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For My Zilla


Mommy's Giant Hopper

So where do I begin to tell the story of Zilla? I guess the first thing to mention is that we never planned on another rabbit at all. Lil Princess Daisy Bun-Bun was ruling our home all by herself and didn't need any help, plus we were poor and couldn't keep replacing phone cords at the rate she was destroying them. Then one day Chris and I saw Zilla at a pet store in Spokane and we were smitten; we knew this rabbit was special...what with his sad eyes and big black pear-shaped bunny butt we didn't stand a chance! Bunzilla moved in with us the next day and life was never the same again...

...actually it was so much better! I don't think Lil Buns enjoyed the giant black intruder at first but after a while even she would lay down beside him and indulge in a little snooze. And Chris and I loved him right away, even through the crazy times and the litter box crash course. Before the law of the land was understood, we lost three Nintendo controllers, numerous other cords and every corner of the apartment was subject to a Zilla pee-pee power-wash but it was all OK...only my Big Boy could get away with doing something utterly reprehensible and gain instant forgiveness! Every time he was caught being naughty, Zilla would run through the house and hop in his litter box and give us the most pathetic "Look Mommy, I'm a GOOOOD boy!" look. And that was only the beginning of the joy and laughter Zilla brought to our lives. He was our "guard bunny" who would thump during the night to warn us of suspicious noises and our little athlete who would jump onto or over anything and actually play games of tag with us. The time we spent with Zilla was so precious. It's hard to believe he was only with us for a year.

Zilla, Buns and Mom

During the 4th week of January Chris and I noticed that Zilla was acting very lethargic. He would lay down in unusual places and not move an inch for hours. We didn't notice that he had stopped eating because Lil Buns often jumped into his cage to swipe his food. We thought he was tired or moody the first day but the second day we panicked when we he wouldn't stand up even when we offered him some yummy lettuce leaves. We took him straight to the vet who ran some tests and diagnosed a kidney infection. We let Zilla stay overnight under assurances that he would receive antibiotics and would surely be able to come home the next day. That day I visited with Zilla and saw that he looked a little better. The vet asked to keep him one more night just to make sure he was eating and drinking on his own, then we were to pick him up the next morning. And I was really excited of course. I remember I was jumping around like a third grader, singing and twirling around while trying to do my hair that morning because my boy was coming home and I was elated and all was right in the world...and then the phone rang...

...and that was it. No one expected it or had even thought of it, least of all myself. And it was and still is incredibly hard, every day. Especially because he was a rabbit and people just don't understand. At least there was never any argument, never any doubt that the pain was well worth the joy that Zilla added to our lives, and I feel so much better knowing that more often than not a memory of Zilla will bring on a smile or a huge bought of laughter rather than tears. And although I still find myself wallowing in periods where I feel like Zilla died because I was a horrible parent and wonder "what if" for hours, I still treasure what he was able to give to me in one short year. Nothing is more special than a small creature that cannot speak but fills your life with love and happiness in a way that a million people and all their words never could. I will always remember finding Zilla after a really hard and frustrating day. I could lay down next to him on the floor and pet his fuzzy nose or cry into his warm, soft, cedar-scented fur and he would chatter his teeth or give me bunny kisses as if to say "It's OK Mommy, I still love you" and that's all I would need.

Caught in the Act!

I stood on the porch tonight-- which way do we

face to talk to the dead? I thought of the

new rose, and went out over the

grey lawn-- things really

have no color at night. The rose stood

half-uncurled, glowing white in the

black air...

Are the dead there if we do not speak to them?

...Now I sometimes sit on the porch, waiting,

trying to feel you there like the color of the

flowers in the dark.

---Sharon Olds

Bunny Kisses

Rest peacefully sweet boy. We'll always love you.

-Mommy, Daddy, and Buns