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A Leg for Larry
The frost lay on the tips of dewy grass, And the birds chirped in the clear baby blue sky. The air was moist and damp and the condensation grew on the windows of the Large houses. The houses in the neighbourhood where all mostly conjoined, like paper dolls holding hands apart from the odd one or two that must have had an argument about who was prettier, so the odd gap appeared every now and then.
Most of the houses in the road owned a dog and a cat, maybe the occasional rabbit or guinea - pig, but no one had as many animals as this little girl. Her hair was a pale dry auburn and freckles climbed like vines of ivy up her cheeks. With her bright blue eyes and perfectly curved shaded eyebrows she had the most innocent face on earth. Her name was Lenlei. She lived in a normal house just like all the others with her mum, dad and her little brother William. Since Lenlei was 15 and William was 13 having two teens in the house meant a lot of arguing and fighting. So Lenlei found her own way of relieving her stress. She would go outside and make her way down to the bottom end of the garden, and there it was. Her tranquil, stress free ,friendly zone where you could say anything, do anything and no one would ever judge you. It was an aviary, a huge enclosure, that was the home to 4 big, fluffy tame rabbits, 5 silky, energetic, squeaky guinea – pigs and 2 chatty little chickens, she also had 2 dogs who spent most of their time in with the other animals, willingly, but they seemed to all enjoy each others company . It was so peaceful and quiet, it allowed hours of thinking time.
It was early in the morning, so most people were still fast asleep living life in their ideal dream world. But not Lenlei. She was wide awake, she always was. As a child she never slept all the way through the night. Her father use to say it was because as a baby he use to wake her up at about 3am every morning before he went to work just to see her look at him with that cheeky baby smile that would keep him going through out the day. It was now just a nasty habit that meant she got up at about 6am everyday and woke the rest of the house up in the process.
Lenlei was downstairs on her own, sat on the brown stretched leather couch. Curled up with her legs under her with a soft pink furry fleece blanket only just covering the tips of her cold toes. The TV was on quietly in the background on the music channel that she had constantly been flicking through the whole morning trying to find that one song she couldn't remember the name of. It was now nearly 7am and everyone was still in bed. As she had been sat there for an hour now the loneliness grew on her. She softly opened the living room door as not to wake her parents and brother up and made her way through the cold kitchen floor, she tippy – toed through it as the laminated wood sent shivers through her feet. She reached the shoe rack and found her old worn pair of slippers and balanced herself up against the wall to support herself as she put them on.
She slowly opened the back door by twisting the key to her left once and then quickly throwing it back to the right; the door had lost its will to open properly years ago after her father had an argument with the bank on the phone and he slammed the door behind him making it tighten at the hinges as if it where holding on for dear life.
As the morning sun shone in to her eyes she squinted and raised her right hand in front of her face. She carefully stepped down on to the dry concrete below and made her way down to the aviary to check on her many, many pets. As the dogs still inside the house realised the back door was now open the bounded their way out to follow her. Zoey the youngest who was just a puppy pushed her way past Milly who was not so young and just wanted to get some fresh air, not play. Lenlei was now at the aviary and was now in the process of opening another tricky door. The aviary was a few years old and the winter had been harsh to its structure making the door stiff, this then meant you had to kick it as hard as you could at the bottom of the door and push just as hard at the top with your hands. As she kicked away at the door the animals all charged towards the door where she was still fighting her way in. The door suddenly gave way and swung open, making her bounce back in her path as not to be hit by the door. As she lifted her feet over the small step that held the animals back the dogs waited patiently behind her. Inside the aviary there were many small stalls and chairs to sit and relax on. Lenlei picked the cleanest and let herself fall back into it. The dogs came in after her and took their places next to her. Then overcame the rabbits, who obviously tamer than the guinea – pigs. Fifi, who was a small chubby little rabbit with tiger like stripes and a gingery background stood closely to her rabbit boyfriend Pickles who was slightly bigger than Fifi and a lot tamer with a white background and a variety of different shades of brown splodges around his face and back. And cowering behind them both waddled in the guinea – pigs first Bernadette who was straight white furred with a black square over her ears and a slight freckling of ginger patchs on her cheeks. Next to her came penny who had wirey thin white hair with ginger patches over her back and on her feet. Then slightly behind her came Leonard and Amy who where just as nervy as each other both where tri-coloured guinea -pigs with a variety of blacks, browns, whites and gingers. As they nervously made their way over the squeaks muttered under their breaths and echoed through the enclosure. Out from the small gap in the wall that made the entrance to the indoor part of the aviary stamped the two black chickens one with a flat head shape; that's scrambled, and then Sunday with the large white chequered top notch on her head. Chirping as they slowly came forward, like a little child trying to get there own way by making there eyes go watery and big and innocently saying in the most angelic voice 'but, I love you.'
Lenlei gently held out her right hand and poured the dry veg like rabbit treats onto it. She carefully let her hand drop down till it was in front of their noses. As they all took a soft sniff at what they where being offered,Fifi suddenly made a dash for the gap in the wall. This was strange behaviour for such a tame rabbit.
Lenlei dropped the food in her hand onto the straw below and carefully stepped round the rest of the animals, like walking through a maze when your a giant. As she again had to kick the door and push at the same time to open it from the inside, this time she really did slip on a piece of soggy straw and made a small trip, not so much that she fell on her face but enough to give her that tiny little heart attck when you think your going to fall. She gained her balance and proceeded to enter the shed. The inside of the shed was where the gap led to and was made into a second half of the aviary.
When Lenlei got inside the shed she peered round the sharp corner that allowed her to see what Fifi was doing. Since Fifi was in with a male rabbit (pickles) the first thing that came to mind was 'she’s had babies'
it was hard to see what was going on as the shed was a dark, dusty place and cobwebs covered her sight.
Lenlei effortlessly lifted her right leg over the top of the fence enclosing the animals and stepped inside. She carefully stepped on the straw below, making sure not to stand on anyone. She reached the corner where Fifi was sat. Lenlei bent down to crouch over the top of her and gently slid her hand under Fifi' tummy to make her jump out the way.
The straw below where she had been perched was warm and fluffed out like a pillow. Baby rabbits where meant to be left with no human touch for the first 3-4 days. Since Fifi' behaviour had been off for the last few days, Lenlei decided that it would probably be fine to take a quick look.
Lenlei picked up some nearby straw and massaged it into her hands to get the human smells off of them. She carefully picked apart the warm straw where Fifi was. As she grew deeper into the straw, it became warmer and warmer. Finally she reached the flat surface below. Her heart had picked up the pace in excitement. It was so dark down the hole she had made that she could not see anything down there. She slowly put her hand down the nest and stroked the furry, warm balls of fluff below. Her bottom lip dropped. She ran out as quickly as she could and back into the house and ran straight to the draw where the torch was kept. She grabbed it forcefully and ran straight back out to the shed. This time new exactly where she was meant to be looking and went exactly there. She turned on the torch and aimed it down the burrow. There they where. One perfectly black, two brown and white , and two plain brown. All squirming around trying to escape the bright light they had never seen before. 'their all so small' she thought. As she made small movements with the torch making sure she had spotted all of them, The light hovered over what obviously was the runt of the litter. These were always her favourite. It usually meant they needed a lot more help and love, and that meant more holding and cuddling.
She started to feel a weird cramping sensation in the bottom of her stomach. As she leaned forward to get a closer look, it was now easy to tell they where about 3 days old and could be held. She reached in to pick up the runt. Only now to realise something was obviously wrong. The runt was warm but colder than the others and his small brittle spine showed through his fur. He had the smallest of bald patches on the crown of his head. She lowered her hand under his thin stomach and went to pull him out of the nest. As she did she could feel something holding him back in. like he was some how connected to the floor and was being dragged back by it. It all became rather scary, like something in a horror movie where the floor comes alive and drags people through it back to what ever hell hold it came from. She shone the torch under the runt's bottom to see what was going on. Strangely the little runt was some how connected to the straw he was born in. like he had formed in to it. She tried gently pulling on the straw to see if it was just hooked around his foot, but no. The straw was in a way part of him!
As the other babies in the nest struggled to understand what was going on above they began to fidget and crawl around. Lenlei gently lowered him back into the nest and quickly went back in doors to get her mum.
Luckily she was now awake and sat on the sofa downstairs, Lenlei ran in to her saying
“ mum, Fifi' had babies but one of them has something wrong with it, can you come and have a look.”
“ oh yep I’ll take a look” she said calmly.
They made their way back outside and walked into the shed. “if you bring him out and I’ll have a look” her mum said.
“i can't” Lenlei exclaimed
“why not?” which was a pretty good question.
“he's connected to the straw I can't move him, he's stuck” she said trying not to sound insane.
“ oh, umm ok I’ll go in” she said sounding very scared about what was going on, as if there was nothing really in there except for a pie that was going to land in her face and I was just luring her in to the trap.
Her mum made her way in to the shed and went to get the baby rabbit. Once she got in their she finally understood what Lenlei was talking about. The rabbit was really joined to the straw.
“whats that smell in here?” her mum shouted in shock.
“ I cant get him out Lenlei, we might just have to leave him, sorry” she said softly in a reasuring voice.
“but mum, he can't reach Fifi to feed, he'll just die” which was exactly what her mum meant by 'leave him' but she just wanted her to feel guilty for even thinking she could leave an innocent animal to die.
“Lenlei, Fifi will just reject him anyway he has been left for too long, he'll probably be gone in an hour, just leave him, there’s nothing we can do.” she said as if she was trying to care and put it in the nicest way she possibly could but how ever she put it Lenlei would still get upset.
“im not leaving him, thats not right, i'll do it myself” she shouted with every right.
“fine but I wont get involved” she said wrongly. And stormed back in the house.
Lenlei followed her, but made sure she kept her distance as to not seem as if she was trying to apologise, which she wasn't, she had no reason to. She went to the brush and comb draw where the scissors where kept and took them back outside to where the runt was still waiting for help. Carefully to avoid hurting him even more or hurting the others in the litter she took her time to cut out the baby rabbit that had been tangled in the heap of straw and fur for about the last 3 days. Not the best way to start life really. She made sure to cut about 10cm away from the runt himself to avoid cutting him. Once she had made a full circle she was able to pull him out, still attached to the straw but was now able to be taken out of the shed and into the garden where she could see him better in day light. She slowly took him out and laid him on the garden table that was in the perfect place for the sun to hit him. The runt lay there so still as if he knew Lenlei was there to help and accepted anything she had to do to free him. Lenlei pulled round a chair and got down to buissness. She started by carefully finding the pieces of straw that where able to just be pulled away with no cutting. She spent about 20 minutes doing this and was still set on saving his life. By now he was still attached to a rather big lump of straw and fur. All of which would have to be cut around his fragile body.
Lenlei got out the scissors and began to cut away the mess his was bonded to. It was hard work. Trying her best not to cut the runt but get close enough to him to untangle him. By this time it was clear to see where there straw was tangled and what it was attached to. It was to his left foot. Which by now was also clear that the straw had restricted his foot so much, no blood could get to it so his foot had shrunk into a small scab like thing that dangled of his leg. You could only just make out where his claws would have been if they had time to form.
The straw was now mostly gone and the last few remains of it where just tangled around the top of his foot by the joint of his ankle. Lenlei decided to leave it there as it would then allow his dead foot to eventually fall of. It was hard to tell if the runt was in any pain. Of course I can imagine maybe some discomfort but he had pretty much been born like it so he wouldn't have known any different.
Lenlei went to return the baby back to Fifi. She put him back in the nest expecting him to just lye there like he was before. But no surprisingly he became rather active and looked up at Lenlei knowing she had saved him.
Fifi came back in and went back to her nest realising that something had changed she panicked, and shooed Lenlei away. She left calmly as not to upset her and closed the door behind her. Lenlei made her way back inside and went back in to the living room where her mum and Dad where now sat.
She said nothing. Made no sound as to set her mum off at her.
After sitting there in silence for about half an hour, she thought now was probably a good time to check on the runt and make sure he got back to Fifi ok. She also wanted to leave as the tension was building in the room, even though her father hadn't been there he could obviously tell that an argument had occurred earlier.
Lenlei again for about the tenth time today made her way outside. She again climbed in to the shed to look at the litter of babies. As she climbed in she noticed that the runt was out of the nest on the other side of the shed, no way would he have been able to get there on his own. Fifi marched in and saw that Lenlei had hold of the runt. She put him back down on the floor and let Fifi smell him. As Fifi built her self up to claw at him Lenlei quickly moved him away from her. There he was, an innocent baby who had no one and nothing, even his own mother had tried to kill him before and she refused to let her do it again. She took the baby indoors and said to her mum “look Fifi won't accept him back in to the litter she attacked him so I’ll feed him and care for him.” she said strongly.
“look Lenlei, I know you want to help but he wont make it, and I don’t want to see you upset later on after you try so hard to help. Just let him go, put him back with Fifi and let her do what she thinks is right” her mum said without looking Lenlei in the eyes.
“no, I don't care what you say, I put him back with Fifi he's dead at least with me he has a chance.”
she said with a tear falling down her cheek. And with that she walked out the room.
Lenlei went upstairs and in to her bedroom where there as a small plastic box big enough to fit the runt in. She laid him on her bed while she made it warm and cosy for him. She lined the box with blankets and a small pillow, she also gave him a small teddy to comfort him. She. picked him back up and put him in the box, where immediately he fell asleep. She took the box back downstairs and left it on the kitchen side next to where she was making him a hot water bottle. Once made she took him back to her bedroom and cleared a space for him on top of the chest of drawers. She laid the hot water bottle up against the box and let him sleep.
After shouting into her mum “im going out!” as loudly as she could to annoy her she found her purse and walked out of the house.
Down the road from where they lived was the vets. She walked in confidently, saying to herself in her mind 'i can do this!' She opened the vets doors and went over to the counter.
“hello how can I help you” said a friendly voice.
“hi I have a baby rabbit who im hand rearing, and I need some kind of milk”
“ok, we have kitten milk that will work the same, it come with the bottle as well, and its £10”
“that’s great, thanks” she said relaxingly
she handed over the money and took the food from the counter. On her way home she felt like she was a new person, like she had done something that day that truly mattered, maybe not to everyone but saving a life isn't something you come across everyday.
She got back home and said nothing to no one. Just went straight to her bedroom and prepared the milk for the new member of the family.
She whisked the formula and heated it as instructed. As she took out the rabbit his eyes slowly opened as if he knew food was ready. She held him softly in her hand and with the other hand tilted the teat in to his mouth. He gulped as if he had never eaten in his life. Managing to get through about 1cm of milk was probably very good for such a small baby, about the size of your index finger. She carefully patted him on the back and massaged his tummy to make him go to the toilet. Once done he sat in her warm motherly hands and fell asleep, knowing he was now safe.
Larry grew bigger everyday and fought through everything under the sun. One day his dead foot just fell off and he was hopping around like a four legged rabbit. It took him a while to learn how to balance himself and cleaning himself was difficult, Lenlei use to have to give him the occasional bath and his hair was combed everyday as he use to fall over when he tried to clean it himself.
Eventually he learnt how to help himself, he moved onto solid foods and water instead of milk. He grew out of his box very quickly and Lenlei had to buy him a huge indoor cage.
He would play on the grass and jump and do everything every normal rabbit should. No one would ever know he had three legs.
Lenlei' mum realised it was wrong to ever doubt her. Eventually they both apologised and Larry became a big member of the family.
Lenlei named him Larry. And he was defiantly living the life of Larry.
A Leg For Larry
This is based on a true story
about a 15 year old girl who
raised a baby rabbit from one week old.
Larry lost his leg at 3 days old
and no one believes he will survive
but what no one knows is that
Larry is a fighter!
Where’s Larry Now...
Larry is now doing well, he still lives with me (Emily)
and we have an amazing time together,
as he was raised by me from one week old he is incredibly tame,
he loves everyone!
He is defiantly living the life of Larry,
he has photo shoots, eats only the best and has play dates with his sister
who lives down the road.
He is defiantly a spoilt bunny!