Tag Archives: easter

Annual Easter Reminder

Every Easter, I like to remind people of an important fact that often gets overlooked this time of year – namely, that bunnies are not toys, and should not be given like toys at Easter.

gus - bunnies aren't toys

This is something that’s a bit personal to me, since I was given to some kids for Easter, who later abandoned me in a parking lot. Fortunately for me, mum saw this happen and rescued me – but every year there are many, many more of my bunny brethren who aren’t so lucky.

Which is why I go to such great lengths to remind people that giving a real, live bunny rabbit as a toy or gift is probably not the best idea.

betsy - you're not thinking of giving a real bunny

Of course, if you asked dad, he’d also mention all the “work” that he supposedly has to do, and how vet bills can add up, and how so on and so forth. And I’m sure mum would also mention something about chewing & furniture, but I wouldn’t know anything about that (that’s Betsy’s specialty).

betsy - not just a pretty face

But whichever way you look at it, a bunny is a living animal, not a toy, and we aren’t temporary, either – we can live for 10 years (I’ve just passed my 8th birthday).

So if you’re thinking about getting a bunny for Easter, please think twice about it. So many people aren’t prepared for what taking care of a grown rabbit means – and if you’re not prepared, I would beg you not to get a live rabbit at all – instead, stick with the chocolate kind.

And if you do decide that you’re ready to bring a bunny into your life, perhaps consider adopting one instead? You’d be saving the life of a bunny who’s probably been abandoned – maybe even another Easter bunny, like me.

-Gus

gus portrait

Easter Reminder: Bunnies are not Toys

It’s almost Easter again, which is traditionally the time of year I try to remind people that Bunnies are not Toys. We are real, living creatures that need love, care, and attention – and not just for a little while when we’re small and cute.

Yet some people still insist on giving baby bunnies as gifts to children, just because it’s Easter.

Well, I think you know what I have to say about that:

Gus Says: Bunnies aren't toys, so don't give them as gifts for Easter

You wouldn’t give someone a cat or a dog as an Easter gift, so why would you give a rabbit?

I was “given” as a gift for Easter and then abandoned when the people I was given to got tired of caring for me (just shortly after Easter). I don’t want to see that happen to anybun again, which is why I keep bringing up this subject ever year.

Instead of giving a live rabbit, people should just stick to chocolate ones, or stuffed toys. That’ll make Easter a happier time for everyone.

-Gus

Beware of Easter Bunnies

Well, it’s that time of year again – Easter Time – when large numbers of people seem to loose their minds and decide that putting sole responsibility for a living, breathing animal into the hands of a 5 year old child is a good thing. (Here’s a hint people: it’s not.)

As an Easter Bunny myself – one that was abandoned just a few weeks after Easter – I sort of have a responsibility to educate people about why Easter ≠ Bunny. It’s the least I can do to make sure that there are fewer bunnies out there that have to go through what I went through – being abandoned in the streets of a city while still a tiny baby. So, yeah, think about that first before you go out and pick up a “cute little baby bunny” from the pet store for your kids this Easter.

gus looking up at the tube

Above: I was abandoned when I was this little.

So let’s get down to business, shall we? The biggest mistake people make around Easter time is forgetting this golden rule:

A bunny is a rabbit, and a rabbit is a BIG responsibility.

You’d be amazed how many people forget this. Baby bunnies, like all other animals, grow up  and get bigger. It’s a fact of life. And unless you think life itself is disposable, you have to take responsibility not just for the small, cute, baby bunny you brought home, but also the big, older rabbit you’ll end up with in a few months. If you’re not willing to do this, then don’t get a rabbit. (Maybe you should get a chocolate bunny instead?)

There are a few other things you should know before you even think about picking up a rabbit:

  1. We need more space than the cages you can buy at the pet store. Almost 100% of the cages you find at your local pet store are meant as “starter” cages for 1 bunny when it’s little. That same cage won’t do once the rabbit grows up – we need more space. If you don’t have enough space, then maybe you should think twice about getting a rabbit.
  2. A rabbit cannot live on pellets and carrots alone. Yeah, I know, carrots are what rabbits eat in cartoons all the time, and pellets are easy to feed, but let’s be serious – you don’t see wild rabbits munching on carrots and going “what’s up, doc,” do you? Also, pellets are basically rabbit prison food – it’s what was fed to rabbits when they were being kept as food, not as pets. We need good food, just like any other pet. An unlimited supply of timothy hay (not alfalfa, at least not once we’re grown up), as much as we can eat, is a good start, as are fresh veggies like parsley, romaine lettuce (or any lettuce with dark green leaves), and many other dark green veggies. Carrots, on the other hand, have too many calories and should not form the bulk of our diet.
  3. We need things to chew on. In the same way that people give their cats a scratching post, a rabbit needs something similar – but for chewing, not scratching. Our teeth grow constantly; if we don’t chew on things they will grow so big that we can’t open our mouth to eat anymore. Oh, and if you don’t give us things to chew on, we’ll probably end up chewing on anything we can get our teeth on – like your carpet, baseboards, furniture, etc. So give us cardboard boxes or bits of (untreated) wood to chew on. Heck, your used paper towel or toilet paper rolls will do the trick in a pinch – and we’ll recycle them for you. Bonus!
  4. We are not the same as hamsters or gerbils or other “cage” animals. People often lump us in the same category as hamsters or gerbils or even guinea pigs – animals that are typically kept in cages full-time. But this is a mistake. Just look at us – we’re a heck of a lot bigger than a hamster or gerbil! So don’t base your housing/feeding/care expectations off of what you might have in mind for a smaller animal – we’re different, and that means you need to take care of us differently. Instead, you might want to think of a rabbit as more or less a vegetarian cat. You wouldn’t keep a cat in a 3 foot x 2 foot cage all day, now would you? No, you’d let it roam around your house. Well, if you are going to get a rabbit, you should expect to let the rabbit roam your house (or at least be out free roaming for a period each day) in the same way.
  5. We are prey animals, so be gentle with us. While the “like a vegetarian cat” analogy works pretty well, it’s also important to keep in mind that we are prey animals – unlike a cat, which is a predator. This has huge ramifications on how we see the world. A cat may get scared of things, but it’s generally not constantly on the lookout for things that might be trying to eat it – quite the contrary! But a rabbit is always on the lookout for things that might be trying to eat it – because, like it or not, something almost always is trying to eat us. Because of this, we can be a bit skittish – so keep this in mind when you loom over us! Also, since we do startle rather easily, you should probably keep smaller children away from us if possible – or at least supervise them very closely. A small child making lots of noise or sudden movements can be downright terrifying to a rabbit!
  6. We need exercise, too. If you keep us in a cage, let us out from time to time (ideally, at least once every day) so we can stretch our (huge) legs. People have no problem walking their pet dogs, but for some reason they don’t think to let their pet rabbits out. Don’t fall into this trap – let us run around once in a while!

Those are just some of the things I could think of off the top of my ears.

Now, if after all of that, you still think you want to get a rabbit, well, let me give you a few more pieces of advice: try adopting a rabbit instead of buying one from a pet store. You might not get a “small & cute” baby bunny, but the bunny you do get will probably already be litter trained and may even already bee spayed/neutered, saving you a BIG expense down the road. Plus, you’re probably saving a bunnies life when you adopt from a shelter. And I think that’s a good enough reason by itself, don’t you?

And finally, here’s some pictures of what you can expect to see if you let a rabbit into your life:

gus close up face

betsy at attention

gus is sulking - or tired

gus napping

i see you

typical gus

gus says - you suck

betsy girl

betsy's sourpuss face

And, of course:

betsy plotting our doom - with text

So, please, think twice about buying a bunny for Easter. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

-Gus

p.s. for more on why you shouldn’t get a bunny for Easter, please see Make Mine Chocolate (makeminechocolate.org).

A Very Lucky Easter Bunny

Some people might remember that I’m an Easter Bunny – that is to say, I was given as an Easter gift and then abandoned and rescued shortly after by my mom.

Around Easter time, I always think about other bunnies who might not be as lucky as I was – and I was very lucky.

I like to remind people who might think that they need to get a rabbit just because it’s Easter that getting a real, live rabbit is a lot more responsibility than I think most people are ready for.

I know my dad wasn’t ready for the responsibility of having a rabbit in his house when my mom found me wandering around the parking lot of their house, way back then. But my mom and dad were always “animal” people who took good care of their animal family, so they rose to the challenge of:

I realize that taking care of me (and Betsy) is a big job – a full-time job, if dad is to be believed. So it’s not for everyone.

If you’re thinking of getting a bunny for Easter – or for any reason – you might want to think twice about it. You can see by all of the other stuff here on my blog that it’s a lot of work to keep up with a bunny!

But if you think you’re up to the challenge (and it is a challenge – though the rewards can be good too), might I recommend adopting rather than buying? So many of my cousins and more distant relatives live tough lives, being abandoned after Easter time, or just given up because they’re not small and cute babies anymore, that they really need a loving home like my mom and dad gave me. If you can give a bunny a similar home, please adopt one of my bretheren – I’m sure there’s a shelter near you somewhere. (The House Rabbit Society can probably help you find one if you don’t know where one might be.) Oh and be sure to spay or neuter your rabbit so you don’t contribute to the overpopulation problem!

Remember, not all Easter bunnies are as lucky as I am – but maybe if you’ve got a big heart (and a big home!), you can help another Easter bunny get lucky and find a great home.

-Gus

Gus's Newer Portrait

Time to start thinking about Easter

Dad came back from the store last night and told me how he saw they had taken down all their valentine’s day stuff and were starting to put up their Easter stuff.

Easter always makes me think even more about all the other bunnies out there who aren’t as lucky as I am (oh and Betsy, too). I don’t like the idea of a holiday that encourages people to buy an animal that they probably aren’t prepared to take care of properly. Bunnies are not throw-away pets!!!

Though on the good side, I have seen an awful lot of other pink-eyed white rabbits out there like me lately:

And those are just the ones I can remember from recently. Hmmmm… maybe we should get together and form a union or something? Maybe the “Bunnihood of Pink-Eyed Rabbits?”

Anyway, dad did see a lot of stuffed toy bunnies at the store – I’d highly recommend people thinking of buying a rabbit “for Easter” to get a stuffed one instead.

If, on the other hand, you really are interested in a long-term relationship with a rabbit, please, please, please adopt rather than buy from a store.

That’s all I have to say on this… for now.

-Gus

Gus's Newer Portrait

No More Easter Stories

Every Easter I try (with dad’s help) to let as many people as I can know about the sad stories of “Easter bunnies.” I’m entitled to speak on this because I was an Easter bunny myself.

Long story short, I was bought for some kids for Easter, and they didn’t really know how to take care of me, so they were very rough to me and eventually left me outside when they got bored with me. I don’t think they wanted me anymore.

Luckily, my mom saw them and came and picked me up and took me inside and made arrangements for me to stay with her & dad from now on. And I am very much grateful for what she did.

But the fact is, there are lots of other bunnies out there right now who are being given as “gifts” for Easter, to people who don’t know how to care for them, or to people who won’t care for them once the novelty wears off (though how that could happen with a rabbit still baffles me).

So, as I always do on Easter, I just want to remind everyone that a rabbit is not a toy, not a gift, but a real live animal, the same as any other pet – if not more so, because we’re not like cats and dogs who are predators and can take care of themselves to a certain extent – we’re rabbits, a prey species, and we can be fragile at times, so we depend on our human mums & dads to look after us. We also live quite a long time (depending on the breed and whether we’ve been de-sexed) – figure about 10 years, give or take. We don’t do well in small cages (despite lots of pictures and pet store advertising to the contrary) and we don’t just eat carrots (cartoons aside – although carrots are a nice side dish).

Hopefully this message reaches someone and makes a difference somewhere. Now if you all don’t mind, I’m going to take the rest of the day off and go lie in a sunbeam and reflect on how lucky Betsy and I are to have such a nice home. And to all the buns out there – may you all find homes as nice yourselves.

Good luck, and hoppy Easter!

-Gus

Gus’s Newer Portrait

I Am An Easter Bunny

Well, another Easter has come and gone (mostly). It’s been an uneventful day for me – I spent most of the day under the bed with Besty. It’s so nice and warm under here – it’s the best place to spend the middle of the day.

I said I was going to tell the story of how I came to live here, and I figured this would be the right time for it, since it was around this time of year that it all happened (about 2 years ago now).

I was an Easter bunny – a gift for some kids at Easter time. About a week after Easter, these kids were giving me a very hard time. They were playing in a parking lot beside my current home, throwing me up in the air and spinning me around in circles by holding onto my legs. I was absolutely terrified.

My mom saw what the kids were doing to me from her porch. Then the kids were called back to their house, or they got bored – I don’t really remember. They left me there, in the parking lot, on the hard ground. I was dizzy and confused, so I hopped away, trying to find a place to hide. I heard my mom come down, but she didn’t see me. A little while later, I hopped back out in the open, wondering if I was going to be left outside forever. That’s when my mom came down again and picked me up.

She raced back upstairs with me, and put me in the bathroom to start with – it was the only “bunny-proof” room in the house at the time. I heard her on the phone, calling people, asking what she should do. She said the kids had mistreated me, and wanted to make sure I had a good home. Her voice was very nice, and she had an accent that I’d never heard before. I wasn’t too scared now – the bathroom floor was slippery, but it was a safe place, I could tell. Nobody would get me in there, and that felt good, because I was still a bit shaken up by all this. And also, the bathroom, small as it was, was much lager than the cage I had been kept in.

My mom didn’t know what to do, and she had to go to work the next day. She left me a carrot and a little bit of greens – all that she had in the house, as I later learned. I spent my first day alone in the bathroom, but it wasn’t too bad. The cool tile was nice on my sore feet.

That night, my mom came home and was very happy to see me. She built me a little house out of stuff she had lying around, and she had bought some hay, pellets, and lettuce on the way home. I enjoyed my first “real” dinner. I didn’t mind her at all, and I liked the smell and look of the house.

I spent a few days in that makeshift cage, until my dad got home. He had been away on vacation with some friends for a few days, and he was surprised to find me in his house! I didn’t mind him at all, either – his voice was very friendly. He told me about the guinea pigs he used to live with, and the next day he and my mom came home with a spare guinea pig cage, which they put me in, along with some nice soft bedding. I was still very small, so it wasn’t too cramped. I was enjoying the food they were giving me (fresh greens), and it was nice to not be picked up all the time.

The nicest bit, though, was that they let me out of my cage all the time – so I got to roam around the house and explore things. They reassured me that I would be happy here, and they gave me all kinds of attention. It was very nice. Later on, they got a bigger cage for me, and only put me in it late at night and during the day – when I would normally sleep, anyway. They let me out in the morning and in the evening to romp around with them. (I quickly learned that the couch was quite cool as well, and fun to jump on!)

Eventually they gave up on the cage and just gave me a litter box, so I spent my time lounging on the floor with them. Needless to say, I was very happy to be living with them. They were very good to me. I can remember the first summer we were together, it began to get very warm, and my mom and dad rushed out on the very first “hot” day and bought 2 new air conditioners so that I wouldn’t overheat. They didn’t really need them for themselves, as they had an old one for the bedroom, but they knew that I would get too hot in the living room during the day, and if the bedroom door was to be left open for me, they would need to cool both rooms. I later came to understand that what they did cost them a lot of “money,” which I guess is a big deal for humans.

Later on, they brought Betsy to our house, and after we got introduced, they had the both of us “fixed.” I guess that time I peed on my dad’s head while he was in bed didn’t go over to well with them! (In my defense, he was rather late in getting up to feed me.)

Since then, I’ve never had to worry about anything. My mom and dad keep me well fed, and I have the whole house to explore – although I hardly ever go beyond the bedroom and the living room. (The kitchen smells funny, and I prefer carpeted floors over the tile of the bathroom.)

I am writing this story down and sharing it with you because I know that somewhere out there today, another rabbit – actually, probably many rabbits – are going through something similar to what I went through. If you’re reading this, I hope you will be more like my mom and dad, and take care of a rabbit like they did, instead of being like those kids who were rough to me. Easter is a tough time for us rabbits – no matter what the commercials on your TV thing say. Maybe if you share this story with someone, and they share it with someone else, enough people will know this story that next Easter, fewer rabbits will go through something like this.

Happy Easter, everyone.

-Gus

Gus’s Portrait