Make Mine Chocolate, Please
I recently stumbled upon a newsletter article from my animal rescue shelter days that I wrote about rabbits. (All changes are primarily grammatical.) How fortunate that spring recently arrived and Easter is on the horizon. It's the perfect time to share some of my older works and give a shout-out to cute furry bunnies.
“I never wanted a rabbit as a pet. Having two dogs and four cats, bringing the hard-luck cases home, and fostering them to help teach them the rules of living with humans was enough. So I focused on dogs and cats, as those are primarily the animals we care for at the animal shelter. But oddly enough, I do have a rabbit, and what a rabbit he is.
Peter (some names have been changed to protect the innocent) arrived at the shelter with his sister, Pam. Both had been living in a 4-H Club, though I don't know precisely what that means. When the club disbanded, one adult member thought, 'Great. My kids would love these rabbits.' And his wife said, 'Oh heck no!' So he headed to his mother's house and left them in her garage.
From the garage, they were relegated to the furthest corner of the yard in their typically cramped rabbit hutch. Basic needs were met, but nothing more. They had food and water but no affection, exercise, or love. And we were called and took them in when the cold weather was about to hit.
Fun Fact: Rabbits love cold weather and are hardier in winter's chill than in summer's heat.
We tend to have a rabbit or two at the shelter at any given time. We've acquired rabbits thrown from vehicles, found wandering in the yards of volunteers, and many were left at the door when no one was around. However, we never had rabbits that could not tolerate touching. Peter and Pam had gone without a typical or happy life of a domestic pet for so long that interacting with humans was out of the question. Unfortunately, the shelter lost Pam due to stress. She couldn't handle the bustling environment, as isolation was typical for Pam and Peter, accepting human attention intolerable.
The worst part of their story is that most rabbits don't have it this good, for Peter and Pam initially had each other. But now Peter had no one—until he moved in with my motley crew. He seems to enjoy his new life and sees my husband and me as the witless food providers.
My husband built him a suitable dwelling, which a volunteer bestowed the moniker 'The Taj MaHutch,' as it was fashioned to look like a house, complete with a front door, window, and central air conditioning. Peter's favorite part of the day is being let out (safely within a massive kennel) to run, "binky" (a twist and jump rabbits perform when they're happy), and be a bunny for once. He plays with my dogs through the chainlink as they scamper by, and as the top photo depicts, he has one wild friend. By making this antisocial creature happy, we are too.
Give a bunny a break
Some folks don't consider small pets worthy of the basics we allow dogs and cats. They don't seem to know or care that they have personalities and the right to a quality experience. All you have to do to obtain a small pet is walk into the pet store with some money and leave with a sentient being you know nothing about. Most people aren't malicious in their treatment of these animals, but abuse, neglect, and pain hurt as much, whether caused by ignorance or intention.
People should educate themselves before obtaining any animal, whether a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, ferret, etc. This time of year, I encourage everyone to log onto http://www.makeminechocolate.org/ to learn more about rabbits, their needs, and why no one should be buying them (ducks, chickens, and other tiny critters either) as Easter gifts.”
Thank you for joining me on a trip down memory lane.