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May 18, 2024

Hopping to Help

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Thanks to our community’s support, an injured rabbit who was tossed away had a second chance at a new beginning.

“When you imagine an entire dumpster full of garbage, how can you spot something that could fit in the palm of your hand?” asks Charlotte-Ann Chenery, a lover of rabbits and volunteer with Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) for over 20 years.

In Spring 2023, a man working at a Madison-area waste processing facility stopped what he was doing and hopped out of the cab of his bulldozer to grab a baby rabbit. White, lop-eared, and the size of a hand, the baby bunny, later named Dozer, found his way into the care of DCHS — and his story found its way into the heart of Charlotte-Ann.

“He went dumpster diving for this baby rabbit,” she says.

When DCHS staff examined Dozer, it was clear one of his legs was badly broken and would require amputation. However, he wasn’t eating, so surgery wasn’t yet a safe option. He was given pain medication and went to a medical foster home where he could get critical care feedings as frequently as he needed — up to four times a day!

Dozer’s journey to DCHS and his medical needs compelled Charlotte-Ann to share his story in the hopes of raising money for DCHS so we can provide emergent care to animals who need it, just like Dozer.

She set up a peer-to-peer fundraiser benefitting DCHS and started telling anyone and everyone about Dozer the bunny. Because there were no publicly shareable photos of Dozer, she reached out to animal artists online to ask if they had drawings in their archives that looked like the injured bunny that she could have permission to use. Leda, a Los Angeles illustrator behind Cutieful Critters cartoons and a fellow lover of rabbits and animal rescues, generously made a quick illustration of Dozer for Charlotte-Ann’s fundraiser. Then, Charlotte-Ann went door-to-door in Mount Horeb asking businesses if there was a spot where she could hang flyers.

“It was my first time doing an independent fundraiser like this,” she says. But her volunteer work with DCHS has long been centered around fundraising. “I always carry envelopes because when I tell people I fundraise for DCHS, they’ll just hand me money,” says Charlotte-Ann, ever grateful for the community’s generosity. Despite not having a massive social media presence, she shared Dozer’s story online to see how far it would go. Sure enough, people from as far as San Francisco, Mexico City, and Newfoundland donated to DCHS after being moved by Dozer’s harrowing tale.

“It was really cool to see the donations come in. Someone even signed up for monthly donations that are still coming,” she says.

Without the support of her employer, Old National Bank, Charlotte-Ann says she wouldn’t have raised nearly as many donations, as they helped her spread the word.

Once Dozer was strong enough, a DCHS veterinarian performed the amputation surgery. The procedure went well, and Dozer recovered with his caring foster mom.

Dozer had to wear a cone for a while and soon adjusted to being a three-legged rabbit. He was quickly adopted into a loving home, thanks to an animal lover sharing his story far and wide and fundraising for DCHS.

Celebrating the successful fundraiser with a check presentation

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