It is with a very heavy heart that I have to report the sad loss of our darling Viola Bunny.
Born into conditions of neglect she was saved, along with her siblings, and delivered into our loving family at the rescue. From birth she suffered from “splay legs” affecting her mobility and it was a condition that was to worsen over the few short months of her life. But what a surprise it was to us that one so afflicted was to be such a spritely soul, always desperate to play with the other bunnies around her and racing round at surprising speed considering she only really had her front legs to get her moving. She also seemed to relish the attention of the two-legged members of the rescue family and was always happy to tolerate our cuddles and the silly baby noises that would pour out of us every time we visited her.
As a rescue dealing with hundreds of rabbits over the years, we are of course well aware of the need to take into account the quality of life of a disabled animal. However much you believe in going the extra mile to give all the care to an animal that you can, there is always a point where the suffering is too great and putting them to rest becomes the only option. But where is this point? A decision so deeply important, one of life or death, can only lie with those most informed to make it.
So when we are faced with a disabled bunny we have to listen closely to what they tell us. Are they in pain? Are they unhappy? Have they given up fighting? Animals have yet to learn our languages and so we are forced to do the best we can to learn theirs, and our vets and rescue volunteers have many hours of experience doing just that.
In Viola’s case the decision was thankfully easy, at first anyway. She loved her life and seemed to be completely oblivious that she was different to her brothers and sisters. All she really needed was some loving, thoughtful and experienced bunny-parents that understood her extra needs and were prepared to put in a little extra care. In the mean time, there was no trouble in finding volunteers enthusiastic to foster her while she waited for a more permanent home, knowing how much joy she would bring to them in return! It is also a sign of how loved Viola was that there were so many people willing to donate the time, effort and finances to get her the consultations with rabbit-specialist veterinary surgeons that she needed.
But sadly, this story does not have a happy ending. Early in the week, poor Viola developed a bad case of bloat. After the usual treatments at the rescue failed to alleviate the condition she was rushed to our regular vets for an X-Ray and diagnosis. This was their first experience of Viola and perhaps if they had met her before the bloat they would have been quicker to act. But seeing her this way they seemed reluctant to do anything other than end her suffering by putting her to sleep. Viola was taken home while second opinions were sought from our experts, but a day later her conditioned had worsened still. At this stage we were reluctantly left with little option.
On Thursday 23rd July 2009, Caroline took Viola to the vets for her final journey.
Viola Bunny, you will be deeply missed by all of us here at the rescue.