It’s that time of year again. Spring flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and the “Cadbury Bunny” is making regular television appearances selling his chocolate Easter Eggs. It is the time of year when people think of chicks, ducklings, and cute, fuzzy, cuddly bunnies. The world is teeming with new life, but there is one problem: baby animals grow up and those cuddly bunnies are not usually cuddly.
Rabbits are the third-most euthanized pet in the United States and may be the most misunderstood. Every year, various pet stores and breeders sell hundreds of “Easter Bunnies.” All-to-often, however, the new owners don’t know what they’re getting into. A few months after Easter, when the rabbit hits puberty, many of these rabbits are abandoned and set free in parks or on golf courses. Unfortunately, this is a death sentence, as domesticated animals, especially those that are prey to most every predator out there, cannot survive on their own in the wild. Other rabbits, those not set loose in the street to fight off predators and fend for themselves, end up on Craigslist or other such venues as something a child stopped playing with. These “Easter Bunnies”, once so badly wanted by children in a pet store, are treated as an old toy that can be tossed out with the trash.
There is hope for rabbits, however. A very lucky few of the abandoned rabbits will be rescued by a rabbit rescue. The rescue will care for “Thumper’s” every need until he finds his forever-home. Rescuers screen adopters so that Thumper will not be abandoned, neglected or abused again and will always be loved. Rescues educate people and families about rabbits and their needs. They let people know that rabbits require special veterinary care, by veterinarians who charge more than the average dog and cat vet. Rescues help people set up their rabbit’s new home, including bunny-proofing for the three plus hours of daily playtime outside of the bunny cage or pen. Rescues also provide support for bunny families, answer questions about dietary needs and health concerns.
This year, before buying the “bunny in the window”, make sure you’re ready to commit 7-10 years to cleaning litter boxes, yearly vet visits each totaling $100 or more and shedding four times a year coupled with a friendship you won’t soon forget. Contact a rabbit rescue near you for information about these wonderful companions, because, as with any animal, it is important to understand what you’re getting into before you commit to caring for Thumper’s every need for his lifetime. Think about adopting first, so that you’re not only saving the rabbit in the rescue, but also the rabbit that will take its place.
Please visit House Rabbit Society online for more information, or contact me with your questions,