Shouldn’t Have Followed The White Rabbit

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 23, 2018

I work for a very small, in-state pet store chain. All of us employees are major animal lovers and have pet experience of some kind or another; it’s pretty much a requirement if you want to get a job there. We offer, among other things, nail clippings. Most of the animals we see come in are obviously loved and well-cared for, especially if their owners are regulars. However, that’s not always the case.

A customer came in with a year-old male rabbit of an unidentified breed for a nail clipping. Rabbits don’t come in too often, but things seem fairly normal. Things started to get weird — in hindsight, anyway — when the customer asked us for any vets in the area that took rabbits. Apparently, the rabbit hadn’t been eating for three months — later corrected to three weeks — and she felt that something was wrong. Oh, boy, she had no idea.

According to my coworker who clipped the rabbit, he yawned during the clipping, revealing some very overgrown incisors. How overgrown, you may ask? So overgrown that the lower teeth were starting to poke into the poor bunny’s nostrils. Worse, he had matted fur on his butt, consistent with sitting in a cage for long periods of time. Even worse than that, the nails themselves turned out to be nearly an inch long. And considering he hadn’t been eating for so long, it was a wonder that he was still alive and not emaciated. The rabbit was also a total sweetheart, further adding to the heartbreak.

To make matters worse, the customer left the store for nearly an hour. We practically ceased all operations looking for her and figuring out what to do with the rabbit, since, as time ticked by, we gave up hope of her ever coming back for it. Thankfully, the customer did come back; it turned out she just stopped by the dollar store nearby. Once we told her the condition of her rabbit, she was genuinely shocked, especially when we showed her his teeth. It turns out that not only was she not getting his teeth trimmed, but she only gave him paper towel tubes to chew on, because, “That’s what Google said,” hence the overgrown lower incisors. And yet she wondered why he wasn’t eating!

We finally managed to give her the address of the nearest 24-hour emergency vet clinic to get the rabbit some fluids and grind down his teeth. We also gave her tips on how to get rid of the mats safely and recommended getting the rabbit out of the cage more often. She thanked us deeply, paid for the clipping, and left with the rabbit in tow, hopefully to the vet. I sincerely hope the owner learned from this experience and will start taking better care of the sweet little thing, but at the same time just thinking about it still pisses me off. No matter how understanding the lady was, I will never get over how much she neglected that poor little rabbit.

Moral of the story? Some people really should not own pets, and those who do should do their research before getting it.

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