My mom told me that she saw a bunny in a pet store today.
Hearing about those kinds of bunnies always makes Betsy and I very sad. I’ve seen (first hand) how rabbits are kept in pet stores. And Betsy can tell you about how terrible it is to live in a cage your whole life, never able to stretch your legs and do a binky or run as fast as you can, just for fun.
Fortunately my mom knows how Betsy and I feel about these sorts of things, and she lodged a complaint at the store. Unfortunately, it seems like only the store owner can do anything about it – the employees are helpless.
I know I’m just one rabbit, but if you or anyone you know ever thinks of getting a bunny – please get one from a shelter instead of a pet store. The same goes for just about any type of pet – a store is no place for any animal to live.
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.
The House Rabbit Society exists because rabbits are being dumped at shelters every day of the year. Right now, as you read this, healthy rabbits are being killed at animal shelters simply because there are more wonderful rabbits than there are rabbit-people.
What can we do to stop the killing? Adopt from a shelter.
Do not allow your rabbit to have even one litter. Even if you find good homes for those babies, those are good homes that the shelter rabbits won’t get. And what if each of those babies is allowed to have one litter? Will you take responsibility for each of them finding a good home? I can guarantee thatwithin one or two generations a rabbit from that “just one litter” will end up dead at a shelter.
Talk to others about this problem. Many people are unaware of how many rabbits are being surrendered and euthanized at shelters-and compared to the ones who are dumped in fields, those at shelters are the lucky ones. Lucky to have a lethal overdose of sodium pentothal injected by a caring person!
What have we come to when that’s the best we can offer these guys? To purchase from a breeder or pet store is to write a death warrant for a shelter rabbit.
It’s as simple as that.
It made me very sad. My parents adopted me (I’ll tell you about it some other time) and Betsy, but I wonder how many of my litter-mates ended up in a shelter – or worse, let go into the wild. It gets very cold here in New England – I know. I can feel it through the drafty window in the livingroom. Betsy has told me all about what it’s like outside – the rain, the foxes, the snow… I would feel very, very sorry for any rabbit left out in that weather, especially if they had previously been living in a nice warm house. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m domesticated. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to live on my own, without my well-trained parents here to bring me dinner. And the thought of ending up in a shelter… oh it just makes my fur stand on end!
So please, make sure you don’t encourage people to buy rabbits – or any pet, really – from a pet store or a breeder. Adopt instead – it is the responsible, mature thing to do. (My dad says “and spay and neuter your rabbits as well!”)
Okay everyone? Please? I’m going to go spend a moment of silence snuggled up with Betsy now, for all the rabbits left alone tonight. *sniff*