Jamie Balfour

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A tribute to Petro Balfour

A tribute to Petro Balfour

This page is dedicated to our lovely rabbit, Petro, who passed away on 8th April 2014 and left behind a family who love him very much. He is missed dearly. This article was published on 8th April 2015, a year later.

Birth and joining our family

We got Petro, a netherland dwarf, on the 9th of June 2007. It seems so long ago that we got the little punky face, but in reality it wasn't. As hard as it is to believe, Petro was smaller still than he was latterly. He was just six weeks old to the day when we got him so in turn his birthday had to be 29th April 2007 (although no one said anything of this until about 2009 so his birthday was always celebrated on 15th May).

Petro as a baby

We got him in the Acorn Pet Services store in Haddington, I was not there at the time to choose our rabbit, my mother was set on a black female rabbit but decided to change her mind when she was given the choice and went with the black male rabbit, who was named Petro by my brother. I was not there because I had two of my friends, Raymond and Daniel round that day and was playing The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (one of my favourite games) on the Wii. We were busy completing the forest temple for the first time.

As soon as Petro entered the house in a little cardboard box, I wanted to see him. I looked in through one of the holes and saw that the wee guy was really scared to be in a black box. As soon as I saw him I thought 'yea he's cute' but never felt like there was much about him. My brother and parents had by this point noticed that he had a broken front right paw, but I had not. Petro had an outdoor hutch called 'The Rabbit Shack' which is where he was going to live.

This photo is one of the first ever photos taken of Petro.

On the second day of having Petro, we had him indoors and were getting to know him. He didn't do much on this day but did manage to do his first pee on me and it soaked right through my pyjamas! At that point there was still no real love but we did think he was cute.

It was about the third week of having the little fella that I noticed he had a bad paw. In fact, it was my aunt Diedrie that noticed this and pointed it out to me. I was a bit upset to see this but it did not make me think he was any less cute.

By mid July, he was doing something we had never seen before - licking us. At first we though that Petro licked us because he wanted the salt from our bodies, but we soon realised that Petro actually did love us.

Petro kissing a young me

By this point we also loved him, he still didn't feel like a member of the family more a pet, but he was loved by this point. During this month we went to one of our favourite places at the time for a get away week, Kielder, where we stayed in log cabins for a week. This was the last proper holiday we would 100% enjoy being away from home for a long time, because by the next holiday we would be missing Petro all too much.

In August 2007 our family went on a holiday with my nana [Jean McKenzie] to Brugges in Belgium. Although the holiday was fantastic and good fun - perhaps one of the best holidays as we travelled by sea, the whole family, particularly me, just really wanted to get home to see Petro.

Petro was now a proper part of the family.

Winter 2007

By winter 2007, we had to consider getting him inside due to the cold. By October he had an indoor hutch and was in with us all the time. Although still a bit flighty, we did have him out of his hutch and running around our new living room carpet. He would mainly go straight into one of his little corners and hide, at the time, mainly behind the sofa. He got more and more used to his family, including our cat, Gismo, who did not mind him, but was still getting used to him. By January/February 2008 he was back outside again.

Early 2008

Petro was now part of the family

2008 saw me doing my first higher exams. Most of the time when I revised for exams I sat in the back garden - this year was no exception. However, whilst I revised for my exams I had Petro outside with me. He was sitting on the grass eating daisies and dandelions whilst I revised for my Business Management exam. I am normally really bad at studying, but with Petro there I was off the computer lying down on the grass with a rug and Petro to keep me occupied during breaks. I would say he was vital to my concentration.

By this point he was really becoming part of the family. In fact by summer of that year we had decided to keep him indoors permanently. There really wasn't a lot to say about 2008 and Petro other than the fact that this was when he moved indoors with us and became part of the family.


Petro the Easter bunny

Petro the Easter bunny

2009 was perhaps the worst year of my life to date in terms of the events. In early 2009 my nana passed away. This struck me very hard as I was very close to my nana. However, Petro was always there to lick off the tears and make sure we were happy. He was really one of the reasons we got through the pain the way we did. By this point Petro was becoming very close to me as I was coming to the end of my high school years and getting more free time.

Almost every day, Petro would be upstairs in my bedroom on his towel whilst I was working on stuff such as programming. I would occasionally have him up in my room to stay over night, he would have a food bowl, a water bowl and his little rug and he would stay up in my room. By this point you see Petro was very trustworthy.

Easter again showed us how much Petro was a part of the family, as we would leave his top of his house and let him run around freely. On this day he was over sitting with all of us whilst we opened our eggs etc. - he always liked these kind of noisy unwrapping events.

Petro was very happy to be a part of the family.

We took some Easter bunny photos of him as pictured and even caught his lovely little teadybear face.

He was defintely loving us as a family, I mean he would kick out his back legs when with me now, not just when he was comfortable (after all, to be comfortable he had to feel safe).

Petro nice and relaxed on my knee

In August 2009, things got worse - this time related to Petro. Petro got a middle ear infection, which in turn affected his balance. Because of this Petro had a head tilt as well. This was very hard to come to terms with at first and we were incredibly worried about what it would do to him.

I remember when we were at the vet, everybody in the family was there, crying that he would get better. Unfortunately, this was not the case, but Petro was a fighter and did not give up there.

We pushed on and kept the boy under better observation.

Again, another bad event happened. On the 22nd of October 2009, I started to become massively dehydrated every second of the day. I had become ill.

2010 and 2011

To me, 2010 was just another year until November.

One of the things I remember about hospital was that I always looked forward to returning home to see Petro. He was also always very happy to see me. I always liked to talk about him with one of the nurses, Paula, who also had a rabbit at the time called Lewis. I spoke so much about Petro that missing him became harder.

By 2011, I wanted to show how much I loved Petro by naming one of my projects after him. What was originally known by a codename (I hadn't thought of the name) Foghorn, became known as BlackRabbit. BlackRabbit is my own scripting language and it is named after Petro and always will be.

I spent all of 2011 recovering from my treatment and spent nearly every day of that recovery with Petro. He was a huge part of solving my problem with depression. Not only that, but he kept me happy as we sat together and played throughout the majority of the days.


By 2012, Petro's middle ear infection got worse again. In turn this damaged his spirit and made him tired throughout the day.

2012 was just another great year with Petro - a lot of joy and happyness.

In August, Petro came with us on his first holiday up north. He immediately started to investigate our lodge and became completely comfortable with the new environment. One of the best things about having him there was that the holiday became enjoyable because we could see him every night rather than having the feeling of wanting to get home to see him because we could see him in the lodge at night.

I started university and came home every night to Petro which kept my raised spirits going.

Fuzzy face

Fuzzy face


2013 was another great year for us with Petro.

It was now a normal thing for Petro to come out and sit in front of the fireplace in the living room and watch TV with you instead of sitting on his own.

He also was doing a lot of binkies around the lounge and enjoying his life. Once again, Petro came on our holiday up north with us.

I can definitely say that our last full year with Petro was a wonderful and happy year.

Petro and the Mac

Petro became a geek and started to love Macs!

2014 - the final few months

2014 started out absolutely fine - Petro was still absolutely fine. It was April and we were all excited about something or another, me finishing university for another year or my brother going up north and things were absolutely fine with Petro, until the night of the 7th of April.

The following photos are some of the last photos we took of Petro. These are perhaps the most upsetting photos for us.

Petro was fine on the 31st of March 2014

Petro was really tired all of a sudden

The last night we had our precious little bunny - 7th April 2014

The last food Petro tried to eat - he just wouldn't touch the banana

2015 - A year later

We miss Petro more than ever and it's been hard to get around the idea of him not being here, but we are coming to terms with it. There is absolutely no doubt, Petro was one-in-a-million - he was an extraordinary rabbit and my best friend for years. I miss him so much that I still cry from time to time (in fact right at this moment) but then I remind myself that he was a happy little guy and he was adored by everyone who met him.

Gone but not forgotten

Gone but never forgotten

We got another rabbit who goes by the name Sweep. We made sure that the next rabbit was not black, not a male and not a Netherland dwarf so that she would in no way be similar to Petro and possibly take the place of the little black rabbit. Sweep is absolutely nothing like Petro, but she is a lovely little girl (aggressive, but getting there with this).