Apr 7, 2023

Loving Foster Gives Rabbit New Life

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Peezy was emaciated when he arrived at DCHS. He needed the steady care that only a volunteer foster could provide to help him become healthy again so we could then help him find his new family.

Below is a story that was presented to attendees at Toto's Gala on March 24, 2023:

Peezy the rabbit was brought to Dane County Humane Society on October 12th, 2022, with severe medical concerns. When he arrived, staff noted he was extremely dehydrated and his body condition was thin. For weeks, this rabbit had suffered hunger, thirst, and neglect.

Hearing about Peezy’s condition, our veterinarians sprang into action. They listened for gut sounds to make sure Peezy’s digestive process hadn’t stopped. Should the process stop for any reason, it could lead to severe illness or death.

A stethoscope is needed to hear the rumbles of an active gut, and in a healthy rabbit, our vets can perform a checkup and hear those gurgles in a noiser area. But for Peezy, they needed the quiet space of an exam room. Our vet placed the stethoscope on Peezy and listened. QUIET EVERYONE PLEASE. The vet, straining their ears, finally heard a faint rumble. Peezy’s gut sounds were barely there. There was hope!

We had to get his gut moving! Peezy was given fluids and provided with critical care food, a nutritional powder that’s mixed with warm water to create a slurry. Sometimes this slurry is fed using a syringe, but Peezy was able to eat the slurry from a bowl on his own. In fact, he ate three servings of it in a row.

Peezy’s condition was guarded and he needed steady care, so we turned to, Joan, our expert rabbit foster who also happens to be one of our Senior Animal Caretakers.

When she got Peezy home, she placed the rabbit on her husband along with blankets to keep him warm. It was important to not let Peezy’s body temperature drop, because it can lead to rabbits giving up. As her husband snuggled with Peezy, making him feel safe and loved, Joan set up a cage in the guest room, complete with a bowl of water, two bowls with pellet food, a bowl of critical care food, a litterbox with hay, and veggies like parsley and lettuce.

Joan's husband snuggles with Peezy, keeping him warm while helping him feel safe and loved.

Once he was warm, they put Peezy in the cage so he could eat and drink if he wanted. He spent most of his time in his litterbox in a hunched position. A comfortable healthy rabbit will lay stretched out, but Peezy was so weak he had only enough energy to go to the food and water bowls and back into the litterbox.

That first night, Peezy was so hungry, that by bedtime, he had eaten about 3 times the amount most rabbits eat in that timeframe. He also ate his veggies as soon as Joan gave them to him. Peezy was so thirsty that by 10:00 pm, he had drunk the same amount of water that most rabbits enjoy in a 24-hour period. That was in addition to the fluids he received earlier.

When it was time for bed, Joan scooped Peezy up, placed him on their bed and laid beside him. As the family snuggled with Peezy to keep him warm, Joan whispered to him several times, you will have food, water, and love every day from now on and you will never go without ever again.

That first night with Peezy, Joan slept very lightly, waking up often to check on him. At one point during the night, she took Peezy back to his cage to give him the opportunity to eat or drink water while she dozed nearby on the guest bed.

When the alarm clock blared in the morning, the foster jumped out of bed and looked in the cage. There was Peezy in the litterbox. He had survived the night. Even though it was only one night, Peezy was already looking better.

Peezy in his litterbox at his foster home.

Two days after Peezy arrived, his weight had increased by 32 percent. But this wasn’t from weight gain. It was Peezy now being hydrated. There was still work to do to help Peezy heal, but we were headed in the right direction. And Peezy was a fighter.

In addition to getting to a healthy weight, Joan wanted to encourage Peezy to move around more. She left the cage door open to give him the option to run in the fenced-off bedroom. It took him three days to venture out of the cage.

Peezy continued to make strides under the steady care of his foster family. Four days after he arrived at DCHS, he finally gained actual weight and it steadily continued to go up.

He was also getting strong enough to move around more. After a week in foster care, he was running all over his room and he finally did something Joan had been anxiously waiting to see: he laid down and stretched out! Peezy was doing normal rabbit activities again.

Peezy was finally healthy enough to lay down and stretch out.

Almost a month later, Peezy was ready to find his new home.

Three potential adopters reached out about Peezy. Before meeting with the potential adopters, Joan gave Peezy a little chat. She told him if the meetings didn’t work out, he could return home with her and while he waits to find his family, she would take care of him every day so he would never feel alone, hungry, or thirsty ever again.

The first two appointments fell through. Would the third be the charm?

Ray had been planning on adopting a rabbit for several months, but wanted to prepare everything in advance before they brought a bun home. Ray kept checking various websites and saw Peezy’s photo the first day it went up. Ray thought Peezy was absolutely adorable, and his information made him a perfect match for their home. But Ray wasn’t ready to bring a rabbit home yet. Weeks later, when Ray was finally ready to adopt, they were shocked Peezy was still available.

During their meeting, Peezy was friendly and approached Ray for pets. Ray was heartbroken hearing about Peezy’s past but was amazed by his resilience and kindness despite it all. By the end of the appointment, it was clear: Peezy had found his family and was adopted on December 16, 2022.

We have an update to share about Peezy. He’s been renamed Hermes. Ray says Hermes is adorable and energetic with enough sass to keep every day interesting. He has free roam of his little kingdom and continues to get more comfortable with exploring and finding his favorite places to nap. He loves greens and most of the fruits he’s been given. In fact, Hermes runs to the kitchen when he hears the fridge open, just in case Ray is taking greens out to wash for him.

Ray says Hermes is “an absolute sweetheart and I couldn’t ask for a better companion. The work DCHS does is invaluable and I’m so glad it brought Hermes to me.”

Thanks to your support, DCHS was able to provide the necessary care to help this rabbit while his foster volunteer gave him extra loving care that helped reduce his stress while he was sick.

The photo gallery below show Hermes in his loving home.

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