Beth Marshall
10/31/2008 - 08/26/2017

Beth (31.10.2008 – 26.8.2017); aka Bethany, Bethany Boo, Boo Boo, Boo, Booby Girl, Bobby Girl, Baff, Bethany Bigboats, Boober, BooBeth, MyBeth, Bethy Lovekin, Bunty Girl, Boostalker, BooBeth, OurBeth, Bethany Munchkin, Grumpy Girl I don’t know much about Beth’s early life; in December 2010 I thought it would be a good idea to add a Ladybun to my three Bunny brothers, Biggles, Max and Thumper. I checked the local RSPCA website (Altham) and essentially looked for the bunny that had been there for the longest time. This was Beth, and I made an appointment to see her. All they said about her was that they had rescued her because she had been kept in a small box -all the time. I picked her up, guessing she wasn’t used to either company or affection. She put her paws round me and I hugged her. “She’s taken to you” said the RSPCA worker, but then, I guessed they often said this, but I liked her and agreed to take her. After a home inspection visit, she arrived soon after. She was an immediate hit with the boys, but it was clear that she wasn’t used to other bunnies, or indeed any affection/ contact at all. She chased them off. When stroked or petted she quite simply didn’t know what to do. She would thump, lunge and snarl. When my friend Elaine saw her soon after I got her – in her cage while I was at work- she was intimidated by her size and attitude. Very quickly, Beth decided she was Queen. She stamped, she fumed, she honked: she put the Boys to the rightabouts. In the interests of a quiet household Biggles and Tumps got supervised access only, while the gentle and quiet Max became the bun who got to share the front room with her while I was at work. This seemed to work, and the house settled down again, interspersed with periods of excitement. The house was hers: everything, including me, was nudged and scented. When I got another female, Misty, lines were drawn: the house had to be divided up. When I was out bunnies had to be paired or grouped in different rooms – some mixes worked, some were out of bounds. Misty and Beth were a no go – staring matches through the baby gate. Beth developed an early taste for strawberries, which were always her very favourite thing; my shopping bill went up. Carrots too were a favourite, though really she ate whatever was put in front of her In general, though, despite all the grumpiness, she enjoyed her reign. She craved attention, but when she got it, didn’t know quite how to respond – a relic of her early life I suppose. Until the very end of her life, I never got a kiss or a lick – the closest she could manage to affection was a head butt or nudge; she wanted love and I think wanted to give it, but simply didn’t know how to either receive or express it. Max adored her, and he loved to groom her, but I don’t think I ever saw her groom either him, or anyone else, in return. Heads would be presented hopefully, but instead she would groom herself. Beth was quite dominant, and after about a year I had to swop Max for Tump, as Max was losing fur which was diagnosed as due to nerves (he was fine afterwards). Tump was much more robust, but after a few months she bit a piece of his ear off. He didn’t much seem to mind, but what to do? I didn’t want to leave her alone all the time when I wasn’t there to keep an eye out (and the peace). In 2012 Bertie and Billy joined us, and Bertie turned out to be just who Beth needed to keep her both company, and in line. Bertie and Billy are beautiful almost twin Angoras: smart, sensitive, agile and good natured. Bertie is by far the naughtier of the two, and when I tried him with Beth he was extremely friendly. When she tried to be grumpy at him he chased her, much to her own surprise, around the room. He wasn’t having any of it. Success at last, and I was able to leave the two alone for the rest of Beth’s life - nearly five years. Sat in the front room, when it was the turn of Beth and Bertie to be alone in my front room I would here Beth stomp, followed by a game of chase around the room. He kept her young, I think. He groomed her, he loved her, and she loved the attention back. Beth loved my little back garden; it is pretty overgrown/ unkempt by gardener’s standards, but great for bunnies; in the summer I like to sit out there, and the bunnies play protected by me, high stone walls, long grass and shrubs. Beth would nose about a bit, ignoring all the play, and then find a quiet shady spot beneath a bush. She liked to sit in the bunloaf position, back against a wall and then half doze with eyes closed, until it was time for us all to go in. Generally, she was reluctant to do this Indoors she loved cardboard boxes with a few holes cut in them, placed near whatever den they were using. These would have a limited lifespan before being chewed to destruction, but in the interim, with a bit of carpet inserted, they made a sort of burrow/ den which she was happy with. Everything was scented and belonged to her, including me: it seemed I was the one human she could tolerate. In 2014 I had a bit of a shock when I found a lump at the base of each ear – diagnosed as abscesses. One of these was experimentally operated on, opening and inserting a drain to the outside after cleaning it out. The plan was then to wait a few months before doing the second. In the interim the other burst however, but luckily into the ear passage. The solution then was simply to clean her ear with cotton wool twice a day and insert antibiotic eardrops for the rest of her life. Amazingly this all worked out fine. Beth expected the twice daily ritual, and I have quite a few bites to prove it. There was a side effect though -Beth’s temperament improved dramatically, so much so that I wonder if she had previously suffered from headaches or similar from the pressure. Beth actually made friends with Elaine (my friend), on her own initiative. When Elaine sat in front of the fire, Beth would approach her and actually climb on her lap, asking for attention and treats. Elaine was allowed to scratch her ears, and got licks in return, and raisins. In 2016 she was getting old – 8 years – and on occasions became a bit wobbly. I watched anxiously, simply putting more rugs in the room she was in, and giving her regular courses of Panacur to combat e. caniculi in case this was likely. But by and large she was fine, right up through till June of 2017. Bertie would still play chase with her, and I would smile as I heard her distinctive galumph as she was chased by the younger rabbit. In late June however she had trouble getting up. I made adjustment to her den, and thought she had possibly suffered a stroke. I hoped she might learn to walk again – she was stubborn and strong - Sasha had managed it. But Sasha had been younger at the time, and Beth was very old. We changed our routine. I kept her in the front room, and built a snug for her in front of the fire, bounded by the fireplace, a chair and a blocked off coffee table. It was floored with profleece rugs, and edge by fleece blankets and cushions, but was still open at one end if she wanted to wander. For a while she was able to try, and could shuffle for short distances. As I said, she was strong and stubborn. I had to check that she was clean several times a day. I altered my routine to sit down there with her, with my laptop on the coffee table. She would snuggle up to my leg, and finally, even lick me when I scratched her ear. In the evening I would sit on the sofa, and watched more television in those last two months than I have in the last ten years: we went through multiple boxed sets. Beth liked it because she could sit upright next to me, while I scratched her ear, and she polished off all of the leftover greens from my other rabbit’s dinners. Flashie would also groom her, which she enjoyed. Weather permitting we still sat in the garden, now sprawled on a rug and cushion. She still liked the breeze and scents. I was supposed to be in work on Saturday 26th August, but I had come in earlier in the week on a day off, and so was given this day off instead. We went out about 1 pm, and I noticed that she was very quiet. I picked her up and she seemed very weak. “This is it” I thought. I picked her up and stroked her, and she licked me again as I sat with her, very worried. About three she suddenly squealed. I hugged her and tried to reassure her, but within a minute she was gone: my beautiful Beth. Beth didn’t have an easy early life, and I think this marked her, perhaps compounded by unrecognised ear problems. But these we resolved in time, and she learned to give and receive affection in small doses, and I certainly loved her, and in her way I think she did me. I hope I managed to give her a good life, and now I miss her. Play nicely now with our other mates Bethany Boo 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  

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