i think it is important to tell his story to give people who don't know rabbits that well a glimpse into a different species world.
i captured clover about six years ago. he and his brother had been abandoned in the absolutely filthiest hutch i had ever seen. it was literally a foot deep in packed down feces and four feet off the ground. when their owners moved away, they opened the door and left them to fend for themselves.
i suspect that clover's brother, broke his back in the fall from the hutch. he was last seen by a neighbor dragging his hind quarters across a field a week before and was never seen again. i hope something killed him quickly.
clover was obviously ill and still hard to catch, but finally we got him and i took him home and started him on fluids right away. he was dehydrated, he was terrified, he had a horrible ear infection and the resulting head tilt never fully disappeared. i did not expect him to survive but somehow he did. i think it was because of marilla who laid patiently beside him on the outside of his cage, day after day and week after week.
it was about a month before he was well enough to neuter and another month before i could let clover and marilla be together (she was not spayed and she was very old and too elderly to risk the surgery.)
on the day that i let them together, marilla hopped into his cage and immediately began to groom him. she became his safe harbour and he became her mission in life. clover never really lost his fear of people, he remained always a timid and shy little one. with marilla he felt loved and safe so i tried really hard to respect that clover loved marilla but not me and that was ok....sort of.
a couple of years later when it became obvious that marilla was dying of cancer, i was in an utter panic to find clover a new and safe friend. in came crippled baby maple and while clover was initially afraid of her, marilla was not and began once again the job of mothering someone. eventually clover accepted maple because marilla, who he loved so much, already did. and when marilla finally passed away, maple who was a young teenager, took over the job she learned from marilla so well....mothering clover and keeping him safe.
since we built the new rabbit area, clover lived with several other rabbits in addition to maple. ALL of them took care of him and helped him to feel safe. clover started to stroke about a year ago and would get lost spinning in circles. the rabbits would surround him to keep him still and clover would be able to settle and recover his balance again.
a couple of weeks ago, he started seizuring on and off and i had to make a decision on what was best for him. after alot of consideration i realized something here....clover did not want my human intervention, he wanted what he already had...a closely bonded group of rabbits to care for him until he died. clover was now very old.
so maybe they couldn't scoop him up to the vets to release him and maybe they couldn't shove meds down his throat and maybe they couldn't bath him or dry him when he fell in the water bowl....but they could do something that i couldn't do which was make him feel cared for and safe.
rest in peace little clover, when i see you, i see not only marilla but a whole different world of comittment, compassion and caring that is outside of human view.
i know i never held you unless i was doing something you didn't like but that was my way of loving you. i know the ones you wanted to hold you were part of your family and not part of me.
i will miss you sweet, gentle, and innocent little rabbit and i truly hope marilla is already grooming you.