Grief over a dead bunny

  • Now you lot are gonna think I'm nuts, but that's okay! I'm used to it ... so here goes:

    Last year my daughter begged and pleaded to have a rabbit which was one of a group of agricultural education bunnies her class was learning how to rear from babies. Hubby and I were dead against it at first as we know what she's like looking after pets - I end up doing it! In the end, we caved and she brought home this totally beautiful long-haired, flopsy bunny. I'd never owned or even touched a rabbit before having only seen them running wild around here (we had a family of kittens running around in our hay sheds the Christmas before).

    As we knew would happen, she lost interest in looking after him, so I set about taking over. Well, was he some work!! We weren't set up here to have rabbits, especially in summer when it gets so hot (no adult trees to provide shade, and little good grass). I did my best though, and read up on how to look after him in the hotter months. I cut his long hair, spent hours combing out knots, gave him plenty of cold water throughout the day, loads of tree cuttings he loved, and let him out for a run every day. He got to the point where he was running to the end of his cage every morning for a pat on the nose and I just fell in love with him. BUT, from the moment we got him, I'd look at him and want to cry; more so when we became bonded. I had to take him to the vet a couple of times to get his teeth trimmed (he had malocclusion - or in simpler terms, teeth which didn't line up and grind properly, so they constantly grew, top and bottom) and every time he'd be on the table, he'd leap up on my chest and snuggle there, the little bugger.

    Sadly though, as summer wore on it got harder and harder to keep him going. He suffered heat distress numerous times, nearly died, and I brought him inside at one stage.

    In a nutshell, I had to get him put down in March this year. He wasn't eating, my efforts at syringe-feeding him were getting nowhere and after another trip to the vet, I decided to put him down as I knew we were fighting a losing battle. I took him to the vet again, stood and helped during the procedure and basically watched the little critter die. It was that day I realised why I wanted to cry every time I looked at him - I knew we'd lose him.

    Yet, even now, over six months after his death, I still find myself thinking of him and wanting to ball my head off. I do feel his death was a catalyst in a way, yet can't understand why on earth I still feel this gut-wrenching sadness any time I think of him. I looked up totem animals and wasn't too sure of the rabbit connection to me (I won't get another one though), so am a bit caboozled as to why the huge grief even after this long?

    So, who thinks I'm nuts then? Or, better still, who can see why on earth this little bunny still haunts my heart so much?

    Am just curious, as I hope y'all can appreciate ... 🙂

  • I am so sorry for your grief. Either I am nuts too or you just had a real bond with that cute little bunny of yours. May be this bunny has something to do with your feeling s of being blocked because your bunny friend isnt here to warm your heart anymore. I dont care if it was a tadpole, if you loved that animal and you had a connection its no doubt you would be sad over him. You just miss him. I am a bunny lover myself and I cried hysterically once when I accidently ran one over on the highway and my husband at the time thought I was crazy for that. Grief is a normal process you have to go through when you lose something dear to your heart.

  • Yeah, it could be as simple as that. The day he was put down, I brought his body home and sat on the verandah with him, fully intending on burying him, but not knowing where. So I wrapped him up and put him in our freezer until I could figure out where to put him. After a week went by, we finally had a burial service for him (yep, I'm dotty) and for the first few weeks after, I'd go and sit by his grave when I felt shitty, which happens a lot this year! Even thinking about him now, I just want to sob!!! So weird. But one other thing I'll mention: the day he died, I asked his soul to let me know if he was okay. Very early the next morning, in that stage between sleep and waking, I saw him running around like mad in tall, thick grass, looking hale and hearty. And here and there, clouds would turn into bunny shapes for a few days after.

    Ah well. No accounting for what causes grief, is there? Thanks so much loveinmylife, yet again! But I still feel like an idiot after all this time ... 🙂

  • Awe, I'm sorry for your loss. This remind's me when I rescued a lop eared bunny rabbit that someone just threw out side in our development, we live in a culdesac neighborhood. So, needless to say I guess someone got tired of cleaning it's cage! He was the cutest little bunny, just the sweetest little bunny never once did he bite you! I know how you feel, once you share that special bond it's hard giving it up!

  • You're not nuts, you're just a kind person capable of forming strong attachments, and you shouldn't have to feel apologetic about that. I do a lot of writing and research, and your post made me remember that there is a wonderful resource through the House Rabbit Society, including grief support - rabbits have a lot of personality and therefore can generate a lot of attachment; they can also live for about ten years (more in a few cases), so there you go -- anyway, you might want to look at because I think it could help. At least you'd know you were in good company, and not at all alone in your feelings.

    It's a kind of grief that is inexplicable to those who've never experienced it -- they just can't relate -- best to avoid having to explain yourself, it'll just take energy out of you --

  • Hi, Rabbits are wonderful pets. Where I used to live people would put a stake outside and put their bunnies on leashes out in the yard. I had one that would come to me when I called it and would bounce around in circles because it was so happy. They can get very tame. I've always had the white ones. I have a friend that breeds and sells them. This one lady I know actually makes money with them. She sells chances and spins a wheel. Whoever wins gets a rabbit. She also does pony rides. I've had snakes, lizards, fish, cats, dogs, birds, doves, horses, goats. The only animal that is aggressive is my Chow dog. Their an interesting breed. Dogs are pretty diverse in their personalities--not unlike humans.

  • Thanks all! Your kindness and sweet comments are appreciated by this dotty lady!

  • Dear Chis1962:

    Since the rabbit is a symbol of fertility and abundance, the loss of your beloved pet is symbolic of the loss to come of your fertility.

    In addition, you were challenged to work outside of your comfort zone and met it head on. Perhaps, you are feeling that no more challenges will come your way. Rabbits teach us the ability to overcome our fears of the unknown. Having a rabbit as a pet was a form of reassurance that your life had reached fulfillment, leaving you with the feeling of completion.

    Now, you are being challenged to face the unknown with reassurance that you are capable of overcoming your fears.

  • Firefly, I'm doing cyber-hand-claps here on the other side of the world! What a fine answer to my question. I feel you got it on the head - as I did feel a very big ending following his death. The end of fertility for me is so darned spot on, as I'm approaching menopause, or in the middle of peri, as we speak.

    So thank you so very much for this hugely insightful answer, especially the last line. I do have a big decision to make and it is fear stopping me from taking the first real step towards it. While that last line gives me some reassurance, I feel a bit more time will elapse and more preparation on my part must ensue before the decision and the action following it, finally happens.

    Grand stuff! And proof my guides and angels have been listening 🙂 Blessings to you, friend xoxoxoxoxox

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