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

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.”

Instead of buying special Kong stuffing, stuff a Kong with cheese cubes and place in the microwave for five seconds.

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.

One other thing the manuals don’t mention so often – rabbits die. They die constantly. They die of nothing. They die because they ate their own fur and it tangled their intestines. They die because a cat gave them a mean look. That is why they breed so fast, because they are not going to make even the most rudimentary effort to survive.

Love your pet. You are your pet’s favorite thing in the whole world. He craves your love, attention and care. So show him the love and devotion he shows you!

My last but one rabbit to die – Peachy – went so fast from hopping to expiry that by the time I got him to the night vet, she said: “What do you want, an autopsy?” Mr Z and I went straight to the pub with our empty pet basket and had a pint in silence, me crying, as if we were doing insanely attention-seeking mime (which you might say is all mime). Fruity died on Thursday, I think because a cat looked at him funny.

You are meant to have small pets to teach children how to cope with death. In fact, all any of us have learned is to fear death, fear it mightily, like the devil. If you want to have something die and not care, I suggest buying a locust.

Watch that plate of cookies! A Dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 – 100,000 times more acute as that of humans.