When you work with animals and their people, you never know quite what you’re going to get. We at PAWS generally see cats and dogs, but every once in a while we come across a bird, lizard, snake, or even fish. With a volunteer based of dedicated animal lovers, we welcome any and all critters with a smile.
But when you work with animals, you also know that unfortunately, not every story ends in a happily ever after. This story is one of those stories – and while it’s not for the faint of heart, we feel it’s important to tell.
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THIS STORY AND SOME OF THESE IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC. Do not continue if this content may disturb you.
Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful bunny. While we won’t say who came across him or how, but someone kind had learned about this sweet bunny Tuesday night and brought him to us Wednesday seeking help for him. Bunnies are usually fairly self-sufficient hygienically, but this sweet bunny boy had seen better days. He was covered in fleas and was dirty head to toe, and though bathing bunnies isn’t usually recommended, we didn’t see any other option. Our volunteers carefully tried to use a warm Dawn dish soap bath to stun the fleas and pick them off. Soon we realized fleas were not this fur-baby’s biggest issue. Maggots started to wash off of him as well. Our volunteers spent over two hours picking maggots and fleas off of this poor baby – and there were still so many more. His issues were beyond our capabilities, and we decided further help was needed.
Despite being bathed, dried, brushed, and picked at this bunny, who would soon come to be named Blossom, was an angel. All he wanted was love. He would nestle into us, and never tried to bite or show any signs of aggression. All our team wanted was for Blossom to be and feel safe.
The person who brought Blossom could not keep him – they had only received him in passing hoping that we could help him as they saw us help other animals. We are not a rescue. We do not accept surrendered animals from the public, and we do not offer emergency vetting – but after spending time with him, our volunteers could not let this boy suffer. Luckily, one of our volunteers works at a local veterinary hospital and volunteered to take him to receive care. That night Blossom received a new cage, clean bedding, and lots of fresh fruit and veggies from his new friend – and when she woke up he had eaten every single bit! He was up and in good spirits, and when she put her hand in the cage he would hop right over to accept his pets and ear scratches.
Our volunteer took him to work the next morning, where they shaved him and what we feared became reality- at least 40% of baby Blossom’s body was infested with maggots. This condition is known as “fly strike” and is unfortunately common in rabbits that aren’t kept dry 100% of the time. It had gone on too long and the vet was not hopeful. He gave flea treatment, prescribed antibiotics, and also complimented Blossom on his beautiful heart and friendly behavior. This bunny had captured everyone’s hearts.
But he wasn’t meant to stay.
Blossom died that night around 10pm with his friend at his side.
This is a sad story. Sometimes these stories feel like a failure and a loss, but most of the time this scenario still feels like a success. It is devastating that we lost a furry friend with such a beautiful heart, but he died in a home full of love for him. He died in a home where someone was doing all they could to give him the best care possible.
Blossom had no reason to believe that we were trying to help him and that we were his friends. He had no reason to trust us – but he did. Because of that he got to experience, possibly for the first time, and even if just for a couple of days, what it is to be loved and what it is to be in a family.
That is why we do what we do. Our clients are our family. Our clients’ animals are our family.
For some of our clients, their pet is their only family. We do what we do to help animals and families that have animals. We want to give animals the best care, love, and life possible.
If we can do that for even one animal, which I wholeheartedly believe we did for Blossom, then this is a success. We are successful.
If you see an animal in need, speak out. Being able to help Blossom relied solely on one person asking for help, and one volunteer taking initiative. As stated previously, we are not a rescue, nor a full-fledged vetting service – we cannot take animals, we do not foster, and we do not offer emergency vetting. What we CAN do is provide resources and contact numbers for organizations that can help. It takes a whole community to ensure that all animals are responsibly kept. Sometimes all it takes is a little extra education, or an extra push from an organization that truly cares. That’s all it takes. A little bit of someone caring. From what we have seen, Springfield is a community capable of just that – and we and our local friends are here to help however we can.
Thank you to our donors who make caring for babies like Blossom possible, and thank you to our clients for sharing your families with us.
This is why we PAWS.
From our volunteer:
He was far too sweet for his own good and I’m so grateful to continue to meet animals that have been dealt even worse hands than I have and have learned to forgive and trust again. I will forever be grateful for the the things they teach me and the impact they have and the person they are molding me to be.
You can find more information about PAWS and what we do at www.pawspetpantry.org – our new, updated website.
If you would like to support our cause, you can donate at either of the following links or find us on Amazon Smile.
Donate via CFO: https://4agc.com/dona…/c9252832-caf3-4cf1-99eb-7450c0dc4699…
Donate via PayPal: PayPal.Me/PAWSPetPantry
If you need assistance or to reach us with questions, you can send us a private message, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our phone number (417-501-6416) goes straight to voicemail, but we will call you back as soon as possible.