Q-Tip, my wonderful, incredible pet rabbit, passed away this week. She was nine years old.
She was just a baby when I got her, a fist-sized little ball of fluff, with tiny ears and big, round eyes. She looked so small, vulnerable and scared when I took her home. She didn’t eat for a whole day. But then, when I gave her a baby carrot, she finally started to nibble on it.
Over time, her ears grew longer, and she grew stronger. At first, she only had access to my room when we let her out of her cage, but over the years, she gained access to practically the entire house. She learnt to run up and down the stairs – and chew up all the curtains and carpeting.
She also developed quite a personality. Whenever she was displeased, she would noisily tear up the newspaper lining her cage, or toss her food bowl around. She was never the cuddly type, and disliked being picked up most of the time. But she would often run in circles around me (a sign that she belonged to me – or the other way around), or would lie down next to my feet as I worked at my desk.
When I moved out of my parents’ house, she came with me, and later followed me every time I changed apartments. She got sick a couple of times, and I sometimes had to leave her at the vet’s for observation. The assistants working there all loved her: bunnies with an attitude are irresistibly endearing – and Q-Tip, who tried to pick fights with the rabbits in the cage next to hers, definitely had an attitude.
The other day, I noticed that she was having trouble breathing, so I took her to the vet. Before leaving the house, I gave her some flat leaf parsley, her favourite treat in the whole world. She ate it with enthusiasm, as she always did. Seeing her looking so pleased and satisfied made me smile, as usual.
But she turned out to be sicker than I thought. Or rather, she was old, and tired: her heart was giving out. We tried a treatment, but when it failed to give sufficient results, we knew it was time to make a decision. The decision.
We petted her, sleeked her soft, shiny fur, covered her with kisses, and told her she was the best, most beautiful bunny in the world. She was groggy from the drugs and sedatives, not much like her fiery self. But despite that, she still found the energy to nudge my hand with her head – something she always did whenever she felt I was petting her too hard. She remained temperamental to the end.
The end was quick, and painless. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for more. She lived a long life, and the fact that the end came so suddenly means that she didn’t have time to suffer. Of course, it also means that the shock was that much greater for us – but that’s for us to handle on our terms.
We miss her. It’s the little things that catch us by surprise. Not having to buy romaine lettuce every other day. Not having to shut the living room door to prevent her from getting in and chewing the television wires. Not having to save up newspaper sections to line her cage with. Not being awakened early on the weekends by the sound of her wreaking havoc in her cage because she wanted to be fed. Not seeing her when we glance at her cage. Not seeing her skipping across the room. Not watching her happily eat parsley. Not having a permanent presence to talk to, even when we’re just thinking out loud. We miss everything: the fun moments and the chores.
But we will always remember the good times. And we will always remember her – if only because she is the reason there are bunnies all over the apartment: plushies, figurines, kitchen gadgets… And the reason this blog is called The Chocolate Bunny. But mostly, we will remember her because she was an amazing companion, the best bunny that ever lived.