Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rabbit Hopping in Minnesota Ya You Betcha!

Yesterday the Minnesota Star Tribune featured an article on the Sunday "rabbit agility" classes held at the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society (MCRS).  Back when I lived in Minnesota I met Joanna Campbell an original founder of the MCRS and I'm not surprised  "kaninhoppning" training and events are hosted by this dedicated rabbit rescue group.  The sport originated in the late 1970s in Sweden, and it is now spreading around the world and very popular in the UK.  As the article noted "America's 6 million-plus pet rabbits come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and they are imminently trainable, sharing traits with other favorite pets including dogs and horses. And they have attitude." I can certainly attest to that since every rabbit I have ever met has a strong and distinct personality with some displaying a little more rabbitude than others.  There are 20 or so bunnies in the MCRS classes, and the 50-plus participating in the ensuing recreational confab called Hoppy Hour.  Boy, those Minnesotans sure know how to have fun with their rabbits . . . ya you betcha!  (Photo credit: Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rabbit Rescue Calendars for 2012

The 2011 Year of the Rabbit may be almost over, but for rabbit rescuers every year is a Year of the Rabbit.  A good friend just sent me a rabbit rescue calendar as a Christmas gift (Thanks Karen!).  It is the first one listed here created by the Missouri House Rabbit Society and it’s perfect for one room in my home.  I was inspired to look for more calendars for other rooms so I did a little research online. What a great way help homeless bunnies and get a beautiful calendar, too.  
Below is a selection of rabbit calendars created by rabbit rescue organizations.  I know I may have missed some so if you have a rabbit rescue (anywhere in the world), and a calendar for 2012, email me and I will add it to this post. Click on each rescue name link above each calendar to go to their website to order.
 




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Think Twice Before Buying a Rabbit as a Gift

Lisa Reemer, Founder of the No Splitting Hares Bunny Rescue, was interviewed recently for an article in the Algonquin Patch. She rescues rabbits, as well as hamsters and guinea pigs, year around in Algonquin, IL. Over the past week she has had more pickups of unwanted rabbits than ever before from shelters who are euthanizing soon. Reemer, and her 17 volunteers, cover two counties to bring theses bunnies back to Reemer's farmhouse, where she shelters more than 250 animals and works to place them in adoptive homes. The article discusses the commitment of keeping a rabbit and why rabbits (and any other animal for that matter) do not make good "gifts" at the holidays. (Also, I have a list on Hopperhome with several reasons not to give a rabbit as a gift at this Link.) The No Splitting Hares Bunny Rescue has many, many beautiful rabbits available for adoption on www.Petfinder.com and pictured are two adorable dwarfs ready for adoption.

Happy New Year to Bob Barker & Mr. Rabbit

The Washington Post featured an article about celebrity pets and New Year's Resolutions. Here is what retired game show host Bob Barker’s has to say about his 8-year-old rabbit, Mr. Rabbit. The bunny already follows Barker around the house “helping me in every way he can.” If Barker could ask for more, it would be “to use his box every time, not just when it’s convenient.”
And Mr. Rabbit’s resolution for Barker? What else? “To continue urging folks to have their pets spayed and neutered — including rabbits.” Now about that litter issue . . . maybe some nice botanical hay in the litter box . . .
Thanks to Bob and Mr. Rabbit for saying exactly the right thing to help rabbits!  (Photo credit: Washington Post)

Friday, December 9, 2011

On the Wild Side: US Forest Service Saves Riparian Brush Rabbit from Floods

Last March heavy storms created above average rainfall and the San Joaquin and Stanislaus Rivers began to flood threatening the the habitat of the small Riparian Brush Rabbit found in the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This refuge is located in Stanislaus County, California consists of 6,500 acres of riparian woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands.  In other words, perfect habititat for these little lagomorphs. The Riprarian Brush Rabbit is is a federally endangered species. Tbey are similar to a cottontail, but with slight differences such as their smaller tail and no black color tips on the ears. They can swim, but with no high ground to escape to the rabbits were in trouble. The Endangered Species Recovery Program (ESRP) and refuge staff mounted a rescue in rough conditions to prevent the drowning of as many these rabbits as possible. The rabbits are good climbers and boats were used to find and remove them from trees in low areas.  They were then ferried to newly constructed bunny mounds and other high ground. Over a period of several days 125 Riparian Brush Rabbits were moved and saved from drowning. (Photo Credit: CSU Stanislaus, ESRP staff) Here is a link to a video of the rescue effort.

Everything Came Up Roses for this Rabbit

Who knew munching on roses in someone's yard would find a rabbit a new home.  No one knows how BunnyBoy ended up in the yard.  But he found a new home and that's what matters. According to a brief article in the Weekly Times Messenger (UK), the road where the house is located is a very busy street. (No wonder the rose bushes seemed like a safe and tasty place to be.) Fortunately BunnyBoy was taken in by the Wilkins family including their cat. Ms Wilkins said. “He’s very affectionate. He loves me cuddling him. He’s very smoochy.” Awwww. . .
(Photo credit: Weekly Times Messenger)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Santa Cruz Rabbit Spay-A-Thon, A Model of Generosity

The Santa Cruz Examiner published a very informative article on the efforts to spay or neuter 32 of the 114 rabbits confiscated several weeks ago from a breeder in Northern California. Organized by Dr. Hilary Stern from Animal Hospital of Soquel and Heather Bechtel, founder of The Rabbit Haven, two other vets also volunteered their services including Dr. Erika Sullenberger from Animal Hospital of Soquel and Dr. Sarah Hawklyn from Aptos-Creekside Pet Hospital. Vet techs also offered their help as well as volunteers from the Santa Cruz shelter and The Rabbit Haven.  To alter 32 rabbits in one day requires coordination of many logistical details. That's a lot of precious bunnies to keep safe and healthy during the surgery process from pre-op preparations to recovery. Considering how easily rabbits can be stressed and what the rabbits had already endured, this Spay-A-Thon was truly a success. It should serve as a model to other animal rescue organizations and shelters faced with altering a high number of animals to enable adoption out to permanent homes.  Read more here. The article also includes a slide show of the Spay-A-Thon.  (Photo credit: The Rabbit Haven)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bunny Paradise Brings Retirees Together

An article in the Helena, MT (helenair.com) newspaper featured the Johnsons who for the last 15 years have rescued pet rabbits and created a habitat for wild rabbits. Previously they had been in show breeding.  No more. They operate a sanctuary for rabbits which they soley fund themselves, although, they do accept donations such as rabbit feed. Right now they have about 250 rabbits and visit retirement homes and daycare centers.  They bring along a few of the rabbits so kids and adults can learn about them and enjoy being around them. “We’re a retirement home for rabbits,” Margaret Johnson said of their Helena Valley facility, Bunny Paradise Sanctuary. (Photo credit: helenair.com)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Odd Rabbit News This Week

There were several off the wall news reports related to rabbits this week and here is a sample of just a few of those stories that made the news:

Ruff Three Weeks: A terrier, Bilbo, got stuck in a rabbit warren in the UK for 3 long weeks.  Firefighters told Bilbo’s owners the warren's tunnels would collapse if they tried to dig him out so they waited until the dog made his own way out.  After 20 days, the poor pup had lost enough weight to squeeze out of the tight spot. Fortunately, it is reported Bilbo is doing fine now.  Rabbit warrens can be as deep as 9 ft. and are dug primarily by females. A few years ago I heard about one single warren in Europe that was home to 450 rabbits and had 2,000 entrances.

Cat Flap: Also, in the UK, the beautiful Angora rabbit pictured on the right was brought home by a cat.  The feline dragged the bunny right through the cat flap and gave him to his humans as a present.  Luckily, the rabbit was examined by a vet afterwards and was not physically hurt. Although, I wonder if rabbits have their own form of PSTD or at the very least a ‘cat phobia” after a close encounter like this. Attempts are being made to find the rabbit’s previous home.
Braking for Bunnies: I brake for rabbits, but a woman in Oklahoma swerved her truck to avoid a rabbit that ran into the road and crashed her vehicle.  She was 132 ft. off the road and struck a metal culvert.  She is okay.  The bunny did make it across the road.

Amazing Hop: In case you missed it last week, the CBS TV Show, Amazing Racing featured "Kaninhop" (rabbit agility obstacle races) in Denmark for Episode 8. Teams set-up the obstacle course and chose a rabbit. One team picked out Hopper to run their course. Hopper was good, but he knocked over one of the obstacles. The team tried another rabbit named Speckles who jumped through the course perfectly. Afterwards, Bill exclaimed, "Oh Speckles, we’re gonna take you home!” A competing team member, Marcus gave a pep talk to his rabbit, telling it, "I’ve had a frustrating day. Right now you can really help my frustration, okay?” The rabbit probably doesn't understand English being from Denmark, but the bunny gracefully hopped over the obstacles. An appreciative Marcus professed his love for the bunny. The rabbit had put Marcus' team in fourth place. 
Chicken or Rabbit: An eight month old rabbit in Finland was a free gift with a farmer’s purchase of chickens. The farmer said, "When I went to the hen house, I noticed he was sitting on the eggs. Later I watched through the window how he jumped on the beam, failed, tried again and with a lot of practice eventually he stayed up there." He also “sits on the beam between the hens and under their wings." Everyone says the rabbit thinks he’s a chicken.  Maybe the bunny hasn’t had a chance to be a rabbit, or perhaps he is simply being himself with his feathered friends.  Most domesticated rabbits will bond with other animals so his behavior is very rabbit-like.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

114 Rabbits Confiscated from Breeder - Ready for New Homes

After the confiscation of 114 rabbits from a breeder, the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in California is overflowing with gorgeous rabbits for adoption. (Just look at the photo on the left - very sweet!) According to the shelter staff, "The conditions these rabbits were living in were abominable, yet they are overwhelmingly outgoing and handleable, a testament to their resilient spirits." There were so many rabbits the shelter is housing them at two locations and has teamed up with Rabbit Haven volunteers to make sure the bunnies have had the best care. The bunnies are being neutered and spayed and some are already available to go to good homes.  If you are interested in adopting, becoming a volunteer or fostering, visit the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter or go online to www.scanimalshelter.org.