Monday, March 1, 2010

Not So Funny Bunny Tales

I DON'T BELIEVE RABBITS make the best pets and generally suggest folks settle for the chocolate kind instead. But this is a case of do as I say (not as I do) as I’ve had two pet rabbits. Mini lived for only a few months and devastated the family when she died from digesting some rope that was foolishly tied to her cage. Oliver lived for almost nine years and had the run of our garage AND back yard most of the time. Because we hated leaving him in a cage our cars got a little rusty and weather-worn from being parked outdoors. The garage, too, was worse for wear around the edges from being chewed by Oliver who I could forgive anything.

It would be so easy if we could simply erase the pets we purchase when we no longer have time or space for them. Many baby bunnies are bought in early Spring as an emotional response to the Easter season. Their cute and cuddly bodies are hard to resist. Families often aren’t prepared for the long-term commitment, however, especially when sellers downplay the life span of rabbits. I’ve heard them say up to five years for dwarf rabbits when five years is usually the minimum and often extends well beyond seven years in a good home.

Very often the furniture-chewing adult rabbit is tossed out in the cold to possibly become dinner to the hungry wildlife lurking outdoors. If the bunny is lucky enough to survive and find another bunny, they multiply and become wild themselves eating their way through gardens and lawns of suburban homes and even univeristies such as The University of Victoria in BC, a classic example of an abandoned rabbit overrun.

This bunny bonanza inspired the university to start a pilot project in December, 2009, to test non-lethal animal control methods. The Mandate is to: "test non-lethal approaches to remove at least 150 feral rabbits from areas in and around the university’s athletic fields. The pilot project involves live capture, removal from campus, sterilization and relocation to new homes."

I don't regret my bunny relationships. But as a pet owner who cares I didn't foresee the extent of dedication such a pet requires. It couldn't hurt to think twice before taking on such a responsibility. The best explanation of what happens to most rabbits in the end can be read in a thought-provoking poem by Mary Brandolino called EASTER BUNNY.

2 comments:

  1. Oh, Penelope, I remember your rabbits, of course, and know how important Oliver was to your family. But I wish I hadn't read that poem. It's a good poem, and it is all too true, but I wish I hadn't read it because it ends so sadly. Meanwhile, I hope everyone who is contemplating getting "a baby bunny" for their children at Easter will read the poem and think twice or thrice before subjecting the poor thing to a lifetime of neglect, and a terrible end. SO sad.

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  2. I have to confess I didn't/couldn't read the poem, but really appreciated your post, Penelope. I've been trying to read it for a while, but for some reason, it wouldn't load from my blog page. There are two ladies who have been visiting Jericho Park TWICE every day for the past couple of years, to make sure the 30 or so rabbits that seem to stay around the same number (a few less over the winter), and that people have abandoned, at least get fed. I am everlastingly grateful to those ladies. Many of those rabbits fall prey to the eagles, hawks and coyotes, but others survive and multiply. I love to see them, but always wish they had been fortunate enough to find more responsible humans in the first place. I know your rabbits had a wonderful life with you, and I do know one other VERY happy rabbit that was lucky enough to find the perfect home, but I feel certain your post will find its mark where it is most needed. The rabbits are thanking you!

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