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Topic: The star of my show died tonight...
Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (Sep 19, 2005 10:44PM)
Tonight, my bunny Penelope, died. She had recurring medical condition that just wasn't getting any better, and tonight her condition was the worst I had seen it. To make a long story short, I had to take her to be put to sleep tonight. It was about an hour and a half ago.

I came home with her empty cage and emptied her bedding and her water bottle for the last time. I sat looking at her production box for a long time, and looked at the hairs that were left inside it. That is all that was left of her now. I really never thought I would feel this sad when her time came to an end.

I feel an incredible sense of guilt now. I am second-guessing my decision right now. I wish I didn't sign the release to euthenize her. I could have done more. Who am I to decide that her time is up? Why did I decide that her life should end tonight? She never did anything wrong - she only made kids smile and laugh, and she did it well.

I have a show in 4 days for 100+ kids, and the flyer advertising the show says “Come see if Danny Diamond can make Penelope the bunny appear!”

Well, guess what kids...he can't...cause he killed her! Sorry, I am out of sorts right now.

I am feeling like I can't do the show. Not only am I very upset about this, not only is the star of my show gone, but I now have nothing else to end the show with. But maybe it's what I deserve. I deserve a bad show now, for deciding to end my bunny's life tonight.

Thanks for listening.
Message: Posted by: Brian Lehr (Sep 19, 2005 11:13PM)
Self-condemnation is a normal feeling in such circumstances. When a loved one is lost, we often blame ourselves: "If only I had done this, or that, or been there when she needed me..." It's a normal part of the grieving process.

As children's entertainers, and animal lovers, our hearts are with you during this time of grieving. It's a difficult moment in your life, but you will pull through. You did what you felt was best for Penelope, and probably saved her from a long period of suffering. Perhaps a new animal will soon join you, but none will ever take Penelope's place. You have had many good shows with her, and you will always have your memories.

See if you can rent or borrow another animal for your next show. Perhaps you can even use the show as a teaching experience for the kids, by talking about your loss, and reminding the kids to always take good care of their pets, and to love them lots.

Keep the memories alive, and go out and make some new ones.

God bless,
Message: Posted by: krantis (Sep 19, 2005 11:19PM)
I feel sorry for you! My bunny Melvin and I are very close - even though hes a rascle at times.
I would purchase another bunny if I were you and make a new friend - look at this way - there are plenty of bunnies that need new homes out there - you are giving that one little white cuddly friend the best home out of all the homes he could go to and a fun and colourful life ahead.
I cried because I lost my shoes until I met the man who had no FEET!
Hope that makes you feel a little better.
Message: Posted by: JesterMan (Sep 20, 2005 01:41AM)
Obviously seeing her with a chronic problem that was at its worst prompted you to alleviate her pain. This was a kindness to her. It is natural to feel responsible, but all living things have an end, and if hers came a short time early, you chose this to end her pain. You didn't make her sick. I am sure that you will soon be recalling the memories and moments in shows, and around your home to you shared, and be glad; and the thoughts of tonight will fade.

As for the upcoming show--You don't, "deserve a bad show", you OWE her a great one for the many times she was there! I agree with the above advice; borrow a friend's bunny, if you can, then think about finding a new partner for your show.
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Sep 20, 2005 05:21AM)
Hey Danny,

Sorry to hear about Penelope.

Don't really quite know what to say but I feel for you mate and I wish you the best.
Message: Posted by: calexa (Sep 20, 2005 06:47AM)
I feel sorry for you. But I would also suggest that you use this experience and explain to the children your feelings. You will be surprise how much they understand........

Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (Sep 20, 2005 08:08AM)
Thanks everyone for your kind words. It was just so sad to empty her bedding last night, and not put new bedding in her cage. Then this morning, I thought for a second that I need to fill her water bottle before I went to work. It's just a sad situation. I know it probably had to be done. She was living a life of constant discomfort and that's no way for a bunny to live.

I don't really know of any other magicians in my immediate area or anyone else to borrow a bunny from for Saturday's show. I am looking though. I thought about buying a new bunny tonight and debuting her in Saturday's show. I know she would likely be very small, because I would buy a baby bunny, but it might the best thing to do. After performing with a bunny for a few years now, I can't picture myself continuing with the kid's show without one now. Is there any reason that it's bad to use a baby bunny in an effect?

Also, to those who mentioned telling the kids about Penelope - are you saying I should tell them that she died? I had the idea to introduce the new baby bunny as Penelope's baby, since the flyer already mentioned Penelope by name and the kids are expecting to see her (I've performed at this place before and at many homes in this town, so Penelope was kind of famous!).
Message: Posted by: AragorntheMagician (Sep 20, 2005 08:32AM)
So sorry for your loss. I also recommend you get another bunny and like the idea of your introducing Penelope's Baby in her VERY 1st Show!!!! Besides my rabbit, Lola, I also use ChinChilla's in my act (their my baby Dragons). The advantages of a Chin are: No oder, No fleas, No people allergies and they live 15 - 25 years and the kids freak out more than for a rabbit. Also the largest is the size of a small Neth. Dwarf.
I for one would not mention that Penelope died, this is a Kid's B'Day Party where everything should be uplifting and for the B'Day Kid.

My $1.25 worth,
Aragorn the Magician
Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Sep 20, 2005 09:54AM)
Whatever you do, don't tell the kids she died. You have no clue as to wether or not some of the kids in the room have suffered a recent loss that your mentioning your own may trigger a stream of tears. Actually, for little kids, hearing your loss will trigger it anyway.
And, aren't you there to make them laugh?
Be strong, it's a hard thing to say, I've had to do this, too.
Get another bunny that looks like your old one, name it the same name...
And go get'em!
After all, is'nt it what Penelope would want?
With best intentions,
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Sep 20, 2005 10:37AM)
I didn't read the other posts cuz of the tears in my eyes but I say get a baby bunny and tell them it is Penelope. There is nothing cuter than a baby bunny. I doubt anyone will say "hey, that isn't the REAL Penelope, what is this? A magic show or a Milli Vannili concert?". If they do say it is Penelopes kid and it is trying out for the job.
Steve V
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (Sep 20, 2005 11:43AM)

Don't under ANY circumstances tell the kids about you bunny's death. Get a new bunny and give it the same name. Go out and do the best danged show you can. To do less would be horribly selfish of you.

I know you are grieving but you are in show business and the show must go on. If it can't go on with you - find a substitue magician and give him or her the gig. I don't recommend this as it only lengthens the time it will take for you to recover.

If you have not lifted in spirit within four weeks seek out professional help - there are therapists out there who specialize in pet grieving. PM me if you'd like.

Frank Tougas
Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (Sep 20, 2005 12:17PM)
Thanks Frank,
No worries. My wife has already purchased a new bunny for me and I'll meet my new kid's show partner when I get home from work today. I knew a new bunny was a must, if I want to continue with my shows.

I did some research online this morning and found out that the conditions my bunny was suffering from, were pretty serious and often leads to death. So that made me feel like my decision to end her misery, was the right one. That helped relieve some guilt. I still miss her though, but I'll be fine.

And yes, the show must go on. I will introduce this new bunny as Penelope's baby. I think the kids will love this. It will be a special show for them because they get the honor of being the first ones to see this little bunny in a show. That should make them feel pretty cool!

Oh, one more thing. I never really intended on sharing the news of my rabbit's death with the kids! I can't imagine doing that. But seeing how more than one person suggested it, I was just curious to hear the logic and their approach to doing so.
Message: Posted by: Frank Tougas (Sep 20, 2005 12:47PM)
Good to hear,
Have Penelope retired from show business and lying on the beach just being a beach bunny! As to what the logic is - it is my guess that using adult thinking processes and logic and applying it to kids that causes it. Kids are a lot more concrete and literal than adults realize and often miss the nuances of adult English.

Frank Tougas

P.S. Tell your wife she's a keeper. ;)
Message: Posted by: Scruffy the Clown (Sep 20, 2005 01:02PM)
I know how you feel. Four days ago, I had to have my beloved Cat, Josie put down.
She was four, and up till about a week ago, seemed fine. She had lost weight, and was a bit lethargic, but other than that seemed pretty okay.
We took her to the vet and was told she was severely jaundiced, and that ment there was some sort of Liver trouble, On top of that, they sound a rope like mass in her stomach. They only gave her about a twenty-five percent chance. We hated to do it, but the vet said she was very sick and was suffing because she wasn't eating, or eliminating. I hated to do it but, I couldn't let her suffer. This is the one who always watched for me to come home, met me at the door, and wasn't content until I put her on my right shoulder so she could give me kisses.... I could sure use one now...
You did the right thing. It's hard on us, but at least they endured as little pain as possible. I know exactly how you feel. I felt like I betrayed her, But I know I didn't I just couldn't stand to see her go. I hard not to miss her.
Message: Posted by: KenW (Sep 20, 2005 01:22PM)
Why not use Rocky Racoon? You can have a note (waxed) stuck to his nose saying: "GONE ON VACATION....Love P.BUNNY". Make Rocky vanish then during your show, why not have Rocky show up in every trick you perform? How did you get here!!!! A great running gag for the show.Then go into a frantic wrestling match with Rocky and make him vanish using a tear-apart box or "your favorite method".
This way, you carry on with a great show that you are use to performing and you have mentioned your bunny and you have given your audience a happy moment in it's place. Just my thought. I know that animals are now a days looked at by some audience members like they might be mis-treated.My show no longer uses live animals. ROCKY does a great job for me and if done well, NO ONE WILL NOTICE IT IS A PUPPET!
Message: Posted by: Brian Lehr (Sep 20, 2005 01:54PM)
On 2005-09-20 12:43, Frank Tougas wrote:

Don't under ANY circumstances tell the kids about you bunny's death.

I'm not sure if I totally agree; a lot depends on the performing situation.

My logic for suggesting using it as a teaching tool is that there are many occasions in which we magicians are looking to teach messages in our shows (say no to drugs, stranger danger, healthy eating, etc.). So, depending on the show environment, and with the permission of the parents/directors/bookers, it might be appropriate in certain circumstances to teach on the importance of grieving properly.

That's just my opinion (at this point), and it is not based on any actual experience. I'm not a professional therapist (as I think Frank is), and I am probably totally out to lunch. If so, then I stand corrected.

Actually, this topic could probably become a thread all on its own, so forgive me from digressing from the purpose of this thread.

Danny, glad to hear that your wife bought you a new bunny. Sounds like she has a very sensitive heart. I agree with not naming the bunny Penelope. Penelope was unique, and no other bunny can take her place. The exception, of course, would be if your original bunny was named Lassie. Then you could name all the successive bunnies the same name! (You have to be a Lassie movie/tv lover to understand that one) :)

Message: Posted by: honus (Sep 20, 2005 04:36PM)

We had to put our old (and she was OLD!) dog down . . . what, three years ago now? I still miss her. But she was incontinent, almost deaf, half blind, and didn't even respond to us any more. It was a hard, hard decision, and I have tears in my eyes right now thinking about it.

You did the right thing, friend. You wouldn't want to be lying around in pain, not able to really live.

Ever seen this? http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm

Message: Posted by: RicHeka (Sep 20, 2005 09:07PM)
Danny:I am very sorry about your bunny Penelope.The best move you made was getting another bunny right away.(I've been there).There is no replacement for your beloved Penelope,but your new 'Star' will enchant your audience in his/her own special way. All the Best. Rich
Message: Posted by: JesterMan (Sep 20, 2005 10:14PM)
On 2005-09-20 14:54, Brian Lehr wrote:
On 2005-09-20 12:43, Frank Tougas wrote:

Don't under ANY circumstances tell the kids about you bunny's death.
[/quote]I'm not sure if I totally agree; a lot depends on the performing situation.

My logic for suggesting using it as a teaching tool is that there are many occasions in which we magicians are looking to teach messages in our shows (say no to drugs, stranger danger, healthy eating, etc.).[/quote]I agree with Frank (go figure, two therapists agreeing.) If there was a compelling reason to introduce the idea of a dying pet into the show, perhaps there might be some merit (under very specific circumstances), but this is for an audience with no (stated) agenda, and to put the performer's agenda where it doesn't belong would be wrong. After all, the show is not about us, it is about entertaining the audience.

Danny, your wife is a sweetheart! I like the idea of Penelope retired, with her understudy /daughter finally taking the stage.

What's your new friend's name?
Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (Sep 21, 2005 08:19AM)
Well, the new bunny is a boy. I have read lots of topics on the Café and articles on other sites, and the boy/girl debate seems to be pretty split. Most people seem to feel that the tempermant of a solitairy bunny doesn't differ all that much, and that regular interaction with people is more important than the sex of the rabbit.

So anyway, I met him last night. He's great. He's a nose-licker and he likes to cuddle up on laps - reminds me of myself - oh, sorry, I didn't mean to type that out loud. :P

We haven't actually decided on a name yet - but we like the name Oliver so far. It's a frontrunner.
Message: Posted by: MagikDavid (Sep 23, 2005 01:06AM)

As others in this forum have expressed, I too want to extend my condolences for your loss. I used to think that people who grieved over their pets were just being silly... but now, after owning a Yorkie for several years, I understand. I can't imagine the pain I'll feel when she's gone.

Hopefully, your new bunny will help you theraputically through your grieving process. I'm glad that you've decided to 'carry on.' I wish you the best, my friend.

It's great to see the heartfelt support that this forum offers. I love this place!

Message: Posted by: Fiddling-Steve (Sep 23, 2005 04:40PM)
Sorry Dan :( I hope the new bunny is great, but its hard to fit in the shoes of such an amazing rabbit. Her performance left the kids laughing and crying and begging to pet her :)
I bet Penelope went to bunny rabbit heaven, with all the other magic rabbits.
Message: Posted by: Foucault (Sep 24, 2005 05:37AM)
Oliver is a GREAT name, Danny! I love the idea of Penelope deciding to be a beach bunny and introducing Oliver as Penelope's baby. You could have a little fun with your new bunny being new to the job.

I'm so sorry about Penelope, but I'm heartened by the amount of support you've received from your fellow magicians.
Message: Posted by: Joe Mauro (Sep 24, 2005 08:11AM)
The aren't pets, but family members. I truly feel for you.

Message: Posted by: calexa (Sep 24, 2005 09:35AM)
I was one of those who suggested that you should let the kids know about your loss and I stad by my posting. Why shouldn´t you tell. I my opinion you would be surprised how good the kids understand your feelings. Of course you should not let this message set the tone for your show - you are paid to entertain the kids, it is not their job to help you with your loss. So it would be a good idea to let them know what happened but only to explain why there is no buy today - ad then do the best show of your life in memory of your beloved rabbit.

And the idea with Penelopes baby is very good because you ca first let them know that Peelope is not longer alive, but that she left a little gift for you that you want to share with the kids....

Message: Posted by: calexa (Sep 24, 2005 09:37AM)
Oh, and I understand perfectly your loss: my financee and I we have a "familiy rabbit". Her name is PAULA and she is amazing - like a small dog!

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Sep 24, 2005 10:05AM)
I feel for you and your recent loss. That is never an easy thing to get over and is certainly does take time. Just feel great knowing that you have all those great memories and feel wonderful that she has helped put smles on many a child's face. That is a great memory to have.

I love the baby idea and such. That allows you to present the new bunny and have it make sense to your audience in a fun manner. I do not think it is right to tell he kids of the death and loss of the rabbit. I fear that this sets the wrong tone for the show when you really are there to perform and entertain. As Calexa stated, it is not there job to help you mourn your loss. You are there to have a great time with them and to make their experience the best yet.

I think your idea will work wonderfully for this.

Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Sep 24, 2005 10:14AM)
I hope I did'nt sound TOO harsh in my earlier post.
I would like to add that one should always be careful of the level of attachment to an animal one has. That's easier said than done, of course! I love my toy collie-shepard mix dog, Rosie. She's the smartest dog I've ever had. She's very loving to my kids and wife, and very loyal and well behaved. I dread the day that she dies. At at the same time, it's always good to keep in mind that animals generally don't have the same life span we do....everyone knows this but it sure is hard to remember this when it happens, right?
Hope your new bunny works out really well for you.
Best wishes,
Message: Posted by: JesterMan (Sep 24, 2005 12:23PM)
[quote]On 2005-09-24 10:35, calexa wrote:I was one of those who suggested that you should let the kids know about your loss and I stad by my posting. Why shouldn´t you tell.[/quote]The better question is, why [i]should[/i] you tell them? Unless there is a compelling reason, such as the show being for a support group of kids who are there due to grief issues, with support to follow on after (or during) the show, there is no reason (except selfish ones) to tell them. As has been pointed out earlier, you just cannot know every audience member's 'story'. The parents are certainly not bringing them to learn life lessons. . .

The point is moot; Danny has rightly (imEo) decided against this move. I applaud his sensitivity to others while he is in pain. I look forward to hearing how the show went!
Message: Posted by: Danny Diamond (Sep 24, 2005 05:59PM)
Oliver's very first performance was today. For the past few days I have spent a great deal of time holding him and getting him comfortable with me. I also let him spend some time in the load chamber of the production box I use, to get comfortable with that.

The show today went very well. I was nervous, because I had one new effect I was introducing for the first time, two new presentations for effects I already do, and then the new bunny on top of it all! But like I said, it all went well and the kids loved the baby bunny. Oliver is a natural performer.

The only sad part was on the way to the show, while driving. I caught myself calling Oliver by Penelope's name a couple times, as we drove to the show (yes, I DO talk to my bunny as I drive to gigs! - don't act like you've nevre done it!)

Thanks to everyone for all the nice words and advice on this matter.
Message: Posted by: Foucault (Sep 27, 2005 08:47AM)
Congratulations to the "new star" of your show, Danny!
Message: Posted by: Snidini (Sep 27, 2005 09:33PM)
Danny, my heart goes out to you. I lost two fine rabbits this last spring. A male and female. I loved those two little guys with all my heart. I now have a young one I am training for a new trick in my act. I hope to have her ready by next spring. Good luck with your new bunny and I know you will do fine with him. I can't imagine doing a magic show with my little rabbits. They just sparkle up the show and the kids love 'em.

Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Sep 27, 2005 10:14PM)
Well done on your new show!!!!

Youve come through a tough week!!

Give yourself a pat on the back-What a trooper

Enjoy your new Mate!!!-Im sure it will be the start of many shows together

Message: Posted by: calexa (Sep 28, 2005 05:31AM)
Well, well done!