A true story about a rabbit and the hardest thing I had to do this year.
November 18, 2021
It was late, after midnight. I was heading home, just north of Beaverton on Hwy 12. The roads were slick from the constant drizzle of the day’s weather, and the sky was very dark.
The small creature that dashed out in front of my car was a blur of white, highlighted by the high beams. I saw it was a rabbit. And I saw her hesitate her run for that fraction of a second. She knew my car was going to hit her. And I could not stop it from happening.
I pulled over to the side of the road, overwhelmed by the ghastly feeling of having maimed or killed this rabbit. It just broke my heart.
I turned the car around and drove back. She was lying on the road. And just when I was near certain she was dead or mortally injured, she popped up onto her back legs, dazed and wobbly. I was shocked!
I got out of the car, walked right up to her and asked if she was ok. She just looked at me, blinking. Her buck teeth showing, her body swaying unsteadily.
There was a car coming. So I took off my heavy gray cardigan and threw it on top of her, scooping her up. She went limp in my arms. I feared I had scared her to death. I laid her in the front seat and drove the fifteen minutes home. There was no sound or move made underneath my sweater.
When I arrived home, I grabbed a shovel and dug a hole in the backyard. It just made sense since she hadn’t moved. Then I went back to the car to get her. I was paralyzed. I was hit with the hardest thing that I would have to do all year, and that was to lift a tiny rabbit wrapped in a sweater up into my arms. I was worried that I would hurt her a second time.
So I mustered up the courage, picked her up and carried the limp body to the side of the hole where I gently set her down. I unwrapped part of the sweater, and there I saw two eyes blinking at me. I was shocked! Happily shocked.
I lined a dog crate with an old comfy jacket, placed her and the sweater inside with some food. It was a warmish night, so I put the crate in the tool shed. Leaving her with comforting words of hope and health.
The next morning, I checked on her. She was alive. Breathing rapidly but alive. I ran inside and called Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge in Pefferlaw. They told me to bring her in right away. And so I did. They took her immediately and told me to email them if I wanted to know how she was doing. Later, I sent them an email with the biggest “thank you!” and my case number.
November 21, 2021
I received an email back from Gail, “Your rabbit is still with us but is struggling with head and spinal trauma.”
What?! I was so elated by this email. Imagine! This rabbit was still hanging in there! She was being treated, and with hope, she would respond.
And so I hoped. I kept thinking about this little rabbit as the days progressed, and sure enough, about nine days later, Shades of Hope called and asked if I would like to release her back into the wild, where I found her. Yes!
December 1, 2021
I picked her up and released her just off of Concession 8. At first, she wouldn’t leave the box. I gently tipped the box over, and she just laid there. I called Shades of Hope, and they said to pick her up and move her somewhere else. So I did that, she kicked, I put her down and off she hopped into the woods.
I cannot tell you how magical that experience was. And it taught me something about myself. That even during the most difficult times, I still lean towards hope. There is always a sliver.
I was asked if I had named the rabbit. I said no. But in the ensuing days, I’ve come to know her as Hope.
Shades of Hope accepts donations.