A Bunny’s Tale

Once Upon A Time there was a small, orange Pomeranian dog called Bunny. She had magical powers. However sad the people were, when they saw her they smiled and felt happy.

This is her story.

As I write this our world is in a very bad place. A virus tears through everything familiar and makes it unfamiliar. The news is teeming with worrying stats and trends. To combat that distress there are also uplifting posts and funny distractions to balance our anxiety and increasing isolation. I have always been aware that images and videos of Bunny bring people joy. Anyone who meets her speaks about how happy and loved they feel when they hold her. There seems no better time to share her with you, in the hope this will be a moment in your day that is brighter because of a very special little dog.

The Bun.

Bunny was born in September 2008 from two posh Pomeranian parents and her destiny was to be a breeding dog. She lived in not particularly kind conditions at the initial breeders for a year before going to a second. He was to own her for approximately five years. Her life there was very harsh and squalid. I do not have precise details and I do not particularly want them. I do know she had an inordinate amount of pups – far more than a registered breeder should have wrangled out of her. She lived in an extremely confined space, had her thick coat shaved and didn’t have a proper name. That breeder was finally notified he had too many dogs and Bunny was taken in by another registered breeder who gave her an actual name. She was there about 9 months before the magical day she was to become mine.

Having lost my precious Pomeranian Delilah after fifteen years, I adopted a little rescue six months after her passing. She was a Pom cross named Diva and my plan was always to have two fur babies. I began the search for Diva’s companion and was put in touch with the breeder where Bunny had gone to live. I was hopeful I could go on a waiting list for a Pomeranian puppy. After chatting with the breeder, I shared I would also be more than happy with an older, retired dog. She mentioned she had an orange girl who would be needing a permanent home. In my mind I did not want an orange Pomeranian as that was the same colouring as Delilah and too painful after mourning her so deeply. However, I made the jaunt out to see the breeder.

First meeting, March 2015

She carried out an orange Pomeranian whom she had called ‘Penny’. Penny was newly pregnant and would need to have her puppies before going to her forever family. When she placed ‘Penny’ in my arms my heart lurched as this rather worried little creature snuggled into me. Wishing to not seem hysterically desperate I nonchalantly said yes… I would probably adopt this dog and purchase one of her puppies as a package deal. What I wanted to do was run to the car with her in my arms and never let her go. She radiated love and a transparent need to have a human to call her very own. This tiny waif needed desperately to be the centre of someone’s Universe. I would move heaven and earth to be that someone. I reluctantly handed her back over to finish out her term and have the puppies. That night it was agreed upon that she would definitely be mine. I was beside myself with anticipation.

In truth I didn’t like her designated name. It was the same name as that of an extra marital affair my then husband had indulged in several times over his history. It was a name he delighted in hurting me with. My new fur baby had not had the name very long. Yet I didn’t want her to be confused now she actually had one, instead of merely being a number.

After some deliberation I decided to call her ‘Bunny’.

Bunny and her little puppy (who was to be subsequently called ‘Bear’) came home to me on August 9th, 2015.

Bunny wth her babies ‘Bear, ‘Maurice and ‘George’ – born 27/5/15

Diva sniffed the new arrivals and they swiftly became a pack of three. There was the odd small tiff between the girls because Bunny was a protective mother over her diminutive, rather obnoxious son. If Diva had a toy or treat Bun thought her weeny Prince should have, she would bustle out of her bed and snap. Diva always backed down and it stays that way even today. Bunny is never challenged over a bed or a prize by the others. The days of her going in to bat for Bear however are long gone. She seems to view him more as an adult kid who still hasn’t moved out when she’s trying to have a pleasant retirement.

Bunny (middle) with Diva (left) and Bear (right).

At first Bunny was rather puzzled by her new life. She was unused to beds and toys and hand cooked dinners. She soaked up cuddles but she also hid away in small spaces. Her little expression was often worried and a bit sad. I spent a lot of time reassuring her and trying to make her feel secure. She didn’t know how to walk on lead and outings rather distressed her. She never barked. She utterly didn’t understand toys. But she utterly knew I was becoming her person.

As the months went on some of these things improved. Her condition blossomed with good food and exercise. In February 2017 I ended my marriage and the four of us relocated to our new home. Diva and Bear were a closely bonded pair and a happy unit. And Bunny? Well.. Bunny finally came into her own. ❤ Already unrecognisable from where she’d started out at her adoption, Bunny was now in a quiet, stress free home. Everything revolved around her. An adopted pooch momma’s dream come true. The last remnants of the shy traumatised dog melted away and The Bun hit her stride to become one of the most charismatic orange fluff balls that has ever been.

In July 2017 we had all travelled to Melbourne as a family where I was performing with “My Fair Lady” at The Regent Theatre. Bunny came onto the radar of the cast members and a campaign was started to have her in the theatre for a show. After months of touring the Company was tired, missing home and it was a morale boosting exercise. To convince management, posters made by the performers went up around the backstage corridors. The ‘Bring in the Bun’ Movement was launched with rampant enthusiasm.

And indeed Bunny had her great day in the theatre. She was cuddled by the likes of the magnificent Reg Livermore, adorable Tony Llewellyn Jones and lovely Pamela Rabe. She got to come to stage warm up and spent her afternoon nursed on the laps of Company Management. It is something that show team remember as a highlight of a long run in a cold, mouldy venue. Three years on she’s still visited by some cast. In fact, one of them now owns Bear’s brother ‘George’ from Bunny’s final litter.

Bunny at onstage warm up before a “My Fair Lady” performance at ‘The Regent’, Melbourne.

After sojourning back to Sydney in early August 2017 Bunny has gone from strength to strength. She’s become rather bossy and she’s also learned how to bark in protest. It is possibly the funniest sound I’ve ever heard. A petulant ‘”MEH” that demands instant attention. She bustles up for her meals and likes to be hand fed her breakfast. She scrabbles at my lap to be cuddled. She goes nuts for a walk and then, like anyone with a built in slave, demands to be carried for most of it. She will happily sniff and traverse certain stretches of path and and then parks her fluffy butt and refuses to budge until she is lifted and carried aloft like some small, revered orange Pontiff.

About a year ago I came home and found her playing with a toy. I cried that day. It was like she had finally forgotten all she’s been through and learned a final, wonderful thing. Her little face was so proud and excited as she busily rolled that treat ball. She beamed at me with all she had.

Safely tucked up in her favourite bed.

My other two dogs are extraordinarily happy, but it must be said that Bunny is the happiest dog I have ever known. I sincerely hope she does not remember the suffering of her first six years. I think not in detailed terms, but I believe she does express every day that she loves her life and she knows it is very different from where she started out. She certainly expresses that she loves me in a way that makes my heart ache. Every meal, every toy, every bed, every word of love and cuddle, every day is enjoyed to its fullest. She’s a living, breathing epitome of gratitude and being in the moment. She reminds me that I am lucky. Bunny also gives me purpose when life seems a little bleak. Purpose to make every day she has wonderful – to make up for when she was a forgotten little breeding dog living alone and untouched in a squalid box. Her look of love and happiness can change a fraught moment into a beautiful one in less than a second.

Bunny will turn twelve in September and it is my fervent hope that I have many more years with her. As a canine helicopter parent, I have the vet check her over carefully regularly (including blood tests) and I am assured she is in excellent health. Her hearing is going and she has had a couple of very transient minor seizures so common in Pomeranians, but she is something of a tiny Titan. Once a scared little forgotten dog – she is now The Bun beloved by so many.

My adorable, demanding, eccentric, joyful, ever smiling fur baby.

It is easier said than done, but I think Bunny’s message to us humans at the moment would be a simple one. Be happy and grateful for all you have that is wonderful in your life. She does not dwell on what has been because she’s busily soaking up what she has now. Dogs live in the moment.

Stay safe and I hope Bunny’s story brought you a smile at a time when they are a little scarce. This too will pass. The Bun guarantees it. xx

I am heartbroken to add to this piece that my most precious Bunny passed unexpectedly on May 16th, 2020. She became off colour for a couple of days and I took her to my vet the afternoon of 15/5/20 who diagnosed a tummy bug and found a heart murmur (which had not been there at her last visit only a few months beforehand). That evening I raced her into Sydney University Vet Hospital when she became very disoriented and had an episode of not breathing properly. She passed away at 5.20pm the next day on a ventilator and despite every effort, nothing could be done to save her. The staff did everything they could and she was kept as comfortable as possible the whole time. She was with me for just less than five years and changed my life and the decisions I made in my life irretrievably. All for the better.

With thanks to everyone who has loved Bunny and followed her stories. For all the dogs I have loved (and I am sure I may love in the future) The Bun will remain a unique, shining light of pure joy. If love could have saved her she would have been here forever.

Especial thanks to Dr. Rachel Soh from University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney who showed such compassion and worked so hard to save her.

Rest Peacefully my Bun-Bun. Until I hold you again at The Bridge. xxxx

My First Love.

Samsonne in his latter years.

My first love wasn’t the boy I had a crush on at school, or Michael J. Fox (although that phase was pretty intense in 1984). It wasn’t my former husband.. or even my first pair of designer shoes.

My first real love was just over a foot tall, orange sable with four legs and a very big personality. His name was ‘Samsonne’. Once we met everything was different and that little, orange, opinionated fluff ball changed my life forever.

‘Samsonne P. Fox’ was his full name. He was of course a Pomeranian dog.

Samsonne, Sammy or Sam as he was sometimes called came into my life in the early 1990’s. I had moved out of home and was presented with the opportunity to have a new housemate. This very nice young cohabitant came with a dog. Now, I loved dogs so I was pretty chuffed. I had no idea what the arrival of Samsonne P. Fox would immediately bring to my life. Sammy and his dad Michael duly moved in, and Samsonne took up residence. He was an obscenely handsome pooch. At first he wasn’t interested in me and for the first few days (when Michael went to work) he’d lie by the front door looking bereft. The house was new, I was new and he wasn’t greatly impressed. He’d let me pat him but was somewhat disinterested in my attentions. I hadn’t yet learned that Pomeranians are fiercely loyal to their owners. Just because a girl was patting him on the head and cooing sweet nothings didn’t mean he was going to be distracted from his post.

As the days passed and it all became a bit more familiar, Sammy started to warm to my loving ministrations. He’d leave the front door for a while and follow me about. I was ecstatic. After about two weeks he threw in the towel and stood on his hind legs, ‘paddling’ at me to be picked up. The freezing out was over and we were friends. Due to a patchy work schedule, Samsonne and I spent a lot of time together. Michael would leave for work and if I were still in bed, a little orange face would appear within seconds. I’d lift him up beside me and we’d both get some more quality shut eye. I only had a single bed and despite his diminutive size, he took up most of it. I didn’t care. I had a best friend. I adored him and he showered me with love. In a life that was a tad fraught at the time…. Samsonne was my greatest joy. He was the greatest fur person I had ever met.

Small orange dog hogs small bed.

I was very ignorant about the breed at that time. (In the early 1990’s they did not have the popularity they now enjoy). Samsonne was rather a force to be reckoned with and I took that to be just him. Nope, that’s Pomeranians. He was opinionated, bossy, manipulative, vocal and disobedient. He’d sulk if you gave him the wrong dinner, go on hunger strikes until the right meals appeared, yell at you for human food and pee under the coffee table if you displeased him. He was a tyrant who was so adorable those things made him even more loveable. My days revolved around Sammy. From the moment he asked me to pick him up and kissed my face, I have been dedicated to Pomeranians. For all their faults their loyalty is second to none. Huge personalities in tiny bodies. That, and they’re exquisite.

Samsonne as ‘Toto’ to my ‘Dorothy’ at a fancy dress night, 1994.

Michael, Sammy and I happily cohabited for about three years until work commitments pulled us in different directions. They stayed in Adelaide and I moved to Sydney. Leaving Samsonne was incredibly difficult. He wasn’t my dog, but he was the most important thing in my world. Any time I went back to South Australia I’d be straight there, wanting to see him. He never forgot me for a second and would be ecstatic. I had become one of his people. In time he moved to Melbourne with his human daddy and we’d catch up there if work took me in that direction. The years passed, he became more grizzled and deaf but he knew who I was the moment I appeared.

A Melbourne visit.

In 1999 I was settled into my Sydney life and got my own little Pomeranian. Naturally she was called ‘Delilah’. She went on to spend nearly sixteen years by my side until her passing in 2014. Without Sammy she would never have come into being and defined a large slab of my life. She was like Samsonne in some respects, but not nearly as wilful. He remains one of the bossiest Poms I have ever encountered; and I have now been a Pommy Mommy of four thus far.

Samsonne lived until very close to his seventeenth birthday. He was as tyrannical at his end as in his youth. I will always remember the day the call came from Michael, telling me he was failing and he was going to have to let him go. We both sobbed uncontrollably down the phone and he let me know the time he would go to sleep. On the day he passed I was at work and I watched the clock go past the nominated hour. I cried all afternoon for the loss of such a wonderful little animal who had been ‘mine’…. even for quite a short time. I was told later that in true style, having been on his last legs with heart failure, Sammy rallied on his final evening and stacked on a turn for some chicken breast. By the next morning there was no going back as he was so ill; but he had one last crack at garnering his human slaves into action. After all, he was a Pomeranian.

A favourite photo of Sammy is taken in Melbourne just over a year before he died. I was put up in a building on a work trip that didn’t allow pets. Samsonne was duly smuggled past Concierge in a sports bag. He was the centre of attention as always that night. Much of his sight had gone due to cataracts, but when he smelled my hands his happy response was instantaneous. At the end of the visit he hopped back in his bag, got zipped up and his human companions nonchalantly strolled through the foyer.

Michael has gone on to be a loved ‘uncle’ to all my little Pomeranians. We’re forever bound by one small, orange, determined little dog who has left us in body but never in spirit.

Master Samsonne P. Fox Esquire. ❤

Four years of fur baby.

Miss. Diva Rosewarne

Four years ago today I was all ready for a new chapter. I had bowls, beds, collar, leads and kibble. I was about to pick up my new fur baby from the home where she was being fostered. It was also the day I was going to try and move on from being totally heartbroken after the loss of my last little pomeranian. I’d had a doted on fur ball called ‘Delilah’ for nearly sixteen years. Six months earlier she’d passed away. The world had tipped on its axis in a way that is difficult to put into words. For those of us who have fur family, the death of a loved cat or doggo is an absolutely gutting event. It can be quite hard to come back from. Delilah could never be replaced (and never has been), but I’d come to the conclusion the best way forward was to love another pup.

Some weeks earlier I’d been told of a little pomeranian cross who’d been left at a shelter and fostered by a rescue group as she wasn’t coping. I was sent the facebook link. Such a scared little face staring at me from my computer screen. The shelter had called her ‘Diva’. She’d been fostered for about 24 hours when I messaged the organisation and was subsequently sent a form. The communication regarding Diva was that she was rather traumatised and would need time to settle with her foster. She would also be a very popular dog as far as adoption went, as she wasn’t even a year old. I dutifully filled out the form, pressed send and left it to fate.

I will qualify that my application was ……. enthusiastic. A subheading of ‘I’m really desperate and will spoil a dog to death and have heaps of doggie stuff and knowledge and can you pleeeeez let me have her pleeeeeeeeeeeez’, would not have been inappropriate.

To my surprise the phone rang a mere 48 hours later and it was Diva’s foster carer inviting me to come and meet her. I was there faster than you can say, ‘I really want a dog’. She opened the door and I was greeted by a lovely greyhound, a foxy type terrier and my fur child to be. I walked into the kitchen area and this little, skinny, insane pup danced around my legs. I knelt down and she climbed into my arms. I will always remember the familiarity from having held Delilah for so many years, yet the strangeness of her different little body.

“She’s not toilet trained”, said lovely Cathy her foster carer. Diva quickly illustrated this by peeing all over the kitchen floor. “She also barks a lot”, which Diva eagerly demonstrated by having a nice yell on the back porch. “I don’t think she’s been trained at all…..”, as Diva clambered up on chairs, scratched at my legs, pooped under a table and generally wrecked the joint. “You can adopt her as you seem like the right person”. Magic words. Those papers were signed in a heart beat.

This small, peeing, squealing, neurotic pup was mine. All mine. Cathy was later to tell me that, unless there was a disaster, Diva was allocated to me when they received my application. I desperately needed a dog and she desperately needed a momma. Diva stayed with Cathy for a few more weeks. Then the momentous day came for hand over. June 1st, 2015.

1.6.15.. Driving home.
(My ears are still ringing).

The first lesson I learned on day one was that Diva objects to cars. LOUDLY. She objected without drawing breath from Wollongong to Inner Western Sydney in peak hour traffic. She also objected to a bed on the floor; spending the first night screaming her nut off to sleep next to me in the human bed. She was difficult to housetrain, yelled at every dog she met on lead and was extremely demanding. If you are waiting for me to continue on and say all that resolved you’ll be disappointed. She’s now beautifully housetrained but the rest of it is a bit of a fail. I’d put it more in terms of we have an understanding. I understand what she wants and she gets it. Of my three fur kids she is certainly the most difficult.

I’ll never know exactly what happened to Diva before she landed at that shelter, but it’s easy to deduce it wasn’t good. Perhaps it’s better not to know. In her nearly five years of life, four have been under my wing and I accept she is a bit of a damaged doggie. She sleeps jammed next to me, snores outrageously, demands food and attention and is a slight liability on walks. Heartbreakingly, it has also transpired she has a damaged lower jaw which has probably happened in circumstances I don’t wish to imagine. As years have passed (and after some necessary tooth removal) that’s resulted in some serious tongue leakage.

Life appears to be tough.

She does make valiant attempts to be a guard dog. She seems impressed with her own ferocity, which is rather endearing. She’d never hurt a fly but I appreciate the effort she goes to if nothing else.

Halt. Who goes there? I am guarding my domain
from this impressive vantage point.

This is an opportunity to thank Wollongong Animal Rescue Network (WARN) for bringing Diva into my life. http://www.warn.org.au/ So many dogs need a family to call their own and they do a wonderful job. This was very much a happily ever after.

Happy ‘Gotchya’ day little Diva. Mummy loves you very much. xoxoxoxox