Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hopping to Help Senior Citizens


Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester (New York) has partnered with a local branch of Home Helpers, Inc. for a project called Furry Friends Visit. The new program brings pets into the homes of senior citizens for the day. What a great idea for people who are unable to have a pet. See the complete article here. Lollypop Farm provides the pets and they also have a “Seniors-for-Seniors” program, which eliminates adoption fees for seniors adopting older pets. The photo shows Dorothy Young of Penfield and Home Helpers President Debra Kostiw with Smokey the rabbit during a home visit. (Jack Haley, Penfield Post)

"Hare"raising Rescue

Two young men from Gilroy, California "intermittently" hop in their local creek if water levels rise and search for stranded animals. Decked out in wetsuits, booties, helmets, boogie boards with ropes, life vests, fins and gloves. they floated down Uvas Creek and found a small wild rabbit clinging for life to a clump of twigs and bushes. They rescued the rabbit and released it to munch on grass on a nearby knoll. However, their good deed was noticed by an officer from the Gilroy Police Department who ticketed the brothers for going into the creek. Both were unaware of the ordinance. According to the article the heros were unfazed by the tickets and pleased to have rescued the rabbit. Photo: Scott and Gregory Adams with rescue rabbit, Gilroy Dispatch.

Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue Needs Help

The wonderful people over at the Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue in the San Gabriel area of southern California need help. They must vacate their space at their local humane society by May 31st. (After that date, the shelter will continue to accept rabbits surrendered to the shelter or picked up as strays. However, they will no longer house rabbits on their property. Zooh Corner has a verbal confirmation that rabbits will have a maximum three-day holding period before being euthanized.) Yikes! May 31st would seem like it is a few months away, but when there are rabbits to place in foster care and all kinds of details to get in place for the future - time is short. See their flyer about their situation. Of course, they are Not closing. I have been following this rabbit rescue's efforts since 2003 and they are a dedicated to helping rabbits. Pictured is Harpo just one of the beautfiul rabbits available for adoption from Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On the Wild Side: A Good Hare Day

In Cambridgeshire, UK over a 100 hare coursers have been caught since August and 15 of their vehicles have been smashed to smithereens as a penalty. The "sport" is illegal and involves high-stakes betting competition. Dogs are let off leash to see which one can catch the most hares. Hare coursers drive on to private land destroying crops and fencing so the authorities are taking it very seriously. However, it's a crushing experience for coursers if discovered. The offenders pay fines, face a ban on driving for 6 months, and their cars are destroyed. As for the hares, they live to see another day. Lucky lagomorphs!

To see a video of an interesting close encounter with a very curious Brown Hare go to this link.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Throw the Book at Them

Last week in Jamestown, North Dakota the James River Valley Library staff was reviewing plans for their new library. When it got to the subject of a book drop set into the building the Librarian objected to it. He said, “Countless libraries around the country have other things dropped into their book drops. I’d definitely not do that.” Then the Library Director chimed in with a comment saying “The Bismarck library got a pregnant rabbit dropped into their book drop.”
Occasionally I will get an email asking why I think rabbits should be neutered or spayed before they are sold or adopted by the public. This incidence of dumping an unwanted pet into a book drop is just one example of why. The method may be a bit different, but pet abandonment occurs at an alarming rate.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Bunny Digs - Rabbit Houses

Someone sent me a photo of a rabbit house and I had no idea who created the amazing rabbit home and piece of furniture - it was the people over at A Better Rabbit House. Visit the link and you will see some very nice rabbit houses. The photo below is just one of their bunnerific designs - I like the fun bunny bridge shown below. (BTW Hopperhome does not accept advertising so my bunnies must approve of all products on the website or Bunny Blog.)

Glamour Shots for Rescue

When Betty wrote me requesting a link exchange for her newly launched "Rescue Glamour Shots" website, I wasn't sure what it was. But after a visit to her website, I realized she is doing a wonderful service for small animals in her part of California and now for everywhere else. She is providing free items with pictures of rescued rabbits (and other petite rescued animals) that can be downloaded and printed to help bring attention to the rescues and the animals they rescue. Visit her website at the link above!

Two Types of Rabbit Fever This Week

The first type of Rabbit Fever I heard about this week was an email from Carmel Valley, CA. A woman was concerned about her house rabbit becoming infected with "Rabbit Fever" (tularemia). A tick recently found by County Vector Control officials near Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve tested positive for the disease. Tularemia is a bacterial disease and also "zoonotic" meaning it can be transmitted to humans. The woman who emailed wasn't concerned for herself. She doesn't go hiking and does not have any outside animals in her care. The disease is spread by infected ticks, mosquitoes or airborne in dust. Humans can be treated with antibiotics. Fortunately, house rabbits are the most unlikely candidates for this disease since they are indoor companion animals. Cats and dogs who go outdoors have been known to be infected. See House Rabbit Society article.

The second Rabbit Fever is a documentary film. It will be hitting the film festival circuit in the next few weeks just in time for Easter. The film is about six teenagers who will be showing their rabbits at the National Rabbit Convention. Every review I have read describes it as a "coming of age" film set in the "quirky" world of show rabbits. It could be dogs cats or rabbits. In fact, the rabbits are inconsequential to the overarching focus on the teenagers. The online preview was shocking to me because it shows an event where 25,000 rabbits are sitting in small cages waiting to be judged. All rabbits are perfect including my rabbits at home that don't meet show standards.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bunches of Bunnies at the Bunny Bunch Boutique

Bunny love was in the air on Saturday in Montclair, California this past weekend at the Valentine Bunny Spa and Photo event at the Bunny Bunch Boutique. An article about the event was featured in the Inland Empire Daily Bulletin and information about the work of the Bunny Bunch SPCA. Bunnies had their nails trimmed, teeth and ears checked and their scent glands cleaned. About 150 bunnies call the boutique home and all are available for adoption. Plus they have another 150 rabbits in foster homes until good homes are located for them. If you would like to see a large photo gallery of adoptable rabbits go to the Bunny Bunch SPCA website. There are rabbits of all sizes, colors and personalities. It takes a lot of very dedicated volunteers to keep this organization hopping. See full article here. The handsome white rabbit pictured above is "Artic Magic. " He is just one of the many adoptable rabbits available. This bunny lost his home at seven years old. He looks like he has a lot of hop left in him. Look at that intent expression.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Rabbits Still a Bargain

The price of a chocolate Easter Bunny this year may jump. The world sugar prices are at a 30 year high and cocoa prices have doubled (12% in January alone). Chocolate bunnies for Easter could jump in price by 20% according to some recent newspaper articles. Adverse weather, political turbulence in cocoa bean producing regions and a high demand for sugar has driven up the prices.
However, according to the ASPCA the cost of a live rabbit including the cost the bunny itself, a pen or cage, litter, litter box, neuter or spaying, water crock, hay, fresh vegetables, grooming supplies and toys can easily add up to over $500 just to start. Some websites put the cost at keeping a rabbit at $700 a year. It adds up fast. At that rate those chocolate rabbits still look pretty sweet in comparison.

How to Relax Your Rabbit

In Youngstown, OH there should be a lot of calm rabbits since Sassy Packard of the Frisky Ferrets, Fuzzies and Feathered Friends Rescue demonstrated bunny massage recently at a local Petco store. The group demonstrated rabbit massage as a way to relax and bond with companion rabbits as part of National Adopt a Rabbit Month. See the entire article in The Vindicator Newspaper online. The photo on the right shows 8 year old Brighid learning how to give her rabbit a massage. (Andy the rabbit looks like he is almost as big as his masseuse.)
When my mini- lop rabbit, Bumble, became disabled, he enjoyed his daily bunny massage and purred his approval. See a comprehensive article explaining basic massage for rabbits, The Blissful Bunny, by Jodi McLaughlin, A.M.P. at Cats and Rabbits and More. Plus, Chandra Beal has wrote a book, The Relaxed Rabbit: Massage for Your Pet Bunny and a created a DVD, The Relaxed Rabbit: Massage Techniques for Your Companion Rabbit. Visit Chandra's website here. Photo credit: Rami Daud

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Painting Beautiful Grumpy Bunnies

Portland, Oregon artist Lorraine Bushek first captured my attention with her wonderful paintings of "Bunnies on Chairs." These paintings featured rabbits on chairs because Lorraine beleves rabbits belong inside a home with their human companions. She is a volunteer with Rabbit Advocates and she donates a portion of her sales from the rabbit paintings to the organization. The painting below is from her series called, "Grumpy Bunnies." This painting is shown on her blog at Lorraine Bushek Studio. The English Lop was rescued by hikers in Oregon's Columbia Gorge. It is a heavily forested area. Fortunately the rabbit, "Hugodarling" survived long enough to be rescued. He found a forever home, too. Such a handsome bunny! See more of Lorraine's rabbit paintings on Flickr, too.

Rohnert Park Shelter Jumping with 20 New Rabbits

The Rohnert Park Patch online reports that last Saturday, a couple relinquished 20 “stray” rabbits they said they had just found. I don't blame the author for being skeptical. The bunnies were in good shape and I agreed with the writer about how hard it is to catch outdoor rabbits. Rounding up one outdoor rabbit is a challenge let alone twenty of them. There were 12 baby bunnies in the group from "at least two separate litters" and they are all "tame and really quite nice." Okay, that convinced me - someone didn't neuter or spay their rabbits and got in over their head. However, the good news is wherever those rabbits came from, at least they were not abandoned outdoors to the predators and elements.
Over the years I have received many emails stating: "I didn't know you could fix rabbits," or "the pet store told me they were two males" (I hear this very often), or "they just got out once together," or "I thought one litter was cute and she had another one a month later." I have a flyer I created on Hopperhome for anyone who wants to download it and pass it out freely: Raging Haremones No need for permission from me. With all the efforts made by many humane groups and rabbit rescue organizations there is still a lot of education to be done. By the way, if you live in the Rohnert Park area of California, they have some very cute bunnies for adoption. Go to this link. Their monthly "Bunny Day" is this Saturday, Feb. 12th. They are offering a one day only special – a free bunny starter kit (litter box, water bottle, carpet square, bag of food, and more), valued at $40, with each adoption. (Photo: Rohnert Park Patch)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hopping Mad About Donna Karan

The media has been reporting that PETA will make a lot of noise at the Donna Karan offices with the sound of screaming rabbits during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. They have a permit to broadcast the sound of terrified rabbits and protest the fashion designer's use of fur.
Then Forbes.com got into the fray with a contributor's blog post, "Screaming Rabbits are Not the Answer" suggesting PETA go to the source, i.e., the fur farms in China. First of all, a protest in front of a fur slaughterhouse in the middle of no where in a country as large as China would have absolutely no impact on the issue because it would receive zero attention. Targeting celebrities and fashion designers who use fur is a smart publicity campaign. After all even a Forbes.com writer has blogged about it now.
PETA is very active in Asia. In fact, recently PETA's “bunnies” were willing to freeze their little tails off and protest in their underwear in Hong Kong. PETA has also performed an undercover investigation of a rabbit fur farm in China, the world’s largest fur exporter exposing the conditions of rabbits and their horrific treatment.
I am not a member of PETA, but I do admire their campaigns. They don't seem so audacious when compared to the brutality of places like fur farms and slaughterhouses. I wrote back to the writer at Forbes.com with my perspective. My closing thought to her was: "If you have never heard a rabbit scream, then you are lucky. There are so many people working to stop the abuse of rabbits because they can't speak for themselves. Perhaps this once, the sounds of their pain within earshot of Donna Karan who exploits their suffering, a rabbit screaming will speak a thousand words." (Photo credit: PETA website)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On the Wild Side: Irish Hares - Ban Upheld on Hare Coursing

Good News for the threatened population of Irish Hares in Ireland. The Northern Ireland Assembly upheld a decision to ban hare coursing yesterday. There had been an effort to block the hare coursing ban currently in place and bring back the licensing system for hare coursing clubs. The amendment on licensed hare coursing was soundly defeated by 53 to 33 votes. According to news outlets, "the ban on hare coursing enjoys cross-community support, with polls showing that 75% of people in Northern Ireland are in favour of a ban." Good to see this blood sport won't be brought back. (See League Against Cruel Sports)
In celebration of the hares, I have included a video from Youtube, "My Hare." It was taped in Ireland in a backyard. Lucky Irishman! For more information on these amazing hares go to this link.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's a Good Thing - House Rabbits on Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart has been an advocate for animals for as long I can remember. She has featured domesticated rabbits as pets on her show several times especially with Marc Marrone during her petkeeping segments. See her website and advice from Cindy Stutts of the House Rabbit Society's New York chapter, Rabbit Rescue and Rehab. Thanks to Martha Stewart for putting the spotlight on rabbits as house pets. Plus, congratulations to the New York HRS. The rabbits deserve this type of media coverage!

Big Bunny is a Big Attraction

A very large Flemish Giant Rabbit has top billing at the Prospect Park Zoo in the Year of the Rabbit and probably any year he wants. According to an article in the Prospect Park Patch, Herbie is a very popular resident at the zoo. Visitors come in and ask for him by name. A zoo representative says Herbie’s “got a great personality, he’s social, he’s tolerant, he’s very mellow.” At 18 lbs. he is a lot of rabbit. Even a rabbit this large would do well as a house rabbit, and I have known a couple of these big beauties. They make great pets for anyone who can put in the time and effort since house rabbits are not low maintenance pets at any size. The diet of larger rabbit breeds need to be monitored since they have a tendency to put on weight. Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © Wildlife Conservation Society.

Long Beach Campus Bunnies

Long Beach City College in California has hosted a feral rabbit population for over 30 years and in the last year the college has made strides to control the population through a neutering and spaying program. They now have about 50-60 rabbits on the campus. Plus, they are working with the Best Friends Animal Society to get rabbits adopted. Periodic checks are done to make sure the remaining rabbits are fixed. They are also working to curb abandonment through education and a $500 fine or jail time for abandoning a pet on the campus. Students can volunteer to help at the Rabbit Adoption Center on campus. See full article here.

What Are They Thinking?

Is anyone else a little bit nervous when they see this photo. It was published in Mid-Day a photo blog from India and features a young Amur leopard "Paulchen with a rabbit "Lisa." They reside at the breeding station of the Serengeti-Park animal park in Hodenhagen, central Germany. The caption goes on to say “Paulchen has to be bottle-fed by keepers, as his sister thrust him aside from their mother. The keepers offered him a friend, "Lisa,” so that he does not to spend the first months of his life all alone.” The key here is “first months of his life” because Amur leopard males will grow up to weigh 71 to 106 lbs and sometimes up to 165 lbs. They are in danger of becoming extinct in their native habitat of the forests in the Far East such as Korea and Northeastern China, and they are formidable predators.
I enjoy the big wild cats and I am very sympathetic to the plight of these endangered animals. Yet even my domesticated house cats are not aware of their strength when playing too rough. The smaller rabbits in the household are supervised with the cats. At some point the predatory nature of this leopard will kick-in or the play will get too rough. I think they could have found an animal not typically considered “prey” for a companion to a predator species. Photo Credit: AFP Photo Holger Hollemann Germany

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Discouraging a Bunny Buying Frenzy

The Year of the Rabbit is getting a lot of press in the last few days. The SPCA & House Rabbit Society of Singapore are urging the public not to buy pet rabbits on impulse. Below is an example of a poster for their campaign and you can visit the HRSS at this link:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Porcelain Rabbit Graces Chinese City

The Year of the Rabbit is officially here in Asia and other parts of the world. In Jingdezhen City, China, also known as the "porcelain city" because of its porcelain-making history, a giant statue of a rabbit consisting of 30,000 porcelain plates dominates the landscape. I like it . . . a big white bunny with ruby red eyes. As long as rabbits are not on dinner plates for the menu, then I think it is a great celebration of my favorite lagomorph.