February is Adopt-A-Rescued-Rabbit Month, and we’re celebrating some of the many rabbits helped by shelters and rescue groups that have received grants from the Petfinder Foundation. Rabbits are the third most discarded pet in the United States, with many owners mistakenly thinking that pet rabbits can survive on their own outdoors (to be clear: THEY CAN’T).
This was the case with Nala, who nearly died before she was rescued by the Georgia House Rabbit Society. The organization’s resident center manager, Jennifer McGhee, tells us Nala’s story:
“Nala was found outside fending for herself after her family moved and left her behind. She eventually became weak enough to be caught by a neighbor. I met them to get her as they said she appeared to be injured. I smelled her before I laid eyes on her, as the infection was so severe. All I could tell was that her eye might have not been there anymore.
“I took her to our vet early the next morning as it was a Sunday when I got her. They put her under anesthesia and shaved her on the side that appeared injured and infected. What they found were three massive wolf worms. The bot fly larvae attach to the host and hatch, then eat the flesh of the host to survive. They cause infection and abscesses in their wake and, if not properly removed, can release toxins that can cause death.
“One of the worms had burrowed in Nala’s temple and caused an abscess behind her eye. The vets were not sure that her eye could be saved. The other two worms had burrowed in her shoulder and side. The huge holes you see in the ‘before’ photo are where the wolf worms were living. I took Nala home as an emergency foster, as our shelter was full and she needed lots of care and medicine. She had four or five visits to Dr. King, who is a veterinary eye specialist. Nala was able to keep her eye and today only has a slight scar.
“Once she was healthy, the family that rescued her wanted to adopt her. I was very attached to her at this point, but I knew I had to honor the promise that I had made to them for them to have first choice once she was ready for adoption. I brought her to their home and left her with tears in my eyes. They called me the next day and said that she was not happy and their dog was not getting along with her. I drove right back over there and scooped her up. Later that evening, I emailed everyone to say that her adoption did not work out and that she was back at my home as a foster. Then someone said something that hit home and hit home hard: ‘Maybe Nala already found her forever home.’ That person was right.
“I went straight upstairs to my room to introduce her to my eligible bachelor. It was love at first sight! The ‘after’ picture is of Nala and her husbun Marshmallow.
“She is truly living her happily ever after.”