Black Bunny Report
As those of you who have ever been to Castle Completely have found out, we have several wild but very tame and friendly rabbits living around the place. They will eat out of your hand, and even follow you around to see what you are doing. I had no idea rabbits were so curious! The rabbits around here are a mix of wild cottontail and escaped/released domestic rabbit genetics. Our house rabbit "Bun", who we have raised from a severely injured little ball of fur, is now a big healthy girl, and brings a lot of joy to our household. Bun looks like a really big cottontail with longer ears.
Anyhow, to get back to the story, a couple of years ago a nearly solid black rabbit showed up. With the exception of a few white hairs on his forehead, he's solid jet black. It didn't take long before he had become the friendliest of all the outside bunnies by far. He would come in the front door to see what you were doing, jump into your car if you left the door open, and even follow me around n the shop and barn. We would feed him oats, which he would devour as fast as he could! He also loved to have his forehead petted, and he would stand there for as long as you kept petting him. After the second year, he had worked his way up to being an Alpha Rabbit, and had established his family's own territory or turf, so to speak. We named him "Black Bunny".
Unfortunately, our neighborhood also has some very unpleasant people living nearby. A couple of their kids drive up and down our narrow one lane road at fifty miles per hour, or even faster. Along our little road there are rabbits, quail, pheasants, deer, and other small creatures. Most of us drive slowly and watch for them, but not the neighbor kids. A little over a week ago Kelly, the sheet rock guy, was just getting out of his truck when he saw the neighbor's daughter roar by. As soon as she had passed, Kelly heard an animal screaming in pain. He walked out to the road and looked, but the screaming had stopped, and he couldn't find anything. Kelly told me about it, and I went looking too, but couldn't find anything. I went back to work in the new machine shop, and about an hour later I was walking back to the house when I spotter Black Bunny in the driveway. His hind quarters were dragging behind him, and he was pulling himself towards the front porch with his fore legs. He was trying to get to me for some help.
I picked him up and took him into the house to see how badly injured he was. There was no blood or obvious wounds, but he was definitely in shock. I bundled him up in a warm towel and put him in a big box so he was at least as comfortable as possible, in spite of what must have be terrible pain. It looked like it was either a broken lower spine, hip, pelvis, or some combination of all. It didn't look like he'd make it through the night, but I figured all I could do was try to give him a chance, even if it was slim, or even if he ended up having to be put down later.
I was up just about every hour all night checking on him, and it was obvious to me that he knew he was badly hurt, he recognized me, and he appreciated my efforts to comfort him, even if the odds were not good. By the next morning he was pretty much out of shock, and he was even starting to eat and drink a bit. Every so often he would move the wrong way and the pain would be intense, and he would panic. I would calm him down and he would relax again. Over the next few days he learned what positions hurt, and he learned to avoid them. He was also getting better at getting around, and his right rear leg looked like it might be starting to function a bit. That was a good sign, as it could mean that the spinal cord was intact.
By Saturday he was eating and drinking well, and his vital signs looked good. On Monday we made an appointment to go see Dr. Bishop, the vet. Black Bunny was again a little trooper, riding on my lap wrapped in a large towel. He was alert, ears up, and looking out the windows watching everything go by, just like a dog or a cat! When we got to the vet's, the power had gone out, so they couldn't take an x-ray. We went back home again, and they said they'd give me a call when the power came back on. A few hours later they telephoned, and we headed back over to the vet's office. Again the little rabbit impressed me with just how tough he was. The x-ray showed that he was in better condition than I had feared, but still pretty badly injured. His back and spinal cord looked fine. A small spur on one side of a lower back vertebra was broken, but other than being painful, that would not be a problem and would heal by itself. The big injury turned out to be a badly dis-located hip joint. That explains why he's dragging one rear leg.
We've decided to wait another week and let some natural healing to occur, and for some of the swelling and inflammation to go down before making any further decisions. Sometimes dis-located hips can be put back together. We'll probably have a much better idea next week. We'll just have to cross the bridges as we come to them, but for now I'm keeping my fingers crossed......