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February 19, 2008

A Sick Rabbit: A Parental Dilemma

In between enjoying the California-like weather the end of our 3 day weekend offered us and taking family field trips to Mount Vernon and the National Geographic Museum, we have been busy worrying about our sick rabbit.

Rabbit_2 Something is very wrong with our family rabbit, Salsa. Salsa has been having trouble hopping for a couple of weeks but on Saturday we discovered her back legs gave out, making it impossible for her to walk.

Our children are very concerned about Salsa.  Little Miss Techie has woken up the past couple of mornings to tell me that she’s going down and check on her.  Her brother, Captain Computer, likes to bring Salsa carrots and lettuce.  Salsa is grateful and has a healthy appetite that gives us hope, but not enough that she will recover and walk again.

Salsa isn’t young- she’s 10 years old and her sister died last spring.  We know Salsa is old and at the end of her life but unlike her sister, Fresca, we are confronted with some different decisions about what to do with her at this stage in her life.  Do we let nature take its course and take care of our ailing rabbit until she passes or do we make a call to the vet on Tuesday to put her out of her misery? 

My husband and I don’t feel ready to make a choice about how our rabbit’s life is to end.  What is best for our rabbit and our children is weighing heavily on our minds during this long weekend.  I’ve never had to deal with putting a pet to sleep.  We had a rabbit when I was elementary and middle school who died quietly in his sleep because he was 13 years old.  My husband’s family has always had Labradors and while their family has had to put some of their dogs to sleep, it has never been easy.

So again, we are preparing Little Miss Techie for the possibility of death.  She knows about death after Fresca died last spring.  We had talked to her about the fact that the rabbit was sick and said she wouldn’t live long.  When Fresca died, we went outside on a beautiful spring morning, chose a spot in the yard, dug a hole, picked some flowers, and said some nice words about what a wonderful rabbit she had been. 

Little Miss Techie knows that if Salsa dies, we will do the same for her as we did for her sister.  She talks about the fact that Salsa will be with her sister in heaven where they will most likely find the best grass to eat and meadows to romp in.  And as Little Miss Techie describes this wonderful world that Salsa and Fresca will live in when they meet again, my husband and I still wonder about what to do and think about what is right and best for our rabbit.

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