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   Another bunny came my way in the summer of 2000. Tango is an angora mix who was picked up as a stray in Mesa, Arizona, during July! She had been living outside for over two weeks in the blazing heat and no one could figure out what she did for drinking water. When she was brought to Brambley Hedge and later to me, her fur was severely matted. In fact, I started calling her "Tangle" because her coat was such a mess, but that was soon changed to "Tango". I would groom her for over an hour every day, cutting out the matted fur and trimming her down to keep cool. She bravely tolerated everything I did to her and did not show the slightest displeasure or aggression. Several months later her fur has all grown in and she is absolutely beautiful.

   Tango is a great rabbit, very energetic and playful. She has a wonderful personality, and thoroughly enjoys her run-time outside her cage. She was meant to be a house rabbit, with the run of the house. Whenever she is out, she lays around the house as if to say, "I own this place!" In fact, getting her back in her cage is sometimes a real struggle.

   I had every intention of working hard to find Tango a nice adoptive family, maybe one with a couple of older children who could supply her with the nonstop love and adoration she wants and deserves. But, she has gotten under my skin and into my heart, so I adopted her. She is mine now, and having her around is a real blessing.

More Tango pictures!

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   Around Christmastime 2001 a very special bunny came into my care when her foster parent had to take an extended trip outside the country. Baby Girl is a little lop mix with severe head tilt - her head skews over to the right almost 90 degrees. We think she was the victim of some kind of trauma since it doesn't have the usual symptoms of head tilt caused by an inner ear infection. I had to set up a special cage for her, with padded baby bumpers around the sides so she doesn't injure herself if she rolls over on her side and starts thrashing around, which happens occasionally.

   Having Baby Girl around has been such an extraordinary experience. She does not let her disability slow her down in the slightest and she insists on acting like a completely normal rabbit. There are so many words I can use to describe her - energetic, curious, playful, entertaining, affectionate. Baby Girl loves to come out of her cage and get exercise in the bunny pen, and she has developed a great fondness for running around loose in the living room, where she scampers, jumps and plays with tremendous gusto. She loves interacting with the other rabbits (she has taken a real liking to Cisco and the two of them get along quite well), is very used to human contact and loves having her ears stroked. She relishes her carrot tops and banana treats. I used to have to clean her bedding twice a day, but since she learned to use the litter box this had been cut down tremendously.

   I intend to take Baby Girl to some veterinary specialists to see what if anything can be done for her head tilt. In the 4 months I have had her it hasn't gotten noticably better. Also, she has chronic problems with her eye which is "up" and I'm struggling to preserve her vision. I think she may always be a special needs bunny, but having her around is such an inspiration, a privilege and a joy.

More Baby Girl pictures!

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   In March of 2003 a very special bunny came into my care. Darby is a little brown lop mix with some very serious physical problems. We think that shortly after she was born, her mother nibbled away the bottoms of both her rear legs, and her tail. This sometimes happens when being kept by a breeder, as were Darby and her family, and the mother rabbit is under tremendous stress. The breeder was going to euthanize Darby, when a family intervened and took Darby to their home. They were good, well-intentioned people, but were quite unprepared for the special and extensive care Darby required. Darby eventually found her way to Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue and then to me.

   As with all the other special needs bunnies with whom I've had the privilege of working, Darby has amazed me with her strength, tenacity and will to act as normally as possible in the face of daunting physical limitations. I work with her every day to get her standing up and exercising her legs. With her right rear leg a good inch shorter than the other, balancing herself is a major obstacle. I've tried lots of different things to assist her, and one of the most useful has been a foam rubber mattress pad (the kind that are molded into an egg-carton pattern) which provides her with a soft surface and excellent traction for her legs to use. Keeping Darby clean is also a major challenge, since she cannot use a litterbox. She has had problems with urine scald in the recent past, but that seems to be managable. In the picture on the right she is trying to stand up by herself.

   Very cute and extremely lovable, Darby is making slow and most uneven progress in learning to stand and walk by herself, and I am confident that someday in the near future she will be able to move around independently. I hesitate to say that she will "never" run and jump like the other rabbits, because in the past special needs bunnies have always proven me wrong when I make statements like that, and have no doubt that her gentle, persistent spirit will win out in the end!

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- GUS -
   Yet another wonderful, special bunny came to me in July 2003. Gus is a French lop whom I had boarded in my home several times while his owners were on vacation. I had never had much experience with French lops but with Gus I became immediately enchanted with his big lumbering size but equally sweet and gentle personalities. This last boarding period, Gus' owners called me several days before they were scheduled to return home and told me that due to allergies they were going to be unable to take Gus back into their home. They asked me if I wanted to keep him, and I was more than happy to say 'Yes'.

   Gus is by far my largest bunny, tipping the scales at over 13 pounds (just about 6 kg). He is also my most docile and laid-back. To say his personality is "mellow" is quite an understatement. Nothing seems to bother Gus at all, and he is very happy to relax inside his pen (I don't have a cage big enough to house him comfortably) and just enjoy life. He also is very happy to come out for run time and slowly and deliberately explore the whole house. Many times when he has had enough, he will return to his enclosure on his own and stretch out on his rug and relax.

   In the short time I've had him I've grown to love Gus very much, and he has quickly earned a permanent place in my heart. I feel extremely lucky to have this huge, gentle giant of a rabbit in my home.

New Gus pictures!

The following update added February 26, 2005:
   A couple of days before Valentine's Day 2005 my Gus lost his normal healthy appetite and stopped eating his pellets. He was still eating greens and treats. One evening he looked like he was having a difficult time, he was very lethargic and just sat quietly in his pen. I rushed him to the vet and they decided to keep him overnight to make sure he had resumed eating and passing nuggets. The next morning (Saturday) I was told Gus had developed gastro-intestinal statis (this is when a rabbit's digestive system stops working and is a very serious condition - it killed my first rabbit Buns) and had a mysterious fever of 106.6 degrees F with no apparent cause. The next morning Gus' fever had receded to 105.5 degrees but now it appeared he was developing pneumonia. I got a call from the vet at 1:30 Sunday afternoon telling me Gus had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest and died.
   So once again I had to say goodbye to a wonderful, beautiful gentle rabbit soul. Gus' death was particularly painful and devastating to me because he and I had such a deeply personal, loving relationship. He was without a doubt the most affectionate rabbit I have even known, and I will always remember the click-clacking of his toenails on the ceramic tile as he bounded down the hallway into my bedroom and up into bed with me every morning, waiting for me to wake up and pet him. He was only 3 years old when he died, which is much, much too young. I still have periods of time when I get very sad and angry that he is no longer around. I will never forget this big beautiful gentle giant of a rabbit and I am very grateful we did have this short time to share our lives. I guess he will always be in my heart, but there are a lot of times when that is just not good enough.

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Teddy, Cisco and Baby Girl relax on a Sunday evening.


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