Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rescue Story: Lesson from a Baby Bunny

(Not my photo)

I've been rescuing animals most of my life.  Most of the rescues have been uneventful.  Some of them, as my long-time readers know, have stayed with me for their entire lives.  Some have been momentary encounters that have ended with the animal going on its way or with me not knowing what happened.  (There was the time a friend and I tracked an injured deer through an office park by car, but lost sight of it and ended up calling the police to alert them so they could take care of it.)  All of these animals have had an impact on my life.

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I were sitting in my parents' living room, when all of a sudden, I spotted something on the floor.  Thinking one of the dogs had had an accident, I got up and prepared to clean it up.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a newborn animal.  At first, I thought it was a puppy (my dogs are spayed and neutered.  One of them had carried it in the house!  Looking again, as we worked to pick the little one up, I realized that it was a newborn bunny!  It was still alive.  We believe it had been rejected or abandoned by its mother and that the dog had brought it in for us to take care of.  (He's a very smart dog.)

It was still alive, but it was struggling to breathe.  I felt just awful, because not only did I not know how to take care of a newborn rabbit, I didn't have what I would need to do so.  I felt helpless and very sad.  All I could do was very carefully carry it out to the woods and say a prayer for it.  I then put it in a place where, hopefully, it would be undisturbed as nature took its course.  It's not an evening I will soon forget.

This was my first failed rescue.  That would have defeated many people's spirits, but in my case, it just made me more determined.  The next day, I sat down and printed out instructions for caring for a newborn rabbit.  If it ever happens again, I will be better prepared.  I also made the decision to pick up some kitten milk replacer (KMR) and keep it on hand both at my parents' place and at home.  That way, if I end up in this situation again, the baby might have a fighting chance (it could have died anyway, but I wanted to give it a fighting chance.)

Something that cheered me up when we got home, though, was this:

We have a juvenile bunny that hangs out in our garden at home!  So far, he/she has been helping us with our "weeds" and has not bothered our food plants too much.  After the ordeal last Saturday night, it was a joy to sit and watch this little one through our living room window.  I think we have a warren near our home, because I see rabbits all the time.  I just love them!

I still mourn the little one that I couldn't help, but it pushed me to learn something new, and the rabbit at home is a reminder that all we can do is try and that, even when we fail, life goes on. 

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