Tag Archives: Easter

Spring/Easter thoughts …

flier MPS(1)
photos submitted by Mauro DePasquale

By Mauro DePasquale

The sun shining through the clouds on this cool but warming April morning. It wakes up something deep inside us. Savoring that sweet scent for spring air, it takes me back to spring vacations at my grandparents’ house on Bell Hill, joyfully playing and running through their yard while my grandfather, singing happily, began clearing the garden of fallen dead winter debris. I loved it. That scent brought hope, dreams of summer, and all the happiness that would be ahead. Spring air is such a wonderful gift to be thankful for.

That sweet scent has a grit to it: mud, tree mold, dried, dead leaves, old annuals rotting out of a thaw, and yet it is a scent springing hope eternal.

It’s something we all awaken to during this time of year. No matter what our faith, our heritage, we all feel it and know it at once.

For this Catholic, it’s a gift, a sign of Easter’s promise. The scent of spring, somehow as a resonant hint of an ancient sacred covenant, an elusive reveal of the Mystery made tangible. The promise of life everlasting.

It’s more than the scent of a dead world resurrecting, it’s a spiritual resurrection. Resurrecting from the grit of our ties to this world, the mud of our faults, the mold of our participation in injustice, the rot of our sins. It is also an awakening to the mystery of life eternal exemplified in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christ is the sun shining the light of Truth. Warming and gracing the morning of our lives, each and every day. This beautiful warm light that shines on each and every one of us for no reason, and yet, through that mysterious and Holy Spirit, we welcome it as unconditional love and mercy.

For us this seems to happen in the season after winter, however whereas time does not exist except in the profane, the Resurrection of Christ is continual, in Holy time, and every breath we take is the gift of an opportunity to share in that eternal spring. Forever in His Light, forever singing happily, forever joyful, in a life forever in love.

At the end of this day, here in this plane, we can be thankful. There is nothing to worry about. Spring is always around the corner. Although the culture of death may surround us here, we look for hope not in what is dead, rotting and bound in sin, but what is living in the promise of the eternal. Hope comes from that spirit living within us. Just remember “He is Risen” and we will also with Him rise from death. Why? Because God loves you as sure as that gift of spring air.


Mauro DePasquale is Executive Director of WCCA TV “The People’s Channel” and President of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society.

Happy Easter!

Heading to a family gathering today🌷🌷… Have to be up and ready early (ugh), have to get my political funnies in pre-dawn😂😂!! Have a holy day🎻! No more wars, Mr. President! Stop bombing everybody! Save the planet! Stop killing the trees, birds, bears and bees! Please!!!! pic: Rose T:

Also, from Franny:

If you are interested in adopting a rabbit or just want to know more about caring for a house rabbit or even sponsoring or fostering a rescued rabbit, you can contact the House Rabbit Network of Woburn, Ma. either by email at www.rabbitnetwork.org or tel 781-431-1211 There is always someone available to call you or email with advice.

pic: Franny McKeever


Here is Dorrie’s newest cutie, precious Peke, Peggy Sue💙! Dorrie brought her home Friday:

💛💛💛💛 pics: Dorrie Maynard

Happy Easter, Peggy Sue!🌺🐰


And with bunnies on the brain. From PETA.ORG …


Do you check PETA’s database every time that you shop and look for our cruelty-free bunny? Or do you toss whatever product is nearest to you in your shopping cart without thinking twice? Whether you’re a die-hard label-checker or someone who’s never even thought about checking a label, we’ve got a cruelty-free checklist for you!

It’s hard to believe that some companies still test on animals purely for vanity’s sake, as we don’t need to have animals burned and blinded for yet another mascara, shampoo, or body wash. With so many compassionate companies in our cruelty-free database, we think it’s the perfet time to clean out your cabinets, purse, and shower and get rid of your old products that may have been tested on animals. With that in mind, we want you to figure out how cruelty-free your products really are.

Here’s how this will work:

Print this image, and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Voilà! The checklist is yours to use.

Go through all the items on the list, giving yourself a pat on the back for each cruelty-free product you own and tossing out the offenders.



Whether you’re new to checking labels for PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies logo or you’re a compassionate queen or king, here are some of our favorite products to help you round out your cruelty-free morning routine:

1. For body wash or soap, try Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap, Lush Wash Behind Your Ears Shower Gel, or Method, which can be found at Target.

2. If you’re looking for your new favorite face wash, try Aveda’s Outer Peace Foaming Cleaner or Pacifica’s Kale Water Micellar Cleansing Tonic.

3. For shampoo and conditioner options, try Avalon Organics Scalp Normalizing Tea Tree Mint Shampoo or Carol’s Daughter Rhassoul Clay Enriching Conditioner.

4. In terms of toothpaste, Nature’s Gate Crème de Peppermint Toothpaste or Desert Essence Ultra Care Toothpaste are fantastic options.

5. We love freshening up with JĀSÖN mouthwash and Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash.

6. Herban Cowboy and Kiss My Face both offer heavenly deodorant scents.

7. Le Labo and Flower Beauty are just two of the many perfume companies that carry vegan options.

8. We love Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and Pacifica for all their lovely vegan nail polish shades.

9. You don’t need beeswax or animal tests to keep your lips moisturized! Try Crazy Rumors or Shea Moisture.

10. wet n wild MegaVolume Mascara and Urban Decay Perversion Waterproof Fine-Point Eye Pen will give you bold eyes without the cruelty.

11. Get your eye shadow on with Lime Crime palettes.

Tragically, hundreds of thousands of rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs, and other animals who are full of life and personality are kept inside barren cages in laboratories and killed after substances are dripped into their eyes or rubbed onto their raw skin—or after being forced to inhale or ingest massive quantities of test substances.


With every vegan, cruelty-free product purchase, you’re sending a message that you don’t support archaic tests on animals.


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

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.

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!

🎵🎵🎻 to our souls!💛 and … Make your own Easter Yum Yums!🍰



Why You Should Celebrate a Cruelty-Free Easter

As Christians remember Christ’s crucifixion as the final sacrifice and celebrate His victory over death in the resurrection, let us resolve to emulate His compassion in our own lives by showing mercy to animals.

There’s no better place to begin than the dinner table. As we break bread, let’s break ties with some of the most violent and ungodly places on Earth — slaughterhouses and factory farms.


Before they become Sunday’s centerpiece, animals on factory farms are denied everything that God designed them to want and do. They never breathe fresh air, nurture their young, play with other animals, or do anything to live out the biblical concept that “God’s mercy is over all His creatures.”

For example, pigs spend their entire lives in filthy concrete pens, and cruelty is rampant, as witnessed by PETA investigators.


PETA’s investigation of Belcross Farm, a pig-breeding facility in North Carolina, resulted in the first-ever felony indictments for cruelty to animals by farm workers in the U.S.

PETA’s undercover investigation at Seaboard Farms, Inc. has resulted in the filing of felony cruelty-to-animals charges against a former manager at the facility.

Easter is also no celebration for hens on egg farms, who suffer constant confinement to tiny, filthy wire cages. Male chicks are killed — often through suffocation — since they don’t produce eggs, and female chicks have their beaks painfully seared off to keep them from pecking one another.

Cows on dairy farms are kept continually impregnated, and their calves are snatched away just after birth so that their mothers’ milk can be consumed by humans.

At the end of their short, miserable lives, these animals are crammed into trucks, with little protection from the elements, to suffer the ultimate terror of the slaughterhouse, where workers hang them upside-down and slit their throats.

What You Can Do


Plant-based foods can be found in supermarkets (editor’s note: check out TRADER JOE’S in Shrewsbury, Rt 9, just over the bridge) and on the menus of many chain restaurants.

Since eating vegan is easier than ever, there’s simply no reason for any animals to end up on our plates!


Homemade Vegan Easter Eggs!🐰🐰


There are a variety of places online where you can order vegan Easter candy, and finding vegan chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, or jelly beans — just like those you remember filling your Easter basket with as a child — is no longer difficult. However, if you’re like me and you’ve waited until the last minute to plan for the sugar fest that often comes with the holiday, finding these goodies won’t be quite as easy.

But don’t fear! Those of us who tend to procrastinate — or are just super-crafty — can go the homemade route!

Below is a recipe for basic chocolate eggs, which you can then turn into a variety of designs.

🌷💙Chocolate Eggs💙🌷

1 8-oz. package nondairy cream cheese, softened at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Decorations, e.g., chopped nuts, unsweetened cocoa, toasted flaked coconut

Beat the nondairy cream cheese in a mixing bowl until it is smooth.

Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until it is well blended.

Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and mix well.

Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls or egg shapes and roll them in the nuts, cocoa, or coconut.

Store the finished chocolates in the refrigerator.

Makes approximately 5 dozen chocolates

🌷🌼Some “eggs-traordinary” ideas!!🌼🌷:

Roll egg-shaped chocolate in chopped nuts.

If you can find a cute Easter-themed mold, simply fill it with the chocolate and refrigerate.

Allow the chocolate to cool in a thin layer, then cut out your favorite shape with Easter-themed cookie cutters.

Decorate egg-shaped chocolate with dyed coconut. I recommend adding a few drops of food coloring to water and then adding your coconut. Allow to soak for a few minutes in the water, then remove and allow to dry completely before using to decorate.

Use plastic Easter eggs to get your desired shape, scoop out the center, and fill with peanut butter, nuts, or another favorite candy.


Close the plastic egg and refrigerate until both sides are firm and have joined together.

Cover egg-shaped chocolate with holiday color foils or ribbons.

Cover egg-shaped chocolate with vegan nonpareils or another small vegan candy.

You can shape and decorate the chocolate any way you’d like, so get creative with it!


Easter … another perspective

Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee Jones💗💗💗💗

By Parlee Jones

Peace, Worcester People!! I hope this issue of InCity Times finds you in the best of health – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

When I was a child my mom made sure that my two sisters and I were greeted with gifts for every holiday!! Christmas presents! Easter baskets! Thanksgiving feasts! Fourth of July cookouts at the ocean! She did her best to make sure that we wanted for nothing. She also did this for our children, her grandchildren, until she passed away September 13, 2013.

Once my sisters and I grew up and started doing our own research, we took different paths ~ a Rasta, a Muslim and a 5%er – all ways of life that give an alternative view to the Anglo-Christian norms that are accepted in the United States and, basically, worldwide. Learning truth or where these “holy-days”/“holidays” originated is usually a part of gaining knowledge.

Countless Christians celebrate Easter Sunday as the day that Jesus Christ rose from the “dead,” which is written in the New Testament of the Bible. According to the Gospel of John in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb where Jesus was buried and found it empty. An angel told her that Jesus had risen.

Easter is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do.

As with many holidays, the new Christian religion had to include aspects of what is considered “pagan” holidays to make it easier to convert more people to Christianity. Christianity adopted the pagan Spring festival. … All things fun about Easter are pagan!

What do bunnies and eggs have to do with Easter? The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and has been associated with pagan festivals the world over celebrating spring since the beginning of time.

“In the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, with further symbolism being found in the hard shell of the egg symbolizing the sealed Tomb of Christ — the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg.

Colored eggs, I’m quite sure, developed with amazing marketing for the masses. Bottom line, we know it’s about the dollar bills!

Well, what about the Easter Bunny?

Since ancient of days, bunnies have been associated with spring and rebirth. It is thought that the Goddess of Spring, Eostre, had a hare as her companion. The hare represents fertility and revival. Later Christians changed the symbol of the hare to the Easter Bunny.

According to some sources, the Easter Bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs.

Goddesses who celebrate Spring and Rebirth:

The goddess Ishtar is the East Semitic Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war and sex. She is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and is the cognate for the Northwest Semitic Aramean goddess Astarte.

Ostara is a fertility goddess. Her annual arrival in spring is heralded by the flowering of trees and plants and the arrival of babies, both animal and human. She is also known as Eostre, the Germanic Goddess of Spring. Eggs and rabbits are sacred to her, as is the full moon, since the ancients saw in its markings the image of a rabbit or hare. She is also a dawn goddess and may be related to the Greek Goddess of the dawn, Eos.

Similar Goddesses were known by other names in ancient cultures around the world and were celebrated in the spring time:

🌸Aphrodite from ancient Greece;

🌷Ashtoreth from ancient Israel;

🌺Asarte from ancient Greece;

🌹Demeter from Mycenae;

🌻Hathor from ancient Egypt;

🌼Ishtar from Assyria;

💐Kali from India;

🌷Ostara from Germanic culture.

Just a few interesting facts that make you go … hmmmm!

Thanks for listening with an open mind and heart! Peace and Blessings! And enjoy your holy-day!!!

Parlee and Athena 2
Parlee, at an Abby’s House event

What will you give the Easter Bunny this year?

Lilac, 4-6-2017 pic: R.T.

Reposting for Easter …

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.

These companies don’t test their products on bunnies … Support them!



A kind of Easter Parade!

Happy Easter! … and then some!

Lilac donning her Easter bonnet!:


Not-so-Happy District 4:

Charlton Street:


Lower Endicott Street:


Ward Street heading into the Canal District:




This Earth Day these filth hot spots will be cleaned up by the best of the best. The next day they’ll be clogged with garbage. A chronic problem!

City Leaders may want to institute FREE GARBAGE PICK UP IN SOME OF OUR INNER-CITY ‘HOODS. The illegal dumping will never go away …

Some questions:

Is it financial hardship that keeps folks from plunking down 10 bucks for city trash bags?

Or: Is it a symptom of something deeper, a kind of depression/malaise that stops our folks from keeping their environs clean?

We can debate the causes all year long. Meanwhile, my neighborhood grows dirtier and dirtier.


So wonderful when our readers show us the love:


Like William here! To hear the enthusiasm in his voice a week ago as he picked up the latest issue of ICT! To be bombarded with his compliments! To experience his intelligence and thoughtfulness! Our readers make it all STILL GREAT. After almost 15 years!



My friend works in a flower shop. She “sent” me these beauties a few days ago for Easter!:


Love the soft peach roses, gal pal!


And love the hundreds of vintage toy trucks and cars – some of them actually antiques dating back to the 1920s – for sale at Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift store at 1329 Main St., Worcester. These guys really take you back! Who can remember the Texaco jingle?



Lilac, my tenacious hunter, caught a rabbit (or squirrel?) a week ago:


A brutal, but quick, ending for the little guy. You can’t break your dog of his/her high prey drive. … Lilac slept like a babe that night, true to her soul:



Easter sans Lucinda? Never in a million Easters! Reposting one of my favorite Lu songs!


– pics+text by Rosalie Tirella

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.



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

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.

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


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!

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!!!


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.

What if Jesus had been a chicken?

What if Jesus is Lilac?!

By Michelle Kretzer
It’s the most important day in the Christian calendar. Easter Sunday is the day when we celebrate the fact that Jesus conquered death and darkness so that His followers could have eternal life, and it is the foundation of our faith. We go to church to hear the Easter story every year, and we shake our heads in disgust as our pastors describe the extreme barbarism with which religious and government leaders tortured and killed Him. But what if similar abuse were being meted out to this very day — every day — to others who are just as innocent?
The similarities between the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the ways in which animals are raised and killed to be eaten are uncanny and undeniable.
Jesus was killed because people refused to believe that He could truly be the son of God sent to save the world from sin. Animals are killed by the billions every year because people refuse to believe that they could be thinking, feeling, intelligent, emotional beings whom God created and blessed and whom He loves very much.
The soldiers who were responsible for guarding Jesus after He was arrested mocked and beat Him. Numerous PETA investigations have exposed farmworkers who mocked and beat the animals for whom they were responsible. PETA’s eyewitness investigation of a New York state dairy farm found that workers routinely jabbed and struck cows in the face, udder or hindquarters with a pole or a cane. A manager electro-shocked at least one cow in the face repeatedly and called a downed cow a “dumb bitch.” At a pig factory farm in Iowa, PETA’s eyewitnesses documented that workers beat pigs with metal gate rods and a herding board, jabbed clothespins into their eyes and defended their own violence by saying things like, “You gotta beat on the bitch. Make her cry.” Similar abuse has been revealed at farms across the country.
Jesus’ broken body was nailed to a cross, and He was left hanging there to die. In slaughterhouses, animals are routinely strung up by their legs, their throats are cut—often while they’re fully conscious—and they are left hanging there to die.
The soldiers stripped Jesus of His clothes and cast lots for them. Animals are skinned and cut into pieces, often while still conscious, and their body parts are sold for profit. One worker at a cow slaughterhouse told The Washington Post, “They die piece by piece.”
The major difference between the Easter story and the fate of animals who are killed for food is that while Jesus didn’t want to suffer and die, He nevertheless offered Himself up as an innocent sacrifice in order to save God’s children from death. Animals value their own lives, too, but they have not offered themselves up and don’t want to die just to give humans a fleeting taste of their flesh.
At the Last Supper, Jesus commanded the apostles — and all of us — to “love one another.” The name of the day on which we remember the Last Supper, Maundy Thursday, even comes from the word “mandate.” But there is nothing loving about the ways in which animals are abused and killed for our plates. Each animal is God’s perfect creation, an individual with the ability to feel pain, joy, fear and love. And thus, each human has a choice to make three times on Easter Sunday and every day when sitting down to eat: Shall I contribute to suffering, or shall I extend mercy?
Michelle Kretzer writes on Christian issues for the PETA Foundation.