Nine years ago I walked into the Glendale Galleria in California. I was working part-time at the Victoria’s Secret in the mall, having just moved across the country to live with my boyfriend, who I had seen in person for less than a week total at the time of my move. This big leap set me up for so many other big leaps in my life, including the one I took when I walked into the pet store in the mall.
Now, I know that mall pet stores are typically not good entities, that there are plenty of animals in shelters who need homes. But it was my habit to walk to the pet store on my breaks, to say hello to the animals there. And one little rabbit stood out to me. She was so full of life when all the other rabbits in her pen just sat there. This sweet little girl would come bounding over any time I stopped by, pushing her nose into my hands and demanding a scratch. I fell in love. Of course I did.
Soon enough, I brought her home with me, to the house my boyfriend and I shared with three other roommates. The little rabbit sat in kitchen and watched our lives hustle by, her nose twitching, soft ears perking up when we came to sit by her cage and talk. We named her Bunny. She was the start of our family.
Over time we added a cat and a dog to our family. But Bunny was the push toward everything. Bringing her home wasn’t just a leap of faith that we could have a pet. It was also a way to say, Yes, I believe in this. I believe in this life with you. This is going to work. Sure enough, it did. I married that boyfriend. He is my best friend.
And today my best friend and our daughter and I are saying goodbye to this sweet little rabbit. Our Bunny, who we love so. It is the hardest thing to do. But it is time.
I want to share a small story about her, because she has taught me so much. One of the first things we did for Bunny was get her a small stuffed goose to keep her company in her cage. Rabbits are social animals, and she loved having her own “pet” to groom and feed. Bunny would move Goose around the cage at feeding time, always making sure that Goose’s head made it into the food bowl when it was filled. We used to laugh about it, but it’s truly a measure of love.
Even now, at the end, when she is old and it is hard to move, Bunny looks after Goose. When I cleaned her cage the other day, I moved Goose out of Bunny’s way, to make it easier for Bunny to move around. When I came downstairs in the morning, I found Bunny and Goose cuddled together, Goose’s head in the food dish. Always, always, Bunny takes care of her friend. It says a whole lot, I think.
And when she’s gone I’ll remember her lessons, and all of the love she had to give. It’s been a tough few weeks leading up to today, but I want to celebrate this rabbit, who has meant so much to us. We love you, Bunny. You are in our hearts.
Thanks to Ian Grant Photography for capturing these pictures. We’ll cherish them always.