Early this baby season, the clinic was inundated with a dozen or more bunnies each day, sometimes with injuries from dogs, cats and even lawn mowers. Others arrived thin and dehydrated, having been orphaned. With our “bunny people” overwhelmed, my rehab room began to fill with carriers of these difficult little patients.
One morning I received a call from Little Compton about a small bunny who managed to escape from a huge pile of old Christmas trees that were being burned. Apparently, a mom rabbit had nested beneath the pines.
One little bunny, perhaps 10 days old, managed to escape the flames. His fur was singed, the tip of his nose was raw and all four feet showed angry red burns. One eye was swollen shut. Despite his ability to escape from beneath the burning trees, he was limp in my hands. I doubted he would survive the night.
I gently cleaned the ash and dirt from his burned feet, and applied ointment to his eyes and nose. He received antibiotics and pain medication and had his first meal of bunny formula.
Over the next few days, I would find the bunny in the same spot, hidden in his “cave” of blankets whenever I checked on him. I suspected he was in too much pain to move. I knew it was imperative to keep his container clean at all times to avoid infection. I hoped I was making the right decision by giving him more time.
After several days, I noticed the bunny beginning to move around a bit more, as his burns began to heal. He learned quickly to lap his formula from a low dish, which meant I had to handle him less. Each day he seemed a little stronger. After two weeks, I was able to move him into a cage with a buddy, and the two would often sit side by side on top of their shoebox house.
On a warm summer evening, after about six weeks in my care, “Burned bunny” and his friend were released together into a large thicket in a safe area where lots of other bunnies roamed.
Although each little furred or feathered critter that arrives for care is of equal importance to a rehabilitator, there are some patients who are a little more memorable for the circumstances that brought them to us. This little guy falls into that category.
I am still amazed he made it!