By: Gabriela Yareliz

The unimaginable day came. She is gone. Bunny entered her rest on October 18, 2020. Yet another assault this year has laid upon us.

As a child, I think it’s safe to say I was afraid of animals. I never had good experiences with them. I avoided them and stared at them from afar, but Bunny was different.

Bunny entered our lives at just a couple weeks old. We were going to Walmart to do our weekly shopping, and a family was giving away cute puppies in the parking lot. We came close to smile at the cute tan puppies and their chatty owners. One of the puppies, though, was different. She was a dark chocolate color— and looked just like a lab.

The cheerful owners offered the chocolate puppy for my mom to hold her. We squealed with delight, knowing our time with the cute puppies was going to be over soon, and then, we would be under the Walmart fluorescent lights pushing a rusty cart. My mom held the cute chocolate puppy. Her coat was shiny. “What was her name?” we asked. “Chiquita— like Chiquita banana”. We smiled at the thought that this family that didn’t speak Spanish had named their family dog’s puppy Chiquita, which means small.

Someone else approached my mom to have a turn holding Chiquita. My mom said no. A wave of possession swept over my mom, and she said the dog was ours. I think our jaws were on the floor because none of us could believe our ears— but hey, we were all for it. We nodded. And that was how the most beautiful creature I had ever seen entered our lives.

There are too many stories to tell about her. She would shred her training pad in the early days, and I would find her powdered white from the pad shreds looking innocent, as if she had no idea where the training pad went. She destroyed the screens in the patio (this was just a couple days in, and as I repaired the screen, I kept lecturing her about how my mom was going to give her away for being bad); she claimed an upholstered chair as her own (no matter how many times we took her off of it)— persistence or better said, stubbornness was her thing. That chair became her nap chair. Sometimes, she would sit on it like it was her throne.

Chiquita had many names. She was Chiquita, “Chiqui” and I called her Bunny. The nickname came from watching her chase after critters. She would run in the funniest way that made her look like she was hopping with her floppy ears flying behind her. She was my Bunny.

We went through the bribery school that was dog training school and watched her learn the system of obtaining treats (she would steal socks on purpose to get treats). If I ate Wheaties, she got one for every two I ate. She loved carrots and anything really. Except papaya. But she did eat a papaya tree that was gifted to us.

I had to get a rabies shot because of her, once, in my efforts to save an armadillo that she wanted to make her prisoner in our backyard. But hey, she was Bunny. She once dragged me across the backyard when I was walking her because she suddenly believed it was a good idea to chase a rabbit that was taunting her. She escaped into the cow fields many times. She would dance and roll around in the manure, and rile the cows until they got mad and charged toward her. She would then make her dashing escape from the cow pen. I once chased her down the street in wedge sandals, soffee shorts and hair dye running down my neck and face. Classic moments.

She had moments of sass, moments where you knew she was mad or vengeful and the sweetest moments where she would lay her head on your knee. She always loved a little belly rub. When she was tiny and you rubbed her belly, her little leg would move like it was cycling. She also loved hanging out under the bed until she was too big.

If I was upset, she would just sit next to me. She always was there. One summer, when one of our cousins passed in Puerto Rico and the family traveled, I stayed behind, and she never left my bedside at nights.

She hated thunderstorms. Blasting old French music on the boombox made her calm down. She is family. It won’t be the same without Bunny. The crazy memories live on. She was so so loved, and she loved us more in return.

She is the best thing I ever walked out of a Walmart with and will always be. She was part of our starting over. She was part of a new life, and she brought unquantifiable joy to our lives. She hopped in and left her mark.

She was buried with her favorite things, with the love of her favorite people, in her favorite place. As always, when a loved one passes, they live on in our hearts forever because without them, we would never be the same.

Love you, Bunny.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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