Another View: Think twice before buying that bunnyBy: Lysa Sassman, Guest Columnist
Rabbits make wonderful pets and companions, but please don’t give one as a gift to someone for Easter.
It’s understandable that seeing an adorable baby bunny in a pet store among holiday decorations can cause someone to make an impulse purchase without researching what is really involved in becoming a responsible rabbit owner.
Rabbits need daily attention, exercise and a specialized diet to be happy and healthy. They should not be kept in an outdoor hutch as they cannot tolerate extreme temperatures, especially in the summer months. Young children are usually not capable of properly caring for these fragile animals and can inadvertently cause them serious injury by handling them incorrectly.
Tragically, more than 80 percent of baby bunnies given as holiday presents will not live to their first birthday. They are usually abandoned outdoors where they cannot fend for themselves. They become food for other animals or are hit by cars. Only wild rabbits can survive in the wild. Others will end up in shelters where the chances of adoption are slim.
Now for the good news, as I sit here on my couch and type on my laptop, I am being happily distracted by our two house rabbits, Beans and Merlin. The rabbits are out for their evening play and exercise time and expect to be petted and loved. They are nudging me and actually trying to put their faces under my hands as I type. They are sociable, loving and fun to watch and be around.
We have safeguarded the wires in the living room and “bunnyproofed” a large area where they can run and play. They are litter box trained and have safe rabbit toys that they enjoy playing with. They stretch their legs and run full speed around the perimeter of the large room sometimes leaping and twisting in the air with happiness and joy.
This behavior is known as “binky” and you see it often in house rabbits that are well socialized with their owners and that have been given the opportunity to develop their individual and unique personalities. These animals are members of our family and bring great joy to all of us.
In return, we make sure they have a proper diet of unlimited Timothy hay and water, fresh vegetables and greens every day. We make sure they have appropriate veterinary care including spaying and neutering that will not only extend their lifespan to more than 10 years, but improves their temperament significantly. Most importantly we give them daily love, attention and interaction with us and the opportunity to come out of their large indoor hutches and run and play.
If this sounds like a wonderful opportunity for your family, please contact your local rabbit rescue to save the life of an unwanted rabbit and adopt an animal that will bring you great joy. Second Chance Bunnies in North Auburn can help you find the perfect furry addition to your family. Beans and Merlin were both adopted from there.
If a 10-year commitment seems out of your comfort zone, please choose chocolate or a toy stuffed bunny for Easter.
Second Chance Bunnies is offering named toy stuffed bunnies for adoption this Easter to meet everyone’s needs.
A $15 donation to the rescue is all that you will ever spend on these special Easter toy rabbits. If you are still not sure, call the rescue at (530) 269-7764 and let us answer any questions you have about being a responsible rabbit owner.
A rabbit can make a wonderful pet, but they are not for everyone. They deserve a forever loving home, not an impulsive decision that can cost them their life.
Lysa Sassman is a second grade teacher at Rock Creek School and vice president of Second Chance Bunnies Rescue.