For animals and humans alike, there is nothing sadder than the loss of one’s long-time companion. Human caretakers report their rabbit may stare off into the distance, lose his appetite and desire for play. A visit to the veterinarian will address any health issues. And, there is a simple, perhaps silly-sounding thing you can do that will make a difference to your grieving rabbit. Get a stuffed animal, close in size and softness to a rabbit. We have had incredible success making the stuffed animal appear to come alive, groom, and hop around after the surviving bunny. It has cut down the lack of appetite to hours instead of days.
“You will feel better yourself knowing your bunny is comforted .”
Rub the stuffed animal over the fur of your surviving bunny to transfer his scent to the toy. It may be necessary to distract him first by petting his head. Then, guide the stuffed animal through the motions of a companion bunny. Make the stuffed animal cuddle up to your rabbit, groom him, and even follow him into the litterbox. We have seen the surviving rabbit respond by licking the stuffed animal for hours.
Do this immediately after your rabbit’s friend has died. Let this toy, stuffed animal come to the rescue. You will feel better yourself, knowing your bunny is comforted. Through your job of daily animating the stuffed animal to mimic the mannerisms of a real bunny, you will also offer your rabbit your own love and companionship. Later on, a new rabbit companion may be in his future.
House Rabbit Journal Vol. 4, No. 7 – Summer 2002