Why Rescue? Penny’s Story
Penny is approximately 3 years old and though we didn’t know precisely what her previous owners did to her, we can only surmise that it was abuse in its worst form.
We got the call on Tuesday, another rabbit at the shelter who needed to move on—her time was just about up. Same old routine: Up to the shelter to get the “Just a plain ol’ rabbit-rabbit” who has to give up her spot because there is only one rabbit cage and someone else needs it; bring the bunny home and put her in the quarantine cage; check out the bunny, make sure no immediate vet attention is needed, attend to any special needs—all done under the guise of a very thorough welcoming cuddle session. What we found on Penny that very first day horrified us and brought us to tears.
Let us first state that there is no such thing as a “plain old rabbit-rabbit.” All rabbits have something different and wonderful to offer their people, if only the people will pay the slightest bit of attention! From the first moment I held Penny I knew she was a special “rabbit-rabbit.” She has huge “cookie eyes” with the most remarkably flirty eyelashes! And even in her most frightened and dull-eyed moments those eyes were full of hope. And that is remarkable too—that Penny still has the heart to hope—after whatever terrible things human beings have done to her. You see, someone had tried to declaw Penny—with scissors—and pretty much succeeded! A very neat job they did, too, those evil people: Penny has only four toenails [grown back]. The others were cut very precisely to the very tip of her toes—toes she did not want anyone near, even though they were completely healed and not in any [obvious] pain.
Yet that just wasn’t enough. When we brought Penny home we noticed blood in her urine, quite a lot of blood, enough so that someone certainly would have noticed. . But who wants to pay a vet to care for a rabbit that only cost five bucks at some swap meet or pet store? Another can be purchased for a lot less than a vet bill. Just dump her at the shelter and let her be someone else’s problem. Disposable like a lighter! Who cares if she was lonely, in pain, sick and frightened? She was just a “rabbit-rabbit.”
Penny sees it differently—now. All it took to heal her physical pain was antibiotics, followed by being spayed. And Penny had obviously been in pain for a long time. When she was spayed Dr. McDowell found a dead, rotting fetus lodged inside her uterus!
Emotional pain takes longer to heal, but you know what? Rabbits try really hard to get better—it took only a day or two for Penny to snuggle down and enjoy a good cuddle session; and it’s taken only a few months for her to open up and actually ask for attention. And just last week Penny initiated a play session all on her own! We were in the bathroom getting me ready for work when I felt a little nudging on my ankle and then zip! Up and down the hallway she scurried, through the Critter Castle, over the tunnel, through the tunnel and back to a giggling, teary-eyed human who feels absolutely super special just to be a part of this wonderful blooming process.
Why rescue? Because we’re greedy! These little guys are what make us feel like more than just “plain ol’ human-humans” and we can’t begin to thank them enough.