We are a local independent charity that rehabilitates and rehomes animals rescued by National RSPCA inspectors from cruelty, neglect & abandonment. We have over 70 cats, rabbits, rats, reptiles and guinea pigs at any one time in our care. Adopt a locally rescued animal! www.rspca-manchesterandsalford.org.uk
Saturday, 28 May 2016
Bobby the baby bunny
I have written and rewritten the start of this blog post
countless times. The story needs to be told but how to do it justice weighs
down heavy; the responsibility so great. I feel I must start by saying what a
privilege it has been to care for this animal, to have been entrusted with his
care and to be thought so capable of doing my/our level best by him. His name
is Bobby and his story distressing, the images revolting, but I will not shy
away from showing you what the work of the RSPCA involves.
Bobby on arrival
Bobby came to the RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch at
around 7 weeks of age. When his condition was described to me over the phone I
recoiled, but not half as much as I did in reality when I touched his tiny body
for the first time. Bobby had been kept in a 4ft hutch along with his sizeable,
and unneutered, mother and father. Predictably mum had conceived once again,
soon after giving birth to Bobby. As is the case when a doe is due to give
birth she typically attacks the remaining litter to alienate them and protect
her new young. But in a 4ft hutch with nowhere to go the injuries inflicted on
Bobby were the worst I have ever seen in the 19 years I have been working in
It’s not uncommon to see injuries on the first litter when
another is due, and over the years I have commonly seen missing or mutilated
ears, injuries to the nose, eyes and bobtail, but never to the extent had I
seen on Bobby. The entirety of Bobby’s back can be best described as feeling
like a shell, like a tortoise shell. From neck to tail he was one undulating
mass of dense, infected scab. The repeated attacks this bunny must have endured
defies comprehension, how he was alive seemed nothing but a miracle. He could
not use his back legs, but it was unclear whether this was due to the extensive
wounding or a birth defect.
Bobby's back, the fur all matted, masking the extent of his injuries.
The situation really did look bleak but he was eating well
and enabling us to handle him to give him medication, so we kept him confined
in an indoor cage to prevent him from
over exerting himself, although I needn’t have worried about that because it
soon became apparent just how restricted his mobility was. Yet still he had a
ferocious appetite and healthy poops – a good sign a bunny is doing well.
As time went on the scab started to raise and as gruesome as
this sounds you could see daylight through it as it literally began to lift
from his back.
As the scab lifted and dried the infection became more
apparent but with air getting to the site it started to improve. It took several days before it came off altogether and then
he looked like a burns victim. He looked so raw and sore but the relief the
scabbing had gone was immediately evident because within 20 minutes he was
standing on his back legs for the first time since he had arrived. I confess I
got over excited about this, but it was just an absolute joy to see.
We then gradually gave him more space to play in and he each
time he grabbed the chance to explore. Within three days he was free-roaming
and loving having the freedom to move. His back legs gradually began to regain
function, and aside from the scarring on his back, the only other tell-tale of
his past was the way he held himself. Best described as looking like his skin
was too tight, which it probably was as the healing was taking place.
The scab that came off Bobby's back
It’s been nearly 3 weeks since Bobby came into our care at
the RSPCA Manchester & Salford Branch. The physical scaring maybe nearly
gone but the emotional damage is not. It is unlikely Bobby will want any
contact with another rabbit in the future, and his flighty, timid nature will
likely see him wait many months to be adopted, but regardless of these
impediments Bobby will remain with us until that day a special person comes
along to offer him a home.
I hope I never see another ‘Bobby’ for as long as I live.
What he endured, how he suffered, should never been allowed again, but we all
know that there is always going to be an animal somewhere suffering, in need of
the RSPCA. Myself and all my colleagues, whether that is branch, national or
front line field staff value your support so much, you keep us going. But it’s
the Bobby bunnies that actually motivate us to get us out of bed each day. Thank
you for enabling us to do what we do, it is an honour.
To help with Bobby's recovery and care please consider sponsoring our staff Susie and Deb who are shaving their hair to raise money for the care of the animals. Donate here.