By Patricia Gordon
When a neighbour’s lost pet flyer appeared in my mailbox I did not hesitate to contact the family with an offer to search for their cat. Having cats myself I imagined the sinking feeling knowing a loved pet was out there scared and lost.
Although the days were still warm in late September, Calgary’s temperature dipped considerably in the evenings. I suggested to my neighbour that we look for her lost cat together. We called out O’Mally’s name hoping he would hear us. At one point my heart jumped as I went to investigate the shape of a small creature hiding under a fir tree next to the Canadian Tire Garden Centre. But then my heart sank; it was just a young jack rabbit I concluded. We did not find O’Mally that night. Still, I knew he couldn’t be far away. Intuition told me to return to the garden centre. I had a feeling O’Mally was there, so the next day I went back to the garden centre calling out O’Mally’s name through the fence railing expecting a grateful cat to come bounding towards me, but no cat appeared. As I walked around the fence I noticed a small rabbit, only now as this creature appeared to me in daylight I realized it wasn’t a young wild rabbit but rather someone’s pet. I tried to approach him but he fled. To my delight after 4 days O’Mally finally returned home.
Now that O’Mally was safe and sound, I couldn’t stop thinking about the young rabbit and worried he might get hit by a car. I checked Petlynx, Kijiji, and the local newspapers to search for reports of a lost rabbit, but there were none. I then realized that, as with so many pets, he had been abandoned. But how was I to catch a rabbit? That first week I researched ways on how to humanely capture a rabbit. I bought a fishing net, a hockey net, large towels, but no luck. He was too smart and quick. There were times when he got mad at me and pounded his tail. I knew I couldn’t push my rescue attempts too far; he didn’t understand I was trying to help him. I remembered a no-kill rescue group, Pound Rescue, had been involved in rounding up hundreds of rabbits in several communities in Calgary, Alberta, after irresponsible owners dumped their un-spayed/un-neutered domestic rabbits into the community.
* Photo of Dalton being cuddled by Dr. Lucie Levy prior to his neuter surgery is courtesy of Helping Paws Veterinary Services, Calgary, Alberta