Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Make Mine Chocolate!

My Viola and Sebastian were adopted from Red Door Animal Shelter. Viola was found outside, and Sebastian was surrendered.

Every year, pet stores around the country are flooded with rabbits in the Spring, hoping to capitalize on the scores of parents who think it's a good idea to get their kids real bunnies for Easter. They hop and flop and look fuzzy and cute, and parents and kids oooh and ahhh through the cages at them, plunking down $30 to bring home a piece of the holiday.

But, rabbits are not toys, and these are not stuffed animals.

After Easter, shelters are flooded with these "gifts", surrendered by parents who thought they could stick the animals in a cage in the corner and forget about them. Many of these rabbits are traumatized and eventually euthanized, shelters overcrowded and rabbits usually not as popular and adoptable as puppies and kittens. And, those are the lucky ones; many are simply released into the wild, under the false assumnption that an animal raised in captivity can somehow "take care of itself". These rabbits die of exposure, are killed by predators, or are struck by cars when they run terrified onto busy streets.

 A rabbit is an 8-10 year commitment, and they are just as much work as a dog. They require special vets that can care for exotic animals and need constant maintenance of teeth and claws and digestive tract. If kept in a pen it needs to be cleaned regularly, and they crave interaction and stimulation with their human and animal companions. They are lively and boistrous, but can also be nervous and excitable and startle easily. They chew everything, including power cables, and must be kept on a good diet of Timothy Hay and fresh greens to stay healthy. They have personalities, likes and dislikes, quirks, and they can be the most intelligent and loving of pets. But, they are not disposable.

My Alfalfa was from a pet store. I got her at Easter, but she was one of the lucky ones. I kept her long after the holiday.

This year, before thinking of buying that cute ball of fluff in the pet store window, think about spending the next 8 years with him or her as your bunny companion, and then head over to your nearest shelter and adopt a bunny waiting for a home from there. Rabbit-parents will tell you: it is totally worth it. But, if all you want is something cute and furry for your kids to play with, get a stuffed animal to put in the basket.

Some rabbit rescue foundations and shelters:

1 comment:

ThePeSla said...

Seamstress, when it comes to our expectations we should never causally abandon - May all your chocolate bunnies be not hollow :-)