This morning a knock at the door got us out of bed (well, Walt’s barking at the knock did). Our next door neighbor brought us a “very tame” rabbit. He thought it was mine (a reasonable assumption on his part), and apparently David thought it might have been one of mine that escaped (doesn’t he know I would have NOTICED if one of my bunnies were missing from the house?), but of course it was a stray that made it down to our part of the street. I think I saw it yesterday down the street on my way home from work, and at the time I thought it was a cat since stray rabbits are relatively uncommon (but more common than you would think, trust me!). I guess I forgot about it by the time I parked the car or I would have gone back to check. I could have spared it a night out in the rain and perhaps helped it more.
Well, “very tame” generally means “very sick,” and this bunny was no exception. I could hear its respiratory distress, it smelled terrible, and it didn’t want to eat. It sat hunched in the carrier, a bad sign for a rabbit. I have enough experience now that I didn’t even examine it, just transferred it from the neighbor’s arms to mine to the carrier, and could tell it had a day or so to live. I got ready for work and took it to the vet on the way, calling ahead to let them know.
Bunny was either starving to death or had a terrible illness that caused it to waste away. My vet said 90% of the rabbits she sees that come in like this, cachexic, have cancer, and the other 10% are in kidney failure. The smell was from caked on urine and feces, another sign that bunny was too ill to posture correctly or keep itself clean. It was mouth-breathing, which rabbits only do in extreme oxygen starvation situations, either due to pneumonia or end of life issues.
We decided to gently euthanize poor bunny. I don’t even know its gender. It seems strange to me that creatures find their way to my door (in this case, because the neighbor, who I don’t know well, parks behind my car with a rabbit license plate frame or because he sees them through the window of the bunny room), but I’m glad this one did. I wish it had come sooner when it had a decent chance to be healed.
People suck. Whomever owned this rabbit either let it go and it became ill as a result, trying to fend for itself, or it became ill at home and they let it go because they didn’t want to deal with the illness. It’s not only against the law to release domestic animals to the wild, but it’s just plain ridiculous that a person can think the animal will be fine, that they don’t have ability and responsibility to keep a creature from suffering. This lop was beautiful at one time and could have been a lovely companion for a person with a heart. Now it’s dead before I even had a chance to get the picture I took off the camera.