And she held the little Rabbit close in her arms and flew with him into the wood.
It was light now, for the moon had risen. All the forest was beautiful, and the fronds of the bracken shone like frosted silver. In the open glade between the tree-trunks the wild rabbits danced with their shadows on the velvet grass, but when they saw the Fairy they all stopped dancing and stood around in a ring to stare at her.
“I’ve brought you a new playfellow,” the Fairy said. “You must be very kind to him and teach him all he needs to know in Rabbit-land, for he is going to live with you for ever and ever!”
And she kissed the little Rabbit again and put him down on the grass.
“Run and play, little Rabbit!” she said.
– The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams
Cinnamon moved into our home and hearts on Easter day, April 20th, 2014. We had jokingly talked about adopting a rabbit, but until I saw photos of his sweet face pop up on Facebook as my friend Monique tried to re-home him (his old family no longer wanted him), we weren’t very serious. This guy pretty much chose us from afar.
The night he arrived I was shocked at how big he was. I expected a dainty little rabbit to emerge from that box, and instead this handsome, slightly disapproving, big rabbit suddenly was inhabiting the pen in our living room. He looked at me, I looked at him, the cats looked at him and tried to swipe him through the wires out of curiosity. Our original plan was to keep him in an outdoor hutch. That lasted twenty seconds before we determined this guy would be a house rabbit. After some scepticism and confusion, he and the cats started settling into a routine quickly.
We called him Pepe le Peu for awhile, as he chased poor Squid around, totally enamored with her. Eventually he calmed down and she started seeking him out, napping when he napped, chomping on hay when he chomped on hay. When we still had the pen up we would often come home to find all three hanging out inside together. Needless to say, the pen didn’t last long. Cinnamon quickly became a free-range bun.
Eventually we had to ban him from the bedroom after his taste for electrical cords and Doug’s dress shirts became a bit difficult to control, but he was still happily able to sunbathe in the living room and nap on the second floor as he wished.
As we planned our garden, we planted excessive amounts of lettuce, parsley, and cilantro. For him. He was a glutton for fresh veggies.
We watched as his personality came out more each day. We laughed at his habit of finding a spot in the living room where he could hunker down and stare at us for hours. We loved his random bursts of energy and his “drive-bys,” quick hops up on the couch to say hello and possibly try to steal a treat or two. We blissed out when he was in an affectionate mood, letting us pet him until he’d flattened out into a bunny pancake on the floor. And my favorite, we loved watching him flop on his side to nap, munching on his paw until he fell asleep like a little kid sucking his thumb.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe he only lived with us for a bit over three months. It feels like he’s been with us for years. And we so hoped that he would be with us for many years to come.
But life had other plans, and just as quickly and unexpectedly as he arrived, he was gone. It was heartbreaking saying goodbye to him last night at the ER vet clinic, knowing that he most likely wasn’t going to make it through the night. I’ve seen enough animals pass to know the signs. The breathing pattern, the disappearing color in their ears and lips, the eyes turning glassy, the slowing down. As I stroked his ears and nose, I could see his sweet spirit starting to leave. I talked to him for awhile, told him how strong he’d been, how loved he was, and also told him it was okay to go if he needed to. As out of it as he was, I could see him relax as he heard my voice and felt my hand. I tried to leave once but he shifted around, the most movement I’d seen all night. I stayed and talked more, and he relaxed again. I left shortly after so the techs could put him back on IV fluids, knowing it was very likely I would never see my little friend again. Two hours later I got the call that he had passed quickly and peacefully, shifting once in his cage, and gone before the vet even moved him from his blankets to the exam table. I’m grateful for that bit of peace and relief he had after days of struggling.
We miss Cinnamon so much it hurts. But we’re trying to focus on those lucky weeks we had to spend with him and spoil him rotten. He had an old soul, and it was a privilege to share space with him. I hope you’re off hopping with the wild rabbits, gorging on strawberries and hay, and sucking your paw while napping in the sun, Cinnabun. Your spirit deserves a happy home, thank you for sharing it with ours for a short bit.