Every Bunny Deserves a Chance
Throughout the year – every year – Battersea Dogs & Cats home takes in hundreds of dogs and cats. However, it’s not often that the staff in south London are greeted by an unusually long-eared animal at the entrance to their shelter. That’s right, a Mini Lop rabbit arrived at Battersea’s London centre on Monday after a kind member of the public found her on a roadside not far from the charity!
Unaccustomed to dealing with rabbits, Battersea didn’t have a hutch to hand. Nevertheless, staff member Amy Baird did and offered to give the little rabbit a home, naming her Lotus in the process. Word of Lotus’s arrival quickly spread throughout Battersea. After a few days, a staff member was walking through Battersea Park and came across a poster – written in children’s handwriting – with the words ‘have you seen this rabbit?’ written across the top of the page.
It didn’t take long for staff at the shelter to put two and two together. After a quick phone call and an exchange of emails it was revealed that the rabbit (called Pearl), belonged to 7-year-old Athena Lowes. Athena’s mum, Tanja Gullestrup-Lowes, said the rabbit had managed to find a small hole in the fence and escaped while they were cleaning her hutch.
Tanja said, “When I broke the news to Athena she bursts into floods of tears. She thought Pearl would get hit by a car. We searched the whole neighbourhood for Pearl and put up posters hoping someone would find her.
“She was missing for five days and every day when Athena came back from school, she would ask if anyone had found her. When Battersea called, she was so relieved and happy to hear Pearl was safe!”
On Sunday of last week, Tanja was able to drive down to Battersea’s Brands Hatch centre in Kent – where Amy was working – to pick up the escape-artist bunny. Pearl and Athena have now been reunited and thankfully the hole in the fence has been discovered and firmly sealed.
Battersea’s Amy Baird had the following to say on reuniting the bunny with her rightful owners: “It was sad to have to give up Pearl, she’s such a lovely rabbit and I’d really fallen for her. But it’s great that she’s been reunited with her family and that it’s made Athena so happy. We see a lot of reunites at Battersea, but they’re all dog and cats – so this was a bit different!”
Battersea’s Centre Manager, Robert Young added, “So far this year we’ve helped to reunite 461 dogs, 307 cats and one rabbit with their owners. While I don’t think we’ll be changing our name to Battersea Dogs, Cats & Rabbits Home any time soon, it’s lovely that this bunny tale had a happy ending.
“On a more serious note, if people do have animals other than dogs and cats they need to rehome, we’d ask them to take them to a specialist charity of a wildlife centre. Unfortunately, we don’t have the facilities to keep them here at Battersea – and we might not always have a staff member with a spare hutch!”
It turns out that Pearl isn’t the only unfamiliar animal to come through Battersea’s doors. Their other unusual residents include a chinchilla called Charles who was found by a group of students on the grounds of Royal Holloway University. Battersea then handed Charles to a local wildlife charity where he is still used to this day as a guest in their educational talks.
Another exotic animal – a baby Muntjac deer – named Battersea Bill, was also bought into the shelter by a member of the public just over five years ago. Bill was eventually taken to a wildlife centre before he was released into the wild 6 months later.
Images courtesy of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.