Back in college I got it into my head that I needed a bunny. I’m not totally sure how I came upon this conclusion, but I suspect I saw the ones up for adoption when I volunteered at the local shelter. Even though I knew enough to adopt my dogs, somehow I thought it would be okay to buy a bunny. Plus, the ones they sold at this store were much smaller than the type up for adoption, which I figured would work in my favor, living in an apartment.
So I go to the store, and they have these bunnies crammed into a cage. The whole atmosphere of the store was really icky and tense. All the bunnies look rather terrified, and I probably should have high-tailed it out of there at that point, but I already had decided to get one from somewhere so it would have been mean to leave them all there if I could save one from a fate that was…. at the very least, quite uncomfortable. I buy him and take him home. The whole time he doesn’t really react to me much, just cowers in a corner of his box, but I’m thinking this is normal bunny behavior, considering he doesn’t know me or anything.
At home I realize there’s a problem. Imagine the bunny pictured left but completely white and more hostile. He isn’t eating and he’s really terrified of my touch. It feels like more than just shyness now, so I make an appointment at a vet that sees rabbits.
The vet says yup, something’s wrong and takes him to the back where they shave off the fur on his back and reveal crazy amounts of scarring and scabs. It’s kind hard to describe, but I can’t quite imagine how he survived without medical attention all that time. He got some oral medication and ointment and eventually it all healed, but of course I have wondered how he got those marks. It could have been from another rabbit in the cage, I suppose. Maybe he got caught in some sort of netting, although it didn’t look like that.
It also just so happens that the store I got him from had a snake. A giant snake……… yeah.
So probably the bunnies were food. It explains why they had so many of them crammed together when Petsmart, a store with much more traffic, only keeps a handful of furry animals. Probably I should have figured that out before we got to that point, but to be honest, I didn’t want to think about it at the time. Could it have been a failed feeding attempt with the bunny somehow that caused those wounds? Maybe. At that point I wanted to go back to the store and buy all the rabbits, but ignoring the fact that I couldn’t take care of them, the pet store would simply profit and then buy more rabbits.
He also had ear mites and some other bunny maladies, but he ended up healing quite nicely. The problem was he was just too scared of everything. Bunnies and other pets can get along, but in this case he was just living in fear. I eventually found him a new home for him with no other pets.
Maybe the specifics of my story are unique, but bunnies are often impulse purchases. The fact is that bunny care is pretty different from dogs and cats and other pets you might be familiar with. It’s also easy to buy a little bunny from the side of the road around Easter, especially when your kid is begging that he’ll really feed it and love it and please please please. There’s nothing wrong with having a bunny. Seriously, there are so sweet and soft and funny. But, like any pet, it shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment decision.
The moral of the story is: adopt your pets. If you want a cat or dog, you know where to go. If you want a bunny, somewhere in your city, there is probably a shelter or organization that adopts them out as well. They will give the bunny medical care and make sure he’s good for your home (with whatever pets/kids you have). They often have some sort of education on proper bunny care, whether it’s a pamphlet or talking to an experienced owner, etc. We took my bunny to a little seminar where they had socializing, bunny massage and even bunny reiki – I kid you not, but this was in Austin and Austin is weird
There’s something else you can do to help, which is donate to the House Rabbit Society, an organization which has rescued and fostered over 25,000 bunnies, as well as providing education and advocacy. And if you make your donation during the Books for Bunnies promotion, you will be eligible to win ebooks and print books donated by authors.
Also, watch this video:
And then donate HERE.