I work at a zoo. I don't know why, but many people seem to think that zoo = place to drop off unwanted pets. Let me assure you, this is not the case. True, the zoo I work at houses a large number of rescued parrots and primates. So many, in fact, that we can barely keep up with them all. But unwanted pets? Well, when was the last time that you saw a house cat in a zoo exhibit?
Even so, many animals are abandoned by our back gate every year. Bunnies are a particular problem where I work; at one point someone dumped about 50 of them in the park next door! Everyone did their best to get them to a rabbit rescue, but not before they were traumatized by dogs, cars, and who-knows-what-else!
So I guess it was only a matter of time before I ended up with a hard-luck rabbit of my own. We already have something of a menagerie at our house. But this guy was just too pathetic to trust
to fate. So I took him home and named him Shallot.
Shallot is blind in one eye, was emaciated, and has terrible problems with his teeth. His front teeth grow so crookedly that they curve in four different directions, with the top two growing backwards into the roof of his mouth. No wonder he was so skinny! He couldn't chew vegetables at all. He was surviving by picking up small pieces with his tongue and pulling them into his mouth. He lived with some other bunnies at the zoo for a while, but it was obvious that he couldn't compete with them. So I finally brought him home.
Turns out, he's a wonderful guy! I was afraid that the fact that we have to take him to the vet every two or three weeks to get his teeth trimmed would make him skittish. Far from it! He roams my studio, grooming my ankles while I work at my desk, and generally brightens up the place. He doesn't seem to mind his carrier, and has been designated a "well-mannered bunny" by my vet's office staff.
Now that he is healthier and more robust, the next step is to trim all his teeth. For that he'll have to stay at the vet all day and be mildly sedated. I'll probably still have to dice up his food really finely, but it should improve his ability to chew. So wish Shallot luck! Hopefully by 2010 he'll be eating almost like a normal rabbit.