I’d of never believed this bunny tale if I had not lived it. It is a most unusual tale of a boy, his bunny and how this bunny REALLY is the perfect fit for our family. Sure, you’ve heard folks say that their pet is part of their family, that their pet fits in perfectly, but I don’t think you’ve ever heard a story like this. This is quite an unusual bunny tale.
I have to explain just a bit about our family before I begin the tale. Two of our children have a rare, genetic bone marrow failure syndrome called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS). We’ve been through many hospital stays, surgeries and doctor’s visits over the years. We drive eight hours to Cincinnati Children’s hospital just to be seen in their Bone Marrow Failure Clinic. Children with SDS can develop life-threatening infections quickly. For instance, our Joseph had neurosurgery last year and developed an infection at the incision site which required IV antibiotics and a longer hospital stay. He has also had to be hospitalized 36 hours after scraping his knee due to infection. We know the hospital well.
We bought Henrietta for five dollars. Joseph used his own money to buy his special bunny. He requested that it be a girl, too. We knew it was hard to determine the sex of rabbits when they were young, but we just kept on assuming Henrietta was a girl. Six months later, we found out that Henrietta is really a Henry. Henry began exhibiting certain boy behaviors and seemingly had an insatiable appetite for this “boy behavior”. We decided that he needed to be neutered.
We called numerous vets and found out that not all vets do rabbit neutering. We finally settled on Animal Ark. The staff is warm and friendly and knew a lot about bunnies when I called. The other places were not as up to speed as Animal Ark, and we wanted to bring Henry to the best. We just loved everything about the place, even the ark shape of the building. When we arrived to drop Henry off for his surgery, the staff was most patient as Joseph filled out Henry’s forms. Joseph announced, “Mom, I need to fill out Henry’s forms since he is my bunny. I know the most about him because I have had him since he was two weeks old. I should fill out the forms for him, just like you fill out my forms when we go to the doctor.” They even let Joseph walk Henry to the back and place him in his cage. Joseph was very worried about Henry and his surgery.
Henry had his surgery on Friday morning and we picked him up later that afternoon. Everything seemed to be going fine. We had heard that once the surgery was done, bunnies usually do well, as long as you can get them to eat on their own within a few days. Well, with our family’s knack of ending up in the ER, hospital or doctor with some really rare issues, I should have known Henry would too. Early in the evening, Joseph noticed that Henry had a little bit of blood at the surgery site. I took a peek and there was a tiny drop of blood, but I chalked it up to him having had surgery earlier and did not think it was unusual to have a small amount of blood.
I gave Henry his pain medication, fed him his critical care food and placed him in his bed for the night. I decided to go in and check on him one more time before bed. That is when I noticed he was having a lot more bleeding and the area was swollen. I called a few numbers. Once I got through to a vet, he said, “I’ve done lots and lots of rabbit neuters and I have never had one bleed.” I was laughing at this point because if ever it was to happen, it would happen to our bunny! He told me to go to the Vet ER. I asked if I needed to call ahead and he said, “No, just show up.” I managed to find my way there without getting lost.
Once through the door, one of the vet techs came to see us. She said, “Oh, the doctor here tonight doesn’t see bunnies.” I said, “Oh, that’s the story of my life, ” and started to laugh. I had to explain about SDS, how rare it is and how none of our doctors have ever seen other Shwachman-Diamond patients. They gave me directions to another vet ER, so I headed out to the next place hoping they could help Henry. I was rather worried because we’d been told that bunnies don’t do well with stress and illness. They can die quickly.
Henry and I arrived at the next stop along this journey: Bunny ER number two. I filled out the paperwork as Henry was taken back. The vet tech came back out to ask me what medications Henry was on. I said, “Pain medication.” She then asked, “Do you know the name of it?” No, I did not know the name of the medication, so I said, “Well, they said it tastes like honey, does that help?” She rattled off a few medications and I said, “I really have no idea, but ask me about my kids and what medications they take, I can name them all.” I called Chris to get the name of Henry’s pain medication. They then placed me into a room where I waited for the vet to come in to explain what was going on with Henry.
The vet entered the room and told me, “Henry has a hematoma and it may need surgery to remove it. I am going to glue him up and you’ll need to bring him back to Animal Ark in the morning. We’ll fax over the records tonight so that they know you’ll be coming. If he starts bleeding again, just apply a compress with pressure to the area.” I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt. Again, I had to explain myself so the vet wouldn’t think I suffered from an affective mood disorder. I was amazed that records needed to be faxed for a rabbit and I was laughing at the thought of my having to apply pressure of any kind to a rabbit’s genital area!
Henry slept right beside me in his carrier the rest of the night. I kept checking on him to be sure he was okay. The alarm went off and we headed off to Animal Ark. The ladies at the front desk had us put into a room where we waited for the doctor to come in. The door opened and the nice doctor said, “Hi my name is Dr. Harris.” I said without thinking, “You’re kidding me,” and burst into laughter. I couldn’t help myself! This is the part of the story where it became apparent that God had an extremely good sense of humor. Once I regained my composure, I explained that my boys had SDS and the name of the doctor they see at the Bone Marrow Failure Clinic in Cincinnati is Dr. Harris. Oh, the irony!
Dr. Harris examined Henry and decided that he needed antibiotics. I couldn’t believe my ears! I said, “Please don’t tell me that bunnies get cellulitis, too! Our Joseph had an infection last year after his neurosurgery and ended up with an infection and hospitalized on IV antibiotics.” When she said that Henry needed injections, I asked, “Subcutaneous or IM?” Here again, I couldn’t believe that I was going to be giving our bunny injections, just like I have to do with the boys! She told me, as did the vet on the phone, that she’d never seen this in a rabbit before, that they usually do just fine after being neutered. We’ve often heard the same thing when it comes to our boys’ strange ailments. I left with a special cream to use on Henry’s surgical site, the antibiotics, some extra critical care food along with instructions to give Henry some yogurt a few times each day. When I got to the front desk, I was surprised that they were not charging me for any of it! What a nice surprise!
We cared for Henry at home the rest of the day and through the weekend. We let him stay in the living room with us and kept him as comfortable as we could between feeding him with the tube, giving him his pain medication, feeding him yogurt and giving him antibiotic injections. We had to bring him back to the vet Sunday because he was bleeding again, but only a little bit. We just wanted to be sure Henry was going to be okay. This time we saw the vet who did the surgery. He said, “I have never seen this in a rabbit before and I’ve done hundreds of rabbit neuters. I do at least one hundred a year.” He also added, “I’m not going to lie to you, this looks bad,” but he assured me that they had never lost a bunny after a neuter surgery before and that they (Animal Ark) would get him through this.
Henry is now on the mend and we realize now, more than ever, how truly special this little rabbit is. Henry was already a spoiled little rabbit, sleeping on bedding with lavender flowers, being held and played with almost constantly and fed fresh greens from the garden. God used this situation to fill us with laughter and showed us His sense of humor. If you ever doubt that God has a sense of humor, just think of our bunny tale and it will remind you. What are the chances that Joseph would end up with a bunny like him who also ends up going to a Dr. Harris? Only God could orchestrate something like that……..