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What happened to Gretel?

I get that question a lot. She entered our lives on a warm, Spring day in April. Flowers were budding and new things were being born including baby bunnies. Gretel was a week old when we first spotted her at the pet store and we knew we had to take her home!

She was the most beautiful bunny we had ever seen; she brought so much joy to our days. We loved to come home and inmediately “see how Gretel is doing”. Hold her and play with her. Keeping me company during many days around the house, she loved her place in my front apron pocket. My husband was her favorite, she would fall asleep in his hand as he stroked her soft fur.

Our joy quickly came to an end one Friday she was playing out in the yard. It was enclosed but there was a hallway I always blocked since we would keep the trash there. That Friday I had let her run around the yard and after a few minutes I checked on her. She had moved a heavy wooden barrier to the hallway and wiggled through. I quickly picked her up and put her back in the grassy yard.

She looked fine but it was too late. She had found some styrophoam to nibble on and swallowed it. We woke up Saturday morning to find she had severe diarrea. I immediately googled “what to do when your bunny gets diarrhea” and all the websites and blogs said it was the #1 cause of death for rabbits. Gerardo had gone out to get breakfast so I called him on the cell & asked him to hurry home so we could take her to the vet.

We have a wonderful vet near the house and specialize in treating exotic animals like her (who knew?). They had an opening and told me to bring her in right away as she could die within hours. I wrapped her in a towel and grabbed her cage and food (in case we needed to leave her there overnight) and we were off!

The doctor said she had definitely eaten something that made her sick and gave her an antibiotic (shot, I had to leave the room while my husband held her), and three medicines: one for pain, one for infection, and one antibiotic.

We took her home and for the next weeks gave her medicine faithfully 3 times a day. We would set our alarms and drive home from friend’s houses just to give her her medicine three times a day, on the dot, at the exact time required. We prayed for her and believed & hoped with all our heart she would get well. And she did. By the end of the week she was running around so Saturday morning I took her out to the yard for some fresh air.


Always keeping a close eye on her, I took 5 minutes to run in the house to get something. My husband was headed out the door to get breakfast & I asked him to check on her real quick before he left. He did and reported back she was doing great! It couldn’t have been 2 minutes after he left that I came downstairs and saw her lying on her side, dead.

Gretel usually sleeps this way, so I thought nothing of it. I gently stroked her foot to wake her up…nothing. I picked her body up screaming and sobbing “Nooo!!!!” Called Gerardo and barely got out the words “She’s dead!!!”
Gerardo: “No! Are you sure??”

He came home and together we wrapped her soft little body in pink tissue paper and laid her in a little shoebox. Every pet my family ever had growing up, from fish and birds, to dogs and hamsters, had a proper burial. I wished my brother Judah was here to play his funeral song on his trumpet for her as he had with so many animals in the past. We lay 3 white roses inside her box representing the 3 months of life we had with her. Wrote love notes to her on the box.

Gerardo and I used to talk about how neat it will be to show our kids Gretel, our first pet as newlyweds. We had big plans for her! 🙂 Dwarf rabbits are supposed to live 8-10 years they said.

People used to criticize my parents for letting us have pets. Going through all the hassle of taking care of them, cleaning up after them, and the heartbreak of burying them when they passed. But my parents knew it would allow us to develop a greater appreciation and deeper understanding for our awesome God and His mastermind at work when He made animals. Our personal responsibility in taking care of them, training them, and understanding death. And yes, dealing with that heartbreak.

As we closed the box, I was overwhelmed with the thought of how when God made man, Genesis 2:7 clearly says He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” And just that fast, he goes back to the dust.

Thank you all for your sweet words when this happened. It made her passing that much easier to bear.

About Author

Cristina esta casada con Gerardo y tiene dos preciosos niños. Sawyer de 4 y Madison de 2. Ha pasado su vida viajando. Ahora lo hace desde la isla del Encanto, Puerto Rico donde se dedica a una de sus pasiones, ayudar adolescentes a conocer a Jesus y ayudarlos a crecer en su fe con la organización internacional "Young Life". Cuando Cristina no esta vendiendo en eBay esta planeando su siguiente viaje desde Taco Bell. Puedes encontrarla en Instagram como: @crodriguez1984

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