With a heavy heart I announce the passing of our beloved little man Blue. Born on July 4, 2006, he completed his final task a month ago today on March 14, 2017, nearing his eleventh birthday. After losing our first little Holland Lop at sixteen months, and then his luckier successor who made it a couple of weeks past his sixth birthday, we fully realize how very fortunate we were to have had Blue for over a decade of non-stop days filled with rituals and reciprocated love.
He was gladly agreeing to add new daily tricks for goodies until the very end. Good humored and mentally sharp, his health was excellent. His teeth were in fantastic condition.
Medically, the only daily concern we had for the last couple of years was with an eye that wouldn't adequately drain, from prior nostril damage from a bit of hay he snorted up and apparently it scarred, resulting in a wetness at the corner of his eye that would dry and cake. Never a big fan of being picked up (trauma before we got him at the age of five months?), nor did he appreciate being tricked when he was picked up, he was good about sitting on my lap as I would use one of my wife's tiny eyebrow comb/brush combos and GENTLY remove the crusty bits from the corner of his eye, then drop the eye with eye drops , then soak the spot with a mildly warm washcloth for a few seconds, then dab dry, fluff and comb. Of course, once back on the floor, if he didn't have a goody in his mouth within seconds he'd thump! The periodic use of Ofloxacin and Tobramycin were of no lasting help, unfortunately.
To diminish stress, I stopped all medical drops and began using the eyebrow comb/brush only, and sometimes the wet washcloth. I believe he understood I was trying to help him, for whenever he would be up on his cardboard box with its carpet top in his sunny Chaos Corner, he would stay still and allow me to comb and brush his eye daily without being picked up, and the washcloth every few days to clean the tender skin at the corner. A goody was always expected and delivered.
Initially, in case of possible infection, Baytril was prescribed twice a day for ten days. He hated the taste and the process. It required a lot of trickery to pick him up, which was excellent for destroying trust. Pure hell for us both to syringe his dose orally. Since he loved banana, I found it stress-free to cut a quarter of an inch of fresh banana and mix it with the Baytril and he gulped it off a plate within seconds. From that point on, we reserved fresh banana to be used only for medicine, not a treat.
His diet was Oxbow hays (five kinds) and pellets. Small piece of dried papaya daily. Twelve to fifteen heart-healthy rolled oats in the morning, which helped with decreasing goopie-poopies, we think. Pellets, hay and water (in a bowl) available at all times. We dehydrated strawberries (couple of slices per day), occasional dried banana slice, occasional dried or fresh pineapple, apple dried or fresh more occasionally, occasional bit of fresh peach or pear (his favorite). A couple or so fresh raspberry leaves daily, or mint leaves, but no lettuce ever. Beat leaves sometimes. We grated fresh carrots and slowly dried them in the oven, so he got a thimble-full of carrot crunchies everyday. He got other store-bought treats, but he worked for them with runs down the hall, etc. Believe me, we had activities throughout the day to spark his little brain. He was always a willing, expressive, entertaining singer and dancer at night when my wife would put him to bed for the best goodies of the day. He had such personality!
Blue had stasis maybe a half dozen times in his life. He was uncomfortable for a few hours, would re-position himself constantly, then he was okay and back to eating. And since he didn't like going to the vet, we were never in a rush to unnecessarily stress him.
He seemed perfectly fine his last morning. Then mid-day, he couldn't get comfortable. I picked him up and had him run back down the hall in trying to get him to get things moving. No luck. A couple of hours later, he made a sound with his teeth which sounded like a person walking in wet, squeaky rubber sandals. When my wife got home from work a couple of hours later and he did the teeth grinding again, we took him to our vet. His temperature was 96 degrees and dropping. I had no idea that he was now dying and, in leaving him at the vet's overnight, it would be the last time I would rub his little paw. He died fifteen hours after the onset of his discomfort. Had I taken him to the vet hours earlier he would quite likely still be with us.
I told that little guy everyday when I laid down on the floor with him how important he was to us. To me especially, though I did tease him for not detecting the cancer I hadn't known I had in my kidney, like how some dogs can sniff it out. Once my cancer was discovered and my kidney removed, I told him he had to get me through this cancer stuff. Exactly one week after being told I was cancer free, Blue had done his job, and he was gone. I should have asked him to get me through the next four years, to 2020, if you know what I mean. For the sake of the world and me.
So, please, when you hear the sound I described with the teeth, waste not a minute in getting your best little friend to the doctor and you won't have failed him.
And see? A five month old messy bad boy treated gently can turn out all right after all.