Country roads can be lonely and the drive boring at times, but for Kate Harms, her Sunday evening drive on November 6, 2016 was far from boring.

She stopped her car when the lights spotted a little rabbit sitting in the middle of the road, showing no signs of fear.  Kate was able to catch him in only two tries. His lack of energy to escape told her something was wrong and seeing his terrible physical condition confirmed her fears.

With no local shelters reporting any rabbits missing, Kate’s next step was to take him to the Lehigh Valley Animal Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  There, Dr. Meyer provided more information on this little bundle of fur, who Kate named Checkers.

His ears were caked with scabs and pus and his tail bone was exposed.  He suffered scabs on his testicles and body as well.  A spot on his eye was also discovered.  Checkers was started on antibiotics, given fluids, deworming, ear cleaning and two rounds of eye drops.  His tail bone was a concern.  If it didn’t regrow skin and hair, it would have to be amputated.  The staff at Lehigh Valley Animal Hospital were amazed at Checkers’ mellow and cooperative disposition, when they knew his ears and scabs had to be causing him extreme pain.  It was a miracle he was able to survive the Hawks and Owls looking for easy prey out in the country.

As a dedicated consultant for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and an animal advocate, Kate reached out to ISF for help with Checkers’ veterinary expenses.  After reading the plight of this little rabbit, ISF gladly provided funds needed for Checkers to heal.

Kate then brought Checkers into her home as his foster while he recovered.  After only two visits, the doctor at Lehigh Valley Animal Hospital who examined Checkers was impressed with how well he was doing.  He had gained some weight and the vet was happy to find skin and hair had regrown on his little tail bone. However, the spot on his eye had turned to cataracts.

This docile, little rabbit adapted quickly to family life.  Kate’s two small children would cuddle with him and she’d watch with affection as Checkers sat with them on the floor while they built puzzles or read books.  Seeing the love for him in her children’s eyes, how could she not give him a forever place in their home…. despite her allergies?

It was Christmas Eve when Kate snuck Checkers into the nursing facility to visit her ninety year old grandmother. He had the honor of becoming her grandmother’s first and only “therapy rabbit.”  Although her grandmother’s mind often comes and goes, on this day, Kate could see her happiness as Checkers sat calmly in her grandmother’s lap while she pet him.

Later that evening as Kate was holding Checkers, she looked at him and said, “Thank you Checkers, I’m glad you came into my life.”  We can be certain Checkers feels the same way.

Written by Judy Paolercio

Edited by Bob Stone

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