To Dana . . for the Love of a Rabbit

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I used to have a lot of animals, here at the rabbitpatch.  I had a miniature horse, miniature goats, chickens, doves, that came and went as they pleased and a lot of rabbits.  Many of the critters came here, because they needed a home.  Children had outgrown them, mostly.  Those were happy years.  It seemed perfect for my future grandchildren, but this was not so.  You can not leave a farm full of animals, at the drop of a hat.  Every time I ever did, the goats got out and my neighbors were left to herd them back and fix their escape route.  I found good homes for them all and took to running the roads to Elizabeth City to see Lyla every chance I got.  I have never been sorry for that.

There was one last litter of rabbits born one fall.  They were of course, a miniature breed, which were known for their friendliness.  I had often found this to be true and how adorable the bunnies were, too.  I gave one to Dana, my niece for Christmas that year.  My sister, Delores was all for it and had prepared for Danas’ first pet, for save a neighborhood cat, and goldfish, Dana had never had her own pet.

I found the perfect little Christmas gift box- and at the last minute, placed the bunny inside.  When Dana opened the box, she was thrilled and so surprised.  It was a sweet moment and I remember it well.

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Ever since, there have been stories about that rabbit!  They named her Oreo, and Oreo lived in the fanciest rabbit house, that you can imagine.  She ate the best food and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.  She had toys too-still she was a bossy rabbit and snatched carrots rudely.  If her  pin was laden with apples or strawberries, she would toss the fruit hither and yonder and you best not disturb her housekeeping, for she would likely, nip the hand that fed her, shamelessly.

Over the years, Oreo got upgraded houses and an outside  “play pen” .  No matter, how spoiled this rabbit was, she remained mostly ill mannered.  No matter what, she was loved anyway.  We heard stories about this rabbit at every gathering.  We saw photos and Dana, being quite an artist, filled her sketchbook with drawings of this adorable little tyrant.  Wild rabbits took to visiting, probably out of curiosity and to snack on her scraps.  At this last gathering, that I missed, Jenny said Oreo had acted a bit sick and so had an appointment on Monday with a veterinarian.

Before school was out, I got a long sad message . . .that Oreo had died at the appointment.

Tears stung my eyes.  I had not expected Oreo to die . . and I certainly did not expect to cry.  That picture of Dana opening the small Christmas box, was flashing before me.  Dana was a little girl then and suddenly, it seemed a long time ago.  Oreo was also the last  rabbit I knew of, born at the rabbitpatch.

I knew that Delores and Dana were so hurt-and so once, I was out of sight, I cried, outright.  I knew, should anyone see me in such distress, they  would think, I was a daft old woman, crying over a rabbit, . . . that wasn’t even mine.  I would call Delores tomorrow, I thought, when I was composed. And then, I thought about sparrows.

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No one would chide anyone, for mourning a dog-or a cat, I thought on the drive home.  Oreo was just a rabbit, and she sure never made it her business to please anybody. . . but she was beloved just the same.  She was never meant to guard or protect the house nor to rescue folks from calamity.  Did this make her less?  What about sparrows, those common little birds-is it foolish to mourn them when they have fallen?  Since they are a dime a dozen and unnamed, does that make them less worthy of sorrow?  I decided I could cry about Oreo without a bit of shame. . .and I might just cry about a sparrow too.

This morning, I called Delores.  She was still upset . . .so was Dana.  Dana would not even look out the window, into the back yard, where she spent time with her rabbit, Delores said.  She went on to say that the veterinarian, knew at once that Oreo was very sick.  Apparently, rabbits are masters at disguising symptoms, for they are so vulnerable to predators.   . .a sad but amazing fact.  An examination revealed a growth in the rabbits’ abdomen, but Oreo died within minutes, before a proper discussion about it.  Delores was told, that she probably had a heart attack, due to extreme fear.  Now this distressed Delores more to think that Oreo died scared.  We both cried again, and in that moment,  I loved my sister even more for her tenderness.

Plans are being made, to plant a little memorial plot where Oreo met her wild friends. Flowers will grow there and things like apples will be there for the taking.  It will not surprise me a bit if there is not some sort of marker there bearing the name “Oreo”, a beloved, bossy rabbit, whose life mattered.”

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21 thoughts on “To Dana . . for the Love of a Rabbit

  1. Oh no! I’m not sure I can deal with this. Our pets are most certainly family and having had to say goodby to several I know how hard it is. But on the other hand I get so put out with my BabeI I’m not too sure how I will feel when it is her time to go. I do think she understands that Troy is gone and she stays right under me most of the time . Of corse when she starts her digging mission I could wring her neck.Then at night when she lets me know it is time for bed and jumps up into her chair in my room….well…she is family after all. Please tell them how terribly sorry this crazy old lady is

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, what a sweet, sad story. I can see crying for a rabbit – we had many rabbits through the years. We have had several funerals for my Granddaughter’s pets through the years. Fish, birds, rabbits, dogs, cats. I guess that is what happens when we love our pets.

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  3. I had tears in my eyes as I read this. You would think the older we get, the more we would become inured to life’s losses and sorrows. But for me, this isn’t the case. I have talked with other seniors, and they feel the same way. To love another creature is a wonderful thing, and the world needs more of this kind of love. And I especially love the epitaph. Yes, Oreo’s life mattered, and what a fine thing that was.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Among life’s greatest mercies is the brevity of such pains.
    Like a stormy day, we can do nothing but live through our sadnesses.
    Soon, the brief pain of parting is overwhelmed by the lifetime of love and fond memories imparted upon us by these dear ones.

    Here’s to all those who give their fragile hearts to loved ones of another species.

    Seek peace,

    Paz

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m so sorry about Oreo! Rabbits are wonderful pets, and very deserving of our grief. It’s even worse when you know that your niece and sister are so sad… I loved the last line of this post, as it’s very fitting!

    Like

  6. I’ve heard it said that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they act toward (& interact with) children and animals. This post is full of a lot of goodness!

    Like

  7. Oreo was a beautiful rabbit..and your mourning is totally understandable. I think we can get attached to just about any of God’s beautiful creatures (except certain reptiles) and I have been known to mourn the loss of a small and medium sized lizard. Rabbits, however, are just special. I have lost two special rabbits in my lifetime, and I am sure heaven must have them in abundance since it is paradise, after all. 🙂 God bless dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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