I never really bonded with the rabbit my 10-year-old daughter got for her birthday. It wasn’t anything personal, other than I didn’t have the urge to hang out with this fluffy fur ball as I suspected that if we became friends I would be the one looking after it.
The weeks leading up to the recent (and most tragic) event was marred by a few hygiene discussions with our 10-year-old, as she was finding it extremely difficult to maintain the cage. Straws, saw dust, rabbit food and little poo pellets were found on the floor in most rooms, and I was starting to lose patience and threatened to remove the rabbit from her room and move it to the basement or shed.
However, my dear wife insisted that by moving a rabbit to such an area would breed a vampire / Jekyll & Hyde rabbit, which may attack people. So, this plan was quickly eliminated.
Then the other day, while I was attending a workshop, I received a frantic )and yet scary) call from my lovely wife. She was clearly an emotional wreck, crying a lot, while trying to tell me what happened. At first I thought our son had been in an accident, and the blood drained from my head. Thankfully he was alright, but our “dear” rabbit had died.
“Phew” – that was literally my reaction. Only the rabbit had died and joined our two dogs on the other side of the rainbow bridge. I sighed a big relief and exclaimed “is that all?”, to which my wife reacted with another minute of sobbing and tears, demanding that I came home immediately. Not too sure what was expected of my healing abilities, but unless we visit the local “Pet Sematary” there’s no way of bringing it back.
Our youngest daughter had been carrying the little rabbit, when it decided to do a break for it and leaped off her arms, floating through the air like a gazelle and then landing on the outdoor decking tiles.
Well, let me just say, rabbits are not cats, and as such, they do not land on their legs. The poor little warrior landed awkwardly and despite it being a fairly short drop, it was enough to unfortunately get severely injured.
My brave little 4-year-old quickly picked up the injured animal and carried it to my wife. Only problem is, it was twitching a lot and as it was handed over it lost the fight and died in the arms of my wife. Who obviously was very shocked and saddened by this incident.
The worst bit of the story was that our 10-year-old was still in school, and my wife had to break the news to hear. She had developed a very close relationship with the rabbit, so this would be a blow of titans.
True enough, as my daughter was told, I received a second phone call. This time from another upset girl, pleading that I come home.
As I finally arrived home, we made the necessary funeral arrangements. The blanket to lie on, flower petals carefully selected, poems written and grave dug. I even organised for a homemade tombstone.
The family gathered around the tiny hole in the flower bed, we (I) gently placed the rabbit on the blanket, while the kids started to either cry or say kind words of affection towards the little fluff ball. The 4-year-old did request that we would wake it up so she could play with it again, to which the 10-year-old opened the flood gates of tears.
I may have attempted to add to the atmosphere by humming the tune from Lord of the Rings (Return of the King), where Aragorn sings an elvish song on the landing in Minas Tirith. Somehow it was as emotional as Aragorn’s performance, but at least I tried something.
For dinner we had chicken, but it might have been more logical to have rabbit stew, but I don’t think that would’ve been a great choice for the family dinner.
It’s never easy to teach a life lesson, but sometime life teaches us a lesson when we least expect it. Our kids appreciated all the time they had with the rabbit, and also realised that they are not ready to have another pet for some time … at least a week!