Keeping farm animals in the city can be a real hoot. Follow freelance writer Audrey Pavia’s adventures in Southern California with a yard full of urban livestock, including horses, chickens, a Corgi and an urban barn cat. She somehow manages all these silly critters by herself while working full-time. And you thought “The Simple Life” was out there?
Photo courtesy of Digital Vision/Michael Blann/Thinkstock
When you see someone every day, it’s easy to take him or her for granted. My bunnies, Smokey and Prudence, live in my home office, and I take care of them every day. But more days than not, I just give them a few cursory pats and get on with my chores.
Though lately, I have been noticing Prudence more and more. Her ears no longer point straight up, but hang slightly to the sides. When she sleeps on her rug, she has her legs stretched out in front of her in a weird sort of way. When I run my hand down her back, her spine pokes out of her fur.
Although all of this is upsetting, it’s not surprising. Prudence is an old bunny. She has lived with me for six years, and the rescue I got her from told me she was 3 when I adopted her. That makes her at least 9 — pretty old for a bunny.
I noticed her weight dropping about a year ago. I started feeding her more Timothy pellets, but it didn’t make a difference. At her age, it’s hard for her to hold weight. My veterinarian sister recommended a critical-care diet for her, which I fed, to no avail. She is still skinny. But it’s not because she won’t eat. In fact, when I put a bowl of pellets in the pen, she races toward them with such speed, I think perhaps I’m imagining things. Is this the same old bunny I see sprawled on the rug like she’ll never get up again? And when I toss a handful of greens or any kind of treat in the pen, she beats Smokey to it — and he is seven years her younger.
Still, while it’s good to see her so lively, I can’t help but think that one day not too far in the future, she won’t be with me anymore. Smokey will be devastated. She is his best friend. In fact, she is more than a friend. He sometimes gets quite amorous with her, indicating he definitely likes older women. Prudence quietly tolerates his nonsense, knowing he’ll get bored eventually. After all, both bunnies are altered, so it can’t go too far.
Starting tomorrow, I’m going to make a point of spending more time with Prudence, petting her and feeding her special treats. I don’t know how much longer I’ll have her, and I want our last bit of time together to be special.