Tag Archives: rabbits

Bunny update from our gal pal, Franny!!!💐🌷🐰🌸

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Franny and her hubby and four kids share their home with their three much loved (and litter-box trained!) rabbits! Here is Linus and Gretta, best bunny buddies! pics: Franny McKeever

By Franny McKeever

Easter is approaching and, as a rabbit lover and rabbit rescue volunteer, I am writing to request you do not buy a rabbit for Easter!

If you are interested in having a rabbit, it should be for all the right reasons and not because of a holiday – and certainly not as a gift. Bunnies fill our animal shelters in the months following Easter. The unlucky ones get dumped outdoors to fend for themselves after families realize what is involved. They do not survive.

Rabbits are every bit as nice a pet as a family cat or dog and will live with you as a companion for eight to 10 years, if cared for properly. However, they are not low-maintenance starter pets, as some people assume. They have traditionally been kept in outdoor hutches or cages, and so it is no surprise that they are neglected without much thought. Rabbits are actually wonderful, sociable, skittish, demanding pets. They need a person to understand them and take them seriously!

First, rabbits need to live indoors. They will need a bunny-proofed area in your home to be free and exercise for at least four hours a day. Ideally, they will have a large exercise pen, bunny condo or bunny-proofed room in your home to call their own. They will have a litter box that is changed every couple of days and stocked with hay twice daily.

They will also receive a large leafy green salad of bunny-safe vegetables and fresh water. They need bunny toys to play with and chew on and lots of attention on their terms. They will need their nails clipped every few weeks and they will need to be brushed. They will also need an exotic pet vet, and you will want to have a separate fund or pet insurance, as exotic vets can be very expensive.

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Franny’s “Stella”!

Bunnies are very fragile prey animals that should never be picked up by a child. They don’t generally want to be picked up at all. If they do not get enough attention, they often do better with a bunny friend that they must gradually learn to trust in a process called “bunny-bonding.” This will not work with every pair of bunnies, since they are very particular about which bunny they can work things out with!🐰This can only happen after they are spayed or neutered – which is a necessary procedure to keep bunnies healthy and well behaved pets.

All bunnies should be spayed or neutered, and one way to avoid the $200 to $500 cost is to adopt a bunny!

Adoption is the very best way to bring a spayed or neutered rabbit into your home! You will be giving a bunny a home and at the same time perhaps become one less person perpetuating the bunny breeding business that causes the overpopulation of bunnies in the first place.

So if you are truly interested in having a bunny for the eight to 10 years they will live with you, absolutely do your homework first!!

Learn all you can about the care involved. Decide first if you have the time to dedicate to these wonderful, funny and spirited animals that need the same love and room to run around as any larger animal does.

Please understand that a bunny is not a novelty pet to be purchased as a seasonal holiday gift but rather a long-term commitment to be loved and cared for every day of their lives!

Franny just sent us these adorable bunny photos!

Too cute! Happy Easter from Linus and pals!

Photos and text by Franny McKeever

Franny volunteers at this excellent non-profit where she adopted her beauties.

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To learn about proper house rabbit care and to adopt a bunny from the House Rabbit Network, CLICK HERE!       – R.T.

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This is Stella, the bunny we took in as a foster bunny, but we never could let her go! Here she is, flopped asleep on our kitchen floor.

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This is Greta and Linus snuggling together. Bunnies are very social and spend most of their time together.

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I adopted Linus from The House Rabbit Network. They rescued Linus from euthanization at an overcrowded shelter. He had been dumped there after spending several months in a cage in someone’s basement with little contact.

He was most likely an impulsive Easter purchase for someone who had no interest in caring for a bunny. I am very happy to say that he bonded with our female bunny, Greta, after being neutered. He now lives free-range in our home with Greta. He loves attention and is a very sweet bunny!

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Linus is very relaxed, with his feet stretched out!

Easter Sunday don’t bring home the bunny until you know the rabbit facts!

editor’s note: I’m re-posting this excellent story on rabbits as pets (no bunny-cake-walk!) written for InCity Times by gal pal, Franny M. Go, Franny, go!!!

THINKING OF GETTING A RABBIT FOR THE KIDS THIS EASTER? THINK AGAIN!

By Franny McKeever, volunteer for the House Rabbit Network

I have a story, not unlike many, when choosing a family pet. We wanted a puppy but my husband had allergies. We couldn’t have a cat for the same reason. So we tried the next best idea which was a rabbit. A rabbit, after all, didn’t need to even be in the house, did it? People kept rabbits in outdoor hutches all the time. My parents did when I was young. I called a breeder and got the name of a hutch builder. He built one he said was a good size for a rabbit. It was 30”x 24”x 14”. He delivered it and we put it on our non-winterized back porch.

We then found a small black Lionhead rabbit at our local pet shop. It was May 1st , Easter time, so there were plenty of baby bunnies to pick from. They couldn’t tell me for sure if it was male or female but were pretty sure it was a boy. We named him Henry. We were advised by the hutch maker to put the bunny on a table when we took him out of the hutch or else he would just go wild and run all over and not want to go back in the hutch. We didn’t listen. We put Henry down and he ran circles around the porch and did these funny, spasmodic jumps in the air we later learned were called binkies, which we could plainly see he was doing out of the sheer joy of movement.

My children and I sat with him as he nibbled our books, climbed all over us and licked our noses. I had no idea that some rabbits would lick you as a puppy does. There were things about rabbits that were so wonderfully surprising. For instance when a rabbit is being petted and feels supremely happy he softly grinds his teeth in a purring sort of way. We were falling in love with this little rabbit. After a while it seemed really cruel to leave him in the cage. We moved all the wicker furniture that he had been chewing out into the yard and bunny proofed the porch. This entailed hiding any electrical wires, keeping any plants out of reach and keeping small things off the ground. When he chewed the wood doorways we gave him apple tree sticks instead.

We took Henry to the vet for a first check-up as we were advised to do and also to see if he was really a he. After a couple more trips to the vet we had to change Henry’s name to Greta. We had a good rabbit vet and not all vets are qualified to treat rabbits which are considered exotic animals. They gave us rabbit diet and litter box training information which I’m pretty sure would not have happened 20 years ago. There has been a slowly growing trend to see rabbits for the sociable unique animals that they are and include them as house pets that can have quality lives in are homes. We were advised to come back when Greta was 4-6 months old to have her spayed. It would cost about two hundred dollars. This would not only help prevent female cancers but also help her to live a better life as a house pet and maybe enable her to socialize with another rabbit without fighting or just as importantly without reproducing. Rabbits don’t need any help in this regard. They can produce between 4-10 babies possibly on a monthly basis. Which only adds to the unwanted rabbit epidemic that exists in shelters and backyards across the country.

We noticed at around Greta’s five month birthday her hormones began to kick in. She was trying hard as she could to romantically befriend a beach ball in our living room. She also began to mark her territory, a hormonal behavior, by leaving fecal pellets in a trail around our house. We made an appointment to have her spayed. We brought her in on a morning and were able to take her home later that day. They gave her a shot of pain medication before she left . They told us to feed her normally and make sure she was drinking within 24 hours and eating within 48 hours. We also needed to watch her incision site and make sure she was healing properly. We watched as she recuperated for a few days and started getting back to herself. She became completely litter box trained again it seemed overnight.

Now everyone in our house was content with Greta. I however began to sense that she was lonely. It seemed sad to see her sleeping by herself alone for hours as rabbits do during the day. Rabbits are crepuscular which means they are most active in the morning and evening into twilight. Though we socialized with her a great deal, as we have four children in our home, something didn’t seem quite right. I had read that although all rabbits have varying desires for friendship they are by nature highly social and in their natural environment live in warrens and are never really alone. They eat together and sleep together and seek comfort, warmth and companionship from one another. Domesticated rabbits also exhibit similar behaviors with people who care for them. Rabbits communicate mainly by way of their own physical movements. It is often easy to guess what some of these movements and postures mean, but sometimes you just don’t understand unless you are another rabbit. I felt Greta needed a friend.

This time I decided I would not go to a pet store. I decided adopting was a better idea. My whole outlook on rabbits was evolving. I found The House Rabbit Network online, a rabbit organization led strictly by volunteers who’s only motive was to rescue unwanted rabbits, find adoptive homes for them and to give the public the best educated advice on rabbit needs and care. They had a website with photos of rabbits awaiting adoption with a description of each rabbit’s own personality traits. They had a hotline I could call for any rabbit questions I had. I was amazed at how dedicated all the volunteers were and so anxious to help me find the right rabbit. They only adopt out spayed and neutered rabbits. This would work out perfectly for me since I was going to need to bond rabbits. Bonding is a procedure that can take weeks or months depending on the personality of the rabbits and how much time is spent working at it. It entails letting the rabbits getting used to each other slowly until they eventually spend more and more time together and with perseverance and some luck become compatible. Rabbits that do bond usually spend most of their time together and it is a truly satisfying thing to behold. Male and female rabbits generally bond more easily than same sex combinations. An HRN volunteer interviewed me over the phone and she then emailed me a list of bunny foster homes to visit.

Greta’s first “bunny date” didn’t go so well. Greta jumped all over the other petrified rabbit. Our sweet, calm little bunny was a maniac with him. We were advised to keep trying but went home a little wiser. This might not be as easy as we thought. The next bunny date was a bit further away. This HRN volunteer had several foster rabbits in large basement. They were there because she couldn’t bear to say no to a homeless bunny. One of the rabbits was in a cage by himself. He was a beautiful little white Lionhead with spots she had picked up from a nearby shelter only days before he was going to be euthanized simply because they lacked space. He had an all too common history. He had been purchased from a pet shop the previous Easter, most likely an impulse buy or a gift for someone who had no idea or concerns about the needs of a rabbit. As a result he spent the next several months caged in a basement with little human contact. His diet seemed to have been neglected as well since he seemed to have no idea that as a rabbit he was supposed to be eating mostly hay and vegetables and not a bowl of pellets (originally designed for farmed rabbits because they were cheap and fattening). He was not surprisingly, ultimately dumped off at a shelter. Yet it could have been even worse. He could have been one of the countless “Easter bunnies” who’s novelty wears off after the holiday when the reality of actually caring for the rabbit sets in.

He could have been one of the many who get released outside. After all, rabbits are woodland creatures aren’t they? Well not these domesticated rabbits. These guys haven’t a clue about how to avoid being the prey animal that they are, or where to keep warm in a blizzard. I was learning all about the Easter rabbit epidemic that exists every year in the spring, when pet stores and countless breeders cash in on the commercial idea of a cute, fuzzy, baby bunny at Easter time. These tiny animals are often taken from their mom even before they have weaned and are physically and mentally ready to go.

Rarely does the consumer understand what this 7-10 year commitment will entail. They don’t know that most of these baby bunnies will grow to be 2-12 pounds. They will need to hop and exercise to be physically fit and healthy. They will need love and companionship of a person or another rabbit for mental health and well being. They know little or nothing of the sensitive digestive systems the buns have and how they can get sick and die almost overnight if not cared for properly. Most think it is fine to keep a rabbit in an outdoor hutch or a cage and just toss some food and water into their little prison cells. No one in their right mind would do this to a cat or a dog. It would be considered inhumane! Yet somehow for a quiet little rabbit this has always been acceptable behavior. So we were happy be able to find a friend for Greta and at the same time be able to give an unwanted bunny a better life. He was surprisingly sweet despite his background but not surprisingly he seemed starved for affection. We tried putting them together and they seemed almost indifferent at first, which was a good sign. We would have to come back for him as he wasn’t yet neutered. After a few more weeks we were able to take him home.

I read about bonding and made numerous calls to a very dedicated volunteer at House Rabbit Network for advice and moral support. If you have never bonded two rabbits together it is very unique experience. We kept Linus, our new rabbit in a pen on one side of the living room and Greta was free to roam as usual and penned separately at night. She became obsessed with the presence of the new rabbit and would spend most of her time nonchalantly inspecting Linus’s area. When they were together she would frequently mount him, not really a sexual behavior so much as a way to assert her dominance and let him know who was who. He would occasionally try to do the same thing. As long as they were not hurting each other this was an acceptable way of their sorting things out. We would take them on little field trips to our small bathroom so they could be in neutral territory. They gradually began to eat next to each other and soon began to hang out together. The day I saw them resting outstretched side by side I knew things were going to be okay. Not long after we took all fences down. Once rabbits are bonded you should really never separate them as they become attached. The whole process lasted about two weeks which I’ve been told is not long. I knew we had done a good thing. Greta and Linus had become buddies.

Rabbits make a wonderful house pet. They are certainly not a “ good starter pet” as I have heard them described. They require an adult caregiver who is educated in rabbit care and has the patience to enjoy the subtle personalities of a rabbit. Children can enjoy them as well but need to be able to respect the rabbit’s space. As a prey animal a rabbit is by nature a nervous creature and those who live with them need to let them grow to trust them. They are funny, sweet, interesting affectionate animals. A rabbit is not the right pet for everyone but for some it can be such a wonderful addition their lives.

Proper care of rabbits

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Rescued rabbits!

By Franny McKeever

As a volunteer with the House Rabbit Network, a rabbit rescue organization based in Woburn, Massachusetts, that rescues and adopts out well over a hundred bunnies each year, I have seen the post-easter/spring flood of abandoned bunnies, dumped in various locations after the novelty of a cute bunny wears off and the reality of the care involved sets in.

This flood continues year round.

The luckier ones get rescued and survive.

Domestic bunnies do not belong outside any more than a pet Yorkshire Terrier does. They are not suited or accustomed to extreme temperatures. They are easy prey for a variety of animals. How is a white bunny with black spots going to blend in and hide outdoors? So while some people unthinkingly assume they are giving a bunny it’s freedom others will simply leave the bunny in a box somewhere or worse.

Some bunnies will be left off at shelters to possibly await euthanasia if not adopted soon enough because space is limited.

The problem is that a bunny is treated as a novelty pet, sometimes described as a starter pet.

The truth is a bunny is  high-maintenance pet.  A house rabbit is a pet that requires research and understanding. This is assuming that the person does know that a rabbit is an indoor pet that does not thrive in an outdoor hutch, cowering in the corner near the garage.

A bunny must have time to roam in a bunny proofed area of a home, as a cat or dog would, surrounded by those who love him.

So this is the destiny that awaits a huge population of bunnies, irresponsibly bred by breeders and sold to the public or pet stores, perpetuating this cycle of unwanted rabbits at Easter time and throughout the year. Pet stores advertise young bunnies for easter, often not quite weaned. Even the most experienced vet would have a hard time identifying the gender of these young bunnies and yet they are sold off sometimes in pairs causing yet more unwanted bunnies.  Reckless, but well meaning adults buy these bunnies for their children, who understand even less about interacting and caring for a bunny.

As a prey animal, a rabbit needs to have space to trust that they are safe and should not be bombarded by the high activity of a child. They have fragile bones that can easily break if dropped by a child, who doesn’t know that rabbits don’t really want to be held in the first place, but rather feel safer when their feet are on the ground. Parental supervision is critical with small children.

More knowledge is required in regard to feeding. Rabbits are prone to digestive issues and they can easily develop GI symptoms, which can worsen quickly if not tended to correctly. Therefore dietary understanding is extremely important. Bunnies must have fresh hay at all times and also be correctly fed the right fresh vegetables.  Most treats found in pet stores are not actually good for your rabbit.

Pet store owners and breeders may also neglect to tell you that rabbits must be spayed and neutered at 3-5 months of age to prevent certain cancers as well as make them happy and well behaved house pets.

Otherwise litterbox habits will generally go out the window as bunnies start marking your house up with territorial droppings. There can be personality changes as well. This is very often the time when uneducated bunny owners decide to abandon their bunnies.

Adopters know that you save the cost of this very expensive operation when adopting from a shelter and at the same time give a former Easter bunny or unwanted bunny a home.

So before you consider surprising some family member with a rabbit, take into consideration an entirely bigger picture. Be sure you are totally committed to caring for one of these wonderful and entertaining animals for the next 10-12 years. Take the time to research bunny care and decide if this is really the right pet for you.

A bunny should never be an impulse buy. It is a very affectionate, social but also high-maintenance pet that deserves to be treated respectfully and not as a commodity.

Cherish the bunnies!!!! LOVE = Jesus

Franny just sent us these bunny pics!

Stella, Greta and Linus celebrating Easter with a fantastic breakfast! Timothy hay for dessert!

These guys are spayed/neutered, litter-box trained, indoor, (daytime) free-roamin’ , beautifully socialized family pets who are owned by a loving family that has done its rabbit homework! They’re rescued rabbits (try saying that fast 5 times!) who needed to be adopted and who are now sooooo happy in their forever home!  … Did you know: When rabbits are ecstatic they jump for joy?! Hop high into the air, as if they were clicking their heels! Rabbit lovers call this leap to the heavens a binky!!!  – R. T.

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All gone!!!!

Franny also sent me this page, from today’s BOSTON GLOBE MAGAZINE!  A big binky thank you to The Boston Globe!

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HAPPY EASTER! Whether or not you believe he rose from the grave is a god/God (I don’t) IT IS STILL JESUS’ DAY – A GUY SO RADICAL, COOL, LOVING, BRAVE THAT A WHOLE WORLD RELIGION SPRANG UP around him. Still going strong because of Jesus and his LAST-SHALL-BE-FIRST teachings and his love for all – especially the reprehensible. No wonder he was crucified.

But TODAY the WORLD says JESUS AND HIS LIFE LIVE!!!!!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N6mp11PBcY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

This Easter let’s give rabbits a break!

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Rosalie’s gal pal Franny loves bunnies – volunteers at a rabbit rescue league – the HOUSE RABBIT NETWORK! Franny says people buy bunnies during Easter then don’t care for them properly … or dump the poor little guys in animal shelters or, foolishly!, the woods. Franny, her four kids and husband have opened their beautiful home to rabbits! They’ve found the time in their busy lives to foster-parent several abused/abandoned rabbits, and they’ve adopted three. Here are two of their bunnies: cutie pies Stella (grey bunny) and Greta!!!!!

To learn more about Franny’s rabbit rescue group, the HOUSE RABBIT NETWORK, CLICK HERE!

Go, Franny, go!!!!       – R. T.

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By Kendall Bryant

Easter is almost upon us, or as we in the sheltering world say, “Brace yourselves—it’s rabbit season.” I’ve rescued rabbits for 10 years, and I volunteer in the small-animal room at my local shelter. And every spring, it seems as though, for many cast-off Peter Cottontails, the bunny trail leads straight to our door.

While most of us consider cute, scampering rabbits to be one of the quintessential signs of spring, it can be a tough time for many of them. The ways in which we inadvertently cause them to suffer—for everything from fur to floor cleaner—would make any bunny hopping mad.

Let’s start with the Easter Bunny. Every year, breeders and bunny mills churn out irresistible baby rabbits for parents to put in their children’s Easter baskets. And every year, for several weeks after Easter, shelter workers take in a deluge of these same rabbits—after they have chewed through electrical wires, books, baseboards, doorjambs and all the Easter lilies.

What breeders and pet stores often fail to mention as they’re ringing up those fluffy little bundles of Easter joy is that rabbits, like all animals, have some particular needs. They chew incessantly (their teeth never stop growing), and they have special dietary needs (think less lettuce, more hay). They require constant mental stimulation and space to run around in, and they get depressed when confined to a cage. They can live for up to 12 years.

So, when Bugs turns out to be more work than parents bargained for, he usually finds himself tossed out like a stale Peep. He might be dropped off at an animal shelter, relegated to a cage outside or simply turned loose in the wild, where he won’t stand a chance against starvation, harsh weather and predators.

But buying bunnies on a whim and then abandoning them once reality sets in is just one way that we cause them to suffer.

Many of the fur accessories, trim and jackets that you see in stores are made from rabbit fur because it’s often cheaper than other animals’ skins. Rabbits on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to tiny, filthy metal cages and often have their necks broken while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain. On angora farms, rabbits scream and writhe in pain as workers tear the fur out of their skin. I couldn’t wear a coat made of rabbits any more than I could wear one made of golden retrievers.

Rabbits’ mild manner and the ease with which they breed also make them a favorite victim of experimenters, who use them to test chemical products, burning their skin with noxious chemicals and dripping substances into their eyes, even though superior non-animal testing methods are readily available.

And it should go without saying, but anyone who cares at all about rabbits shouldn’t eat them. The House Rabbit Society and other rabbit advocates have been fervently protesting outside stores that sell rabbit meat.

We humans have long had a hard time thinking straight about other animals—we keep some as “pets” while serving up others on our plates—and our treatment of rabbits shows just how schizophrenic our relationship with other species can be.

So this Easter, let’s give rabbits a break by vowing not to wear them, eat them or buy cosmetics or household products that were tested on them. (You can check to see if a company is cruelty-free by using PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies searchable database.) And if you’re really ready to give a rabbit a lifetime of care, hop on down to your local humane society or rabbit rescue group to adopt one—preferably right after Easter.

Easter is around the corner …

I’m re-posting this excellent story on rabbits as pets (no bunny-cake-walk!) written for InCity Times by my gal pal, Franny M. We went to UMass Amherst together eons ago and are still gal pals! These days, when we start gabbing on the phone, it’s like we’re back at the UMass vegetarian dining hall, BASICS: I’m carbo loading and drinking 4 glasses of skim milk cuz I’m running and skinny and LOVE MILK. Franny’s eating her BIG SALAD, her signature supper at UMass, listening to me whine BIG TIME. I’m whining to Franny about writing, men, grades, men, Green Island, my father, men, my professors, men, writing … . Franny, being the loving person she is, is taking it all in and offering her gentle, sweet, good advice, which meets my brain and goes NOWHERE. She tells me of her loves, hopes and dreams, too.  We do this for three years. SPECIAL.

You know, if you’ve got college-bound kids, why not check out UMass Amherst? A great university! Thousands of kids, thousands of classes to take, what with Hampshire, Smith, Mount Holyoke and Amherst colleges nearby, hundreds of concerts, art, art, art, great engineering programs (civil, electrical, mechanical, software …) COOL PEOPLE galore. AN ADVENTURE LIKE NO OTHER!

(BTW – I think Fran – a vegan mom with 4 carnivore kids and carnivore hubby!!! Franny!?! – did a terrific job with the story! She loves her bunnies! )  

– Rosalie Tirella

THINKING OF GETTING A RABBIT FOR THE KIDS THIS EASTER? THINK AGAIN!

By Franny McKeever, volunteer for the House Rabbit Network

I have a story, not unlike many, when choosing a family pet. We wanted a puppy but my husband had allergies. We couldn’t have a cat for the same reason. So we tried the next best idea which was a rabbit. A rabbit, after all, didn’t need to even be in the house, did it? People kept rabbits in outdoor hutches all the time. My parents did when I was young. I called a breeder and got the name of a hutch builder. He built one he said was a good size for a rabbit. It was 30”x 24”x 14”. He delivered it and we put it on our non-winterized back porch.

We then found a small black Lionhead rabbit at our local pet shop. It was May 1st , Easter time, so there were plenty of baby bunnies to pick from. They couldn’t tell me for sure if it was male or female but were pretty sure it was a boy. We named him Henry. We were advised by the hutch maker to put the bunny on a table when we took him out of the hutch or else he would just go wild and run all over and not want to go back in the hutch. We didn’t listen. We put Henry down and he ran circles around the porch and did these funny, spasmodic jumps in the air we later learned were called binkies, which we could plainly see he was doing out of the sheer joy of movement.

My children and I sat with him as he nibbled our books, climbed all over us and licked our noses. I had no idea that some rabbits would lick you as a puppy does. There were things about rabbits that were so wonderfully surprising. For instance when a rabbit is being petted and feels supremely happy he softly grinds his teeth in a purring sort of way. We were falling in love with this little rabbit. After a while it seemed really cruel to leave him in the cage. We moved all the wicker furniture that he had been chewing out into the yard and bunny proofed the porch. This entailed hiding any electrical wires, keeping any plants out of reach and keeping small things off the ground. When he chewed the wood doorways we gave him apple tree sticks instead.

We took Henry to the vet for a first check-up as we were advised to do and also to see if he was really a he. After a couple more trips to the vet we had to change Henry’s name to Greta. We had a good rabbit vet and not all vets are qualified to treat rabbits which are considered exotic animals. They gave us rabbit diet and litter box training information which I’m pretty sure would not have happened 20 years ago. There has been a slowly growing trend to see rabbits for the sociable unique animals that they are and include them as house pets that can have quality lives in are homes. We were advised to come back when Greta was 4-6 months old to have her spayed. It would cost about two hundred dollars. This would not only help prevent female cancers but also help her to live a better life as a house pet and maybe enable her to socialize with another rabbit without fighting or just as importantly without reproducing. Rabbits don’t need any help in this regard. They can produce between 4-10 babies possibly on a monthly basis. Which only adds to the unwanted rabbit epidemic that exists in shelters and backyards across the country.

We noticed at around Greta’s five month birthday her hormones began to kick in. She was trying hard as she could to romantically befriend a beach ball in our living room. She also began to mark her territory, a hormonal behavior, by leaving fecal pellets in a trail around our house. We made an appointment to have her spayed. We brought her in on a morning and were able to take her home later that day. They gave her a shot of pain medication before she left . They told us to feed her normally and make sure she was drinking within 24 hours and eating within 48 hours. We also needed to watch her incision site and make sure she was healing properly. We watched as she recuperated for a few days and started getting back to herself. She became completely litter box trained again it seemed overnight.

Now everyone in our house was content with Greta. I however began to sense that she was lonely. It seemed sad to see her sleeping by herself alone for hours as rabbits do during the day. Rabbits are crepuscular which means they are most active in the morning and evening into twilight. Though we socialized with her a great deal, as we have four children in our home, something didn’t seem quite right. I had read that although all rabbits have varying desires for friendship they are by nature highly social and in their natural environment live in warrens and are never really alone. They eat together and sleep together and seek comfort, warmth and companionship from one another. Domesticated rabbits also exhibit similar behaviors with people who care for them. Rabbits communicate mainly by way of their own physical movements. It is often easy to guess what some of these movements and postures mean, but sometimes you just don’t understand unless you are another rabbit. I felt Greta needed a friend.

This time I decided I would not go to a pet store. I decided adopting was a better idea. My whole outlook on rabbits was evolving. I found The House Rabbit Network online, a rabbit organization led strictly by volunteers who’s only motive was to rescue unwanted rabbits, find adoptive homes for them and to give the public the best educated advice on rabbit needs and care. They had a website with photos of rabbits awaiting adoption with a description of each rabbit’s own personality traits. They had a hotline I could call for any rabbit questions I had. I was amazed at how dedicated all the volunteers were and so anxious to help me find the right rabbit. They only adopt out spayed and neutered rabbits. This would work out perfectly for me since I was going to need to bond rabbits. Bonding is a procedure that can take weeks or months depending on the personality of the rabbits and how much time is spent working at it. It entails letting the rabbits getting used to each other slowly until they eventually spend more and more time together and with perseverance and some luck become compatible. Rabbits that do bond usually spend most of their time together and it is a truly satisfying thing to behold. Male and female rabbits generally bond more easily than same sex combinations. An HRN volunteer interviewed me over the phone and she then emailed me a list of bunny foster homes to visit.

Greta’s first “bunny date” didn’t go so well. Greta jumped all over the other petrified rabbit. Our sweet, calm little bunny was a maniac with him. We were advised to keep trying but went home a little wiser. This might not be as easy as we thought. The next bunny date was a bit further away. This HRN volunteer had several foster rabbits in large basement. They were there because she couldn’t bear to say no to a homeless bunny. One of the rabbits was in a cage by himself. He was a beautiful little white Lionhead with spots she had picked up from a nearby shelter only days before he was going to be euthanized simply because they lacked space. He had an all too common history. He had been purchased from a pet shop the previous Easter, most likely an impulse buy or a gift for someone who had no idea or concerns about the needs of a rabbit. As a result he spent the next several months caged in a basement with little human contact. His diet seemed to have been neglected as well since he seemed to have no idea that as a rabbit he was supposed to be eating mostly hay and vegetables and not a bowl of pellets (originally designed for farmed rabbits because they were cheap and fattening). He was not surprisingly, ultimately dumped off at a shelter. Yet it could have been even worse. He could have been one of the countless “Easter bunnies” who’s novelty wears off after the holiday when the reality of actually caring for the rabbit sets in.

He could have been one of the many who get released outside. After all, rabbits are woodland creatures aren’t they? Well not these domesticated rabbits. These guys haven’t a clue about how to avoid being the prey animal that they are, or where to keep warm in a blizzard. I was learning all about the Easter rabbit epidemic that exists every year in the spring, when pet stores and countless breeders cash in on the commercial idea of a cute, fuzzy, baby bunny at Easter time. These tiny animals are often taken from their mom even before they have weaned and are physically and mentally ready to go.

Rarely does the consumer understand what this 7-10 year commitment will entail. They don’t know that most of these baby bunnies will grow to be 2-12 pounds. They will need to hop and exercise to be physically fit and healthy. They will need love and companionship of a person or another rabbit for mental health and well being. They know little or nothing of the sensitive digestive systems the buns have and how they can get sick and die almost overnight if not cared for properly. Most think it is fine to keep a rabbit in an outdoor hutch or a cage and just toss some food and water into their little prison cells. No one in their right mind would do this to a cat or a dog. It would be considered inhumane! Yet somehow for a quiet little rabbit this has always been acceptable behavior. So we were happy be able to find a friend for Greta and at the same time be able to give an unwanted bunny a better life. He was surprisingly sweet despite his background but not surprisingly he seemed starved for affection. We tried putting them together and they seemed almost indifferent at first, which was a good sign. We would have to come back for him as he wasn’t yet neutered. After a few more weeks we were able to take him home.

I read about bonding and made numerous calls to a very dedicated volunteer at House Rabbit Network for advice and moral support. If you have never bonded two rabbits together it is very unique experience. We kept Linus, our new rabbit in a pen on one side of the living room and Greta was free to roam as usual and penned separately at night. She became obsessed with the presence of the new rabbit and would spend most of her time nonchalantly inspecting Linus’s area. When they were together she would frequently mount him, not really a sexual behavior so much as a way to assert her dominance and let him know who was who. He would occasionally try to do the same thing. As long as they were not hurting each other this was an acceptable way of their sorting things out. We would take them on little field trips to our small bathroom so they could be in neutral territory. They gradually began to eat next to each other and soon began to hang out together. The day I saw them resting outstretched side by side I knew things were going to be okay. Not long after we took all fences down. Once rabbits are bonded you should really never separate them as they become attached. The whole process lasted about two weeks which I’ve been told is not long. I knew we had done a good thing. Greta and Linus had become buddies.

Rabbits make a wonderful house pet. They are certainly not a “ good starter pet” as I have heard them described. They require an adult caregiver who is educated in rabbit care and has the patience to enjoy the subtle personalities of a rabbit. Children can enjoy them as well but need to be able to respect the rabbit’s space. As a prey animal a rabbit is by nature a nervous creature and those who live with them need to let them grow to trust them. They are funny, sweet, interesting affectionate animals. A rabbit is not the right pet for everyone but for some it can be such a wonderful addition their lives.

Get beautiful for your Valentine! Great, inexpensive pretty-my-eyes …

… cheeks, etc cosmetics – ALL CRUELTY-FREE! ALL available at your local TARGET, CVS or WALGREENS! Support companies that support animals!     – R.T.

From PETA.ORG:

… read this list of vegan, cruelty-free makeup products that you can find at your nearest drugstore or Target, and start stocking your makeup bag the compassionate way:

1. Use a NYX Concealer Wand for under-eye circles, blemishes, or uneven skin complexions.

Concealer

2. Physicians Formula Brightening Compact Foundation powder is great for all-over facial applications.

Physicians Formula Powder

3. Bring out those eyes with a funRunway Eyes palette, by Milani.

(Note: Only the Designer Browns,Couture in Purples, and Backstage Basics palettes are vegan. Other Milani vegan items are clearly marked.)

Milani Eye Shadow

4. But don’t use it without applying someeye primer from Jordana first.

Eye Primer

5. NYX has 27 beautiful shimmery shades of powder blush to choose from.

Blush

 CLICK HERE to see more make-up not tested on animals – or using/harming them in any way! 

*******

ICT editor Rosalie Tirella buys her makeup at Walgreens or Target stores. All cruelty-free. Here she is, yesterday, sporting her Wet ‘n’ Wild mascara (cruelty free brand, which you can’t see cuz of her sun specs) and Elf powder blush and lipstick – always CRUELTY-FREE and amazingly affordable ($2, $3, $5)! Both cosmetics companies have lots of great products for older broads like Rosalie! And don’t worry! She is wearing a faux fur hat cuz it’s freaking cold out there!

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Autumn make up – e.l.f. cosmetics cruelty-free-pretty-me!

 

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3 cheers for Wet n Wild and e.l.f. make-up!! I always have the e.l.f. blush/lip tube jammed into the pocket of my blue jean jacket!  Have their creamy eye-shadows at home … . Use their mascara in the a.m. before I head out the door to run ICT!  Wet n Wild has great thick tubes of tinted lip balm. SPF, too! Used their cherry balm all summer. Price tag? For e.l.f. products a buck at the buck store! A bit more $ at Target and Burlington Coat Factory. Wet n Wild make-up: $2, $3 and $4/$5 at Walgreens or CVS. My point is: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy good, on-trend make up THAT IS NOT TESTED ON RABBITS JAMMED INTO CAGES getting high “doses” of product squirted into their eyes over and over again …  Cruel, cruel, cruel. Pointless.
– R. Tirella
 From PETA.ORG:
 
When we heard that e.l.f. (eyes lips face) company was selling cool cruelty-free cosmetics for a buck each, we couldn’t believe it. But it’s not a fairy tale—e.l.f.really does exist, and you can easily find its products at your local Target and Kmart. It just doesn’t get any easier than that when shopping for cruelty-free makeup!

Operating under the belief that “[e]very woman should have the opportunity to participate in innovation, without sacrificing her budget,” e.l.f. offers a wide variety of high-quality beauty products that look and feel fantastic. But don’t just take our word for it—major magazines such as GlamourAllure, andSelf can’t stop raving about them, either!

While e.l.f. has loads of must-have mascaras, lip glosses, blushes, bronzers, brushes, and much, much more, we can’t help but be partial to its“PETA” tweezers. After all, e.l.f. has created these special tweezers just for us!

Emblazoned with the slogan “Fur Free,” these tweezers come in a case that sports PETA’s cruelty-free bunny logo and reads, “e.l.f. Professional Supports PETA in the Fur Free Campaign: www.PETA.org.” Pretty cool, huh? So now you can extend your “fur-freeness” beyond your wardrobe. What’s even cooler is the fact that 50 percent of the proceeds from sales of these tweezers go straight to PETA!

For an even more customized shopping experience, create your own online beauty profile. Just enter your stats, habits, and preferences, and the experts at e.l.f. will not only recommend the perfect products for you but also save your favorite picks in your very own personal account. You can purchase your “customized just for you” cosmetics online or cruise down to one of these convenient locations near you!

With such a huge variety of sensational cruelty-free stuff at such low prices, who wouldn’t be ecstatic about e.l.f.? PETA sure is. That’s why we’re proud to honor company CEO Joey Shamah with a Trail-Blazer Award for his compassion and commitment to never testing on animals.

To learn more about cosmetics testing on animals, go here.