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Impulsive Rabbit Purchases Make Shelters Hopping Mad


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       You’d think that after all these years of stories
just like this one – making a point that a pet bunny is not an awful impulsive
purchase – the message would have sunk in. “I can’t say why the message hasn’t (sunk
in), but it really hasn’t,” says Toni Greetis, vice president of the Red Door
Animal Shelter
in Chicago.

Lucile Moore author of “Touched by a Rabbit” (Infinity Publishing, West
Conshohocken, PA, 2009; $18.95) says, “We know those Easter purchases are still
a problem – because two months or so after Easter shelters all over the country
are overwhelmed with returned rabbits.”

           If you must make an impulse purpose at Easter – get a chocolate rabbit!

            While
Red Door also adopts dogs and cats, they specialize in rabbits. However, not
all cities are so lucky to  have shelters who understand rabbits. And those who do typically
fill with rabbits floor to ceiling my mid-summer.  “It’s
sad and not necessary – if people only didn’t make an impulsive decision,”
Greetis says.

           There’s actually no religious explanation for rabbits being tied to Easter.
The link between the Easter bunny and the holiday Easter has been as intrinsic
as Santa Claus and Christmas.

The only difference is that people don’t think of
buying a red suit at Christmas, they do think of getting a bunny at Easter.

            Of
course, the idea of a pet rabbit isn’t so bad – if you know what comes with the
territory. For starters, it’s a commitment – rabbits generally live around
seven to 12 years.

            Moore
says, “Often people have previously only had experiences with dogs and cats –
and rabbits don’t act like either. It’s not bad, just different. But people
don’t always accept what doesn’t match their expectations.”

            The
biggest myth of all is that rabbits and kids go together. “Rabbits are really a
very delicate prey animal, ” Greetis says.

The problem begins with
the propensity little kids have for carrying around  bunnies. That’s a problem because rabbits are pretty much
born with agoraphobia (a fear of heights).

“They really may feel like they are
about to die when they are picked up,” says Greetis. “So, of course, they
panic. They may scratch and/or bite. If that happens, they may be dropped.”

Moore says veterinarians
all too frequently see rabbits with seriously injured spines, perhaps
paralyzed, as a result of being dropped by a child. Even if the rabbit doesn’t
suffer an injury, once scratching and/or biting a family member, that rabbit is
at risk for being abandoned.

While rabbits don’t generally enjoy being smothered with hugs and kisses, as
dogs and at least many cats tolerate – they absolutely learn individual family
members, and express affection on their own terms.

Rabbits are great pets
for busy families. They can tolerate being home alone far better than dogs or
even cats.

That’s because rabbits are naturally most active in the morning and
early evening, and enjoy snoozing during the day. They’re also great apartment
pets because they’re quiet and they don’t take up very much space. Litter box
training is generally snap. Greetis suggests feeding rabbits their dinner in
the litter box. They like to multi-task, having their bowel movements as they
eat

            Inappropriate
urine spraying is a common reason for rabbit give-up, but spay/neuter can
prevent that problem from starting in the first place. Spaying also prolongs
female rabbit’s lifespan, eliminating chances of uterine or ovarian cancer,
common in rabbits. Also, spay/neuter simply settles down both sexes, ultimately
they’re better pets as a result.

            Moore
says rabbits do require exercise and they enjoy play. However, unlike a dog,
there’s no need to take a rabbit outdoors for a game of fetch. Although, some
rabbits actually do fetch, and most enjoy toys – even if they eat their toys. A
toy may be a cardboard box, toilet tube or paper towel roll, or cardboard for
them to rip a part. After the game, they generally eat the toy.

             Providing rabbits something they like to chew is important. If you don’t provide items to chew, the rabbit may choose
his own – such as a throw rug or shoes. Far better for the rabbit’s health, and
your pocketbook (to save on vet bills) are digestible items, by rabbit
standards.            

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