After Jasper the bunny jumped off a chair and fractured his spine at 10 months old, he lost the ability to use his back legs and became paralyzed. His family thought he wasn’t going to live to see his first birthday but he was lucky to have April Overholser as his owner. Some veterinarians felt it would have been appropriate to put him down but April decided to take him home and give him the best life she could. Although the bunny originally belonged to April’s 11-year-old daughter, April took the reins in caring for Jasper. A paralyzed bunny is no easy feat, requiring a lot of special care and attention, including butt baths, leg massages and medication. His excrement soiled his fur and irritated his skin – even causing his fluffy tail to fall off.
April, who happens to be a nurse, carried him around the house in a box filled with comfy towels and washed his bottom every time he went to the bathroom so that he stayed clean and dry. “You have a big decision to make when you have an animal that becomes disabled,” said April. “You really have to decide am I all in on this? You need to care for them and give them a good life.”
Although he still can’t stand, Jasper eventually got some feeling back in his legs with the help of K-Laser treatments and began to happily scoot around April’s carpeted house a bit on his own. When the Long Island Rabbit Rescue came across another special needs bunny named Lola, who was abandoned in a park, they turned to April to see if she was interested in adopting her.
Lola, at 2 years old, was considered an anti-social bunny who tended to growl at people and didn’t like to be touched. “She was one of the rabbits that Long Island Rabbit pretty much figured they would never adopt out because she was just very difficult,” said April. “I was told she was ‘emotionally broken.’ They were shocked that I was able to socialize her.”
Lola immediately befriended Jasper and the two bunnies formed a bond. “They took to each other and fell in bunny love,” said April. “They have a wonderful relationship. They’re very caring for each other. They snuggle up together. He’s just happy to snuggle by her.”
Lola did her part to help out in her new home, always attempting to groom Jasper and help him reach those pesky spots he couldn’t clean himself. Jasper’s legs even grew stronger from following his new girlfriend around the house. Then, Lola developed chronic bronchitis and began to require help herself, including daily medications, Penicillin shots and breathing treatments. That’s when Jasper stepped up to the plate to return the favor. “She used to groom Jasper quite a bit but now he sees that she’s struggling and I see him trying to groom her, comfort her,” said April. “I know their bond is very important and it’s part of their motivation to keep living and keep trying and not give up.”