Bertie Marshall
04/02/2012 - 12/30/2018

Bertie (2.4.2012. – 30.12.2018): aka Berties, Bertie Trouble, Bertie Trumble, Bertie Bubble, Troubleboy, Mr. Trumble, Bertram, Berto, Bertie Loveboy, My Bertie, Bigbert, Bunny Bigbert, Ratboy, Bunbert, Funbert, Bunbert Funbert, Berbert, Berbert Sherbert, Bertie Bunny “He’s loads of trouble, that Bertie Bubble.” Bertie was a medium sized, fine featured white lionhead with a few small brown patches, expressive features and big brown eyes. He was smart, extremely sensitive, light on his feet, and very agile. I bought him on an impulse at a pet shop in Clitheroe, and as I bought him his near identical squeaked in alarm as he was removed from the cage. This bothered me for a whole week when I went back and asked if his brother was still there. He was, and so Bertie and Billy became members of my household. The two brothers were near identical twins- the only difference being Billy has a brown moustache. They were taken under the wing of some of my older bunnies and fitted in quite well, until their terrible teens when the two suddenly became mortal enemies. Bertie was put instead with Beth, two or three years his senior and a largish brown and white dutch lop. The two got on like a house on fire, and even when Beth was much older I would hear the pair of them playing chase and galumphing about. I looked after a guinea pig called Gizmo once for a couple of weeks, and Bertie was quite taken with him. Bert was a great climber, and the baby gate separating my two downstairs rooms was no obstacle if he had a mind. In one room I have three indoor hutches stacked – I really only use the top one now as an overnight bedroom for one of the rabbits: it is about four foot off the ground. One day I left it open and I couldn’t find Bert, but could hear occasional thumping. When I finally noticed he was sat inside, and the door was closed – possibly I’d left it open and then it had fallen down. How he got up there I have no idea. His great sport was breaking prison (ie the baby gate) and hunting down his brother. Poor Bill put up with a lot till I resolved the issue, and I had to be very careful about who was where. This proved his partial downfall as in 2016 he developed a limp after a particularly spectacular leap. An x - ray showed multiple tiny fractures that had cracked and re - healed many times; the advice was that he should simply be put in a place where he couldn’t climb any more. From that point on when I was out or overnight he was either placed in an indoor hutch, or put out in the kitchen with Buttercup. He only had supervised access in the living rooms, where I could gently pluck him off sofas. This also meant acclimatising him back to being with Billy, which I managed. The need for him to jump the baby gate had gone. The limp went away and thankfully he continued as normal. Like all my rabbits Bertie simply loved the garden, and it is also neutral territory where he could meet the other rabbits. He wasn’t particularly aggressive -more very naughty and a terror to his brother – and so he mostly rubbed along. I don’t recall any health issues at all. Bertie was very much my bunny only: he avoided any strangers, and would evade them at any costs. If caught and stroked he would submit under protest, and escape at the earliest opportunity. But from me he loved a cuddle, and if in the mood would sit happily being petted for a good while. A checkup in 2016 indicated that his teeth needed monitoring as there were the beginnings of spurs, so we went into a regime of extra hay and the stick game. By this time Peace had been declared, and Bertie now shared the front room with Billy and my feisty little mini lop, Chip. The stick game was that Billy and Bertie took daily turns destroying a stick, needing to chomp it through at least three times. Chip expressed an interest, and so she was included in the rota: one day Bert, one day Bill, one day Chip. While Billy is a precise and controlled nibbler, and Chip is a total destroyer, Bert’s technique was one of directed aggression. It probably says something about their relative personalities: while Bill is stolid and reliable, Bert was madcap, sensitive and a bit nutty. Both are/ were extremely good natured though, even to one another eventually. Thankfully the tooth problem never emerged, but in December 2018 a stasis issue emerged with Bertie. This had arisen briefly six months before, but we had overcome it. With an eye on his age now, I hoped it was not more serious. For two weeks or more I hand fed him, and there were numerous vet visits and a daily round of medications, and syringed water, baby food and fibreplex. His weight seemed stable, so I was still hopeful despite the prolonged nature of the bout. When I came home on the evening of the 29th I was actually more hopeful for once: there were soft and relatively numerous pellets, so I thought he might actually be on the mend. But on the morning of the 30th I came down and prepared his drugs and his first intake of water. He was refusing it: he was always so good with his medication, he had never done this before. I cuddled and pleaded with him, and then decided that I would take him into the front room where I usually gave him his feeding and medication: perhaps the location was the problem. He had spent the night in the kitchen with his other friend Buttercup; I thought the change might do him good. Again, there were soft pellets. But as I started to get up he convulsed and dropped off my arms -only about two feet. And then he was dead when he landed; like he leaped off from one place and landed somewhere else. Stunned I presented him gently to all my rabbits. Billy seemed upset. It reminded me of Boxing Day, when I had watched the remake of Watership Down with Bertie laying on my lap. There is a final scene where Hazel’s brother Fiver comes out and sits with him for a minute or two, and thanks him for what a good brother he has been, and the time they’ve had together. Of course Fiver is somewhat prescient, and he knows that Hazel will be departing in only a very few minutes. He wishes him a restful nap, and then sadly leaves him alone. As the scene played out I thought of Bertie and Billy, and I was both worried and sad also. So Bertie is gone, and I will miss him. I will miss his clever, sensitive and fine featured little wedge shaped face, with the tiny scar across his nose courtesy of Billy. I will miss him putting his paws up on my knee as I sat at my computer desk, when he would want to have a quick chase or be picked up and cuddled for a minute or two. I will miss his company, his love and his friendship. Goodbye for now, my sensitive, flaky, naughty little friend x x x .

Previous Home: Sabden, England
Parents: Steve Marshall
ORB Sibblings: Biggles Marshall  Toffee Marshall  Sasha Marshall   Thumper Marshall  Max Marshall  Dillon Aspden Marshall  Misty Marshall  Beth Marshall  Flash Marshall  Bugsy Marshall  Chip Marshall  Billy Marshall  

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