Billy Marshall
04/02/2012 - 07/22/2019

Billy (2.4.2012 – 22.7.2019): aka Bill, Bilbo, Big Bill, Billy Blotter, Billy Bigbot, Billy Blutotski, My Billy, Beautiful Brown Eyed Boy, William, Bilbert, Biblet, Billy Boy, Silly Billy, Bunny Bill. Billy was a medium sized, fine featured white lionhead with a few small brown patches, expressive features and big brown eyes. He was a near identical twin to his brother Bertie, except for a brown moustache. Temperamentally however, whereas Bert was sensitive and nutty, Bill was quiet and reliable. You’d be happy for him to meet your Mum. I bought his bother Bert on an impulse at a pet shop in Clitheroe, and as I bought him Billy squeaked in alarm as Bert 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. Both Bert and Bill 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. Bill got on fine with Beth too, but also with Misty, Max and Thumper. For now, the lines were drawn. When I acquired a feisty little mini lop called Chip later in the year the two became friends for life, and the front room was definitely their turf. Generally Bill was very quiet and not a forward personality at all. Like many rabbits he didn’t much tolerate handling, but he did like some attention when he was in the mood. Unlike Bertie who would paw your legs for a bit of attention Bill would just sit dolefully looking quietly at you. But if you did pick him up and give him five minutes attention or grooming he would then be ecstatic, purring and trilling like a kitten, until he started to get restless again and wished to be put on the floor again. Around 2014 he developed a couple of large stomach abcesses, but these were cut off and the problem never returned. This did mean however that he wore elasticated bandages for some weeks at a time, which seemed to set off a pattern in his life. Occasionally Bertie would jump the fence, chase and nip him, or Chip would hen peck him. These were not serious and were dealt with using antibiotic powder and wiping, but the problem was Bill would not let hem heal. As soon as a scab formed he would chew it off, and the fur around it. The only solution was the elasticated bandage for a few weeks again: Billy was my most elasticated bandaged bunny. After a respite of two or three years it even happened again in early 2019. I remember Billy too being enamoured of a little guinea pig called Gizmo, and there is a photo of Bill sitting with him. He loved the garden, ate very daintily but profusely, as though he was attending a polite tea party. In fact he gave an impression of being very polite, and never forward when he wanted something. In 2014 I acquired a rescued stray bunny called Bugsy, and he got on well with Bill and Chip, and so he too joined them in the front room. In the garden Bill would tend to find a shady spot, such as behind a couple of plant pots, and just sit and chill out; I don’t think exploring the wilderness was for him. A checkup in 2016 indicated that Billy’s and Bertie’s 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 largely declared between Bill and Bert. 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 was a precise and controlled nibbler, and Chip a total destroyer, Bert’s technique was one of directed aggression. It probably says something about their relative personalities: while Bill was stolid and reliable, Bert was madcap, sensitive and a bit nutty. Both were extremely good natured. A fallout between Bill and his mate Bugsy now meant that Bugs was in the front room with Ziggy and Flash, while Bert and Bill now shared the room with Chip: the twins were friends again, which saved me a lot of headaches -it stopped Bert jumping the gate for one thing. Bert would chase Bill round -his ever suffering brother, but then they would flop down and eye one another as though nothing had happened. They were always friends now. But in late December 2018 Bertie passed away; I could see that Billy was very unhappy when it happened. I did my best to make more of a fuss of him and chip, while keeping a wary eye on both. Bill was a twin and Chip only a few months difference, and their biological clocks must have been ticking. When Chip also passed away in February I could not leave Bill alone, and so the next day got hold of a baby female called Muffin, which turned out to be the best thing I could have done in the circumstances. It only took them a few days to acclimatise to one another, and little Muffy was thrilled to have an actual rabbit friend. Essentially she would enthusiastically run up to him: “Billy! Billy! Be my friend! Play with me!” I imagine Bill’s response was “Get lost, I want to chill out”, but they soon reached an accommodation. When Muffy wanted to play, she would chase (or hump) him, until he got sufficiently hacked off to chase her. But there was no malice, and eventually they would crash out together. I made an effort to maximise my time in the garden with them both, fearing the worst to come. Eventually in mid July, Bill showed signs of urine scald. I managed to overcome this, and he was recovering, then he lost his appetite: I knew the signs. Over the weekend I hydrated and fed him, but come Monday 22nd ( a day off fortunately) he looked totally exhausted. We sat out in the sunshine for some hours, with Bill in a A Frame portable run (with the door open). He lounged on a bit of profleece, with Muffy looking in occasionally between her explorations. About three we went in, and I watched tv for a couple of hours with Bill on my lap, still purring like a kitten. I thought he needed to spend some time with Muffy, so I put him back in their den -a rug and some boxes under my front room table, where she could chill with him. I couldn’t settle to do anything without him, so I went in and lay by him, tickling his ears and talking to him. I decided to bring some pillows and a duvet down to sleep next to him on the floor - I had to be up for work at 4.30 the next morning. About nine thirty I left him alone to sort the others and the house out for bed time, and at about 9.45 I heard a sort of thump. Bill, although tired had not lost all his energy, and had been able to walk, and even run, during the day. But he had come off the rug and slumped down. I knew the time had come. I picked him up and hugged him and told him I loved him, and then he was gone. Muffy was confused: I decided to sleep downstairs with her anyway, and showed Bill’s body to the other bunnies. Another friend gone. Bill was a shy, very special bunny, who shunned the Limelight but who really loved the attention when you gave it to him. He was very well behaved and returned happily any affection you gave him. I will see you later, mate 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  Bertie Marshall  Chip Marshall  

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