May 29, 2008

With tremendous regret, I report that Patches has left us. Despite still having a tremendous will to live and fighting spirit, her condition deteriorated to the point that it was impossible for us to keep her clean and dry. She had begun to lose her appetite and her rear legs were becoming less and less functional. I did not want her to suffer from the pain and discomfort that was beginning to overcome her.


Thank you to everyone who knew, visited, loved her, and contributed to her care. She is most definitely one foster rabbit that I will never forget. I’m certain that her mischievous spirit is still inspiring the other fosters in our care!

Keith and Sue

This is the story of Patches, a foster rabbit who came into the care of the Buckeye House Rabbit Society in April of 2004. Patches was a stray who had been spotted running around a Massillon-area construction site for several weeks. The workers were finally able to capture her and contact BHRS. She arrived at our foster home on April 24, 2004 in a deplorable state of health with the following ailments in need of urgent attention: fur mites, ear mites, numerous embedded ticks around her head and neck, a urine-soaked rear end, and intestinal tapeworms. Additionally, she had no fur on the bottoms of her feet (most likely from living in a wire-floored hutch), an eye injury that was healing but had left a large white scar, and very dirty and stained fur. She exhibited signs of head tilt and seemed to be very unstable whenever she tried to walk. Her rear limbs were very weak and she fell over whenever she attempted to take more than one hop at a time.


Patches was treated with Revolution for her mites and ticks, antibiotic ointment for her injured eye, and medication to kill her tapeworms. She was tested for Encephalitozoon cuniculi as a possible source of the head tilt and rear end instability, but the results were negative. Thorough examinations and x-rays have led her care-givers to determined that the head tilt was caused by the ear mite infestation (since cured), and her instability is the result of a past trauma that has left an untreatable muscular-skeletal or neurological injury. She will never be able to posture herself correctly in order to urinate without soiling the fur on her back legs and genital area. Because of this, she has suffered repeated urinary tract infections and bouts of urine scald. She must eat a very controlled diet since any moderately high-calcium foods cause her to produce sludgy urine that is almost solid.


Patches has been placed in sanctuary status because her various conditions require constant, specialized care that most adopters would find difficult to provide. Her posterior must be shaved, washed, and treated with protective ointment regularly and her housing requires twice-a-day cleaning and disinfecting. Occasionally we must administer subcutaneous fluid injections for week-long periods to flush the sludge from her bladder. She visits the veterinarian regularly to receive prescriptions for antibiotics and pain relief medication.


In spite of her afflictions, Patches is one of the most affectionate, attention-craving rabbits that we’ve ever cared for. She endures all of the washings, medicine dosings, and exams, and then immediately starts nudging for some bunny loving and pets. She will sit still for kisses and petting just as long as someone is willing to give them. And even though she usually loses her balance and flops onto her side, she still loves to run in short spurts and do binkies! Her first mission during her exercise times is to visit each of the other foster buns to say hello and rub noses. She is a very happy rabbit!

— Keith and Sue Zimmerman



Kristen Doherty writes, November 24, 2002

I am sorry to tell you that Lorenzo passed away today. He underwent invasive bulla (middle ear) surgery on Thurs, which was his only chance for any kind of recovery from his severe ear infections and head tilt. I was providing basic post-operative care since his return home on Fri, and he quickly began to decline until he could no longer fight. The infection was extremely aggressive and was putting severe pressure on his brain and nerves. He was suffering horribly, couldn’t eat, and was struggling to breathe, so Paul and I drove him to the vet. Lorenzo’s vet assured us that we were doing the right thing by ending his pain. Paul and I can say we did everything we possibly could to give him a chance. In just seven weeks, he stole our hearts, and we will miss him terribly.


Lorenzo has severe head tilt. He was abandoned with 16 other rabbits by a 19 yr old girl who was “rescuing” rabbits. Apparently she had a drug problem and left home one day, and left the rabbits in her family’s garage to fend for themselves. The girl’s family was going to euthanize Lorenzo, so I took him home.

Lorenzo is currently undergoing aggressive ear treatment since both ears are badly infected. We’re convinced that his feisty personality is what’s keeping him fighting this horrible infection. He was put under anesthesia twice to clean/debride abscesses deep inside both ears. A few days after the very first ear cleaning, Lorenzo was able to stand, whereas he could not before.

More recently, Lorenzo underwent a complicated and costly surgical procedure called a bulla osteotomy to remove more infected tissue and debris from the middle ear. It is his only hope of achieving a near-normal quality of life. We are hoping that the surgery, along with follow-up treatment, will enable him to stand at will and to someday walk and hop. As long as he continues to receive treatment, Lorenzo will remain a Sanctuary rabbit.


Lorenzo’s treatment will require long-term use of medications and possibly ongoing surgeries and ear flushings. This means several trips to the vet.

Lorenzo is roughly 8 yrs old and currently lives in a 25″x16″x15″ cage with a top-opening lid. The cage is lined with towels and fleece.  — Kristen Doherty



Goodbye our little bi-polar girl. We miss your batting, grunting, lunging, ankle-biting and general moodiness. We miss your relentless begging for a baby carrot, your running across the top of the leather sofa at top speed, your graceful leaps high in the air, and your dramatic flops in the middle of the room. We miss you sitting under the chair next to the tree while we opened our Christmas presents. You always wanted to be close to people, whether a group of four or forty, as long as no one got too close. You were the Queen of Drama, the Queen of Mean, the Queen of Sheba, our Emma Jean. Thank heaven you didn’t suffer. We miss you every day.

Kristen and Paul

Emma was rescued in May 1999 when her “person” wanted a veterinarian to euthanize her because of her bad behavior. The vet instead asked the lady to call the Buckeye House Rabbit Society. We took Emma in as a foster bunny and when it became clear to us that she would never be adopted because of her behavior, Emma became a Sanctuary rabbit. Because she could not co-exist peacefully with other rabbits, Paul and I brought her up to our first floor where we could give her special attention and work on behavior issues. She was roughly 10 years old when she passed away from a congenital heart problem. Emma was one of the rabbits helped by the Sponsor A Sanctuary Rabbit program, so thank you to Emma’s sponsors.


We jokingly refer to Emma as our “bipolar” Sanctuary rabbit. She is moody and can scare people (including us) with her batting, grunting, lunging, and occasional biting. We are only able to give her pets on her nose, usually first thing in the morning, and she will not let us touch her anywhere else on her body. Emma is unusually territorial and makes her displeasure known if we try to enter her large pen area.

Another odd thing about Emma is that she loves to be around people, especially kids – as long as you don’t touch her. She typically bounds out of her pen to greet house guests. Many times she will plop herself in front of the fireplace when people are sitting in the family room or kitchen talking. She loves to run, dance, leap, and flop.

Emma is otherwise very healthy. Although she has no current medical expenses, she does need a steady supply of hay, fresh greens, pellets, and an occasional visit to the vet. 

— Kristen Doherty



It is with much sadness that I write of Malcolm’s passing. He died May 15, 2004, due to an abscess that had developed in his pelvic area. Because of the location of the abscess, nothing could be done for him without causing him much pain and suffering. Malcolm’s passing was very peaceful. He was roughly 5 years old.

Malcolm had been a Sanctuary rabbit since the summer of 2000 when a lady who found him wandering in her yard brought him to me. He was the first Buckeye HRS foster rabbit to become a Buckeye HRS Sanctuary bunny. His favorite food was cilantro, which he inhaled every night. His favorite thing to do (besides eat!) was to lay his head flat on the ground for pets. He will be missed.

Thank you to all those who sponsored Malcolm. The medical care he received throughout his life would not have been possible if not for your generous financial contributions.

Malcolm was abandoned in a wooded area and found by 2 good Samaritans roughly four years ago. His back legs are deformed due (most likely) to a genetic defect, but he can still run and hop. He has use of both back legs. Because he can’t completely stand up, his back end is always in contact with the floor and as a result, he frequently gets a messy bottom, requiring a bath about once a week.

Since he can’t use his back legs to clean out his ears, Malcolm gets chronic ear infections. He is now on a regular maintenance program of ear flushings and medications to control and prevent any future ear infections.  — Kristen Doherty


Goodbye, dear Malcolm — you have left a void in our lives that will never be filled. The day you came to our home, our lives changed for the better. You showed us that adversity could be overcome with a little patience and lot of caring. Things are just not the same without you scooting about, twitching your behind uncontrollably every time you got something good to eat. We will never forget your rushing up to greet us when we walked toward you, head mushed down flat, ready in the petting position. You remain with us always and forever — we love you.

Kristen and Paul Doherty