You know I'm on a campaign with my Mom this year to help as many homeless animals - 1000 is my goal - to find the same type of happy home as I have. And while I do spend most of my time promoting dog and cat adoption, there are those Moms and Dads who just aren't cat or dog people. Hard to imagine, I know, but it's true. But I have a solution for them. How about a rabbit?
February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month. The House Rabbit Society and the ASPCA are encouraging rabbit adoption with the theme for this year's celebration - "Warm Your Heart, Warm Your Home - Adopt a Rescued Rabbit."
Marinell Harriman, founder and president of HRS, explains that the timing of this educational effort couldn't be better. "As we move into the months preceding Easter, it is critical that we get the word out. There are thousands of rabbits in shelters around the country waiting for homes; many of these rabbits were babies purchased as a whim during last year's Easter season by families who didn't know how to care for and interact with them. Now the kids have grown tired of them, and parents have dropped them off at already-crowded shelters."
HRS's mission is twofold - to educate the public about these often-misunderstood companion animals, and to help rescue and "re-home" domestic rabbits. However, Ms. Harriman cautions, rabbits are not for everyone, and therefore House Rabbit Society volunteers work hard to educate the public about what rabbits are, and what they are not.
I don't know much about pet rabbits. All the rabbits at my house are not pets. I see them hopping around in the field sometimes and I think it might be great fun to chase them but Mom won't let me. But Ms. Harriman knows all about rabbits. She told me that rabbits can be wonderful indoor companions, get along with many other companion animals (including cats and dogs), are intelligent, affectionate and inquisitive, and can readily be trained to use a litter box. That's pretty smart. Even I don't know how to use the litter box! However, they can also be destructive. The ideal "rabbit person", in addition to being gentle, patient and eager to get to know a rabbit on his or her terms, must be willing to rabbit-proof their home to prevent destructive chewing. (See Mom - I'm not the only one who chews on things they're not supposed to).
Like the ASPCA, HRS says rabbits can and should be spayed and neutered - both for health reasons and also to help put an end to the animal overpopulation problem.
HRS also tries to teach people that rabbits are not always a good pet, especially for children. Even baby bunnies tend to be willful and independent, and do not enjoy being picked up and carried. HRS also cautions against buying or adopting a rabbit as a gift, or on impulse, as the novelty of having a new pet usually wears off. When a family realizes how much day-to-day work is involved, the rabbit is, unfortunately, often turned loose or surrendered to a shelter.
I have a bunny right here in Arkansas that needs a loving family. Her name is Maggie Mae and she is beautiful! And she sure would love to have a home of her very own. She lives in Little Rock, AR with a foster mom right now but waits for the day, just like I did in the shelter, when her Mom and/or Dad will come to take her home to stay. If you decide a rabbit is the right addition to your household, make adoption your first option. If you would like to adopt Maggie Mae, contact the Arkansas Pet Rabbit Network. Or contact your nearest House Rabbit Society Chapter or local shelter or rescue group to meet the rabbits who are waiting for homes in your area. Remember - tell the Bob sent you. And let me know when you bring your new bunny friend home so I can see how I'm doing towards my goal.
Also, this month, in honor of Adopt a Rabbit Month, for each purchase from the Travels with Bob shop (http://www.cafepress.com/travelwithbob), not only will Mom make a donation to the Petfinder Foundation, she will also make a donation to the House Rabbit Society.