Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dealing With The Death of a Pet

We lost a pet this week, our rabbit, Bunbun. This is a first that Joey has been able to understand what was happening. Kate is still too young at 2 and a half, to really get it.

Bunbun was probably about 7.5 years old. I adopted him from a local animal shelter 6 and a half years ago and they estimated his age at right around a year old; someone's Easter bunny that was soon neglected once the novelty wore off. He was an English Lop that had a load of personality and a nibble taken out of one ear where a bunny in another cage at the shelter took a territorial chunk out of it. It gave him character.

As soon as I found him laying peacefully on his side I had to decide how to proceed with the kids. I called my husband and then pulled Joey over to talk to him. Kids will amaze you every day and this day was no different.

I told him Bunbun had died and watched as the words sunk in and the tears came up in his eyes. I held him as he cried. Then he stood up and looked at me and said he was glad that Bunbun was dead. Honestly, this statement took me aback. I asked why and he explained that now Bunbun got to be in heaven and it was better than here. Big stuff for a 6 year old. A friend of mine passed away a few months ago and he asked me if maybe Patti was taking care of Bunbun now and I said I thought that was very possible.

We are a family that will always have pets so death is something that will be dealt with time and time again with them. Death is part of life and I don't want to hide it from my children. I hope I was able to let Joey deal with the experience in his own way. I gave him the information and was here for comfort but he has to grieve and process in his own personal way.

We buried him out in the yard in a flower bed where we can plants some flowers for him soon and Joey can visit with him. He made him a grave marker and put a couple of his toys down in the dirt and mulch. I slept with Joey that night and held him and calmed him every time he woke up upset. It was most possibly the worst week for a pet rabbit to die - right before Easter with rabbits everywhere. The rawness of the wound getting picked at every time we see one in a flyer or decoration.

Bunbun may not be here in the house with us any more but he is in our hearts and this is the message I want my children to carry with them as we go through this loss and future losses. That being said, I have made the proclamation to the other animals that there will be no more dying for awhile. That's it. Foot down. It is so.

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