WHY DID MY PET RABBIT DIE?
Rabbits are very fragile creatures. Although they have a longer lifespan (up to 12 years), they can become sick or die suddenly. Rabbits are prone to heart attacks, from coming in contact with a dog or cat, being scared suddenly, or from stress due to uncomfortable car rides. A good owner will know that rabbits take a lot of care and work, as they have sensitive systems and need just the right amount and type of food and water, and attention. Perhaps your rabbit died of old age. Or maybe your rabbit died suddenly and for no apparent reason.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO GRIEVE THE LOSS OF YOUR PET RABBIT.
After the initial shock of the death of your pet rabbit, you may feel a sense of pain, loss and even guilt. First off, never let anyone convince you that you are “silly” to be grieving the loss of your pet rabbit. Any other dog, cat, or rabbit owner will understand and be able to empathize with you. Losing a pet is many times like losing a family member.You provided daily care, love and affection. You will miss cuddling up with them on the couch and petting them goodnight. Take your time to grieve.
Every person handles grief from a pet differently. Some like to talk about their pet to ease the pain, others may cry, others may be quiet. Tell a friend about any guilt you may feel – and then let it go.
The death of your pet rabbit may be a large blow to a child, who has rarely dealt with matters of death. It is important to let them grieve as well. And to encourage them to grieve in positive ways, such as writing a story or drawing a photo of the pet and the memorable things they used to do together.
OTHER PETS IN YOUR HOME MAY BE GRIEVING.
The other furry friends in your household may be grieving as well. Pay close attention to signs of any strange behavior or loss of appetite. And spend some extra time with those pets to reassure them that everything will be fine.
If one rabbit of a “bonded pair” is to die, please see my other article, which contains some important information on how to handle and care for the remaining rabbit, and deal with his struggles and sadness.
SAYING GOODBYE TO A BELOVED PET RABBIT.
It is never easy to say goodbye to a great friend. I still get teary-eyed when I think of my first bunny, Rabby. She was a wonderful rabbit and I still miss her everyday. I imagine how things would have been had she lived a longer life (she died in 1994?) and was there for me through middle and high school. But it never came to that. Now I grieve for my bunny Cinnabun, who I lost in 2010 and never got to make the move with us to Florida. I think about how sad Meadow is to have lost his absolute best pal. Grieving for Cinnabun opened up old wounds and made me miss Rabby again as well. Just remember that the rabbits who have left this world for Rabbit Heaven will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Many times, the best way to say goodbye is with a nice memorial service. Bury your pet in his or her favorite spot or under a nice tree where you can visit and remember them when you want. Write a story about something they used to do that made you smile. You can share this with others at the ceremony or keep it to yourself. Go ahead and cry and let your emotions out. Losing a pet is something most people understand and can sympathize with. Ask your friends and family members to share a story as well.
Frame a picture of your bunny and keep it somewhere in your house so you can remember their precious furry face.
AFTER YOUR GRIEVING PERIOD, GIVE LOVE TO A NEW PET RABBIT.
When your grieving period is absolutely over, do not hesitate to get a new pet rabbit, especially if you are a loving owner with lots of time and energy to give. You have so much love to give, and there is a bunny out there who would benefit from a loving home such as yours. Open your heart to a new companion. You know that this new rabbit will never replace the old, but you can get to know your new friend, love him in a different way, and let him cheer you up!
If this was your only bunny, do good, save a life and visit a shelter. There are such wonderful bunnies in shelters who are looking for a new home and a chance at some real love!
If you are looking to find a new partner for the living half of a “bonded pair”, please see my article on bonded pairs, which will give you important information on selecting a possible new mate.