Some of the rabbits we rescue come to us with known medical or behavioral issues. Some of them can recover from their medical issues and many behavioral issues are really just expressions of fear which can be overcome with patience and understanding. If not adoptable, they will have a home with us as Sanctuary Bunnies for the rest of their lives. Despite their disabilities our Sanctuary Bunnies have a good quality of life; they have other bunnies as neighbors and many human friends. We keep them front and center with lots of attention, and well, maybe just a few extra toys and treats than the other rabbits.
Let us introduce you to these special rabbits:
Ginger & Rocky
Ginger and Rocky are a mother and son pair of Netherland Dwarf rabbits who became too much for their owner to care for as family responsibilities grew.
Netherland Dwarf rabbits, when bred, can be born with various genetic disorders. So called “peanuts” are too small at birth to survive; “hippos” are malformed and do not live; and “faders” fail to eat solid food and last only a few weeks.
“Max Factor” is a recessive defect named after "Max," a Netherland Dwarf buck known to sire kits with this defect. Max Factor babies are born with bent and deformed hind legs and their eyes are often open at birth, as though their eyelids were nonfunctional. They may also have other defects of varying severity.
Rocky is a Max Factor rabbit. His mom, Ginger, was born with significant, painful malformations of her spine. In both cases, the result of overbreeding.
It sounds terribly sad. But life is good for Rocky and Ginger because they have tremendous will, fortitude and good attitudes.
Rocky’s back legs are folded up and not used for hopping. But he sure can scoot around his house and indoor area. He gets to his food and water with no problem and pulls himself up on the haybox (created using a dish drainer and a cut out box) for a good munch of his favorite mix of timothy and oat hay. He is active, playful and loves his mom.
Ginger’s spine curls like an “s” just beyond the neck instead of being flat. It also rotates to one side making it difficult to jump or hop very quickly. She manages by moving a bit slower and sitting on comfortable piles of hay, warm blankets or towels. She is constantly grooming Rocky and the two of them sit together quite happily throughout the day and night. Ginger has a warm and sweet personality and is happy for a pet and content being picked up.
Sam was originally taken in by Safe Haven in Sept. 2013. He had been taken out of a shelter by a fellow rescuer who knew what his fate would be had he remained there. Sam was only a year old, but had a very badly injured right eye. He surely had no future if left there.
Sam did well at Safe Haven. After a full ophthalmic exam, it was determined that the injury most likely was the result of previous trauma and did not have any appreciable vision. The doctor indicated that the eye was not painful and did not recommend removal. Thankfully, his left eye was normal and his vision was good.
Sam was a happy go lucky guy and was quickly adopted in early 2014. Sadly though, 6 yrs. later (July 2019) after having developed head-tilt, Sam was returned to us because his parents were re-locating to California. It was quite the adjustment for Sam. But, soon he was right at home and currently shares the little bunny room with Andy as his neighbor.
Ursula was rescued August 2016 by the NJSPCA responding to reports of a hoarder situation in Hampton. Upon arriving at a property what they found was horrific. "Over 200 rabbits were found living in tiny wire cages in sheds with no air conditioning and feces piled everywhere. The temperature inside the sheds was well over 100 degrees." Local rabbit rescues immediately jumped into action.
Within hours volunteers were on site removing dirty, sick, and injured rabbits from maggot infested boxes to the safety of a carrier bound for a better life. Rescues from NJ, NY, CT, MD, VA, PA, DE, and even KY stepped up to help these poor animals. Ursula's first rescuer noted that she "needs someone experienced" and I brought her home to Safe Haven on August 31st. Most notably she had a large jaw abscess that needed immediate surgery.
Once safely recovered from the abscess surgery, her spay surgery also found those organs abscessed as well. Ursula's jaw abscess problems continued to be recurrent. On October 11, 2018, she underwent another major surgery to debride the bad and swollen bone to reach the healthy pieces. Her right incisors, top and bottom were removed, but the left remain. Antibiotic beads were implanted and to this day (2021) she continues on Chloramphenicol twice a day.
Most of the time she takes her meds without fuss, but occasionally she likes to do a few laps around her pen to make it interesting! Thankfully, she is still the best eater and pooper in the house!
Danny was suffering from multiple bite wounds at just 6 months of age when rescued in 2008. He was in a home that kept multiple litters together. All the siblings were fighting, and Danny was was among those injured. Luckily, all his wounds healed well.
He was adopted in 2009, but returned shortly after. Danny was introduced to Biggles in 2010 and the two quickly became a loving bonded pair. Since Biggles developed heart disease, the two remained as bonded sanctuary buns until she passed away suddenly in 2015.
Danny will be 13 on April 24, 2021. He is still the best cardboard ripper in the sanctuary! He keeps us hopping to make sure his favorite paper is in stock. His legs are beginning to get a little stiff these days, so a relaxing massage and metacam have been added to his daily routine.
This little cutie pie came to Safe Haven in 2014 with his Momma. Andy and his Momma were dumped late at night in someone's driveway. His Momma was caught early the next morning, but poor Andy was so terrified he ran off into the woods. It took a full week before he could be caught. Can you imagine a tiny baby on his own for a week? It is a wonder he survived.
Andy was traumatized from the experience. For years, Andy was always hiding and would panic when picked up. The note on his vet chart says "flight risk". Andy has frequent bouts of stasis and requires very close observation and quick action.
But, he is no longer terrified of everything. In fact, I always have to watch when I walk in the hallway because when he is out and hears me coming he comes running to say Hi!
Ashley was born in a second "surprise" litter on July 7, 2015. Another case of a family getting two bunnies and not having them altered.
Ashley has experienced issues with bladder sludge since young. As she got older, the condition continued even with treatment. We removed her from the adoptables group for that reason. Since her condition has only improved slightly, we felt it best that she remain in our care.
Ashley had been needing sub-q fluids daily, but with a little improvement now is on every other day fluids. She will need on-going vet care and lots of encouragement for exercise each day.
She and Danny are now next door neighbors!
More scenes around the sanctuary, with my MaryAnne serving as
Forever in our hearts.
Rest in Peace sweet Hope.