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2016-08-13
The story of Gimpy and why adopting a bunny can be good for you...and the bunny


 


Gimpy is our six month old rabbit.
Life Lessons from a disabled Dwarf Bunny aka The story of Gimpy

We named him Gimpy after Nemo’s fin who Marlin (Nemo’s dad) calls gimpy He's small and orange, he has a gimpy fin on one side” . Funny enough Marlin also calls it Nemo’s lucky fin.

Now back to our dwarf rabbit. He was born on the (date here), with his two brothers and sister. They were fine and two went on to new homes as one of his brothers is still with us because he was excellent breeding stock. However Gimpy was born disabled and partially blind. His back legs were limp (and they still are) so he hops a little differently than the other rabbits, but he gets around.

When rabbits are born disabled, or with some defects, they tend to die. Rabbits like him would usually die within the first two weeks and at a push, before the end of the first month.  However Gimpy was a fighter. The fact that his mother did not kick him out of the nest as a baby speaks volumes about his fighting spirit. When she would come in to feed, he would move first, thrashing about but getting to the nipple first or at worst third. Never last. Tell-tale sign number one: When you are lost in the noise, do something to stand out. And do it again and again.

Why is Gimpy important? Well we tend to believe that new is best. We grow up believing that if it is not whole it must be inferior. Many amongst us prefer that it must look like the best. Gimpy is none of these things. He is not whole and he is not the best looking. He couldn’t move out the way and his white fur was often yellow from being weed on. In some countries it is considered preferable to first go to the pound to look for a pet for adoption and only afterwards look at breeders. We have not reached that point yet. As my site attracts many people looking for advice, and the advice I want to give must be genuine and sincere, I wanted to learn what happens to a disabled rabbit over 12 months. So began my journey of learning about disabled rabbits and learning from Gimpy.

What was our next tell-tale sign that we were dealing with a superstar here?  With 4 in the nest when feeding time arrived, Gimpy would head butt his way over. He would smell food and move towards it. Sadly sometimes he got there late or last and couldn’t get his fill. But the second  tell-tale sign was not sitting back. We soon placed the food closest to Gimpy.

Getting back to Gimpy in his early weeks, when he was a baby we were afraid he wouldn’t be able to keep himself clean. Rabbits lick themselves to keep clean and groom about a quarter of their lives. Most of them stand on their hind legs to lick their tummies and rear ends but Gimpy couldn’t do that. His siblings chipped in like rabbits do. Gimpy groomed whoever he could and they would groom him back. Tell-tale sign number three, build alliances. So he made a plan to keep his back and face clean but Gimpy had to be inventive to keep his undercarriage clean. You know, his southern hemisphere. He soon came up with a clever solution. He would stand in the corner and stand on his hind legs. The corner could hold his back in place and then he can go about his business. Tell-tale sign number four, when you can’t do it like the others, find your own way.

At this point I must mention that he has got the softest fur of all the rabbits.

We left Gimpy in with his mom about 3 weeks longer than his siblings. As soon as Gimpy looked stable to me and could  leave his mom, we took him out and moved him to a cage without wire at the bottom. The wire was there to prevent the other rabbits from digging. Gimpy doesn’t dig and he shuffles around instead of hopping, so we were afraid the wire would hurt his bum and legs. We also used a lower bowl so that he could drink more easily. So there are some interesting lessons about Gimpy I want to recap.

  • Persistence pays off. If your ‘thing’ is to be get ahead then do something to stand out.
  • When dealing with a tough problem, use what you have and sometimes even your head.
  • Make friends, even with your siblings. A good ally can help you through the difficult parts.
  • When you can’t do it like the others around you, then find your own way.

To him disabled and unhappy are not synonymous. He made it to six months and is powering on. He shuffles around proudly literally holding his head up high.

 


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