Animals cannot live forever, we know that when we first have a pet. That rush of love we feel for the impossibly attractive, lively and inquisitive baby must be replaced with a long term affection and appreciation of a more senior pet with different needs.
Over the years there are some rabbits with such huge characters that the whole household was in tears when we lost them. The gap they left felt just the same as losing a dog which normally rates the closest to losing one of our own kind.
We never forget our rabbits and having adopted over the years when they were not always young we were bound to face the loss of one at some point.
Bear was a character - he was found crossing the country lane in the village here. Luckily he was picked up - after advertising for his owner to come forward (to no avail) we decided to take him in. Our rabbits were in pairs and ran free most days so he joined in. He immediately set about ousting Mouse's current partner and taking her for himself.
This made a lasting bond, he stood by his little Mouse until she died of natural causes one night and was found being snuggled by Bear in the run.
He did bite. I wonder if that was why he was abandoned? You always knew to be quick and firm when handling him as he would tuck his head in and get a piece of you to remind you to let him go. We didn't pick him up more than we had to and I don't remember him ever biting the vet.
When we lost Bear's wife, Mouse, we had to try bonding him again with Polar who was only two. It took a few months. We had them next to each other with a chatting wall all that time before finally opening the door and they explored each other's homes. They then became the most adorable couple.
We had no idea of his age - he arrived fully grown in 2013. It was only this year in lockdown (March) he suddenly became ill and was treated for e cuniculi. He recovered but it left him with a head tilt which did actually improve over the summer but never completely.
He would still eat hungrily and chew the grass when we let him out for frequent runs free. Lately he did fall over more often and although it was a soft landing we could see he was finding it harder and harder to get back up. Polar kept by his side and ate with him and cuddled him which was perfect.
When we found him lying, still warm but not alive the other morning you could not have wished more for him really. His rabbit protector was right by his side. It was as natural for him as it could be.
So now we wish to bond Polar into the group whilst never forgetting her Bear.