The woman found the four rabbits in an abandoned shed, their cages jammed into a dark, damp corner. The animals were despondent and miserable, with dirty water to drink and old, moldy feed to eat. They had no bedding, the cages were caked with excrement, and sharp metal pieces protruded into the interior.
Although the rabbits’ rescuer knew nothing about the history of their care, she knew they must be helped. She scrubbed the food and water containers and took the cages out into the sunshine to give the rabbits some warmth. For a few days, she fed and cared for them. It was obvious they probably didn't know what fresh vegetables were.
||Carlos and Juan now live happily with their rabbit brethren at the sanctuary.|
As the days went by, the woman came to know the rabbits’ personalities: One was aggressive and tried to bite her hand whenever she reached in the cage, and the other was very quiet and withdrawn. Another one, now called Carlos, a chocolate brown rabbit, was eager for any attention shown to him. And the white, dark-earred rabbit, now known as Juan, sat passively, apparently resigned to his life.
After a few days, when the weather turned colder, the woman knew the rabbits could no longer stay in the shed. She brought them to her home -- already filled with other rescues -- and placed them in her basement. She knew that she had to find another place for them to live out their lives. She attempted to find homes for them locally, with no success.
Home, Sweet Home
Along the way, she heard about the Rabbit Sanctuary in Simpsonville, S.C. -- an independent nonprofit supported by The Fund for Animals -- and was elated when the director, Caroline Gilbert, told her the rabbits were welcome. She and the four rabbits made the journey from North Carolina and as soon as she drove onto the grounds of the sanctuary, she knew she had found a wonderful ‘home for life’ for them.
Sadly, only Carlos and Juan survived; the other two succumbed to poor health. Today, Juan and Carlos are together in one of the two spacious habitats – called Rabbitats -- surrounded by their own kind. They will never again experience the horrible conditions in which they were found. And will live out their lives in peace, with sunshine, fresh air, good food, safely from predators, and with the knowledge that they are at last—home.