For many, taking care of a rabbit is one of their first experiences with having a pet. Because of their relatively long lives, it can be easy to get attached to them as they grow with you. Grieving a pet rabbit is a natural and normal process of coping with their loss.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Deal With Grief After the Death of Your Rabbit
- How to Memorialize or Remember Your Rabbit After It Died
The pain and suffering that follows their death are understandable when you’ve lost a furry friend that’s been a constant and faithful companion to you.
When your pet dies, you can expect to feel different emotions as you go through the grieving process. You may experience guilt, denial, anger, and depression. It is important to remember that these stages are normal and expected as you grieve a pet after you put them down or when they die.
As you work through the different stages, eventually, you may find the acceptance that leads to healing. Although it may seem nearly impossible to believe, you will get through this.
How to Deal With Grief After the Death of Your Rabbit
Struggling with the death of your pet rabbit can be difficult to cope with especially when others may not understand the importance of the special bond the two of you shared. People tend to minimize your loss, making it challenging to seek other’s support as you grieve the loss of your pet rabbit. Feelings of isolation may creep up, leaving you feeling as if no one understands what you’re going through.
To help you cope during this time, consider some of the following therapeutic activities known to help those who are suffering through grief:
Keeping a journal of the thoughts and emotions that you experience after your pet’s death will help you let go of some of your grief. As you remember all the good times you and your bunny shared, write them down in your journal. It’ll help you remember these special moments as time passes.
Although the love you shared will never die, memories do tend to fade with time. Years later, you may not remember exactly how your bunny allowed you to pet and cuddle them as they sniffed and nudged you to be petted. It's no wonder that it's difficult to process your grief after suffering this type of loss with all this sweetness now missing from your pet.
2. Make a scrapbook
Scrapbooking is a form of grief therapy. The physical aspect of having to gather the supplies and use your creativity to put together a beautiful memento of your beloved pet is therapeutic. It can help ease your pain and suffering.
You may want to set aside time each day to go through the motions of getting materials together to create a scrapbook of all your favorite moments you spent with your pet rabbit. Take as long as you need to complete it. The goal is to allow yourself to release your grief as you remember your cherished pet.
3. Collect pictures
When you’re grieving and missing your pet rabbit, it’s a good time to pull out all the old photos of them to fill you up with their loving memory. Think about all the fun times you had together to help you heal and move forward from your loss.
While you’re grieving, try and remember the happy times. It’s okay to sit there and let your tears flow. Releasing your emotions is cathartic and helps you when you’re struggling to deal with the excruciating pain you may be feeling.
4. Read about pet loss
When your housemate and buddy dies, you can expect to feel sad over their loss. Experiencing this type of heartbreak for the very first time may leave you feeling sad and depressed.
There are books about pet loss that can help you make sense of what you’re going through. Reading about how others dealt with their pet loss will help you and comfort you through yours.
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5. Join a pet loss community
There are online pet loss communities designed with you in mind. These support groups help pet parents cope with the grief following the death of their pet.
Online pet loss support groups such as Rainbow Bridge are a place to hold a virtual memorial for your pet and meet others who are also suffering from a pet loss. You can also find pet loss support groups in your area by asking your vet for a recommendation or going online to different veterinary hospitals’ websites.
6. Adopt another pet
Saying goodbye to a pet is one of the most heartbreaking things you’ll ever do. Grief is like a tidal wave that ebbs and flows. The intensity lessens the more time that separates you from the day your rabbit died. One day, you’ll realize that you’ve made it past the most solemn times in your grief journey.
Your heart will begin to feel lighter, and the pain and sorrow that once overtook you now linger in the backdrop of your life. When you’re ready, consider giving a loving home to another pet rabbit or two. At first, you might resist the idea, but you’ll know in your heart when the time is right to get another.
How to Memorialize or Remember Your Rabbit After It Died
The most important thing you can do following a pet loss is to honor your feelings. Suppressing or hiding the way you feel is unhealthy and may lead to more serious issues later. Don’t deny your pain, grief, sadness, or the anger you may feel following the death of your rabbit.
For some, feelings of guilt may also emerge as part of their grief journey. The following suggestions may help you get past these initial feelings associated with pet loss grief.
7. Hold an online tribute
An online tribute in honor of your pet’s life will help you tell others the news of your pet’s passing. Specific websites cater to pet memorials, but an announcement through other social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram works out just as well. You can even set up a virtual guestbook that allows others to leave you words of condolences and support.
These tributes remain online indefinitely and serve as a virtual place for you to visit and read messages from your friends and loved ones when needing an extra boost of support.
8. Light a special candle
Lighting a special memorial candle for your pet is a way to honor them at the time of their death. One way to use these special candles is to light one on your pet’s last day here on Earth. After they’ve been euthanized or shortly after their death, blow out the candle to signify the end of their life.
It’s a beautiful way of marking the end of their life so that you can find closure and acceptance in their death. You can also hold a candlelight vigil for your pet by asking others to join you either in person or by lighting a virtual memorial candle in their honor.
9. Build a box for their cremains
A pet rabbit becomes a part of the family as any other type of pet does after being with you in both good times and bad. They play with you, let them cuddle you, and they let you feed them like they’re babies from the moment they begin to suckle on a bottle. Your pet rabbit has been there for you when you needed a friend or extra love and support.
A special way of honoring them after they've died is building them a unique box to hold on to their cremains or bury them in. The love and energy you pour into building their box helps you heal and find closure as you mourn their loss.
10. Pen a loving epitaph
A pet epitaph is a special quote or saying that’s typically engraved on a headstone, grave marker, urn, or bereavement jewelry. They help memorialize and honor your pet’s life. An epitaph is typically added alongside your pet’s name and dates of birth and death.
You can find inscription ideas online or by consulting with a specialty funeral home director who caters specifically to pet owners needing pet loss aftercare. Consider a DIY stone or other grave marker project to commemorate your dog's life and mark their final resting place for the more budget-conscious.
11. Have a funeral
Pets are still not allowed to be buried in human burial grounds. However, there are several pet cemeteries and funeral homes scattered throughout the country where you can hold a funeral and bury your pet in a place that’ll give them a loving forever home after death.
The cost of a pet funeral and burial can cost between $1,500 to $2,00, but when considered as one of the last expenses you’ll ever make on them, the price seems more manageable. In comparison, the average pet cremation will set you back approximately $150. If this is something you’re considering, do an online search to check if there is a pet cremation or funeral service provider near you.
Surviving Grief After Your Rabbit Dies
In time, as your grief begins to lessen, consider adopting another pet bunny or two. These sweet little creatures all need a loving home where they’ll feel special and appreciated.
Although they’ll never replace your pet that died, every bunny brings something unique to the bond and relationship that you form with them. In time, your grief will begin to heal, and your heart may be ready to open itself up to give and receive the love of another.