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Saturday, June 10, 2023

When Bonnie got sick that day in March, Karen Malloy didn’t know what to do.

She saw the blood, but as the day went on and Bonnie, 2, kept getting worse, Malloy decided it was time to take her to the emergency room.

Doctors told Malloy that Bonnie, the classroom bunny at Baby Gator, had a mysterious lump  and needed emergency surgery. Bonnie went under anesthesia the same day.

The doctor examined her and concluded Bonnie did not have uterine cancer as suspected. 

After spending about a week and a half in recovery at the home of one of the Baby Gator teachers, Bonnie is back in her cage in the block center in the Growing Gators classroom,  surrounded by about 30 screaming, laughing pre-schoolers.

Now, she sits in her cage, right below the “No Whining Zone” sign.

“She hopped back quickly,” said Malloy, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Baby Gator.

Malloy said she and Miss Braden and Miss Nika, the other two teachers who share Bonnie as a classroom pet, told their classes that Bonnie had to go to the vet to take care of some stomach problems.

“They know what surgery is,” Malloy said. “It’s just another way to teach another part of life. Sometimes pets get sick.”

The kids asked about her every day she was out of the classroom. They’ve grown used to her hopping around in her cage and hearing her munching on hay, her favorite food. Bonnie even eats lunch and takes naps at the same time they do.

“They get a kick out of [watching her],” Malloy said. “They think it’s the funniest thing.”

Uterine cancer is common in rabbits,  said Jim Wellehan, a clinical assistant professor in zoological medicine service, in an email.

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Luckily for Bonnie, the mass Wellehan felt during surgery was nothing more than a blood hemorrhage. 

“While the hemorrhage would likely have been fatal if untreated, unlike uterine cancer, there is no chance of further spread of the disease,” Wellehan said.

After she was spayed, Bonnie returned to the Baby Gator classrooms  two weeks ago.

While she is a little more skittish since her surgery, she is just as friendly and good with the kids as usual, Malloy said.

Some of the parents even chipped in to pay for the procedure. They know the kids love her.

“I didn’t have a single kid that doesn’t want to play with her or didn’t ask about her,” Malloy said. “She gets a lot of attention, sometimes probably more than she would like.”

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