"Wow! Your rabbit has a really good life compared to my mom's rabbit," my friend said to me one summer afternoon. My lop, Harvey, was binkying around my living room, throwing his toys about and headbutting my friend for attention.
"What do you mean?," I asked cautiously. I was a fairly new bunny momma at the time and had just begun learning about the kinds of lives many bunnies face; particularly around Easter time.
"Well," she began, "my mom got it as an Easter present for my younger sisters but they aren't really interested anymore. It's kind of boring. It just sits there in its cage all day, but I mean... I guess it doesn't really have anything to do. I try to give it attention when I'm over there, but it doesn't act like your bunny."
I inwardly groaned and began asking her questions, none of which had an answer that sounded good for the poor bunny. "It?" I thought sadly.
I asked if her mom would consider bringing the bun indoors to be a family member. She wasn't optimistic, but begged me to try talking to her mom anyway. I loaded up a few basic supplies (hay, good quality pellets, bun-safe treats, litter) and went with her to her mom's, a few blocks away.
My friend led me to the back porch where a little black and white rabbit was hunched in the farthest corner of a tiny wire cage. There was no soft place to rest, no toys, and in his food dish, there was only cat food. My friend went to find her mom, while I quickly dumped the cat food and replaced it with pellets and placed a handful of hay in his too-small cage. My friends mom and I introduced ourselves, and she immediately asked if I wanted the rabbit. I asked her a few questions (age, sex, name?) and the only thing I learned is that the bunny was bought at a reptile show the day before Easter and "We thought he was too cute to be snake food." I'd been planning to take Harvey to pick out a wife at a rescue in a few months, but it was clear this little one was coming home with me. I texted my husband to inform him of our new addition.
That night when I got him settled into his new temporary cage, he tore into his new food with abandon, but was reluctant to come anywhere near me. I named the little dude Jack. Over the next few months he learned to trust me, and shortly after his neuter, he and Harvey bonded to each other easily. Today, he and his bondmate are outgoing house rabbits. They spend nights in their exercise pen, but enjoy free range of two floors of the house during the day. Jack is cautious of new people and situations, but he warms up once he feels safe and he loves other animals, especially rabbits. He is quite demanding on his human, however, and is not afraid to show his disapproval when his standards are not met or meals are a moment late.
Jack enjoys a wide range of sports and activities including the high jump, competitive book eating, locating and opening treat containers, the bunny 500, litter box flipping and digging, lounging in patches of sunlight, wallet snatching and snuggling with his bunny companion. He brings a lot of joy into our family with his antics.
Rabbits are absolutely not an impulse decision, but if you're willing to do the research and give them the diet, care and space they need, and if you're ready for at least a ten year commitment, they make truly wonderful family members.
For more about why rabbits are poor Easter gifts; and to learn about their proper care, visit TheRabbitHaven.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Today's post was kindly written by Jessica Kralik, who—when asked to throw something together last minute—kindly shared the story of Jack, her Easter bunny rescue. Thank you, Jessica!