Lost Moranbah rabbit returned to its three-year-old owner
A FAMILY holiday to Brisbane almost ended in tragedy, when three-year-old Will Peach lost his favourite stuffed toy, 'Rabbie'.
A few years earlier, having just fallen pregnant with Will, Pippa Peach and her husband made their first purchase for their unborn child.
Spotting a unique, lime green rabbit at a Mackay market, they purchased the funky toy and propped it up in the cot, ready for the new arrival.
"It's been in the cot every night since he was a newborn… he's really attached to it," Mrs Peach said. Over the years, Mrs Peach has tried to buy another Rabbie but it the lady no longer makes them.
When the family holidayed in Brisbane just after Christmas, of course Rabbie went too.
Packing the car and heading of to the Sunshine Coast, Mrs Peach had a sinking feeling an important member of the family was missing.
"Will didn't have it in the car with him and I didn't remember packing him. He's lime green. He stands out," she said.
After looking through their bags at their next destination, there was still no sign of the lime green rabbit.
"I said to my husband, 'what's the worst thing we could have left behind?' He looked at me and straight away said 'Rabbie'," Mrs Peach said.
When young Will realised his beloved friend was missing he spent the night sobbing.
His frantic parents called the hotel, and searched the car again while the staff at the Novotel in Brisbane searched the entire hotel.
"Maybe we lost it in Brisbane somewhere, maybe it got caught up in another kid's toys. As a parent of a child who is so attached to a toy, you are always thinking when was the last time I saw it," she said.
Mrs Peach knew of a friend's child who was reunited with their toy through a campaign on social media, so she took to Facebook to find Rabbie.
"I was desperate. I thought hopefully the Facebook gods are smiling on me," she said.
And it would seem that they were. Within 24 hours her post had been shared hundreds of times.
After many frantic phone calls to the hotel, Rabbie was finally found in the hotel laundromat after being caught up in the sheets when Will was playing hide and seek with his mum.
After a brief holiday in the hotel, where the staff from the Novotel Brisbane caught photos of Rabbie enjoying time by the pool and dining in the restaurant he returned home safely, via the post.
"He's been through an industrial washing machine, so he has a bit of stuffing falling out. He's a bit more ragged than when he left," Mrs Peach said.
When Rabbie arrived home to Moranbah just over a week after he went missing, Will was ecstatic. "He's settled down now. Rabbie was always just a bedtime toy, but Will hasn't let go of him, he's taking it everywhere."
As for a word of advice to other mums:
"Get a back-up toy," Mrs Peach said. "When you buy a one-off unique toy you think it's cool and funky, but it can be painful (if it goes missing)."