|THE RABBIT SANCTUARY @2007|
Now happily residing at the Rabbit Sanctuary, Kiriakides once suffered sweltering heat and neglect.
Adjacent to a run-down old house at a remote, rural property in South Carolina, a little rabbit was shut in a wire cage—a cage so small that the little rabbit could barely turn around in it. The cage was partially shoved under a junk car. The blazing hot sun beat down relentlessly, keeping temperatures in the high ninety degree range day after day. Not a breath of air stirred, and there wasn't a shade tree in sight. Each night the little rabbit searched every inch of the cage over and over looking for a way out, but there was no escape.
A Car Approaches
One morning a van came up the long dirt road to the house. The little rabbit watched intently as the woman who lived in the old house came out and greeted the woman who got out of the van. The two of them talked and then walked over to where a big yellow dog was chained to a post. The little rabbit watched and listened as the woman from the house removed the collar and chain from the dog. With some struggle, the two women loaded the large dog into the back of the van, then the van drove off. They disappeared down the road behind swirls of dust.
Seemingly unnoticed, the little rabbit was left behind to languish away another long, hot day. He stretched out as much as he could on the unyielding wire, his back end pressed against the end of the cage with his front paws squeezed upward against the front of the cage. He began panting rapidly. As the day wore on, his chin and neck became soaked with saliva. Each day seemed longer and hotter than the last.
Early next morning the little rabbit heard the sound of a motor and saw a cloud of dust; a vehicle was coming up the road. This time it pulled up and stopped right beside his junk car. A woman got out and walked over to the little rabbit's cage. She kneeled down in the dirt and peered through the wire at him. "Poor little rabbit…don't be scared. I came back to get you, too," she said to him softly. It was the same woman who had taken the dog. She slowly pulled his cage out from under the junk car and gently placed it inside the van and drove away.
Safe and Sound
Finally at the end of a shady lane was a white frame structure, the health care building at the Rabbit Sanctuary. His new caretaker, Caroline, greeted them and helped move the rabbit into a room with huge windows. His days of misery were over! He had been rescued by Mary Ann Kiriakides, a member of the FootHills Golden Retriever Rescue, who had also taken the yellow dog the day before and found a foster home for him. Mary had rescued two animals in two days and placed them in safer homes.
The rabbit's cage door was left open. He cautiously put out one little, white paw, then the other, and soon he was freely investigating the entire room and introducing himself to each of the five other rabbits. As he got to know the others, his filthy old cage was taken outside and crushed so it could never again be used to incarcerate another soul.
For the next several weeks, the little rabbit lived in the light and comfortable room while preparations were being made to find a permanent place for him. Meanwhile, he went to Doc Wheat's to be neutered. He was introduced to Onion, a beautiful, white doe with graceful, pink ears. It was love at first sight! They moved together into their very own territory in the building known as Rabbitat II, located up in the woods.
Life is good now. Fresh salad is served every morning, there is sweet, fresh hay in abundance, the drinking water is clean and cool, and there are many other rabbits to befriend. All are free to run, dig, and play in the moonlight.
The little rabbit, a chocolate Dutch, has been named Kiriakides in honor of the kind woman who rescued him.
- Read about another rabbit, Hopnot, who was also once in need of a good home.
Posted March 12, 2007