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Goodbye to a Pet Bunny

Our pet bunny, Tinkle Toes, passed away this morning. Even though we were expecting his death, the reality of the inevitable did not diminish our sadness. Thankfully, our pet seemed to die peacefully in his sleep. We buried him in the forest this morning before CB had to go in for work.

Tinkle Toes was a small, black, Lionhead bunny. We got him when he was about six weeks old. CB went into the mall for new glasses and the pet store was right next door. The litter of bunnies was just too tempting and we both returned the next day to add another pet bunny to our household.

We had hoped that Tinkle Toes was a girl as we already had a male bunny and two males do not get along (unless they are from the same litter.) We looked in between Tinkle's legs to determine his gender. We asked folks in the pet shop too, but it was a mystery to everyone. However, when we brought him home our other bunny, Romeo, knew instantly we brought home a boy and wanted to bite him.

This behavior was unusual for Romeo as he was a very good natured bunny, but instincts are instincts. We had the bunnies in separate cages, but one time Tinkles poked his nose a little too close to Romeo's and got a quick nip in the schnozola. However, CB patiently introduced the bunnies to each other a little at a time and eventually they not only tolerated each other, they became best friends. When Romeo passed away, Tinkle Toes was right by his side.

Tinkle Toes traveled more than the average lagomorph. He loved to go camping. He had a cage in the back of the camper that rested on a shelf, but when we were driving he had a "bunny bin" and sat between us in the cab. Whenever we stopped at rest stops or campsites, we had a special travel bin (a mesh-like laundry bag) with two dinner-plate sized holes cut out so Tinkles could be in a safe, enclosed pen, but could still chomp on the grass. And chomp he did. Eating green grass was one of his favorite past times. He especially liked the little white flowers from clover. As sick as he was, he still managed to eat a couple of the flowers before he passed away. I brought in a couple more of the tasty tidbits, but those lay untouched in his cage that I cleaned this morning. But at least he died among his favorite things.

Losing a pet is a sad thing, even when you know death is near. Tinkle Toes did not seem to be suffering and I'm thankful for that. He brought a lot of happiness to our lives and we have many wonderful memories. Feeling both the joy and pain of loving someone is part of what makes us human. It reminds me of a quote by Anatole France, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

After we buried our bunny, the morning light filtered through the trees and created a bright spot on the ground very close to where Tinkles was laid to rest. There are many times when I bumble about and forget to notice the beauty of the world around me. It brought this quote by St. Francis of Assisi to mind.

"Ask the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth."

I felt the luminescence was a sign that our little bunny's spirit was in a better place and if I shifted my consciousness, I could be in a better place as well.

I cannot truthfully say that this moment in the sun erased my sadness. I will miss our little pet. I will remember how he would stand up on his back legs to eat a treat, the way he would sneak out and make me chase him through the house, and how happy he was plop in the grass and eat dandelions and clover. It's okay that I am sad. It's okay that I take this nostalgic trip down the last five years of our fur baby's life. I agree with Lacie Petitto who said,

"A pet is never truly forgotten until it is no longer remembered."

And I intend to remember Tinkle Toes and all the wonderful pets who have shared their lives with me. It is ironic that is the love and devotion of animals that best teach us how to be human.

I do not have the funds to add a wing to a pet hospital or create a refuge for animals. However, I can do what I have always done, respect the earth and its creatures, make environmentally sound choices, support "no kill" shelters, the humane society and PETA.

One day, I'm not sure when, we will adopt another bunny or two. Even though I feel the loss of our rabbit, it would sadder still to punish ourselves further by refusing to allow another pet to enter our lives. I believe Gary Kowalski, author of The Souls of Animals, said it best.

"It is not just that animals make the world more scenic or picturesque. The lives of animals are woven into our very being – closer than our own breathing – and our soul will suffer when they are gone."

Good bye Tinkle Toes. You will be missed, but never forgotten.

Sally Marks
Coauthor of upcoming book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. Check out her website at
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    • could anyone help me find me 2 white rabbits with gray around the mouth..I lost my buddie a breast of somekind got in my cage and killed and eat it up and left me half of a ear..I am so sad…and want to get me another 2 my sweet little bunny was given to me he was abandaed from someone didn't want him…help me find another Please.

  1. Dear Sally, I, too know the pain of losing a precious bunny friend. Our little Dutch girl Hip-Hop, passed away on Dec. 5th & I could not bear to celebrate Christmas.  I hope & pray all of your sweet memories of Tinkle Toes will be a comfort to you.  Your written tribute to her is so touching, and leaves no doubt she was so very loved.

  2. Connie Connie

    I am so very sorry to hear of your loss.  Losing a loved one is never easy on the soul, no matter how expected, how long or short of a life.  When the body is separated the soul aches.

  3. My condolences to you on the loss of your special friend. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful tribute to him.
    Blessings hugs,

  4. Bridget Gonneville Bridget Gonneville

    I could not bring myself to read all of your article.  I lost my babies recently and am very sorry for your loss.  They were everything to me and I hope you have supportive people around you who will understand that you need to grieve and talk about it.  So sorry for your loss.  The more you love, the more it hurts when they are gone. 

  5. Cathy Cathy

    So sorry for the loss of your sweet bun.  I am facing a similar situation I fear…(((Hugs)))

  6. Diane Dercole Diane Dercole

    I'm so very sorry for your lost. I know how you must be feeling. I lost my Linus 4 years ago, it was the hardest thing, he had an abcess and had been thru so much I had to put him to rest. I took a few months to grieve and than found my Mia at the Humane Society, she is the greatest  joy in my life. Time will heal your sadness and when you are ready, there are so many orphan bunnies that need your love. Good Luck Bunny Friend.

  7. I am so so sorry for your loss 🙁 I don't know what I would do if my little Flatpac passed. They make us so happy for so long.

  8. Claire Claire

    If non-bunny lovers knew the depth a bunny can give, all walks of life would have 1 or 2.  Grieving is natural.  We have been through 5 ferrets in 24 years & now have only 2 rabbits.  Our ferrets were all different personalities as are our buns.  They are (& were) all loved beyond measure… in time it will be calming & you'll have hapiness for the love you had vs the love you lost.. God bless

  9. I am so very sorry for your loss. We lost a pet rabbitt C.C. (short for  Carrot Cake)a few years back. He died in my arms. We were heartbroke. A friend told me about the Rainbow Bridge. A place in heaven where our beloved pets wait for us. Look it up on the internet. It made me feel better and I hope it does you too! 

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