I remember the first day that Thumper was carried into our home. He was in a cardboard box that had previously housed bananas, and he was breathing frantically and trying to figure out what on earth was going on. I toddled over to him and gently stroked his perfect little nose and he turned his head slightly and looked me straight in the eye. I think he knew right there and then that he was in the right place.
He wasn’t in a good state when he first got here, and I didn’t have a blooming clue about how to look after a rabbit. But over the following weeks I learnt so much, and Thumps and I just fell in love with each other. Having a rabbit in your care is a never-ending learning process – there’s always something you haven’t read about or experienced before. Even after two and a half years of caring for him every single day, there’s still stuff that I’m unsure of when it comes to buns. But let me tell you this, if you’re willing to put in the work and the devotion and the love, having that little fluff in your life will, quite frankly, change your life.
When people ask me if it’s hard to look after a rabbit, I tell them this: providing proper care for a bun is like providing proper care for a toddler. So many of your thoughts are centred around them – whether they’re safe, whether they’re eating and drinking enough, whether they’re happy, whether they’re bored/ not getting enough stimulation – they take up this chunk of your mind (and heart) and when you’re not caring for them anymore you don’t really know what to do with yourself. They always need attention, and in return they give back the most precious and pure love and friendship you could possibly imagine.
My sweet, mischievous big baby Thumper passed away on the 8th July. I don’t want to go into all the details because it’s still very raw and I still don’t understand most of what happened, but I’m holding onto the fact that I didn’t let him suffer. For as long as he was with me he experienced copious amounts of love, and I’m happy about that. The bond we shared was unique to us – as are bonds with any animal – and I’ll be forever proud of that. He relied on me and I relied on him. From day one he fit right into my wonderful clan of fluffs, and all of us adored him. I lost a part of myself when I lost Thumps, but that’s okay because I know that I didn’t hold anything back from him, and he has a piece of my heart for always.
I’m tremendously lucky to have the magical animals that I do, and without them the process of losing Thumper would be so much tougher. Simba gives me something to focus on; Charlie is my rock and lies by my side as I sob; and Milly makes me laugh with her bonkers personality. Animals change us for the better, and there’s nothing quite like the sheer purity of having an animal love you back.
Mr Boo, wherever you are I hope you’re gnawing on an endless stream of skirting boards and binkying to your heart’s content. I hope you know just how much I will always love you. Thank you for finding me.