What did I learn from my lovely pet rabbit? The truth about mortality

We get small pets to help children deal with the reality of death. But all it does is make us very, very scared of losing a loved one

There was a fair amount of pet regret when the lockdowns ended; helplines were inundated. They rarely reported what the questions were, but you can guess: “How much love will ever be enough for this dog?”; “How can I tell if my cat’s being sarcastic?” In fact, the most regretted pet was a rabbit. People get them for children, but it’s a terrible fit, because there is nothing rabbits find more annoying than children. They also hate being picked up, stroked, handled in any way, regarded or addressed by name. “Let your rabbit come to you,” all the literature says, leaving experience to teach you how that sentence ends … “which it never will.”

Yet over time, inevitably, you fall in love with the rabbit. I can’t explain it. It’s something in the way they move. Every hop is like a Disney movie. It’s like falling in love with a dancer from Strictly. They don’t even know you exist, but every little thing they do is lovely, so what are you gonna do? No point fighting it.

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