I got my first rabbit when I was in the 6th grade, or 12 years old, at the end of December. The reason was simple: I loved animals very much and wanted to have one someday. My parents allowed me to keep it on the promise that rabbits do not meow like dogs, cats, etc., and if I would take care of it.

I immediately went to a pet store and bought my father and a male gray Netherland Dwarf. I loved him. He was so young, with a tiny body, fluffy fur, and big eyes. I still remember the car ride home when we bought him, with the little rabbit in his box in my lap, excitedly thinking of his name.

My mother objected to the name I came up with, and his name ended up being “Haru,” which she came up with.

I decided to keep Haru in my living room. I had my own room in the house. However, at the time, I spent most of my day in the living room, and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Haru, so I decided to set up her cage in the living room. There was a TV in the living room, and even as a child I could imagine how stressful the noise would be for Haru, but I thought she would get used to it quickly and comfortably. I deeply, deeply regret this decision.

Luckily, he took to me right away. He was a smart and good boy who quickly learned my name. Since it was winter vacation, I spent every day by Haru’s side.

About a week later, Haru’s health began to deteriorate. She curled up in her hut and stopped coming out. Haru seemed to have a stomach ache. Now I think that the cold temperature difference in the living room heating system was also stressing him out. Now I understand, rabbits are very sensitive animals. I still don’t know if it was the stress from the big change in environment, me giving Haru too much attention, the noise from the TV, the temperature, or all of them.

My father took him to the pet store the next day. I regret this too. I should have taken him to the veterinary clinic the day Haru got sick.

When I took him to the pet store, I could not accompany her because I had a piano lesson to attend. During the lesson, I had a very bad premonition and could not stop crying. Unfortunately, my premonition came true and I received a call from the pet store later that Haru had passed away. I did not get to meet her corpse. Since it was under warranty, I was told I could either get a new rabbit or get a refund. I was very reluctant to get a new rabbit, so I asked for a refund. I was deeply saddened and angry that I wanted Haru back and only got tens of thousands of yen back.

Since they would not let me take his remains, I buried Haru’s grass house in the yard and used it as a replacement grave. I still pray for her every year on the anniversary of him death.

After that, I spent every day crying. I cried no matter what I did, I felt guilty that I was the only one alive, and I couldn’t even get food down my throat. However, my father told me, “Haru surely doesn’t want you to be sad all the time,” and little by little I got back on my feet.

Sadly, my memories of the happy and precious times I spent with Haru are hazy. Have I forgotten them because of the passage of time? No. After Haru’s death and after a period of deep sadness, I gradually recovered and at the same time, I could not remember Haru well anymore. Thinking about it now, I think I put a lid on my memories in order to protect my heart. But at the time, I didn’t understand why, and I was disappointed in myself, thinking what a heartless person I was.

It was a sunny winter afternoon when I received the news that Haru had passed away. I still get anxious when the same situation comes together.

I am crying again as I write this. I have been living my life by pretending not to see the wounds caused by Haru’s death, but fundamentally, it seems that I have not healed at all even now.


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