Julian the rabbit

Entered our care: 4th April 2020

Left for new home: 20th June 2020

Time in our care: 11 weeks (77 days)

Entry reason:

Via RSPCA regional networking team. Signed over by owner. Was living with a guinea pig. Owner unable to care for them. SH went to collect from a private boarding establishment in Hull due to regional drivers being furloughed.

Highlights of health records (NB during lockdown and restricted access to veterinary care):

04/04/2020 Initial entry health check by staff. PBE reported very timid. Overgrown claws clipped. Hiding in box, feed in situ.

08/04/2020 General health check at vets and VHD2 vaccination. Teeth fine. Only one testicle descended. Weight 1.94kg.

28/04/2020. Neutered: abdominal incision due to one testicle not descended.

15/05/2020 Now more confident it has become evident that he is unstable on his back legs. He has +++ muscle mass deficit on his hips and lower spine. GHC NAD, weight up. Evidence of mites around shoulders possibly because he is unable to groom himself. Booked in for xray Tuesday. Panomec injection given.

19/05/2020 Xray revealed he has an abnormal spine over his chest. It is a birth defect. Julian will always have an odd posture and walk but does not prohibit him living a good quality life. He may get arthritis in later life and require anti-inflammatories.

06/06/2020 Shoulder blades still dandruffy but much improved after grooming. Will ensure groomed daily to aid him. Any future adopter will need to groom him daily.

Julian’s story by branch manager Susie

Julian being collected

These pictures were taken the day I collected Julian from a private boarding establishment in Hull. The RSPCA had deemed it essential to continue networking animals to ensure they received the best care, but with the regional drivers furloughed I volunteered to go and collect Julian. (He is a Dutch rabbit and everyone knows that they are my achilles heel, so of course I was going to go and collect him!)

It was the weirdest journey I think I will ever make. It was a Saturday, less than two weeks after the lockdown had been announced. I was on the M62 driving towards Leeds and there was mainly just a smattering of commercial vehicles on the road and me, driving along proudly displaying our RSPCA logo on the van. What domestic vehicles there were you couldn’t help but eye with suspicion. Once passed Leeds there were no vehicles on the road and it was eerie. I rubbed my eyes when I saw the first lot of deer grazing near the motorway verge. I was over tired and thought I was seeing things, so I cranked up the radio and blasted some cold air on my face, only to find even more deer grazing and (thankfully) signs warning of deer. I wasn’t hallucinating after all.

Little was known about Julian’s history, and all I learnt on collection was that he was nervous. Well of course that just made me fall for him straight away. We set off back to Salford and when I arrived at the centre I proudly introduced everyone to my new ‘boyfriend’. Within a matter of days the Julian Fan Club was born and I was the president.

Julian was frightened of everything. For the first few days he wouldn’t move from his box. We had to push food into him to make sure he ate and didn’t go into gut stasis. He just sat in his box in his own urine he was so scared. Of course this just made us love him even more and we all became besotted by him.

As the days went on Julian became more brave and began to start pottering out. Initially we thought his tentative walking was through nerves, or maybe related to the loss of muscle tone on his hips, as a result of long term confinement (which isn’t an unusual presentation for the rabbits we admit). He was on the cusp of being adopted when his mobility really struck us as being more than just down to muscle wastage. An xray showed that the reason for Julian’s tentative movement was that he was born with an abnormal spine that covered his rib cage! Now we knew what was wrong we just had to set about finding the right home for him.

Tempting Julian with tasty treats

Julian’s website profile

Julian is the love of our lives and when he leaves for his forever home there are going to be many tears. We are looking for a dedicated Dutch bunny fanatic to adopt our very special boy as a house bunny.

Julian can spend hours being stroked and loves it when you sit on the floor with him. He snuggles up and nods off as you give him head strokes. He cannot get enough attention and just loves being with people. He will often rest his head on your lap and melt into you. We have a bit of a Julian Fan Club going on at the centre and we are all so pleased at how he has transformed and chosen to trust us all so much.

Julian is a really gentle boy who needs a quiet home with adults only. He may be able to be paired with a gentle, loving female but ultimately we want someone who is home a lot and can give him the attention he desires.

It took a few weeks to find the right home for Julian. He wasn’t short of offers but we needed to find someone who appreciated his special needs and could provide for them.

Our volunteers share why they loved Julian

Love Julian’s story. From a sign telling us to feed him under his stool when he first arrived to being greeted at his door looking for head rubs and fussing. He really epitomises what the centre, staff and volunteers are all about. A darling boy who truly deserves his happily ever after. Donna

Julian is the sweetest little bun, I loved sitting there giving him head rubs for ages. It was definitely great to see him become such a confident little boy. Shannon

Julian certainly made an imprint on my heart. On the first day going and sitting on the floor and feeding him in the box, just sitting quietly with him, 3 visits later and he took food from my hand, although still in his box. Gradually he started to pop his head out for his teatime feeds and then from this I would sit with him and put food on my lap. Seeing the improvement in trusting us was amazing. However, the uncertainty about his issues with walking was a concern and when we finally got the answer being down to a congenital condition and that he should be fine was a great relief. Loved giving him his daily groom and miss seeing his handsome face at the door. He is a very special bunny and so glad he found his forever home. Sharon

Where are they now?

Julian only left us on 20th June but we dropped his adopters and email and asked them how life with Julian is, they replied:

“Absolutely fantastic, he’s so lovely! We’re very lucky. Julian settled in within the first few hours, he is now king of the whole living room! He’s always happy eating his hay or having a stroke and can sit with you for hours. He also loves to show us his cheeky side and follow us around and even more so when he can smell a bit of basil! We’re very lucky to have him!’