On a hot August day a large white rabbit lay still, trapped in a neck snare. An animal protection officer saved his life when she carefully released him from the snare. Francie, the officer, brought the rabbit to the veterinarian where he received care. It was a surprise that this rabbit survived.
Francie brought the large, mellow bunny to River's Wish. We named him Francis, after the officer who saved his life. What struck us about Francis was his gentleness. After having been abused, he remained calm, quiet and trusting. Francis was a very large rabbit. Our friend Sue Brennan who operates Rabbit Haven (www.rabbithaven.org) in Gig Harbor, was over for a visit. Sue recognized right away that Francis was a Flemish Giant.
Within a month of welcoming Francis we rescued a one eyed agouti colored rabbit. We named her Jane, in honor of another favorite person of ours, Jane Goodall. Jane was rescued through some awful party talk on Facebook where people were supposedly feeding her beer. When Jane came to us her eye injury appeared somewhat old. Our veterinarian was able to tend to the injury at the time of her spay.
Jane and Francis took to one another right away. Rabbits are territorial, but sometimes it happens that there is an instant bond. Perhaps they saw a kinship with one another, having been terribly mistreated in the past. Or maybe they recognized a love that simply worked.
Francis and his companion Jane were two of our outreach rabbits who we would take to community events, teaching people about the importance of kindness, as only they could. Jane and Francis became our Star humane education 'Compassion For Animals' outreach rabbits. I took the pair to events where they were introduced and their stories were told. Young people who know what it feels like to be bullied could relate to what Jane and Francis had endured. Sometimes, just knowing that you aren't alone can be the best medicine. Sometimes it is the only thing that seems to heal.
During our visits I shared their story, but it would not be as powerful or engaging, if they were not there to give the stories themselves.
After several years of sharing our lives with Francis, we had to say goodbye. His old body was breaking down, the vet showed us x-rays of severe arthritis and his organs were shutting down. There was nothing more we could do.
Francis leaves a space in our hearts that is hard to explain. We were fortunate to have this amazing and brave rabbit in our lives for several years but it's so hard to have to let them go. Francis came into our lives from this awful experience and while we thought we were helping him, he gave us all the experience of love, bravery, dignity and hope.
Binky free my big boy. We love you forever. ♥