Losing the family pet is never easy and I went through this a few times when I lived at home. We had a few dogs and cats that were so tragically lost and I would always be so upset but probably too young to understand. I would always take comfort from a new puppy or kitten pretty much straight away.
Pets have always been around me, so when I moved into my own apartment and broke up with my ex, being really alone for the first time was tough. So I did what I knew and bought a baby bunny, much to the dismay of my mother who at the time realised I was treating him like a comfort blanket. When I purchased Crawford, I did it for the wrong reasons but that didn’t mean I didn’t instantly fall in love with him. I wanted to give him a cute ‘bunny’ name like Cottontail, but a friend quickly reminded me that wasn’t exactly nice if he was a boy. He had a marking like a beauty spot to the right side of his nose like Cindy Crawford and the rest was history. He lived in the kitchen for a little while and had free rein until we realised he was never going to be litter trained and seemed to hide away from time to time in a small cubby hole. So we bought him a cage to be put in the corner of the living room, he could always see out and seemed so much happier in a space that just belonged to him. We let him out for a run around most nights when we were there but he wanted more, he just wanted to play all the time and would shake the cage constantly. A noise that drove me so insane at the time but would do anything to have back now. I stand by that Crawford was the happiest rabbit I had ever seen, most rabbits I had come across before were usually being man-handled by a small child and were sat in their arms looking miserable. Crawford completely dominated our apartment, if he wanted a fuss, he would let you know with a nose nudge, otherwise he ran around the room going crazy and jumping up and down. He also treated my carpet like grass and over the years many holes appeared, despite hours of chasing him around the room wrestling bits of carpet out his mouth.
Most rabbits have an average age expectancy of 4-8 years so imagine our horror when we found him dead after just a year and a half on Saturday. A perfectly healthy rabbit who showed no signs of deterioration, just gone. Needless to say I have taken losing this pet the hardest, no longer was he the family rabbit, he was only mine for a long period of time until my boyfriend moved in and then we were our own family. I knew he was dead but still felt the need to take him into the PDSA animal hospital, who were brilliant despite my hysterical state. I think I was hoping for some miracle revival or for someone to tell me that this was Crawford just tricking us and he was fine. Obviously this was not the case and even the vet couldn’t work out what had happened other than a heart attack or stroke out of the blue. I couldn’t bear to have done a post-mortem on his little body.
We ended up driving miles with tears in my eyes to find a pet crematorium. I spent pretty much the whole of Sunday and Monday crying, especially when I got his ashes. We buried these in the bottom of a peace lily and put it in the corner where his cage used to be. Having something there helps with the grieving process as it no longer seems as if he never existed which it did over the weekend. Some people have made comments such as ‘It’s only a pet’ these people in my eyes are pure ignorant and I pity them as they have never cared for an animal in the same way as I have. Crawford was a huge part of my family and was so very dear to my heart, he will never be forgotten and I have never missed something so much as the rattling of that cage.