Today I burried Java. March 11, 2009
She was a wonderful (mostly) milk chocolate and white bunny, named for her color – like coffee with lots of cream in it. Her father was a MiniRex named Cupcake (named before my son discovered he was a He…). Cupcake had a wonderful relationship with people (He would run up to greet you in the yard, demanding to be petted and held) and some of this carried over into Java. Her mother was a Dutch named Panda (which lets you know what her coloration was like…) who preferred not to be touched. Slightly smaller, though spunkier than the MiniRex. Mom was black and white. This pattern, but not the color, carried over into Java, but with a twist.
The Dutch nomally have a white stripe up the nose, makeing two black patches over the eyes. In Java this stripe had a semi-lightning bolt sig-sag to it! Very distinctive. She was a rone brown color more or less. But it changed with the seasons. Sometimes tan(ish) and sometimes redder. Mostly a medium brown. It all depended on the guard hairs vs base hairs and season. A bunny of many colors!
Java would come to greet me in the garden, but would stay just out of reach. A few times she let me pet her, then would move off. Once or twice I picked her up, but she preferred all four feet on the ground. She liked to be near, but just out of reach; and she was not bashfull about asking for treats (especially green bean leaves and cabbage leaves! I’m now very happy I fed her her fill last garden season… You never get a second chance to say I love you…)
Some time last night I heard a THUNK in the back yard. I don’t know if that was the moment, or just an unrelated sound. Today I found her body near the back fence. She was in the “laying on my side sunning” position, so I don’t think there was foul play. But sometime between her death and my discovery some critter had chewed on her top side a bit. Natural, but unwelcome… I like to think that she died peacefully during a nap in the late afternoon yesterday (about the time that particular spot is a pleasant place to sun); the place and position argue for it.
Java is survived by a couple of batches of bunnies, including some that are living their own lives and are exploring the world in their own way and a set of twin Tan & Whites that were her constant companions. They seem a bit lost today (they actually came up to me with a slightly lost “what now” kind of look… Normally they would huddle near mom.) One batch of her children (including the twins) were from Cupcake. Another from Jack (a black and white cross of MiniRex and Dutch). Most of her kids are “chocolate & white” but some were tan & white and a couple were black and white. Most are off living their own lives now.
Yesterday the neighbors called. The bunnies had tunneled into their yard again. They manage to outsmart me about twice a year… They had been tanking up on clover and other not-quite-lawn plants. After shooing them back to where they belonged I closed yet another of their Great Escape tunnels. I’m happy that my last vision of Java was her heading into the tunnel back to home turf. I’m also happy that her last day was spent having all the forbidden fruits she wanted…
Of all the “free range bunnies” that were born in my yard, Java was the one that was most sociable. I don’t know if this was because as a newborn we did handle her litter some (while her kids were all born underground and never handled) or if it was just a personal trait. She will be missed. For now, I’m going to spend some time with the rest of the warren and help them through the moment….and me…