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1/5/09 SAD NEWS UPDATE and MEMORIAL VIDEO FROM SAVEABUNNY FOUNDER
It is with great sadness that I pass along the news of Cinnabun's death.
Cinnabun came to us in 2005 as a gravely injured young rabbit. I hope you will read his story and watch the video I made for him. Cinnabun touched us all very deeply.
When I founded SaveABunny I made the commitment to help the rabbits most in need. Consequently, our group often takes in the most seriously wounded and neglected rabbits that no one else will take.
I feel strongly that these rabbits deserve a chance and they deserve to know what it feels like to be loved. Of course we also rescue hundreds of normal healthy rabbits each year, but there is too often a void for the injured, abused or "hard to place" rabbits. They are welcomed and loved at SaveABunny.
While it can be expensive and at times emotionally draining to help the special needs bunnies, each one is worth it. They help us to be better people and truly give back so much in return. Just look at the joy that Cinnabun brought to all the people in his life!
In loving memory of Cinnabun, please give your bunny an extra kiss and remember that their time with you is precious and never nearly long enough.
Look at me! Here I am with my bunny bride Jordie and my human, Dr. John Foehr.I love him very much!
SaveABunny says: We are incredibly grateful to John for helping to rescue Cinnabun and then giving him a safe home with unconditional love and a bunny wife!
A 21-Bun salute to John!
As told by Rich and Cinnabun
In the early Spring of 2005, a baby Holland Lop was born in the Northern California. When just a few weeks old, he found himself "For Sale" at a feed store in the East Bay city of Alamo. Soon, he went home with a family from Livermore, to what he thought would be a "forever" home where he could run and play. It was not to be.
The story of Cinnabun is really two stories. One tells of a brave little rabbit who overcame tremendous physical obstacles. The other tells of how a group of people, otherwise unrelated, would unite in an effort to save the life of this special little soul, and fulfill his dream of finding a loving, "forever" home.
This tale will be told by those who knew and helped him, and by Cinnabun himself. Cinnabun's "own" words will appear in italics.
Cinnabun's first family kept him most of the time in a backyard hutch or pen. He was let out to play some, then returned to his enclosure.
Hi! I'm Cinnabun. All my friends call me "Cinny." You can, too.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I absolutely, positively love to run and play. As soon as I was old enough to hop, I learned to run the Bunny 500 and do Binkies. I loved to show my first family what I could do when they let me out to play.
But without a safe and secure place to play, and without adequate supervision, seemingly innocent events can quickly turn tragic, and on the night of June 28th, when Cinnabun was about 3 1/2 months old, it did.
Sometime that Wednesday night, Cinnabun was able to escape from his enclosure in the backyard. He went under the fence and apparently tried to cross the street. He wouldn't make it.
It was such a nice, warm Summer evening. The weather had been sooo hot that day, and I thought it would be nice to "go exploring" in the cool night air. I hopped all around the yard, then discovered I could wiggle under the fence. I had always wondered what was beyond it, and here was my chance!
I continued exploring, and came to a small ledge. I jumped down the several inches and landed on a hard, flat surface. It was very wide, but I could see across it. I thought, 'If I keep hopping, I can reach the other side.' Suddenly, a large white light appeared. It kept coming and coming, until it was right on top of me.
All I remember of what happened next is the excruciating pain. Dazed, I tried to hop, but couldn't. I dragged my body back as far as I could, and waited for someone - anyone - to help me.
Cinnabun had been struck by an oncoming vehicle. The driver never even stopped.
The next morning around 8:30, Cinnabun's family found his broken body lying in the gutter.
That evening, Marisa Price and Casey Boomer, HRS intake volunteers for the Dublin Shelter, learned of Cinnabun's plight.
As Marisa recalls:
"On June 29th, we received a call at about 9:30pm about a bunny who had escaped from his backyard pen and been hit by a car. The family found him lying in the gutter, cringing with pain. The wife had stuck the bunny back outside (in the 102° F heat) in his cage 'to see if he got better or not'. It was obvious that the bunny was not getting better, yet the family was unwilling to pay to have the bunny treated by a vet or euthanized. They explained to me that the bunny wasn't moving his back legs at all, and could I please take him. They were going to let him die without care if we didn't take him.
"We told them to bring the rabbit to us, and my husband and I were fully prepared to drive the bunny (who we thought had a broken back) to the Emergency Vet to be humanely euthanized."
Around 10:30, Marisa contacted Marcy Schaaf, Founder of SaveABunny rabbit rescue in Mill Valley, California. Marcy agreed to take little Cinnabun into their foster program, which would be the catalyst for his treatment and recovery.
Marisa also created "Cinnabun's page" on the SaveABunny web site and posted numerous messages about him on the Petbunny internet rabbit list, generating world-wide interest in this little bun's plight and financial support for his ongoing veterinary care.
One of those who read about Cinnabun was Dr. John Foehr in Bloomington, Illinois. Dr. Foehr would become a key figure in the happy outcome to Cinnabun's story.
Marisa continues telling about that first night:
"When the family arrived at our home at 11:30 PM and I first saw Cinnabun, my heart melted. His bright brown eyes looked at us with a strong sense of 'I WANT TO LIVE!'
"We had his former family sign over all rights to us, with permission to euthanize if necessary (thank goodness it wasn't!). They told us what a happy bunny he 'had' been, the husband seemed attached (the wife didn't -- she was the reason he was outside: 'he smelled'; 'he sheds') and he said that Cinnabun loved to jump high in the air and run around as fast as he possibly could. They said that they felt that he had no life without that, and suggested that I euthanize. They gave me no money for veterinary treatment, just his cage.
"Cinnabun was in great pain, but he obviously wanted to live. We gave him greens and he scooted over and started to eat. He forced himself over to the water to drink. He peed and did a few runny poops (a paralyzed bunny often can't pee/poop on his own -- this is when we started to suspect that it wasn't his back that was broken). He was making it obvious that he hadn't given up, and neither should we!
"However, it was far too late for a trip to our vet that night (Dr. Carolynn Harvey at VCA Bay Area Animal Hospital in Oakland) so we got in touch with the Emergency Vet. They told us to tank him up on Metacam and put in a warm water bottle with him, and some soft towels to keep him comfy. He let us pet him and he even licked my hand. He was a jewel -- we had hope that he would make it and he wanted to make it."
Pain? I've never experienced so much pain! But I sensed that these two new humans who'd suddenly come into my life really, truly cared about me and wanted to help me. Just their gentle touch and soothing words gave me hope and the will to hang in there.
Here are two photos of Cinnabun in his cage that first night at Marisa and Casey's. You can tell by looking at him how much pain he was in from his injuries.
The first thing the following morning, Casey drove Cinnabun to VCA Bay Area in Oakland, about an hour away. He was seen immediately - this was an emergency, after all - by Dr. Harvey, who determined his right hind leg was severely fractured above the "growth plate," his left hind leg was luxated (dislocated) at the hip, his tail was broken, there were multiple fractures of his pelvis, and bruising of his groin.
This was my first meeting with Dr. Harvey. She's well-known for her gentle manner with us bunnies, and this first encounter was no exception. She talked softly to me and stroked by ears and face, and I soon began to feel a little better.
Also working with Cinnabun that morning at VCA Bay Area was Dr. Michele Kim, who would remain involved with him through his recovery process.
Dr. Harvey consulted with the veterinarians at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, as the condition of Cinnabun's right hind leg was of immediate concern. The general consensus was that major surgery would be required to save it - and there was no guarantee that the surgery would be successful. The other option was complete amputation of that leg.
Later that morning, Cinnabun had his first surgery. Because his tail was been debrided when the car struck him, it was necessary to amputate it at its base. And while he was under anesthesia, Dr. Harvey reset his dislocated left hind leg.
These procedures went well, but soon after he woke up and began moving around, the joint dislocated again. He was anesthetized again and the joint reset, but it would once again dislocate. The decision was made not to repeat the process.
His fractured right hind leg was set in a soft cast, and later that day he was sent home with Marcy at SaveABunny. There, he quickly made friends with a group of baby bunnies that had recently arrived at SaveABunny after their rescue from an area shelter.
In these photos, the cast on his right hind leg is clearly visible.
I didn't like the big yellow thing one bit! Between it and the injury to my left hind leg, it was kinda hard to get around. But I quickly made friends with the other baby bunnies, even when they called me, "Banana Foot." Humpf!
Dr. Harvey continued to use her contacts at UC Davis and elsewhere, to determine the best treatment protocol for Cinnabun, focusing particularly on his right hind leg.
By the first week of July, it was decided that Marcy and Cinnabun would make the drive from Marin County to UC Davis. There, the doctors would extensively examine him, then make a recommendation regarding surgery, which was estimated to be in the $5,000 range.
On July 6th, Marcy spent the entire day at UC Davis seeking all possible options for Cinnabun, and getting new x-rays and blood work done for him.
Unfortunately, it was determined that Cinnabun had now lost all sensation in his broken right leg, likely a result of nerve damage. Marcy saw the x-rays and he had multiple fractures with bones jutting out in several places. The surgeon did not feel that the leg could be repaired and recommended amputation. Cinnabun's tail was already amputated. His left hip was still dislocated and would likely not be able to be put back in place. Since Cinnabun is a young rabbit, the thought was that he likely would be able to be mobile with the left hip "as is."
The vet's recommendation was to first amputate the right leg and leave the left one alone for the time being.
Here are some photos (with Cinnabun's comments) taken on the trip to UC Davis:
Another trip to the vet? More poking me and prodding me? Ohhh...
Everyone told me what a brave and handsome boy I was, and they were very nice to me, but it still wasn't much fun.
Here's a picture of me riding in the car. The long ride was bad enough, but the human kept singing along with the radio!
Marcy picks up the story here.
"So, after consulting with Dr. Harvey and factoring in the estimated cost for surgery at UC Davis versus VCA Bay Area, the distance to and from Davis, and the unfortunate news that the UC Davis doctors did not feel that any special surgery could really be done for Cinnabun other than amputation, I made the decision to bring Cinnabun back home with me, rather than have the surgery done at UC Davis. They would not have been able to operate on him for nearly two days, and I felt that he would be more comfortable with us in our home and foster center.
"So now, we began working on having the amputation done at VCA Bay Area, and also one other possible option in Southern California.
"Oh, and my singing wasn't that bad!"
Cinnabun spent the next few days resting at SaveABunny, while a final decision was made about surgery. Each day, he was able to have some playtime with the other baby bunnies, and he seemed to really enjoy that, yet he seemed depressed and a little lethargic.
Marcy said, "We are very grateful for a very generous offer to have the surgery donated in Southern California. However, based on Cinnabun's sensitivity and decline after the car ride to and from UC Davis, I decided that he would not do well with a long car ride, and it wouldn't be worth the risk."
And so, on July 12th, his right leg was amputated by Dr. Harvey at VCA Bay Area.
The surgery went extremely well, and after two days' recuperation at VCA, Cinnabun was transferred to a foster home in Alameda.
This particular foster home was chosen for two reasons. First, the foster dad had experience with bunnies recovering from major surgery, and could provide a "tub cage" that would work great for Cinnabun's recuperation, and second, the foster home was only a 20 minute drive from VCA Bay Area, should any post-surgery emergencies arise.
Cinnabun spent the next few days resting. Initially, he was mostly restricted to the tub cage, but would spend time each evening being held by his foster dad as the two of them watched television on the couch.
The tub cage worked well, giving Cinnabun enough room to move around while being small enough to keep him somewhat restricted. After all, he wanted him to rest and get strong!
When he and his foster dad would watch television, Cinnabun would snuggle into Rich's arms, lick him, then after a few minutes fall fast asleep.
Or at least, that's how it usually went.
One evening, Cinnabun suddenly scooted up Rich's chest, smushed his fuzzy nose under Rich's chin, ...and peed down Rich's neck! It was glorious. Rich had been accepted and claimed by Cinnabun.
Rich posted this on Cinnabun's web page three days after the surgery:
"Here's a quick update on little 'Cinnabun.'
"He continues to do well following amputation of his right hind leg Tuesday. Dr. Carolynn Harvey and the staff at VCA Bay Area did a fantastic job.
"He's settled right in at his foster home. He has his own set up in what's called a 'tub cage,' which is well suited for recuperation for a rabbit this size. He's been eating and drinking like crazy, and what's been goin' in the front end has been comin' out the back end just fine. The cage is equipped with a low-sided litterbox with timothy hay on top of Critter Country, and he's been spending a lot of time in it. His food and water bowls are next to it.
"He's also been taking bits of fruit (apple and strawberry) and a variety of vegetables out of the hand of his foster dad, and eagerly raises up his head to accept pets.
"And he's been snuggling with two small plush bunnies that have been placed in his cage specifically for that purpose.
"He's currently on two oral medications, one for pain control and the other to prevent post-surgery infection, and he's given a small raisin as a reward after taking his meds.
"The right hind leg, which was amputated at the hip, is healing well and is not bothering him. Dr. Harvey feels there's enough scar tissue around to bone end to help cushion it.
"His tail had previously been amputated due to severe damage from being run over by the automobile, and that, too, is healing well.
"There is still some concern about his left hind leg, as it dislocated (luxated) at the hip joint when he was run over. It was reset twice (he has to be anesthetized for this), but it kept dislocating. There are no plans at the moment to try to surgically correct this. It's hoped that since he's a young bun (4 months old), it will heal 'good enough' on its own. At present, he has partial use of it, and can use it to push off with while hopping.
"So, the bottom line is that at the moment, we're all pleased with the results so far. He's not out of the woods yet, however. One thing's for certain: he's a sweet little bunny who deserves a second chance, and I'd like to personally thank everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers for the little guy."
Cinnabun's recuperation progressed nicely. He became stronger and more active and alert each day. The surgery incision continued to heal well, and his dislocated left hind leg was not presenting a problem for his mobility.
On July 20th, Cinnabun sent a message to all his friends. He even included photos!
Hello everyone, I'm Cinnabun, and I thought you might like to see some new photos of me at my foster home where I'm recuperating. I have a nice place to stay and get plenty to eat and drink. The human gives me two medications twice a day, and they taste OK. He also sticks something up my rear end. I can't see it so I don't know what it is. All I know is that after a minute or so it starts to beep, then the human removes it and says, "OK, Cinny! You're done."
I want to thank everyone for all your kind thoughts and prayers. Because of your concern and generosity, Dr. Carolyn Harvey, Dr. Michele Kim and the staff at VCA Bay Area Animal Hospital in Oakland, California, are helping me recover from my injuries.
So here's my photo tour. I hope you enjoy it. I've put captions below each photo. You can click on the images to see a bigger picture.
Here I am. Pretty cute, if I do say so myself. Hey, wait! Where's my other ear?
Oh, there it is. Whew! I've lost so many parts recently, so I have to really keep track of everything.
I'm staying in a "tub cage" which has a solid plastic floor with a soft towel on it. In between is a wee-wee pad. Accidents happen, you know. Behind me are my two "roommates."
Here I am guarding my Oxbow 15/23 pellets. Don't want that guy sneaking up behind me to get 'em!
I think he's getting closer...
In this photo you can see that I'm pretty good about using my litterbox. The human says, "Good boy, Cinny!" whenever he sees me in it. I think he gets way too excited about it.
Guarding my food bowl is hard work. Maybe I'll just rest my chin on it for a minute...
Being cute can sure tucker a little bun out. Excuse me while I take a nap with my two pals.
On July 25th, Cinnabun visited Dr. Carolynn Harvey at VCA Bay Area a post-surgery checkup. He also greeted all his friends on the VCA staff, including Dr. Michele Kim who had initially helped him.
Dr. Harvey was pleased with how well the incisions for his amputated tail and right hind leg had healed. She also noted that his temperature was normal, that he was active and alert, was eating and drinking normally, and was producing lots of fine lookin' pooties.
The remaining area of concern was his left hind leg. It luxated (dislocated at the hip joint) when he was struck by the automobile, and can't be reset. For most rabbits, this wouldn't be a major problem, and Cinnabun can indeed get around, for the most part like a normal bunny. He can also sit normally, and can extend the leg straight back when resting. But Cinnabun's lack of a right hind leg tends to force the left one outward. Over time, it will likely splay, and he may lose partial or total use of it. Additionally, the right front leg may begin to splay, as a counterbalance measure.
Thus, the possibility that Cinnabun may need additional surgery was discussed.
It was agreed that the next phase of his rehabilitation should focus on getting a lot of exercise to strengthen that left hind leg.
Back at his foster home, he was having a lot of fun. You'd never know he was a disabled rabbit! His foster dad noted that he acted just like any "normal" four month old baby bunny. He was curious about everything, always came bounding over to greet his human friends and beg for treats and pets, and loved to snuggle in someone's lap on the couch. He'd give lots of bunny kisses and tooth purrs.
Almost every day, I was able to go outside and play in the backyard. There were lots of things to explore, and even objects that were higher than my head didn't present obstacles, just challenges. If I could get my front feet on top of it, I could wiggle my fuzzy little butt up and over it. Or if it was a narrow space, I'd take a deep breath and just pop right through. My foster dad would keep a close eye on me 'cause he was worried I might get stuck, but I never did.
There were other bunnies living there, too. I could see some of them playing outside when I was in my tub cage in the living room.
One day when I was outside, I met a pretty gray and white bunny. She was peacefully snoozing in a sunspot in the grass, so I went over to her and introduced myself.
"Hi! I'm Cinny," I said. "What's your name?"
"I'm Sydney," she replied. "And that's my husbun Magic over their by the pine tree, digging another hole. He thinks it's his mission in life to dig holes!" she said, laughing.
As I talked to her, she told me what this foster home was all about. She said it was a sanctuary for bunnies with health problems, or for those who were in their Golden Years, or both. "I'm 11," she said. She said it was a "temporary" foster home for some of the bunnies that were patiently awaiting for someone to adopt them from "Rabbit Row" at the City of Alameda Animal Shelter. And in some special cases, other bunnies have come there to recuperate from major surgery.
"That's why you were brought here, Cinny," she said.
I asked Sydney to tell me about the other ones, and she did, starting with a special black 'n white bunny named Bonnie, who long ago had introduced my foster dad to the wonderful world of rabbits. She changed his life forever, and when the Black Rabbit came for her, she took a little bit of his heart with her.
"And tell me about that one," I said, motioning toward the bunny I could see wrapped in a blanket in the breakfast nook with just her big head and gigantic ears sticking out.
"That's Reno. Her life was saved by Dr. Harvey and the folks at VCA Bay Area. Especially George. He has a special relationship with her, and she wouldn't have pulled through without him."
"What's wrong with her?" I asked. "Why doesn't she hop?"
"She can't, Cinny."
I thought about that for a moment. "Will she ever be able to?"
"No. But a lot of people are doing their best to help her. She gets acupuncture treatments and chiropractic adjustments, and all her friends at Dr. Harvey's office do everything they can for her. But most of all, she gets a lot of love. She has a spiritual bond with Rich. She even sleeps on the humans' bed at night."
Over the next few days I thought a lot about what Sydney had said. I realized that there were humans who would do whatever they could to help us bunnies, for no other reasons than they wanted to help us. So I decided to give my foster dad a few extra bunny kisses when he brought me my bowl of vegetables that night.
In Cinnabun's photo tour, above, some of the photos show his plush bunny friends. There were originally two of 'em. Now there's just one.
Here's the story:
One afternoon, his foster dad noticed a bunch of unidentifiable disc-shaped objects, white in color, in Cinnabun's litterbox. Cinnabun was looking and acting fine, however. Perplexed and somewhat panicked, the foster dad called Dr. Harvey, who suggested that some of the "items" be brought to her for evaluation. Later that evening while at work, the foster dad gave more thought to what the objects might be, and came up with a possible theory. When he got home, he listened to a phone message left by Dr. Harvey, saying that she had thoroughly examined the mystery items, and that while she didn't know what they were, she was sure "They didn't come out of a rabbit."
Well, Cinnabun had other ideas! Once the foster dad carefully examined both plush bunnies, he was able to determine that "somebun" had chewed a tiny hole in the leg of the larger bunny, allowing some of the "beans" to come out. It was as though Cinnabun had thought, "If I'm missing a leg, you should be, too."
The foster dad wrapped the plush bunny's "injured" leg with Vetrap, and Cinnabun presented it to Dr. Harvey during his next checkup. "Didn't come out of a rabbit," she had said. Humpff! He sure showed her!
That "injured" plush bunny remained in Dr. Harvey's office for several months, until one day she presented it to a little girl who's own bunny had just crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.
The smaller of the two plush bunnies remained in Cinnabun's cage, and he would cuddle with it at night or drag it around the cage. On more the one occasion, the foster dad found it face-down in Cinnabun's water bowl, and hopes that Cinnabun was merely "offering it a drink!"
As part of the recuperation process, we wanted Cinnabun to have as much exercise as possible, so he was given lots of closely supervised playtime in his foster home's backyard.
It was fun playing in the tall grass. And I could eat it, too! Then I'd fall asleep in the sunshine.
Something Cinnabun taught us is that he doesn't know the meaning of the word "disability." He can really scoot! Maybe not the Bunny 500, but at least the Bunny 475! He can also get himself into, under, through, and on top of just about any obstacle in his path. Shades of his Great Escape from his first home! But now, he was somewhere safe and secure.
Around this time that it was discovered that the top of his tub cage needed to be kept closed when he was in it, as Cinnabun discovered he could leap up and over the side of it, which is exactly what he showed his foster dad one evening when Rich was approaching the cage with a bowl of vegetables, and Cinnabun came bounding across the living room floor to greet him!
I'd really get excited when I'd see a salad bowl approaching. I'd prop myself up against the side of the tub cage in almost a standing position and wiggle around. I really wanted those vegetables! "Gimme gimme gimme! Mine mine mine!"
Cinnabun had a voracious appetite. He was a bottomless pit, and would scarf down vegetables like a fur-covered Hoover!
Here he is at his pellet bowl. Compare these photos to the earlier ones and you can see how quickly he grew.
See that left hind leg? Because of the way it splays outward, he can't use it to hop. Rather, he rests his body on his right hip (where that leg was amputated) and pushes off with his left leg. This is not good, as it could cause friction damage to the area of his right hip, plus force his left leg to continue to splay, and then possibly atrophy.
In addition to physical therapy, we decided to obtain a "cart," AKA bunny wheelchair, for him so his hind quarters could be elevated above the ground. The theory was that the cart would minimize the impact on the left hind leg, allow it to assume a "normal" vertical angle, and help the hip joint properly reform. The idea was to have Cinnabun spend several daily sessions in the cart, but not be in it constantly.
Of course, we didn't have a cart.
To the rescue came Bob and Marinell Harriman, founders of the House Rabbit Society, who've been foster parents to many "Special Needs" rabbits over the years. They just happened to have a "DogOnWheels" cart available that they could loan to Cinnabun.
Unfortunately, because of the physical layout of his foster home, he really couldn't use the cart there. So he was transferred to the home of the Stiger family, who is the main foster family for bunnies from the City of Alameda Animal Shelter. The Stiger's are used to having "Special Needs" bunnies around. Best of all, Cinnabun would have a large area in their basement to live in and have access to their gigantic (by Alameda standards) backyard. It was at the Stiger's home where he would be introduced to his new cart. In mid-September, Cinnabun moved there.
After only a brief time at the Stiger's, Cinnabun showed us two things.
One was that he absolutely, positively didn't like his cart.
The other was that he's what's known as a "nurturing rabbit."
As far as the cart went, it was Cinnabun 1, cart 0. He didn't like it at all, would struggle and become stressed, and took a couple of bites out of the neoprene straps and chest supporter. Because we were concerned he might injure himself, further cart introductions were put on hold.
I didn't like that contraption one bit, so I figured the best way to make it go away was to give it a few well-placed chomps. My plan worked.
The cart failure was more than offset by the discovery that Cinnabun is a "nurturing rabbit." In that role, he acts as a nurse to sick or disabled rabbits. The Stiger family provides a sanctuary home and foster home for several rabbits, two of which have "Special Needs." While in the backyard for group playtime, Cinnabun would spend hours with these two bunnies, snuggling with them and grooming them. He'd seldom leave their side for very long.
They seemed so sad. I felt I needed to help them.
All summer, Marcy Schaaf at SaveABunny had been quietly working on finding a permanent home for Cinnabun. It had to be a truly special home that could properly care for Cinnabun for the rest of his life. It needed to be with someone who genuinely cares about bunnies, especially "Special" ones. That person would need to continue the physical therapy and efforts to get Cinnabun into his cart. And the last criteria was that the new home should have at least one bunny for Cinnabun to be with.
Dr. John Foehr had faithfully read all the ongoing reports detailing Cinnabun's progress. He even made generous contributions toward the surgery and veterinary care. So Dr. Foehr made Marcy an offer: He'd give Cinnabun a "forever" home with his family, including a cute bunny girl named Tawney, IF Cinnabun could somehow come to Bloomington, Illinois.
That seemed like a tall order, getting a little bun half way across the country.
Jacki Fullerton is a SaveABunny volunteer, and she formulated a plan to fly with Cinnabun from San Francisco to Chicago - O'Hare airport, naturally! - where a friend of Dr. Foehr would drive Cinnabun to Bloomington. It was decided that Monday, October 3rd, would be the Big Day.
The day before his journey, Rich took Cinnabun to Dr. Harvey for a final checkup. She pronounced him fit as a fiddle, and even gave him a health certificate to prove it. Jacki met us there.
Jacki took these photos during the exam:
Here's Dr. Harvey examining my leg and hip.
While Dr. Harvey filled out my Health Certificate, I gave Rich's arm some last kisses. I bet he'll miss me... even if I did pee down his neck that time!
After the exam Cinnabun went home with Jacki to her house in San Francisco. They both had to get up very early for the plane trip to Chicago the next morning.
The final leg of my journey to my forever home started at Dr. Harvey's office Sunday afternoon. Jacki was waiting at VCA, and afterwards took me to her house for a sleepover. She was going to be the person taking me to Chicago. Rich, Jacki and I went into one of the rooms to wait for Dr. Harvey. First I was weighed, 3.2 pounds. That's pretty good! Then Dr. Harvey came in and took my temperature, and that was good, too, although I didn't appreciate one bit what she stuck in me! She cleaned my ears, as I had a bit of wax buildup, since I can't clean them myself. I helped her by shaking my head after she cleaned them. I showed her how strong I am. She signed a health certificate for Jacki to take, just in case the airline wanted to see it. Rich had brought along my cart, and Dr. Harvey said to send it along with me. He also made sure I had my little plush bunny.
Before we left the exam room, Rich told me what a brave bunny I had been through all this, and said how much he would miss me. "Write to me from Bloomington and send me lots of pictures," he said. Then he kissed me on top of my head and put me into my airline carrier, along with my plush bunny friend and some hay.
Jacki and I traveled across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. We arrived at her house where I was sleeping over before the plane ride. When Jacki opened up the travel carrier, I just sat in it about 5 minutes, looking around at my new surroundings. I was in the living room where there was a cage for me to sleep in. When I decided to hop out of the carrier and explore the living room, Jacki was amazed to see me scoot. I am very fast. She was trying to take a picture of me, but I kept scooting each time she got the camera ready! The only picture she snapped of me was in my sleepover cage.
I had a good dinner of greens, carrots, pellets and hay, with a banana slice for dessert. The lights went out around 10.
The next morning I woke up early when I heard someone in the other room. It was 3:45am! But I was ready to get out of the cage and play. Jacki came in and told me we were going on a long trip, gave me some pellets for breakfast, and a scratch behind my ear. Before I knew it, I was back in the carrier with my plush bunny friend and some fresh hay, and we headed out into the cold predawn morning and into the car. It was dark out, and Jacki kept saying I was going to my forever home, but it would take a while. "First we had to get on an airplane," she told me.
We parked at a lot, where we had to get on a shuttle that would take us to the airport. Jacki was juggling her coffee, her purse, my cart and me in my cage. She told me she isn't quite awake unless she has her first cup of coffee, so it was a good thing she brought it in the car for the drive to the airport. The shuttle bus came quickly and we got on. Jacki told the driver she was taking a special passenger to Chicago.
When we arrived at the terminal, we checked in at a counter, then we went to security. In the security line everyone wanted to know what was in the cage. "A special bunny," Jacki said. One lady thought that my plush bunny friend was also real! When it came time to walk through the metal detector, Jacki took me out of my cage, and she held me as we walked though together. My travel cage went through the x-ray machine. The security people told me I was a cute bunny.
After going back into my cage, we went to the gate and boarded the flight. We were seated in a middle seat. Jacki was hoping I would have my own seat, but there were no empty seats on the plane. I guess we were lucky to get on the plane at all.
I fit underneath the seat in front of Jacki. She kept petting me through the hole in the top of the travel cage. She wanted to take me out and hold me, but the airline doesn't allow you to do that... especially if the plane is full. I knew she was there the whole time; she fed me a few carrots, and tried to give me water, but I accidentally knocked it over. It was a pretty uneventful flight, everyone seemed to be sleepy. I took a nap, too.
Here are a couple of photos of me in my travel carrier on the plane:
Look closely, and you can see my plush bunny friend snuggled next to me.
When we landed in Chicago, Jacki's phone was ringing. It was Jonathan, my transport to Bloomington. He would meet us in baggage claim.
When we were getting off the flight, people were more awake and everyone wanted to know who was in the cage. Jacki said, "A special bunny!" Someone said, "Is it a show bunny?" Jacki said no, but then she said, "He could be!"
We walked out to the baggage claim and Jonathan was there waiting for me. Jacki took me out of my little airplane carrier and put me into a big carrier for the two-hour drive to my forever home in Bloomington.
Here's a photo of me with Jonathan, Dr. Foehr's friend who drove up from Bloomington to pick me up:
And here are a couple of photos of me saying goodbye to Jacki.
In a few moments, I would be heading to Bloomington and my new home with Dr. Foehr and Tawney.
Jacki wrote this sidenote: "I fell in love with Cinnabun during the 20 hours I spent with him. He is a strong, loving, happy, exceptional bunny. I wish him many happy years in his forever home."
Cinnabun arrived at his new forever home later that day. He settled in quickly.
Once he rested up, he began to send progress reports to his friends on the Petbunny internet list.
Date: 10/3/2005 2:42 PM
Hi Eberbody, It's me, Cinny. I went on the hare-plane from San Francisco to Chicago, then to Bloomington by car. I met my new dad, John. I got a warm welcome. I like it here. Dad is really nice to me. I want to tank eberbun who made this possible. I am a berry lucky bun. I do miss all of you back in California, but now I have a forever home. Special tanks to Marcy and Marisa and Dr. Carolynn and Jacki (who flew wid me). More later. XXXOOO Cinny
Date: 10/6/2005 7:22 AM
Hello everybunny, Another happy day here. I weally wike it! It got down to around 40 last night. Dad takes me out everyday and play wid me. He exercises my leg. The food is good and I get lots of attention. I weally wike that! XXXOOO Cinny
Date: 10/8/2005 5:52 AM
Hi Ebberbunny, I had a good night's sleep last night. I had fresh greens for supper and breakfast. Dad gives me lots of cuddling and attention. It sure looks dif'rent here in central Illinois than in northern California. We've got cornfields here instead of grapes! But there are a few vineyards here, which surprised me. All in all, things are going well for me. My best to all my friends. XXXOOO Cinny
Date: 10/20/2005 12:40 PM
Hi Ebberbody, It's me, Cinny. I still weally wike it here, beside some minor problems. Tawney don't wike me. She slapped me and bit me! But I think she'll eventually come around, cuz I'm waaay to cute to resist! Dad weally loves me. The food is real good. I gets lots of pets and "You are sooo handsome and sweet." I love it. Dad is helping me wid my back leg. Anywho, I just wanted to say "hi" to everyone. I'll send pictures soon. I'll smile real big. XXXOOO Cinny
Marisa Price, who was Cinnabun's "first responder," wrote back to him.
Date: 10/3/2005 2:32 PM
Dear Cinnabun, My darling boy, I'll never forget when you arrived on my doorstep at ~11:30pm at night. And now, you run in a new way. You play, you scoot yourself along, you have a complete zest for life. Even though you have only 2 1/2 legs now (2 good legs, one damaged leg) and a missing tail, you still have a love of everyone and everything. You DID IT. You survived. Cinnabun, you have come a long way from Livermore, California. You are an inspiration to us all about overcoming adversity, and you are loved by so many people who all did our very best to help you. John, thank you too, for giving Cinny a loving forever home. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Cinny, may you have a long and happy life! Much love, Marisa & Casey & all of our bunny family
True to his word, Cinnabun sent some photos of himself visiting his dad's dental office in Bloomington.
Here I am! Still pretty cute, huh?
My new dad really loves me...
...and I love him, too!
I like going to work with my dad.
Sometimes we sit in the dental chair.
Or hang out by the water cooler.
When I'm not staying with my dad, I get to stay with Rhonda. She lives in a really cool hutch, er... I mean house, where I have my very own room! It's right next to a golf course and sometimes I get to play in the grass and race around.
Well, bye bye for now!
So, that's "Cinnabun's Story." It's a story of how a seemingly unlikely group of people all came together to help a little bunny.
But wait! "Cinnabun's Story" really isn't over. His story is just beginning, in a new home, with new people who'll love and care for him, forever.
"Reflection Of Compassion" is a lovingly commissioned series of original watercolor and gouache illustrations created especially for SaveABunny Rabbit Rescue by artist Elizabeth Koval Maffeo. (All images copyright 2008 SaveABunny. All rights reserved.)