by Julie Daniels
Lily, a lovely female Rex, survived a life-threatening injury and two major surgeries before she came to live with us this past summer. Her path to our home was not easy, but she was fortunate to have been rescued by Oregon Humane Society Rabbit Advocates.
For those who have not heard Lily's story, I will bring you up to date. And for those who have been anxiously awaiting an update on her progress, here it is:
Lily reportedly wandered through yards for several weeks before a concerned neighbor contacted Oregon Humane Society Rabbit Advocates to ask for assistance. When a Rabbit Advocate arrived to rescue Lily, she immediately noticed that Lily's left rear leg was broken and badly infected from dragging on the ground. Her leg was twisted, extending out from her body at a 90 degree angle.
Through the combined efforts of an organized team of caring individuals, Lily was rushed to a local rabbit veterinarian who donates his time and knowledge to help save the lives of injured animals. The examination revealed that the leg was severely broken and infected. The decision was made to amputate her leg at the point below the first joint. It was hoped that this surgery would remove the infected portion of her leg and still leave Lily with enough leg to help her get around.
Lily survived the surgery, was placed on medication to combat the infection and seemed to be doing well. However, after several weeks of constant care it became apparent that infection remained in the upper portion of her leg. This made it necessary to do a second surgery and remove her entire hind leg from the hip down. Thanks to a knowledgeable doctor and staff and to long term antibiotic treatment, Lily bounced back! What a trooper she was!
When we were told that Lily was ready to move in with us, my husband and I went shopping. We found an oversized cage, a litter box, a water bottle, and a feeder trough. We picked up some rabbit pellets, hay, and (we could not resist) several treats. Now we were ready!
We have always had pets, most of whom have found us, but never a rabbit. We didn't know what to expect from our new pet. To our surprise and delight, Lily is lots of fun. We had no idea that rabbits could be so friendly and that they like being part of what is going on around them. Every morning she runs to greet us the minute we open her door. Food is part of her incentive. She has even learned a trick. Whenever we shake her bag of treats, she makes one complete turn. She is so entertaining and fun to watch!
Spoiled? Maybe. Loved? Most definitely!
Because Lily is so clean and good about using her litter box, she no longer stays in her cage. She has the laundry room in which to move freely and nearly every night she joins us in the family room, litter box included. The only thing we have had to work on is finding ways to teach Lily what she can and cannot chew. With her cooperation and a lot of perseverance from us we seem to be winning. We also make sure that she has one of her chew toys handy.
Since the surgery, Lily's hair has grown in to hide the scars. When she sits, her missing leg is not noticeable. Lily jumps up on things and can run extremely fast. The only thing we have noticed that she can no longer do is scratch her left ear. Every now and then her left hip moves as she tries to scratch her ear with her missing left leg. If one of us is close, she will nudge our hand hoping we will help her out.
Lily also gets along well with Amy, our Maltese. I'm convinced Lily thinks this fluffy, white dog is another rabbit. The first time Lily saw Amy, Lily ran up to her. Amy jumped up and ran. After several weeks, Amy seemed less interested or concerned about this animal that is the size of a cat, hops on three legs, and has ears that stick straight up. When Amy gets tired of Lily suddenly running up to her, she finds a place out of Lily's reach. On one occasion, they chased each other around the family room.
We never guessed that a rabbit could be such a fun pet. We are looking forward to being part of the changes Lily makes as she settles into her new surroundings.
Fortunately, for Lily and for us, caring people came together in a successful effort to save Lily's life. Our thanks go to the Oregon Humane Society Rabbit Advocates and those who willingly support their worthwhile work.