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He was left in a Florida, U.S. park to fend for himself. Day after day, the little red bunny sat calmly in the grass, not moving from the spot as curious people walked by. One morning a passerby saw some boys playing soccer. And then she noticed their ball was…the bunny.
She intervened; the boys fled. She took him to her warm, safe home. Two weeks later, she found HouseRabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. – HARE. We asked her to bring him right over.
Radiographs revealed severe, congenital hip dysplasia making his hind legs splay uselessly out to the sides. A broken femur had healed a bit crookedly. The veterinarian thought surgery would be too hard on the little red rabbit who had already been through so much.
Instead, Rusty was fitted with leg braces that pulled his feet into normal position, allowing him to stand. His feet were cushioned with sponges of shed fur donated by other rescued rabbits, then braced together with sports tape.
When we first set him down to try out his new legs, Rusty stood a moment, puzzled. He took a hop. Then another. Then he was racing up and down the rugs, overjoyed with his new mobility! (His lolloping gait has earned him the nickname “Mr. Bippity.”)
The real miracle is his personality. Despite his harsh start, Rusty is a gentle soul. He’s become Ambassador for warren peace at H.A.R.E., befriending territorial rabbits in adjacent clans and inspiring them to make peace. He has more friends than any rabbit we’ve ever known, and he links them together with his cheerful spirit, gentle bossiness, and kisses. He’ll break up bunny spats by pushing himself between the perpetrators, growling as if to say, “Break it up, Guys! Life’s too short for grumpiness! Believe me…I know.”
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