existing rabbits had ever had GI stasis... but Layne served as an incredibly painful reminder that a daily check that rabbits are eating can save lives (pellets often serve as such, but Layne and Nala lived in a 3-story condo where the pellets were served on the 2nd floor. They'd rush to the pellets if nearby but if they were on the 1st or 3rd floors, they wouldn't.)

    Sunday was another extremely stressful day. I did my daily "Craisin" check... and to my shock and dismay, Nala shunned the Craisins! I even tried to tempt her with a precious and totally forbidden treat - a multi-grain cracker. The cage had existing stray poops on all levels and the litter boxes in it weren't freshly cleaned, so I put her in the hospital cage I'd kept Son in with a fresh litterbox. I gave her a dose of Simethicone and fresh hay.

    I was so worried!... but hubby's paternal gma got in a car wreck last fall and can't bring herself to drive again and I'd already promised to go to the grocery store for them that day. I got Nala all set up and positioned the hospital cage where she could see the TV, which I left on for her. We were gone about four hours and when I came home, I couldn't find any poops (though I wasn't 100% sure 'cause she spread the hay out across the whole litter box).

    While at the store, I'd bought some bunny veggies. Nala has always, always HATED any kind of parsley except curly parsley, lol, so I got a bundle of that. I also got some cilantro. I offered her both when we got home, to no avail. An hour or two after we got home, I put her back in the condo because I was worried the hospital cage was stressing her out. I was really worried and watching the clock closely as "emergency vet time" got closer.

    She was still shunning Craisins and was on the third floor (the only one without some sort of food on it)... so I took some curly parsley out from under the cilantro and offered that to her... and she ATE IT! OMG, I've never felt so relieved! It was then that I suddenly remembered that Nala never liked cilantro - Lambers always ate her share. I gave her more parsley and she destroyed that too. I still don't know what was going on, as she was definitely VERY "off" that particular afternoon... maybe the Simethicone helped? Who knows. Ever since, though, Nala and Alice have passed the daily "Craisin" test.

    ~~~~~

    The craziest part of his death is this:
    As I mentioned near the start of this wall-of-text, Son's namesake was the original lead singer of Alice in Chains, Layne Staley. One of the songs he both sang and helped write (and a favorite of ours, at that) is called "Rain when I Die."

    Based on the timeline and the condition of Son's body (particularly how very limp and floppy he still was 20-30 minutes after being found - so much so that I had a lot of trouble wrapping him up and maneuvering him into the bags/box), I can say with relative certainty that he died very close to when I found him.

    It had been humid and vaguely drizzly all afternoon, but nothing serious. When I found his body (literally within 30 seconds of opening the cage door), I heard a torrential storm hit out of nowhere. Rain was slamming into the living room windows, thunder booming, bright flashes of lightening, all of that. Our balcony is maybe 8 feet deep and somehow there were droplets of water splattered high up the window/walls that are normally sheltered by the balcony above ours. It started around 2:05... right around 3 am, the storm disappeared as abruptly as it had arrived.



    So that's two Alice in Chains songs that will probably always make me cry now, heh. This one for Lambers and "Black gives way to blue" for Gazzles. That one came on during the short drive to bring her body to the vet for a necropsy. It's off the first album the band released after Layne (the human one) died of an accidental drug overdose and was a somber goodbye to him. Five years later, it still hits me pretty hard when I hear it... poor, sweet Gaz.

    We miss Layne so terribly much! He and I used to lay in bed cuddling and watching TV and he'd lick the crap out of my pillow, lol (he never seemed to tire of that!). He always did the BEST dead-bunny-flops. Sometimes, I would sneak up to startle him out of it and giggle (I do the same to Alicey, she flops a lot as well - both have always been way too good at the flops)!

    For hay mangers, I use wire under-the-counter shelves, hung vertically instead of horozontally - I cut out some of the bars with a dremel to make holes they can fit their heads through, then zip-tie a piece of coroplast to the "top" to seal it off and hook it onto the condo so that it hangs over the litter box. Son used to jump into the manger and sit on top of the hay - it was SOOOOO cute. He had to stuff himself in there a little, what with his size.

    It really sucks he died like 5 weeks before we're going to move to the second trailer on my inlaws' property, which has "indestructible" flooring instead of our stupid carpet-covered 2nd floor apartment - I was looking forward to rabbits getting to run around more (Layne and Alice have both always had a hard-on for carpet >.>). I wish he could've made it to see our new place without having to arrive in a little tin :(.

    I couldn't justify springing for a nicer urn than the default round tin after the vet and cremation bills... but we ended up being really happy with that one, so it all worked out. It's the perfect size, it's blank so we've been decorating it and you can take the top on and off easily (the ashes are in a small zipper bag inside) so we occasionally put a little offering in there like a craisin or something that he would've really liked.

    I half-jokingly (seriously, half at best) asked hubby if it would be too weird if I bought some of those cheap googly eyes (the ones for arts and crafts) and hot glued them to the urn so Son could "watch" the TV with me like he used to, lol. To be honest, I'll probably end up doing it. Son was such a goofy, easy-going bunny and I feel like he would appreciate the humor of it.
     
  3. Jan 30, 2019 #3

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

    Nancy McClelland

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    Sorry for your loss.
     
  4. Jan 30, 2019 #4

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    This just sucks! I was thinking 'wait a minute, how did this just happen', when I saw your thread. I can't believe how quickly things can turn with rabbits. Everything is perfectly fine and it just hits.

    I'm so sorry you lost your sweet bun. Having gone through it several times myself, I know there's not a whole lot that can make you feel better besides time. He sounds like he was such a fun rabbit for you guys to have in your lives. I'm really glad you were able to have him in your lives for the time that you did.

    Just an aside, I found your blogs(if you hadn't already tracked them down). Started reading and seeing old familiar names. Makes me a little nostalgic and kind of missing our group from back then.
    https://www.rabbitsonline.net/threads/nala-and-gaz.70961/
    https://www.rabbitsonline.net/threads/nala-and-gaz-get-a-nermal-a-journal-on-trio-bonding.78586/
     
  5. Jan 31, 2019 #5

    Bailey ❤️

    Bailey ❤️

    Bailey ❤️

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    Oh I grieve with you :(

    I am still a new bunny mommy, and still learning along the way. We didn’t have our first bunny, Bailey, for very long, but the pain is still hidden deep in there. But our new little sunshine bunny, Hazel is helping us heal

    I am touched by your stories and I am sending a million hugs and bunny binkies your way!! ❤️
     
  6. Feb 3, 2019 #6

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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    Wow, you found my blogs for me! Thanks, Jenny! When the links in my old signature didn't work, I just assumed they were lost for good and didn't look further.

    We have SO many pets these days... two rabbits (without Layne), four cats, two sugar gliders, 12 society finches/7 diamond doves (though we're planning to sell last year's babies to the local bird store soon) and a turtle... but if something had happened to ANY other animal we have, it's Lambers I would've turned to for snuggles to help me feel better. There was something about him... he was super cuddly and weighed more than our other two rabbits combined, making him the perfect size to be one's 'teddy bear'. Whenever I was having a bad day and needed cheering up, he was the one I usually turned to.

    Jay and I have talked it out re: replacing Layne... Alice needs to be spayed still and we'd planned to get that done soon and then were looking forward to trio bonding. We both agree that something about a laid-back, oversized male always seemed like it was going to be the perfect fit for our two feisty females and I think a trio wouldn't be any harder than getting the two girls to get along. We're definitely inclined towards another big bunny when we get our next one... and Houston shelters' rabbit selection always seems to consist primarily of 'meat rabbits' - lots of Californians with a New Zealand or two thrown in. Early June is when Nala's seventh birthday is and is about the earliest time when ill-given 'Easter' rabbits start to get hormonal and make their way to shelters (don't get me started on that! Layne and Alice were both of the right age to be Easter gifts who were later surrendered) so that's when we plan to start looking. Jay was a little put off by the idea of red eyes, but he's getting used to the idea, lol... I had a REW rabbit as a kid, so it's a familiar look for me.
     
  7. Feb 10, 2019 #7

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Imbrium

    Jennifer

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