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Lesson Gone Wrong: Dave's Trip from Classroom Suffering to Sanctuary

 
THE RABBIT SANCTUARY @2007
Dave at the Rabbit Sanctuary, after recovering from fur mites, malnutrition and a growth on his nose.

Dave, a rabbit, lived in an aquarium in an elementary school classroom. When the school term was over, the teacher sought a new home for him. Deathly sick with treatable conditions, Dave nearly gave his life for that class.

Turning the Page 

Colleen Powers had great intentions when she adopted the school's cast-off rabbit. She looked forward to welcoming Dave into her home and life. Powers assumed that because Dave was cared for in a classroom, he was healthy and had been treated well. Her assumptions were wrong.

Dave had been fed a diet of dog food, French fries, and other table scraps. As a result, he was severely malnourished. Fur mites plagued his mouth, nose, genital areas, and feet. A large growth on his nose blocked his sense of smell. And, on top of all his physical discomforts, Dave's freedom was restricted to a small, stuffy container.

Unable to afford the necessary veterinary care, Powers contacted the Rabbit Sanctuary in Simpsonville, S.C. The sanctuary agreed to provide the veterinary attention and loving home Dave deserved.

A New Chapter Begins

Initially, sanctuary staff believed Dave to be an older rabbit suffering from incapacitating maladies. His fur had been badly damaged by the fur mites, and had he remained in the classroom, he would have died from malnutrition. As it turned out, Dave was a youngster—only about six months old.

With treatment for his mites and a steady, nutritious diet, Dave transformed into a healthy and happy adult bunny. Now, he has freedom to hop around and visit with his many new friends.

Lesson Plans Gone Awry

Every year, many rabbits and other "classroom animals" receive substandard care. Some are even discarded after the school year is over. During weekends and holidays, these animals may receive no care at all. They are subjected to noise, constant disturbances, inadequate housing, and sporadic attention. Dave also suffered from an inappropriate diet and lack of veterinary care.

Animals in classrooms can teach children about the real needs and responsibilities of caring for a living being—and about compassion. However teachers who allow classroom pets must be vigilant about the messages they are sending out and not inadvertently demonstrate to their students that animals require only a part-time commitment and can be disposable.

All pets deserve safe, permanent homes with people who are committed to their continuing care. If your child comes home talking about a classroom pet, make an appointment to speak with his teacher immediately. You could help save an animal's life.

Related Links

  • Read about Minnie-Pennie, a rabbit discarded from service at a nursing home.

Posted November 15, 2007