Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Loss of our family pet...

It was December 7, 2011 it was a Wednesday, two days before my daughters 8th birthday.  My daughter had been going over her birthday for weeks in her head as to how she wished it to pan out.  she wanted littlest pet shops, an ice cream cake in the shape of a snowman, and a pet bunny!!  The kids were home from school early this day because Wednesdays are early release.  I sat in anticipation for my husband to get home from work.  Suddenly I hear the sound of rattling keys unlocking the front door, in walked my husband with a cage and inside was a small pet rabbit!  The kids run across the room lit up with joy to meet our new pet!  I have to admit my favorite part of getting a new pet is the excitement it brings to a child's face...priceless!  "can we pet him?"  "what should we name him?"  All of a sudden there are all kinds of cute little pet names being thrown out all over the place!  "Snippy Snippers!"  There we had it!  Snippy Snippers would be his name!

We brought the new family member into my daughters room, this is where he would stay.  The kids opened the cage and let Snippers hop around the room as each one gave him a little pet as he hopped on by.  They were instantly in LOVE!!  As the weeks went by my daughter was a proud pet owner, she fed him every night and often read him a bedtime story...she said he liked it!

 My daughters Allergies and asthma grew increasingly worse as the weeks went by.  I was vacuuming her room constantly trying to keep the fur down, nothing seemed to help.  I googled Pet rabbits and allergies and found it was not the fur but rather the urine that caused allergies!  The scent of the urine gets in the air and once breathed can cause horrible allergies to allergy and asthma sufferers.  We told my daughter Snippers was going to have to find a new place to sleep.  Although disappointed, as long as Snippers was still in the family she agreed to lose her roommate.

Snippers moved into the garage.  We installed an air conditioning unit for the summer to keep him cool.  Every night five minutes before bedtime my daughter would go out into the garage, give him his nightly dinner, sometimes read him a bedtime story, give him a nice long pet, tell him she loved him, and goodnight.  This was her bedtime ritual for years.  Every weekend and sometimes in between, while we were outside we would bring Snippers out to get exercise.  Let him nibble on grass and scratch.  We would put boxes and little obstacles for him to run through or around in an octagon cage we had made out of cage panels.  He loved it!  He would always get so excited and hop around his cage when ever the garage door opened hoping it was exercise time!  Snippers always had a one of a kind personality, was very lovable and gentle with kids and knew who his family was!  We had recently revamped his exercise cage and connected it to an old aviary to give him more room to run around and shade.  He absolutely loved it!!

A couple days ago the girls working together, one on each side of the cage, carried Snippers out to his outside exercise pen.  My husband lifted his small cage over and opened the door to let him run around.  we have a little bench inside the cage, set up like a little petting zoo.  The girls sat in the pen a while and petted snippers as he hopped around and around through their feet.  little girls sound in the world!  They grew bored and went back inside the house.  The night was falling and we decided to leave Snippers outside because he was loving it and was not at all interested in getting back inside his small indoor cage.  Since the nights were not as cold we knew he would be OK.

The next day I sent the kids off to school and I went to work.  After getting off work and the kids off the bus I told them I was going to go in the side yard and check on Snippers and make sure he had water.  Upon walking up to the pen he did not hop over like he usually would do to greet me.  I started walking slower in fear of seeing the unthinkable.  I slowly walked around the aviary and saw no signs of Snippers.  I then noticed the part of the Octagon cage that connected to the aviary had been nudged out and Snippers had escaped.  I quickly began looking around the side yard for where he might be and found no trace of him.  I went into the house and told the kids Snippers got out and I was looking for him.  I went back outside by this time my husband was pulling up the drive from work.  I told him the news and he joined me in the search of our Acre for Snippers.  My oldest daughter had come out to help search.  we looked behind boards, under tables, in between things, then my husband spotted something on the back porch.

Snippers had nudged himself out of his cage.  We have a Queensland heeler dog who chases anything that moves.  Our dog had gotten a hold of my daughter's Rabbit.  Now is the tough part and the reason I decided to write this story for you.  We found Snippers  and did not want the kids to see him in this condition!  Now what do we say to our kids who are inside wanting to make missing rabbit posters?  My initial thought was to just go along with the idea the rabbit got out and ran away.  What would this do?  It would save ME the agony and heart break of seeing the pain in my children's faces.  It would save ME the sadness of seeing my kids cry.  What would it do for them?  It would have them wondering when the rabbit was going to come hopping back.  It would have them wondering when we were going to get a call from the missing rabbits posters we hung.  It would have them not be able to grieve the loss of Snippers because I was too selfish to put myself through it!

My oldest daughter was out helping us find the rabbit and was just across the yard when my husband found Snippers and scooped him up.  We were not sure if she had seen us find him so I decided to talk with her about it before telling the other kids inside.  I told her, "daddy found Snippers." " He is in Heaven now."  I then asked, what she thought I should tell her sister?  The little girl who read it bed time stories and gave it treats and loved him like no one else could.  I asked my oldest daughter if I should tell her our dogs got her rabbit or if I should tell her he ran away?  That smart girl tells her own mom as I have told her many many time in her life.  "I think you should probably tell her the truth!"  "Even if she is sad it will be better for her to know the truth."  My daughter was right!  I needed to tell her the truth.  I walked inside and sat down with my youngest daughter and told her her rabbit was in heaven now and I was very very sorry!  She said, "that's O.K. at least now he gets to spend Easter in heaven with a lot of other bunnies and Granny."  Bless her heart!

Often times we hear of folks replacing their child's pet fish with one that looks the same, or saying their dog had just run away when in reality the pet had passed. They do this to save their child and themselves the heartache of loss. There is nothing easy about death.  It is never easy to say goodbye to someone or something we love.  It's all part of life, the way the world goes round.  everything that lives dies and the hardest lesson in life is having to deal with this sad reality.  In order to deal with death and loss  we must accompany it with grief.  We must grieve before we can truly let go.  Before dinner we went to the store and we shopped for the perfect bunny statue.  We purchased some artificial flowers and a beautiful solar light shaped as a flower.  We had a funeral, we said nice things about Snippers and we prayed.  R.I.P Snippy Snippers...We will miss you

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