You bought a rabbit. I don’t know why. Maybe your kids were begging you for one, promising they would take care of her. Maybe you thought a rabbit would be an easy starter pet. Maybe you didn’t think much about it, just bought her on a whim—she was cute. Or maybe someone bought her for you—thank them for me and be sure to share this with them.
Less than two months after Easter 2017, likely when you got her, you decided you didn’t want her anymore. You decided the responsibility that you chose was over. So, you set her “free.”
On the first of June, 2017, a stray rabbit was brought into a local animal shelter. White, black and near death. This rabbit, a little girl, was emaciated, anemic and infested with parasites. She couldn’t hop. She couldn’t hold her head up. Because you set her “free.”
The shelter called April, one of our most dedicated and compassionate volunteers, as the shelter isn’t equipped for rabbits—but they absolutely do their best. April went to the shelter with supplies and care instructions. Upon seeing the dire condition of this little rabbit, April recommended immediate veterinary intervention. The shelter brought the rabbit to an emergency veterinary clinic where she stayed for four days. She was given fluids, medications and critical care food. Because you set her “free.”
When she showed some signs of gaining strength, the hospital released this rabbit into April’s care. April named her Ashley, a tribute to the caring director at the shelter. Ashley the rabbit’s condition was still critical. She couldn’t eat on her own. She could only move a bit. But she was finally feeling love and support—you know, the stuff you promised to give her when you bought her. But you were done with that. So, you set her “free.”
Our team showed up for Ashley in such a beautiful way. April got Ashley to eat some greens on her own. Jacey and Bryce visited her daily when April had to go to work. Lisa drove well over an hour (maybe 2?) one way just to meet Ashley and give her some love. When Lisa arrived, Ashley was having a very difficult time. Lisa called the talented team at Catnip and Carrots Veterinary Hospital, who said to bring Ashley right in. Dr. Miller and staff cared for Ashley, assessed her needs, ran blood work and some other tests. With their magic and skill combined with the love from our team, Ashley was sitting up on her own that night.
Lisa, Maria and Ricky cared for her overnight before her odyssey back to April’s house (I can’t help but joke about the distance—our team spans the entire 118-mile length of this island). Dr. Miller called me the next morning with the blood work results. Nothing was good. At all. Despite that, April and her family, with the support of the other volunteers, committed to doing ANYTHING it took to give Ashley a chance at life. This included syringe feedings multiple times per day and many other demanding efforts. But April was willing. We create a fundraising page to help with the costs of Ashley’s care, which raised over $500 in less than a day. The time, love, energy, financial support, good wishes from so many people—that’s what it takes to counterbalance your decision to set her “free.”
Last night, I was smiling big time. I came home from my godmother’s 65th birthday party. My other half and my favorite of his friends were outside putting together our beautiful new gazebo and patio set. 80 degrees, sunny and we were dancing on the deck. My phone rang. It was Jacey and Bryce. They had a call in to the 24-hour emergency service for the vet. Ashley was limp. She wouldn’t take her syringe-fed water, as she typically would. Her temperature had dropped to 93 degrees. They had her on heat and poured love on to her. Maria and Ricky got in their car right away, heading to Ashley’s side. April left work. I was standing by, relaying messages from the veterinary team.
Jacey called again. Ashley began to have a seizure. We knew her time in this dimension was coming to a close. Bryce and Jacey held her, loved her, told her it was ok to let go. You know, like how you let her go, set her “free.”
Ashley passed away before April could make it home. Jacey and Bryce stayed. We are truly a family in this group. Ashley suffered. Immensely. She was starved to near-death and infested with parasites when she was finally brought to safety. She had liver damage among many other issues. And if you’re saying “it’s just rabbit,” tell that to April, Lisa, Jacey or Bryce. Look in their eyes and say it, please. Just a rabbit to you— a precious, innocent soul to all of our team.
In case you ever wonder what happened to that little rabbit whom you set “free”…
Binky free, sweet Ashley.
Photo credit: April
Photo credit: Lisa and Jo
Photo credit: April