Sometimes, the challenges we face in life can leave us feeling paralyzed — as if we’ll never be able to move forward from the pain of our situation.
But one tenacious pittie pup has pushed past that perception and is now sharing her story of success and recovery with fans across the world!
In April of 2020, then-13-week-old Bunny was rushed to the DeSoto Animal Clinic in Bradenton, FL with intense pain and muscle stiffness. Her owner wasn’t sure what had happened; they’d been completely surprised by Bunny’s symptoms.
Veterinarian Ali Thompson, on the other hand, knew exactly what was happening. “I immediately said, ‘That dog has tetanus,’” Thompson recalled in an interview with Sarasota Magazine.
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Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is an infectious disease caused by bacterial infection. It’s more common in hot, wet climates like Florida where Clostridium tetani can flourish, though it has been almost entirely extinguished due to vaccines. An infected person or animal begins to feel muscle spasms and contractions, followed by near-total paralysis that can be fatal if help is not administered. For Bunny, tetanus could have been a death sentence.
Bunny’s owner was considering euthanasia, given the high cost of treatment and its coin-toss odds of effectiveness. Thompson knew this would be one case that demanded everything she had to offer as a veterinarian and more.
With the owner’s permission, Thompson took Bunny into her home for round-the-clock care, feeding the struggling dog through a syringe and keeping her in a darkened room with an eye mask to help reduce the painful spasms.
For two weeks, Bunny’s condition required hourly, and sometimes minute-to-minute, care from Thompson and her husband. The couple had two other dogs as well and were stretched for time and resources. IV fluids, anti-seizure treatments, and antibiotics slowly worked their course through Bunny’s system as the days wore on.
“I think somewhere around day five I hit a really big low,” Thompson wrote on Instagram. “I wondered if I had made the right decision in doing this, to put her body (and even mine) through all of this heartache. I prayed hard. Everyday I prayed over this little thing.”
By the end of the first two weeks, Bunny was able to start physical therapy to relearn basic motions such as walking. “We would put cold compresses on her muscles, and then gently hoist her up with a towel and walk her around in the grass to get her muscle memory going,” Thompson told the outlet.
Three more weeks passed, with only slight progress. “Pretty early on I bought her two pink bandanas,” Thompson shared on social media. “She was paralyzed and couldn’t even lift her head but she had something adorning her neck to make her (AND me) remember that beneath the paralysis and ugly tremors she was a dog like every other one that I knew and loved. I bought her a little pink rabbit I constantly kept nuzzled into her immobile body. I would walk in and say, ‘hey, bunny baby’. This along with her adorable tetanus ears earned her the name, ‘Bunny.'”
Then, finally, Bunny began to move.
First, she would raise her head slightly when Thompson called her name. A few days later, she started wagged her tail at feeding times. Then, like a bolt of lightning, she was standing upright — walking, running, bounding through the closely-cropped grass in her backyard.
She had fully recovered!
The face that had once worn a pained grimace was now relaxed and full of light. The limbs she’d stretched until they ached were now carrying her on adventure after adventure. She’d gotten her life back.
Moved by Bunny’s persistence and love of life, Thompson began to share her story with the world on the Instagram page, @bravelikebunny.
“Our hearts are FULL. Thank you friends,” Thompson wrote on the page, which now has nearly 100,000 followers.
Now, Bunny shares her life with fans who cheer her on and take inspiration from her can-do spirit and fun-loving attitude. See more from Bunny here!
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