It is with sadness to announce that Jack passed away in my arms this afternoon at 12 years old from natural causes. Jack was a one-year-old Netherland dwarf when he was adopted at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. His bio was scant on details — not much information other than “Jack is a friendly little bun.” You wouldn’t know any better with how standoffish he was with people. I always thought he might have had some wild rabbit in him because of this.

Jack looking out the sliding glass window out to the courtyard at our apartment in Ankeny, circa 2008.

Jack looking out the sliding glass window out to the courtyard at our apartment in Ankeny, circa 2008.

But he was a good bun. He flew under my landlord’s radar the entire time he lived with me in an apartment in Ankeny, which was most of his life. There, he was able to roam free throughout the apartment. He liked looking out the sliding glass window. Every morning he would wait outside the bedroom for me to wake up. He always wanted to be in the same room with me. If I was in the living room watching TV, he was sprawled out under the coffee table. If I was in the office working at my desk, he’d always be nearby. Every once in a while he’d bonk my ankle with his nose for attention.

Jack exploring the almost-empty apartment the first night after we moved downtown on August 2, 2014.

Jack exploring the almost-empty apartment the first night after we moved downtown on August 2, 2014.

He was a snorer and a heavy sleeper. The first night after we moved downtown into an all-concrete and brick loft, when I had no furniture other than a bed, he was snoring so loud it echoed through the loft and kept me up all night. Two years on rugs and concrete floors slowed him down a little bit, but he still lived a good life.

Giving Jack a good brushing on the back deck at the house in Urbandale during a moulting phase on August 20, 2016.

Giving Jack a good brushing on the back deck at the house in Urbandale during a moulting phase on August 20, 2016.

When we moved to the house in Urbandale two years ago, he rarely took the opportunity to roam even though there was plenty of carpet and space. His age was starting to show. Every now and then he would tolerate being handled — petted, brushed, held, and on a few occasions I’d take him out to the back deck for some fresh air on nice days.

Jack gives some licks to Wednesday on July 4, 2017.

Jack gives some licks to Wednesday on July 4, 2017.

Jack quickly befriended Wednesday. Even though Wednesday was a rambunctious puppy, she would lay down on her stomach to wait for Jack to come over to her. They would come nose-to-nose and she would just lay there and take it as Jack would lick her nose, sometimes she would give a lick back. She knew he was getting old and had to be gentle with him.

The final picture taken of Jack, moments before he passed away in my arms on April 5, 2018.

The final picture taken of Jack, moments before he passed away in my arms on April 5, 2018.

Twelve years is a very, very long life for a rabbit and he lived it fully. He was my first pet as an adult and it sure was an adventure trying to figure out how to communicate with and take care of what most people would consider an uncommon domesticated animal. I wouldn’t have traded the experience and the time I was able to spend with him.