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Hoshi - Small But Mighty

Updated: May 1, 2023

Although he was only with us for 5 months, our little 2-year-old, 1.5 pound, chocolate with cream cheese frosting trim colored, dwarf Newfoundland rabbit, Hoshi brought joy to our hearts.

Hoshi means Star or Sun Born in Japanese and man he was SMALL but MIGHTY!! The stare-downer of cats. Seriously hilarious to watch. My sister’s cats would come down, and stand at the gate separating the kitchen and living room, ears at attention, tails flicking. Hoshi would stop, stare them down, hop right up to their nose, then sniff them down. I laughed out loud at how quickly they back peddled -- totally befuddled as to why this little thing, they could eat, had no fear of them.

He came into our lives after his previous owner had to go to college and found having a bunny and college dorm life was not very conducive. The people she nannied for had taken care of him for 5 months while she was transitioning to college, and finally decided they needed to find him a full-time home.

My 15-year-old daughter had been wanting a pet and our living environment was not conducive for bigger animals, so when we saw the cute little ball of fur on Facebook, we couldn’t say no.

Being a new bunny mamma (by default), I spent hours watching video blogs and articles about raising bunnies. Everything from what you need, feed, and groom, to bunny-proofing your home, to why you shouldn’t get a bunny. Probably should have watched these before bringing a bunny into the house!!

Our 2 main goals upon bringing him into our house were to 1) get him to eat hay, which is a critical staple for a bunny’s diet and in keeping their teeth in good form and 2) transition him from his hutch to a bigger pen, then to free roaming in our kitchen.

Try as we might, we could not get him to eat hay. Following all the expert advice on getting your rabbit to eat hay, we started decreasing the amount of pellets (or his Cheetos as we called them -- he LOVED his Cheetos), increasing his greens and providing plenty of the best fresh hay in 4 different varieties we could find and strategically placing it in multiple places and in toys around his pen. To no avail…he just flat out would not eat hay.

Next came the free-roaming transition in our kitchen, which seemed to go well…at first. Every morning we would let him out of his pen and he would do his little binkys, which if you have never seen a rabbit expressing his happiness and excitement, it is the cutest thing EVER!! He leaps in the air, then contorts and twists his body in a beautiful act of acrobatic prowess, landing gracefully back on his feet. It’s pure joy!! Or we would get the bunny 500, where he would run in circles or figure 8s around our feet as fast as he could go. Or both…So freaking cute.

When starting the free-roaming, we knew there were going to be random droppings. Thankfully, he is a small bunny and bunny poops are hard, small and easy to pick up. In the beginning, it was just a couple of accidents. But as time went on it became more and more. Thankfully, we have hardwood floors in the kitchen and he seems to reserve most of the peeing to the black indoor/outdoor floor runner we had.

We changed his litter to a softer paper, got a new/bigger litter box and added hay, added a second litter box in the space in case the space was too big. It was like the more we did the worst it got. And then it started feeling like it was out of spite. He would be in the litter box, look at you, then hop out and finish peeing on the floor. I also finally determined he was marking everywhere in addition to pooping and peeing.

When we cleaned up his mess and put a paper towel on top, he would come over and rip that paper towel off with his teeth and fling it away like it was the rudest thing ever that we would clean up his mess. “How dare you wipe me away,” he seemed to say. It was quite entertaining to watch...if you choose to be amused by such things. After he flung the paper towel, he would claw/dig at it, then promptly jump and swing his little butt around and poop all over it.

Honestly…how could you be mad at that….

Some days he would leave his poop in little piles all over the black mat. On other days it would be like a minefield. Little poops everywhere!! The accidents were definitely no longer feeling like accidents. He was trying to tell us something. He was frustrated and angry. And he was not doing his binky’s or his bunny 500s as much. But we didn’t know why.

We didn’t want to put him back permanently in his pen…so as a last resort, we found and reached out to an incredible animal communicator, Barbara Mariano.

On our first session, she felt he was in pain and something was going on with his teeth, which could explain why he wasn’t eating hay. She also said he was sad, angry and frustrated as he didn’t understand why, his first person (owner) disappeared/didn’t want him. “She didn’t want me” is what Barbara heard him say. She was “his” person. His first source of love and he didn’t get to say goodbye or understand why she left him.

Our 2 goals after that session were to get him to the vet to get his teeth checked and see if we could get him some closure with his first “person”.

The next day we took him to the vet and sure enough, she said his front teeth were misaligned, he had teeth spurs coming off the sides of his molars and one had grown almost to the top of his mouth. This was causing him a tremendous amount of pain.

We were fortunate to be able to get him into surgery the next day. Since he was already going under anesthesia, we decided to get him neutered in hopes that would heip with the marking.

While in surgery they took an x-ray to see what was going on with his teeth and as it turned out he had a genetic disorder where the roots of his top teeth are growing up into his eyes. There was nothing they could do to stop it but try to ease his pain with monthly teeth filings which would entail him going under anesthesia every time.

The thought of his little body having to undergo that until it basically gave out was too much. We reached out to Barbara again to update her on the situation. She said she could hear him saying “No more, please.”

The thought of having to let him go so soon after we got him was devastating, but the thought of him having to live in continuous pain and undergo surgery every month was even more so.

During the previous couple of days, we were fortunate to be able to reach out to Laura the amazing woman who gifted him to us, and see if she would act as a go-between for Hoshi and his first owner. Since his previous owner nannied for Laura she could be a sit-in in a meeting with our animal communicator, Barbara, and help Hoshi understand why her nanny left and that she did love him.

Our meeting was set for Monday, 3 days after his surgery.

The thought of having to decide on a death date for Hoshi was incredibly difficult as we didn’t want him to be in any more pain. At the same time, he seemed happier than he had ever been since coming to our house, now that he, temporarily, wasn’t hurting anymore. He was back to doing his binkys and rabbit 500s with more speed, more hight, more joy than we had ever seen before!! I determined it would be something for Hoshi to decide on our next call with Barbara.

At our Monday meeting, Barbara helped Laura explain to Hoshi why “his” person had to leave and that he was still loved by her, and Laura. Barbara showed him how much he was loved. He now had his closure. Then came time for the hard question of when. Hoshi said, “I’m ready to go. I’m ready to stop fighting and be out of pain. I have lived a good life and have been loved by many people. I am ready. Just give me 3 days to eat…whatever I want and let me have a party!”

For the next 4 days, Hoshi was treated like royalty. Got to eat all his favorites multiple times a day!! The following Friday, we called in Gentle Goodbyes to help him peacefully transition at home. He was ready.

Although it was hard to let him go, we are so grateful for the short amount of time this SMALL, but MIGHTY bunny was in our lives. He left us with many amazing memories and even more so some life lessons:

  • See the joy in every moment and show it, let it overflow out of your body and pass it on to others through the display

  • If someone doesn’t “hear” you, “speak” louder

  • It’s all in the attitude

  • Death is a normal part of life. Humans are the ones who want to hang on and fear the thought of letting go of a loved one as they feel they will be gone forever. Hoshi knew it was his time, he was at peace ready to be pain-free and knew it was part of the natural cycle. His time here was done, but he was not gone forever. Just in another form -- pure love.



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