Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rescue Tales: Barn Bunnies

Ashlynn & Topher
It was just past dusk on a fall day in 2009 when two SUVs full of volunteers pulled up to a farm off a pothole-ridden dirt road. The gate had already been locked, and it looked like the owners of the horse ranch hadn't wanted to wait for us. We pulled off the road and began loading our arms with as many carriers as we could. One by one we slipped through the gap in the fencing, under the thick chain and padlock. Carriers were hoisted over and we made our way up the dirt road to the large stables.

It was hard to see in the dark barn, but we wandered past the stalls of horses until we stopped and gazed into a stall that contained only small wire cages. There were maybe 40 or so of these cages, stacked three or four high on top of each other. The urine and feces from the rabbits on top fell down to the rabbits below.  Inside, close to 20 rabbits sat in their tiny wire prisons.

We tried to work fast, but with every bit of light fading and the thick mass of spider webs, it was hard to make out what we were doing. We grabbed the water bottles, but they were filled with green sludge and would need to be sanitized and cleaned.  Most just had to be thrown out. We left the crumbly bag half full of pellets, along with the hay bale that spilled out cockroaches whenever it was disturbed.

We all expected the rabbits to be terrified - to fight and thrash at the hands invading their tiny spaces. Instead they huddled in their corners, defeated.

After three trips to and from the cars, our arms loaded and carriers stacked high, we made our way back to Ally's home. There the rabbits would stay in their newly-made condos. They would get their first taste of freedom running around in their pens. They would play with their first toys, eat their first greens. Their sore hocks could heal on solid ground. Their cages would be kept clean and stocked with fresh food and water.

Slowly, all of the rabbits were spayed and neutered. They found loving homes and were finally living lives they could not have previously imagined. All of the rabbits from that barn have found the love of families. All but two.

Ashlynn and Topher have been with us for a long while now. Topher's sore hocks have long since healed. He doesn't like to be picked up, but loves to cuddle. Ashlynn now has a wonderful coat and is just the sweetest little bunny. The life they lived in the barn is behind them.  The only reminder is the ear tattoo that bears Topher's name.

Both bunnies have the snuffles, but their flare ups are quite minor and they have not needed treatment in years. As middle aged bunnies, around 5 years old now, their chance of adoption is slim. We never give up hope that someone will give them a real, loving home. Ashlynn and Topher just need a chance to show someone what a sweet and loving pair they are.
If you are interested in giving this lovely pair of bunnies the forever home that they deserve, please visit our website for adoption information.

For more information about Ashlynn and Topher, please visit their Petfinder profile.

Rescue Tale contributed by Amber, a dedicated volunteer at 4 Lil Pigs n Buns

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