Biggles Marshall
2/8/2008 - 5/1/2011

I am a cynical middle aged male, with a stressful job and failed relationship which ended some years ago. When I came home my life was pretty much spent alone, with only (at the time) my Alsatian cross Tess for company.

On my birthday in 2007 I had taken the day off, and was driving around with my friend Elaine; she wanted to go to an auction to look at horses but for some reason the auction was postponed, and we ended up looking at Pet Shops. Since her cat Claudia had passed away some months previously she fell in love with a tiny rabbit called Dillon, who she ended up taking home. Dillon was a regular visitor and I came to appreciate what great pets rabbits are; in summer the following year my friend rescued an unneutered female to keep him company, and to cut a long story short there was a litter of whom two survived. They were a naughty little male black bunny and a quiet little female grey bunny. My birthday was to come round again a month or so later and I said that I would take one of them-the little black bunny, who I called Biggles.

Even before I got him he was in trouble- on his first day he fell down from the first floor of the hutch, and had to be put back, and he had to have his head taken out from a grass feeding ball a couple of weeks later. As I watched one day the little grey female-Mia had just worked out how to negotiate the ramp between upper and lower floors. Biggles tried it his way and basically fell out.

I was due to collect Biggles when he was 8 weeks old and so I made the necessary safety modifications to the small yard area below my garden, and purchased a modular hutch. Fate intervened 4 weeks after Biggles birth on 2nd September, when Dillon and Sasha produced a SECOND litter –before Biggles and Mia had been discovered by my friend the previous month their parents had mated again in the short interval... Biggles and Mia thus needed to be homed straight away: I took them both for a couple of nights ( I wish now I had had more confidence in owning bunnies at the time and taken Mia on as well, as she passed away in 2010). I thus took Biggles on when he was only 4 weeks old.

Tess was brilliant. Although I never left the two alone in a room they became great friends, with Biggles copying her mannerisms. He would go to the door when strangers came, and was utterly fearless. Before I moved my computer station downstairs into the main living area, Biggles would sit upstairs with me in a cushion den at one end of the computer table, taking an interest periodically. He rapidly learned to negotiate stairs and the distinctive ‘badum-badum’ sound as he scuttled up and down always raised a smile in visitors.

Having a baby bunny to look after re-ordered the pattern of my life drastically: when I got up I would need to clean him out, feed him and keep him company for half an hour before going to work; in the evening I would need to clean out again- needless to say when I was at home he was in the house running about and being naughty, not cooped up in the hutch. As autumn approached I bought him an indoor bedroom anyway, and the outside hutch reverted to the status of an outdoor daytime playpen for when I was at work. Having such a fun and beautiful little creature order my life in this way was good for me. I probably became less grumpy and for the first time in ages actually looked forward to going home and playing with my little pal. We rapidly became inseparable-my little black shadow who followed me everywhere and wanted to know everything I was doing.

I didn’t have Biggles neutered because I didn’t want to alter his bossy and very distinctive behaviour. In early 2009 it became apparent that Biggles had occluded teeth, which basically meant a fortnightly visit to the vet to get them burred down: this wasn’t an issue and I think Biggles became a favourite with the nurses and staff : Biggles didn’t need to be put in a pet carrier- I would simply attach his harness, stick him in my jacket and carry him, simply being circumspect if there were lots of dogs in the waiting room. Other than this he had few health issues, though he did have a couple of bouts of GI stasis, sorted out by injection and coaxing.

Life with Biggles was good; we were inseparable, and even when I acquired other bunnies (his two brothers Max in 2009 and Thumper in 2010-both rescues from the September 2008 second litter) I was always his first choice of company. Max arrived in autumn 2009 and poor Tess passed away in early 2010, and so Biggles always retained other animal friends. We were joined by a rescue bunny Beth in December 2010. When I finally introduced them to the garden they loved it, and played (supervised) during the summer for an hour or two each evening or on a day off.

The end came unexpectedly; on January 2nd I noticed he hadn’t touched his food, and suspected GI stasis. This was only the first day so I so I took him into the emergency vet on Monday 3rd (bank holiday), he received medication and injection as previously, and I handfed him special food by syringe. He had not recovered on 4th and I took him in again –I was due back at work on 5th. To my surprise the vet suggested he stay in overnight to which I agreed. I worried and mulled over this and when I went into work wasn’t much fit for anything. I determined to leave work early and arrange for constant nursing at home- I reasoned that I had made a mistake and he would only be more stressed at the Vet’s and so less likely to recover. On consideration I also doubted that the staff, although they knew and were fond of Biggles, would not necessarily be able to devote the amount of time needed for tummy massage and the other attention needed during stasis. I checked in several times during the day and Biggles was ok, and I set off to retrieve him mid afternoon. About halfway there I received a call- Biggles had had a Fit and passed away.

Needless to say I am completely devastated and frankly everything else seems to have lost its taste: I am good for nothing and working on autopilot. I loved that bunny more than any other pet I have ever had, and more than quite a lot of people, and he loved me. I feel that I let him down at the end and that the situation could have been retrieved if only I’d acted differently.

Although I love my other bunnies Biggles was very definitely my bunny, just like I was his human. I won’t say Rest in Peace because I would rather he played, laughed and be naughty, just like he did when he was with me, but now instead with his sister Mia and his old friend Tess to look after him. If such a thing is possible I will be with him again one day : I love you forever Biggles bunny.

Biggles Marshall 2.8.2008 -5.1.2011.

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

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