A few weeks ago my niece's rabbit died unexpectedly from a muscle disease and it was so heartbreaking. She adopted her from the SPCA when school started this past year and was taking care of the bunny for a high school class project.
Seeing my niece go through the death of her bunny, reminded me once again I can't go through another bunny dying in our house. My two girls who are 11 and 12 years old continue to beg to have another bunny. I want to give in so bad and just say yes, but I just can't see them so sad again if the bunny where to die.
In our house when the girls really want to get something like get a new pet, they usually have to write a report or do a power point to convince my husband and me of why they should have the animal. We think it's important for them to really know the positives and negatives about this potential pet. We also want them to know the responsibilities of caring for the animal. The big question usually is can they really handle the animal they want at their age?
When they were younger, of course they couldn't do reports, so if they asked for a pet and we thought it was age appropriate and they could handle it, we let them have it. Our girls haven't asked for tons of pets or for pets like rats or snakes, so I have been thankful.
One animal they have always had around is a dog. My husband and I had a dog before they were born. The first pet the girls picked out was a beta fish when they were about two and three. These fish are pretty easy to take care of and they usually last for awhile. We had their fish for about two years before one of them died. The death of their first pet was tragic. I didn't know they were going to be so sad. I felt so bad. If I would have known they were going to be so sad, I probably would have replaced the fish before they saw it floating on top of the water.
The other pets we have had in our household have been hermit crabs, more fish, hamsters and a bird we gave away to a friend because my youngest daughter was allergic to its feathers.
For the past few years, we only had our dog as a pet. Since the girls were little they wanted a bunny. They loved going to the pet store to see the dogs and bunnies. About a year and a half ago they decided they really wanted a bunny for a pet, especially my older daughter Randi. I have to admit the little baby bunnies are so cute. The girls did a report together on why they were ready to take care of a bunny and they specifically did it on Lionhead bunnies, which are small rabbits with a distinctive mane of hair on their head. Their friend down the street did a report too and convinced her parents to allow her to get one. After weeks of hearing about how much they wanted a bunny, we decided to let our older daughter Randi get one. She had to pay for part of it with her own money. Both girls we were so excited. A friend gave her a cage. She bought food, bedding and toys for the rabbit. This bunny was her best friend. She did everything she was suppose to do, but within a week, the rabbit somehow was sick, started shaking and wasn't acting right, so we brought him to back to the store. My daughter was devastated. She didn't want him to die, but he didn't make it. The manager told her she could pick out another bunny, but I wanted her to wait a little before getting another bunny.
It was terrible seeing her so sad about her little bunny. We didn't know for sure what happened. We thought it may have gotten a disease. Several friends told us this could happen and they had it happen to their bunnies.
My daughter wanted to see if she could find another rabbit. Against my better judgment of going back to the same place where we go the last one, we ended up getting another bunny. Within a week this bunny started acting the same way as the last one, so we decided to take it to a vet to see if they could do anything. On the way to the vet the bunny died in my daughter's arms. She was bawling crying. I felt so bad. All I could think was how did this happen again and how did I let this happen. The ladies at the vet told us he probably had a disease. He could have had the same disease as our other bunny, since both were from the same litter. For weeks Randi was so sad and cried about the bunnies. It's so hard watching your child go through the loss of a pet.
I know bunnies are good pets. My daughter's have several friends with bunnies, so sometimes it works out just fine for kids. For us though, we won't be having a bunny as a pet in our home any time soon.