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TW: the death of your pet


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Trigger warning: the death of your pet


So, disclaimer: I didn't lose her, atleast not yet... but a friend of mine lost her bunny last night.

She came to me traumatized and wondering what went wrong and to advise me to take precautions with my bunny and explained to me how her bunny died in graphic detail.

My whole day has pretty much me feeling a bit scared, I guess.

Her bunny died while she was at work and when she came home her bunny was breathing very heavily then had a seizure, my friend had to settle her bunny down by placing her hand on her and then she died. 

What if I'm at work one day and I can't make sure my bunny doesn't have anything happen to her and I can't pick up on her illness quickly - we don't have a 24 hour vet clinic that will take rabbits in my area. My bunny is literally my everything and I don't know what I would do without her or who I would be. She has been there for me through all of my hardest times and has reminded me of who I am when I felt lost. I can always look at her and just feel so at home. She always makes me smile whether that's tickling me with her whiskers in my arm pits (she's been doing that a lot lately the past few days) or stealing my food... she's my sunshine.

I'm so scared of that one day where I will have to say goodbye. Just typing that makes me cry. I know the day will come... but this is my first real pet - I have had family pets, but nothing that is 100% mine like she is... I don't know how to stop myself from the overwhelming anxiety of the day coming, how it will happen, if I'm there or not, if I'm going to move on from her...

I'm still enjoying her company, it's just such a heavy weight on my heart of that neverending anxiety... 

Maybe I'll be okay, maybe I just need to get this off my chest... because honestly, that has been my only thought the whole day.

I don't expect replies because I know it's kinda hard to give advice on this but I just need to get my thoughts out on something that isn't paper for once.

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I know what I say won't make any difference to you at this point in time, but given I know you, her and of your friend, I feel I can confidently help to reassure you that you're not going to lose her any time soon. Yes, there was that one scare, and thankfully I was watching, but that's one little slip she had out of countless days and nights since you brought her home. It doesn't necessarily mean anything's going to happen to her again, or more often, and further, just because that happened to your friend (pretty sure I know which one), doesn't mean it will happen to you. You have to remember that.

You have a very happy and healthy bunny who is thriving right now. The only thing she will need in time that you're not giving her (or are yet able to give her) is more space/freedom, but you're doing the best you can with what space you have, and in your free time, you're giving her even more space in a larger area, while supervised. She loves and adores you for that. She's perfectly healthy as she is and you take amazing care of her - even putting her own needs above yours sometimes, which, as you know, I was never too keen on, as you being around to look after her is more important, but that alone shows the love you have for her and she will feel that. She's bloody spoiled too with the amount of treats and toys you get her!  :D 

If you're particularly concerned though, my suggestion (with whatever weight my opinion may carry with you at this time) would be to at least get her checked out at that place we looked at. If they can check her out, they can reassure you further and let you know how else you can best help her or take better care of her. You know you need to get her fixed at some point soon as well, and that will help ensure her continued good health, since you know the risks of not doing it.

Beyond that, you just need to keep caring for her as best you can, and when you're at work, do your best to trust those you live with to check-in on her every so often. Maybe your sister could be more involved? - now that she knows she's able to help out in an emergency! Your mom does make sure she's okay when you're not there, even if she's a bit hapless sometimes - she does at least try, and honestly, all that's needed is someone to keep an eye on her and make sure she's eating/drinking fine while you're gone. She has plenty of toys and things to keep her occupied while you're out too. You know from my recent running commentary just how much fun and excitement she enjoys!

She's doing absolutely fine and you're doing brilliant with her. You're not in any danger right now of anything horrible happening to her, so it needn't be a worry. I know you'll always worry about it and you can't help that, but try your best to push it to the back of your mind and enjoy the time you do have with her. You've only had her for a year and a bit. She's going to live for a long time if you continue the level of care you have. As I said, the only thing she will need eventually is more space to run around and play in, but that will come in due course.

Another thing you could do is maybe research vets who do call-outs? or mobile vets? They do exist, I'm sure. Either way, the place we looked at, you and I both know will take good care of her if need be and it's not TOO far out of the way, though of course, it would be preferable to have somewhere closer. Keep an eye on things and keep looking to see if somewhere opens up in time? It's always worth keeping an eye out for these things.

With regard to picking up on her illnesses quickly enough, try to remember when you did that previously. Try to remind yourself that you HAVE done that before. You took action straight away and pre-empted anything worse happening... and what happened? She went straight back to being her usual giddy self and gave you all the thankful loves for helping! Just remember the good you do and how well you have taken care of her in the past, if you ever question whether you will in the future. Of course you will! I suppose the other thing you could do is create a second Skype account (or whatever) and call your computer from your new phone (when it comes) and watch her on the webcam while you're at work. That way you can always keep an eye on her? It's a bit fiddly to do, and of course, you'll need to use your data plan to do that  - unless you can persuade your mom or sister to answer the call once you get to work so you can use wifi instead - but it's do-able and I know you can handle that.

I'm sorry your friend had to go through that though... It's awful and heart-breaking, especially knowing she was there for those last few moments, but I'm also sure knowing she was there and got to say goodbye will help her heal in time. I'm sure you did your best to help and comfort her, like you are always so awesome at doing.  :) It's going to be tough for her, but I'm sure you'll be there to support her, and maybe seeing her go through that process will help prepare you for if/when the day comes - years from now...? I dunno…

I hope that helps somewhat and reassures you that you're doing a great job... She's a very much loved (and missed) little bun and she knows it! She's not goin' anywhere any time soon! Too much banana to nom on!  :p 

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Yeah, that does help. She has a check up in the coming weeks. I know she's in good health, just like... what if she randomly explodes? Blood clot? anything that i can't really help prevent and there isn't a vet available. The place you and I looked into was not 24 hour and any other place would nearly kill her trying to get here there through the car ride. I dunno.

I know my family is okay to take care of her in my few hour absence, I just don't want that day to come period.

I know the day is inevitable where I will have to say goodbye and that's already very difficult to swallow.

That's a nice idea about the webcamming thing, I think I will do that when I get on a good plan.

Just feels like every day I get to spend with her isn't enough time. Not enough hours in the day. Never will be enough with her.

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it.

Edited by Maids
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I'm sure you'll feel a lot better once she's had her check-up. She's not gonna explode! She doesn't eat THAT many treats!  :p I dunno about blood clots, but I highly doubt it. She'd definitely let you know somehow if something wasn't right. She'd either let you know herself ('cos she's not that dumb; despite our constantly berating her for misjudging gaps and distances!) or you'd sense something's different. When you bond with a pet that closely and spend so much time with them each day, it's easy to develop a sixth sense about these things. Remember back when you had an inkling about her not being well? Before we were even done researching, you knew she was displaying symptoms and quickly acted to help her recover. You just "knew". I'm sure that would be the case again. Always bear in mind, there's lots you can do at home to remedy her and not everything needs a trip to the vet.

Keep looking though, for more local vets, or at least 24-hour ones. I'm sure there'll be something. There must be. You won't be the only one with a bunny in your vicinity, I'm sure!

I know you don't want it to come and I know that you know it will eventually, but there's nothing anyone can do about the inevitable other than plan and prepare as best as possible, and do your best to enjoy the time you do have and make the most of it. The same can be said about anyone and anything. Nothing is guaranteed in this world and forever doesn't always mean forever... All we can do is try our best every day and try to make the most of every opportunity life affords us.

I hope you get the issue with your previous attempt to get the new phone sorted soon and get your money back where possible. It'll help to get that dealt with before going ahead and sorting a new handset and plan, but yeah, I quite like the webcam idea too. It worked with me, so no reason it can't work with you on your phone when at work, where you can have it discreetly set-up against the computer/till. I know I'd be more comfortable about her, knowing you had an eye on her at all times, too! Also, on that topic: May be worth having a look at phone stands? I was meaning to suggest that to you, last time you had me on camera and the phone kept sliding down. Phone stands are dead cheap and portable (obviously). I have one and it helps to prop devices up at an angle when you need to be hands-free.... I'm doing it again though, so I'll stop. lol. Difficult habit to break, this giving a damn thing!  :blush:  :wacko: 

I know how you feel... It was very much the same with us... Just try to remind yourself that you can't be around and awake 24/7 and that nobody can. It's not humanly (or bunnily) possible. You get as much time as you can with her and it's enough. She misses you when you go and gets a little sad, and that's clear by her mannerisms, but she soon perks up and distracts herself, occupying her little bunny mind until you come home, which, when you do, is a surprise for her and it always excites her! She loves you so much and is so appreciative of everything you do for her. Just think of where she'd be without you and all you do for her. You're doing amazing - and she's doing amazing because of you. There's never enough hours in the day, but like you, the more routine and structure she has, the better she can expect and anticipate and the easier it will be for her to adjust to those times when you're not around. Maybe with the webcam idea (as long as you keep it a safe distance from her), you can tell her and show her what you're doing in some hope she might understand that you can still see her so she knows you're still looking after her even if you're not physically present? I know it's not the same as a child, but, who knows what bunnies pick up on and can interpret?! Worth a shot! She's a smart cookie! S-M-R-T!  :D 

You don't need to thank me though; you know I'll always reply to things like this (whether it's appropriate to or not!) .. I'm always going to care about you and the little floofer!

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As fellow bunnylover I have maybe bit brutal way of thinking this: if a bunny gets ( really ) ill or so, often there is not much to do anymore and they die fast. So, not much you can do there.


Because I think the worst thing is to think "if I was there, MAYBE he/she could have been saved". But truth is that mostly not. Their life ends when it's their time.


I also explain the same for anyone who is caring for my little one(s) while I'm gone as they often worry what they should do. Sure, I give them the number of specific animal hospital specified in bunnies but also making sure they understand that mostly if something happens, no matter what they do, end result stays the same. As I don't wan anyone feeling guilt or doubt.


If it helps, so one little rascal of mine has been to vet 3 times and 2 times it was "she probably needs to be put down, we just give her vitamins and liquids but not much else we can try to help her with". But she is one tough cookie, and got through all ( from broken rib, something they claimed to be cancer and to brain bug ).




You say you are anxious. I think you should try to better describe what you feel. What hides behind anxiety? What hides behind fear you seem to be having?

Sadness? Shame? Helplessness? Anger? Embarrashment? Disapointment? Frustration? Vulnerability?


That has at least helped me to really understand what I feel and why, and that way also really feel the actual feeling/emotion I'm having. As I do believe that some emotions won't go away before we can face them.

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Yeah, that is true.

I guess it is a mix of helplessness, vulnerability, sadness.

I haven't had to experience an animal death, sure I've had fish and hamsters but those were when I was 12-13.

Helplessness because I know I'm just afraid of the inevitable.

Vulnerability because I haven't had to experience anything like this before. Let alone this level of love for an animal, not knowing how it's all going to end... 

I'm terrified of the dark/the unknown so I guess that has it's ties - not the dark of course but generally not having the answers for things that I desperately want to know. 

Sadness because obviously it's death lol.

Wow, you've got a warrior in your hands! Hopefully those atleast help her live a happy life, I guess that's the silver lining to this is if they are happy, that's the best thing you can do for them in times like this.

But yeah, some days i'm able to shrug off this fear and enjoy her while I have her,  but some days it has me in a weird state lol, guess it's just me being stubborn and not wanting to ever say goodbye, though, a lot of pet owners can surely say the same for their beloved animals. I guess I take solace in that thought.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my ramble lol.


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My little warrior is.....12 already? So, with her I do have the expectation that she may not be too long with me anymore. I think that thought did bother me before even quite a lot ( like going on holiday and wondering "what if...." ). Now, well, not really as I have accepted it can and will happen, taht is part of life.



Helplessness because I know I'm just afraid of the inevitable.

Vulnerability because I haven't had to experience anything like this before. Let alone this level of love for an animal, not knowing how it's all going to end... 

I'm terrified of the dark/the unknown so I guess that has it's ties - not the dark of course but generally not having the answers for things that I desperately want to know. 

Sadness because obviously it's death lol.




You could maybe try to reframe your thinking? Helplessness, vulnerability and sadnes just means you really care, which is a nice thing, means you have a big heart. It also means that you will be hurt when the bunny dies. But that will be also opportunity for you to grow, develope confidence and resilience that you can get through it ( as trust me, you will. If you worry a lot, you can even search how people can get through massive losses or hard situations, what sort of practises they have or talk to a professional about this ).


In life there is a lot of things we don't know, future being the biggest one. I would say only thing we can do is to choose live our life based on your values and appreciate what we already got. People are pretty resilient creatures if you think it: we get through even most horrible things. I just read the little book from Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning which was truly interesting study of human mind ( tells about his exeriences and notions in concentration camp but is really balanced and adult like writing of humans instead of the normal gluttony of horror and unfairness ). What strike me there was how he described the moment he got the insight that love was the most important thing in life: no matter how bad things were, he could go to a happy place, have positive emotions when he thought of his wife. He knew she may not have been alive anymore but that didn't matter, what mattered was that he loved her and it gave him strenght.


Errr..... rambling here :D


So, what are the things you want to know? And do you think those things really matter? And would the answers make you happier? What the answers would change?


And also: why are those things important to you?


I think there are all sort of practical excercises they use to treat this sort of anxieties which you should maybe ask from a professional as I think this worrying does decrease the life quality you have. At least I have read about them but can't really remember :p But I also think it is pretty normal to have these, everybody does sometimes.



Edit: added the bolded question.

Edited by baby_k
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  • 2 weeks later...

Late to the thread and haven't read through the responses. Going to reply real quick for now and edit later.


Excuse my questions if these are all things you're already knowledgeable/up to date on.


Do you know the signs of a sick bunny?

Do you have all the correct, unexpired medicine on hand in case your bun has gas issues?

Do you have the syringe to feed those medications?

Do you have a baby thermometer for temp readings?

Do you have a heating pad?

Do you know the signs of stasis and other common ailments?

Do you have the right high fiber pellets for after? (Critical Care)


I don't know if your post is asking for education or just empathy but as someone who also has a bun, my first thought is always education. Pardon if I seem rude or forward. ><


Some random points here:


Most vets are NOT rabbit savvy, even if they say they are. If they see under 100 rabbits a year, generally speaking, they're not rabbit savvy. I'm very lucky in that the vet I have will have emergency calls where I can leave a message and one of the vets will get back to me within a half hour - the next best thing if you can't find a 24/7 place. Check on HouseRabbit.org for approved vets that may be near you.


There is an app where you can use an old phone as a nanny cam to watch your bun 24/7 from your own phone. Don't recall the name but someone mentioned it to me once and can ask again for it.


Join a knowledgeable rabbit group! I'm in the FB rescue group I got my bun from and they're always super helpful with education (and of course cute pics). Be careful not to just join a random one with other pet rabbit owners - nothing wrong with it but you just want to make sure you have people (besides a vet) who can answer and give advice should you notice something is up with your bun.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had a lot of experience with the loss of pets. It's hard. It's one of the hardest things you'll have to go through in life and if you adopt a pet and raise that pet, you're going to have to deal with it. It's a fact of life. But you can take comfort in knowing that you brought love into the life of your pet and gave it the best life you could. As long as you love your pet, your pet loves you, and that's what makes their lives and our lives worth living.


In 2005, I adopted a puppy, he's still around but the day is coming when he won't be here anymore and his particular mix will be gone from this Earth and I used to dread that day. But I gave him the best life I could give him, I gave him all the love I could, and when he passes, I'll still love him and through that, his memory will live on until I'm gone. He lives with my dad, so I don't see him as much as I'd like, but he's still my pup.


It's my belief that you can adopt other pets but they can't really replace the ones you had before. They're just added to the family.


In closing, do the best you can for your pets while you can to give them the best lives they can live. That's all they want.

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