Timmy has become a very special sanctuary bunny since arriving here a few short months ago. His story of determination has touched the hearts of many among the rabbit rescue world, so we decided Timmy deserved a web page of his own.
Timmy came into our lives on the 11th July 2009. We had been contacted the week before by a lady who works in a vet’s surgery who asked us if we could take in an elderly bunny who was being put to sleep because his owner couldn’t find a new home for him. We were told that Timmy was incontinent and arthritic and occasionally needed to be bathed underneath. This was fine with us as we do this for many of our special needs bunnies, but nothing prepared us for the condition Timmy was in when he arrived at our sanctuary. He was in such an appalling state that we smelt him before we saw him; we can’t describe the pungent smell coming from his carry box. Before long our whole house smelt so badly we had to keep the doors and windows open. When I lifted him from his carrier to his waiting cage I put my hand underneath and felt the awful slimy wetness that was causing the stench. I was scared to turn him over and look. Underneath he was dripping with urine and covered in faeces. It had been left so long his skin had lost is fur and was severely burnt by the urine. His skin was so hot you could have fried an egg on it; they don’t call it urine burn for nothing. Timmy was in so much pain that he could hardly use his back legs and was unable to sit or lie down. All he could do was stand and constantly transfer the weight from one back leg to another. The first thing we did was give him pain relief and a thorough bath with hibiscrub, it was then we could see how bad the situation was. We have had some bunnies come in who were very sore underneath in the past but nothing as bad as this. It was the most shocking case of urine burn and neglect we had seen. So much of his fur fell out while we bathed him and we could see how red and inflamed his skin was. We covered him in Sudocream and let him rest. Timmy was such a good boy, despite his old age and long journey he let us care for him as best we could without any fuss.
Timmy when he first came through the door After his first bath
This is the best Timmy could relax because of the pain
Part of the problem was that Timmy was constantly leaking urine but it wasn’t because he was permanently incontinent. His urine wasn’t normal it was thick, almost like toothpaste with sand like grains in it and brown in colour. He had a terrible bladder sludge problem. The urine was so thick he was unable to urinate properly due to the pain it caused him so his bladder was constantly full and overflowing onto his legs. For a few days we had to help Timmy empty his bladder and as his urine was full of tiny black grains it was extremely painful for him to pass. It is very likely that the sludge had built up due to his poor diet. He had been feed unlimited pellets with no veg for over 2 years; this is a diet far too high in calcium. It was also causing him to produce excess caecotrophs which were getting stuck to his legs as well, making his problem worse. A trip to the vets confirmed that Timmy also had a urinary tract infection as there were traces of blood in his urine, so he was put on antibiotics. What followed were weeks of constant bathing and the applying of creams to help his painful legs, along with a gradual change in diet to help with the sludge.
Look at the dramatic improvement in 10 Days after arrival
Timmy’s condition in just a few days.
Timmy’s legs were also severely arthritic, so much so that one leg was locked in place and unable to move. The pain relief also helped with this, along with a gentle build up of exercise. Timmy is a little fighter and started to make a dramatic recovery. He started to run around and enjoy life again. His legs became more mobile, the fur started to grow back underneath him and his urine returned to normal. We were all astounded by his miraculous improvements, including our vets. Timmy would run round the garden and house at full speed, thumping his back legs with great delight. He enjoyed his new diet of veg and just a few pellets and soon learnt that veg was kept in the fridge. What he didn’t work out was that every time the fridge door opened it didn’t necessarily mean it was to get him some food!
Out exploring in the garden
It was during this time that Timmy started to display his true personality, and it became obvious very quickly that Timmy was no ordinary bunny. For one thing he didn’t know he was a rabbit. I still haven’t worked out if he thinks he is a little puppy or a small child! Either way, he became very bonded to me, wanting to follow me everywhere I went. When I put him out in the large garden run first thing in the morning so he could enjoy the sunshine he would throw himself out of it so he could follow me around as I did medication for the other garden bunnies! It ended up with me having to join him in the run with my breakfast just to stop him hurting himself.
I must have looked such a sight to the neighbours as I sat in the run in my fleecy pyjamas (due to Timmy nipping if he didn’t get enough attention!) with a cereal bowl in one hand and a bunny on my lap.
Myself and Timmy at breakfast time
Even around the house Timmy followed me everywhere I went. All he wanted was cuddles. The only problem was that Timmy felt so well he forgot his body was still 8 years old. I would often have to pick him up after he had tried to follow me up the stairs and fallen, or tried to jump the baby gate to reach me in the kitchen, but nothing fazed Timmy. In fact he became so well that we even started bonding him to another pair of house bunnies. They got on extremely well from the start and Timmy adored being able to play with some new bunny friends.
Life was going well for Timmy at last and it seemed like he had really turned a corner when disaster struck. Timmy was tearing around at speed when he took a bad tumble. We noticed straight away that he couldn’t move his back end so he was rushed straight to the vets. X-rays revealed that unfortunately Timmy has broken his pelvis. We were completely devastated as Timmy had made such wonderful progress, but he had come this far so we decided to give him every chance. He was put on cage rest for, initially for 3 weeks, but Timmy being Timmy wasn’t going to stand for that. So each evening he came out on the sofa on a padded bed for some cuddles from me and attention from “Nurse Eddie”
Timmy on cage rest Getting attention from “Nurse Eddie”
Timmy is such a fighter and such a determined bunny that he was back on his feet again in no time. He wasn’t quite as lively as before and we made the decision not to continue with his bonding, but all things considering he made great progress. He was soon back to his usual tricks and we turned in to nervous wrecks as we watched him throw himself from the sofa, incorporating a forward roll and other similar acrobatics!
For Timmy, life was great again, but we had more concerns about his health. He was loosing weight, and drinking and weeing much more than normal. So it was another trip to the vets, this time for blood tests. This is normally a fairly straight forward procedure in bunnies, but this wasn’t a bunny this was Timmy. While the vet attempted to take the blood Timmy did one of his magnificent leaps and impaled himself on the needle. No sample was obtained but we at least all thought Timmy was OK. However on reaching home, Timmy had collapsed and was struggling for breath. We really thought his time was up, so back we raced to the vets where he ended up being admitted for 2 days. After this we decided to leave the tests for a few weeks to give Timmy, us and the vet some time to recover.
Timmy’s antics were starting to become well known on the internet and he began to gain quite a fan base. Timmy became a popular sponsor bunny and there were repeated requests for updates on his progress. It was soon after that Timmy came to be known as Super Timmy! One day I posted a picture online of Timmy in a little hand made dog coat. He likes his routine and despite the weather being colder demanded to be let out for his morning stroll in the garden. I became concerned about the temperature change especially because of his deteriorating condition, so had the idea to put a little dog coat on him that I had stored at the back of the cupboard. It fitted him perfectly and Timmy loved wearing it. Everyone loved Timmy’s new coat!
Because of Timmy’s amazing spirit and all the hurdles he had over come in his life, there was a call for me to make Timmy another coat but in the colours of Superman! So out came the knitting needles and a short while later “Super Timmy” was born.
Timmy started to enjoy life as a super hero, but at the same time his breathing had never fully recovered and he was still loosing weight, as well as becoming much less active. We decided to bite the bullet and went back to the vets to attempt to get a blood sample again. This time however, he was given an anaesthetic as he also needed an x-ray on his lungs and a biopsy from a lump that had developed on the side of his head. The results weren’t good, although we still do not know exactly what is wrong with Timmy. X-rays showed that his lungs are damaged but we don’t know why, it could be a build up of blood clots from one of his many falls. But more surprisingly it showed that he has broken ribs! We can not tell how old this injury is but the ribs have made no attempt to heal themselves which is also very strange. The blood test results showed that Timmy’s liver and bile duct are not working properly but again we do not know why, but this could well be the reason he is loosing weight. Timmy needs to go back in a few weeks to have his blood tested again and possibly a liver scan. Neither we nor the vets are looking forward to this. At our surgery Timmy has earned the nickname “the original suicide bunny”!
Timmy is an elderly bunny with a lot of health problems and we do not know how much time we have left together, but one thing is certain we will not waste a single minute of it. Timmy is still happy and enjoying life, he prefers more cuddles now but still does the odd kamikaze jump from the sofa and loves his morning stroll in the garden in his “cape”.
On December the 16th 2009 we made the very difficult decision to help Timmy to Rainbow Bridge. He was happy and lively right up until that day, but we knew that morning that something was wrong. When he was given his breakfast he was reluctant to eat and he continually thumped his back leg. He was bloated and in great pain, but he was still asking for head rubs and cuddles. We gave Timmy some extra medication and lots of cuddles, and waited to see if there was any improvement. By lunchtime the pain was worse and he lost the use of one of his back legs so we knew we had to help him the only way we could. We had our last cuddles, and he was so happy and content in my arms. When I put him in the carry box he didn't want to go and was frantically licking my hands, it is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Steve was with him to the very end, and at just after 2pm Timmy did a final sigh as he began his journey to the bridge.
The post mortem revealed that Timmy's bloating was due to nerve damage in his bladder, he was unable to empty it so it had grown to the size of a large apple. His liver was enlarged and his kidneys damaged. His lungs were severely damaged by previous infections. One lung was not working at all, the other was severely compromised, the vet couldn't believe he was still able to stand let alone run about!
Timmy's ashes are now back with us and he will have his own special place in the garden. Our house is so empty without our special boy tearing around and I don't think we will ever stop missing him. But his pain is over now and hopefully we have given him plenty of happy memories to take with him to Rainbow Bridge.
While running our sanctuary we have come across many amazing bunny characters, but Timmy’s resilience and zest for life is truly something else. He will always be our one and only Super Timmy.
2000 - 2009
To Read the Tributes we received for Timmy (Click Here)
Timmy Merchandise is available (Click Here)
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