My rabbit passed away this weekend. His name was Moose. He was black and grey, super fluffy, and loved apples.
I got Moose in 2012 when my brother called to tell me about a baby bunny his suitemate was keeping in a Rubbermaid tote inside their dorm room. His roommate said the rabbit had to go, or it was going outside. This was in January. I picked him up later that weekend.
For the rest of the school year, Moose stayed in my single dorm room, in a nice breathable cage. I covered the cage and put the TV on anytime I was gone, worried maintenance or housekeeping would come in and discover my secret pet. Moose loved the room though. He loved to zoom around the room, run under the bed, hide in my closet, and sleep in the corner on the carpeting. He was about the size of my fist.
When Brooke and I moved into an apartment together, Moose came too. When I moved to Bemidji, Moose came too. Moose was by my side when our family dog was diagnosed with cancer and months later when she finally passed. He was with me when we received news that my grandmother had passed. And he was with me in Bemidji when I had to make a major life decision.
That decision ultimately landed me back with my parents for awhile. And guess who came with?
One of my more comical memories of Moose involved his feet. Remember Thumper from the movie, Bambi? Well, ‘thumper’ was an apt word to describe Moose. You see, rabbits slam their feet against the ground to produce a loud sound to scare predators. It produces a startlingly loud noise, similar to that of a starter pistol at track races. Moose first did it when I used a hammer in front of him for the first time. He did not like that and certainly made it known.
When I lived with my parents, Moose would sometimes thump in the middle of the night. Having never heard this sound before, my father leapt out of bed one night and raced downstairs, scared stiff that that an intruder had just broken into his house. It wasn’t until he heard the sound again from upstairs that he realized the gunshot sound was coming from Moose’s cage. At least he could laugh about it the next morning.
Everyday after work, I immediately came home and went upstairs to see Moose. I would let him out of his cage and sit with him while he ran around and stretched his legs. I would bathe him when he’d get smelly and cut his hair when it started to fall over his eyes. I liked to crawl up to him while he laid on the floor and kiss him right between his little brown eyes.
Back in 2015, when I decided to move out of my parents house and rent this apartment, I had to make a decision. Either I could rent a pet-friendly apartment somewhere and pay pet rent, or I could find Moose a new home and rent a 1-bedroom in Uptown. I’m sorry to say that I traded my bunny for an independent life. I only slightly regret it though.
The woman who purchased Moose from me, Rachel, gave him an amazing home in which he was never caged. He got a girlfriend in the form of a little white lop, and slept in Rachel’s bed with her some nights.
I could never have given Moose that taste of freedom. He lived with her for two years. And they are two years I cannot get back.
Rachel didn’t have my phone number and left me a direct message through Instagram yesterday informing me of his death. His vet said it was likely a stroke that killed him and that he was otherwise healthy.
I knew this day would come and I honestly thought I would handle it better. I felt I had accepted that Moose was no longer in my life. I was wrong. I loved Moose from the moment I picked him up out of that Rubbermaid tote and, I just hope that wherever he is, he knows that.