Article - Office of College Advancement

Near-accident a lucky break for injured Fremont bunny

By Matthew Artz.

Friday, May 8, 2009—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area: The Argus.

Two females hold a rabbit.Khushboo Chabria and Tseten Dolkar found a hurt rabbit in south Fremont, Calif., photographed on Tuesday, May 5, 2009, and have reached out to their fellow students at Ohlone College to raise money for surgery to help the bunny. —Aric Crabb/Staff.

Fremont—It's hard not to feel for Captain Thumper Qui.

Her body fur is rough and stained, her cheek fur is shaved and there are stitches where her left eye used to be.

But Thumper might just be the luckiest rabbit on the face of the Earth.

The end of the road for her likely would have been on a dead-end street behind the NUMMI auto plant in Fremont.

That's where a vehicle carrying Ohlone College students Khushboo Chabria and Tseten Dolkar nearly ran over the rabbit after driver Chabria made a wrong turn one night late last month.

They had just dropped off a classmate in Milpitas—and were on their way to finally eat some dinner after spending all day in classes—when Chabria, a 20-year-old Fremont resident, felt compelled to check up on the animal, which sat in the middle of the street.

Khushboo Chabria and Tseten Dolkar found a hurt rabbit in south Fremont, Calif., photographed on Tuesday, May 5, 2009, and have reached out to their fellow students at Ohlone College to raise money for surgery to help the bunny. —Aric Crabb/Staff.

"We walked up to it, and it was, like, crying," she said. The bunny's face was caked with blood, fresh drops still dripping from its eye.

"It was like tears of blood," she said.

Chabria had never picked up a rabbit or encountered an injured pet before that evening, she said. Dolkar is afraid of animals. But shortly after 10 p.m. April 23, they found themselves loading Thumper into Chabria's car.

"I don't know," Chabria said when asked why she didn't leave it in the street. "I guess I care about animals."

But finding help proved difficult.

That night, both students called veterinarians and animal welfare agencies, but soon realized they didn't have enough money to get it help and that the animal shelter would likely euthanize the injured bunny.

So Chabria took Thumper home with her, where the rabbit got to meet her less-than-ecstatic parents and their dog.

The next day things got dire.

The Ohlone Wildlife Refuge wouldn't help Thumper because she's a domestic rabbit, Chabria said. That left her and a few friends no choice but to take it to a local veterinarian, who charged them $588 to run several tests.

The diagnosis was that Thumper had probably been abandoned and had not eaten for a couple of weeks, Chabria said. Thumper would also need surgery to remove the injured eye, which looked like a scab that soon started to dangle from her face.

The friends scraped together $88, while Ohlone student Kevin Feliciano agreed to open up a $500 line of credit at the animal hospital to cover the rest of bill.

"Kevin and I were crying," Chabria said. "It was such a hopeless situation."

But Thumper's luck was about to change.

Chabria had taken the rabbit to Ohlone the day after she found it.

Thumper drew a lot of attention from fellow students and from faculty that Friday, but by Monday, April 27, she was a sensation.

Mass e-mails were sent throughout the campus requesting funds.

One school employee helped Chabria clean off the blood from Thumper's face and the man who runs a campus coffee stand even offered to care for her. Within a week, Chabria had raised about $1,200 for Thumper.

Chabria also was advised to take Thumper to Chabot Veterinary Clinic, which was willing to perform the surgery and treat the rabbit for less than $700.

"I was really amazed at how great people were," Chabria said. "I didn't expect such a response."

Thumper had her surgery Wednesday and is recovering in Chabria's home. She and Dolkar love their one-eyed bunny, but they are looking for the right person to provide it a permanent home.

"It should get a happy life," Chabria said. "She deserves it."

Anyone interested in adopting the rabbit can e-mail Chabria at kchabria@ohlone.edu.

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