Tuesday, December 09, 2008

We Will Miss You Pipkin

Mr. Pipkin: March 1999 - December 2008

Megan and I brought our little bunny Pipkin to the vet today one last time. He was almost 10 years old. It was very peaceful, and I got to hold him in his warm blanket. We are very sad, but happy that Pipkin had such a long life full of good things, good places, and good people.

Megan got Pipkin when he was six months old from a breeder. He sired 10 babies who all went to good homes. He taught preschoolers about how to pet bunnies nicely at the Maplewood Nature Center, helping Megan teach their "Bouncing Bunnies" class. He occasionally joined her during work at Petco, too. Then Megan went to college, and Pipkin stayed home in the hutch for a year. He did visit St. Olaf though- the photo on the left is him visiting David and my first year dorm room. But then in 2003 it was time to go to school for real!

Despite bunnies being against the rules at St. Olaf, Pipkin joined Megan's triple as a "furry fish." Despite R.A. visits, moving, and study parties no one ever turned pip in (for some reason). The triple stayed in place for Junior year too, and Pipkin was happy to stay around too, doing his bunny duties of attending Biology events, hopping in the St. Olaf prairie, and providing study break fun.

Then Senior year came around, and Megan was going to room with an RA. So I took Pipkin. Before Pipkin, the only pet I ever had were wild chipmunks and my only responsibility was to feed them! So Pipkin was really my first pet. We lived in my single first semester, where I did my first time-lapse of his activity. We both moved in with Dave the next semester, where he loved to run around like mad in the morning when I would let him out. Here is a video I took, look at him go!

It wasn't until second semester that I was tossing and and turning late at night trying to think of a senior show that I heard pip bang his keys and I got the idea for Rabbit Logic. I wanted to know how he saw the world, and some how respond to his environment. In the weeks that followed the project developed and I spent several hours following his movements around a stage and honestly felt like I was in his world for a short time.

Rabbit Logic from Chris Schommer on Vimeo.

He even got to attend the opening of the show! And when graduation rolled around we told President Thomforde the truth at the senior ice cream social, that we had been housing a "furry fish" for the past three years! He promised he wouldn't tell anyone.

After graduation Pipkin joined me in Northfield where he was my friend during hard times. His last stop was here at the lofts, where he was again an illegal bunny thanks to our crazy pet policy. He got vestibular disease in August 2007, which caused him to loose his balance and roll over. After six months of twice daily antibiotics (!) the disease did clear up, however some damage was permanent in the form of loss of balance. We were fairly certain that he wasn't going to make it through last winter, then last spring, then last summer, then this fall!

But he kept gradually losing things he loved to do, finally losing all his mobility this last week. He still had a great appetite though, we fed him wet food and fruit, and loved to be petted and held up to the end. He lived a long full life and wound up a little old man with bent whiskers and the fur around his face ruffled from napping. All three of us will miss Pipkin terribly as he was truly a special rabbit.

Here is a slide show of photos we took of him over the years, I hope you enjoy.


clock-a-clay said...

Sorry about losing Pipkin. This is a lovely tribute.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful life.