Helpful hare hints
By Kristie Bulger
“Even the smallest one can change the world.” Peter Rabbit
Most everyone enjoys Easter. It means spring has finally arrived. But this is a story about a not so happy side of Easter. Every year folks in rescue plead with people not to give bunnies, ducklings or chicks as Easter gifts. I thought if I wrote about it and just one animal is helped….well then, it would be a very good thing indeed. This article will focus on rabbits.
First, I’d like to say that there are some wonderful, heartwarming stories out there about families who have gotten bunnies for Easter and who have kept those pets for their entire life. These people have done their research so they can give their rabbits good care. Unfortunately though, these stories are quite rare. Most rabbits that are given as Easter presents do not fare so well. Rabbits can live for 10+ years. They have grooming needs, special dietary requirements, need to be exercised and need their nails trimmed. When rabbits are raised with lots of human interaction they can make wonderful pets. Here is a link to some great information about caring for your pet rabbit. https://rabbitangelsrabbitrescue.weebly.com/rabbit-resources.
The problem is that most rabbits given as gifts do not receive the care and attention that they need. When the child loses interest, the daily care (and it should be daily) falls to mom and most moms do not have the time or interest to take care of their kid's pet rabbit. While it might be possible to find a farmer who will take your Easter chick, finding a home for a now boring rabbit is darn near impossible. Lots of times people are tempted to just let the rabbit loose in the backyard. They are under the false impression that domesticated rabbits can be released outside to live happily ever after with their wild cousins. Nothing could be further from the truth. The same is true for the ducklings that are released in a local pond. Domesticated animals do not know how to survive in the wild. Released rabbits and ducklings face slow, painful deaths from starvation, freezing, attacks from animals and getting hit by cars. Letting pet rabbits loose is a certain death sentence. Please….don’t do it.
So what to do about Easter? Consider a stuffed animal. They come in all sizes, colors, don’t poop and require absolutely no upkeep. When a child grows bored with their new Easter toy, just put it on a shelf. If you feel that your child is truly interested in owning a rabbit and your family wants to make that kind of commitment, please consider adoption. It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach your child about helping those who are less fortunate, those who need rescuing. When you adopt an animal from a rescue it opens up a space so that the rescue can help another pet in need. Here are links to two rescues that have rabbits:
You can also go to https://www.petfinder.com to find rabbits nearby. If adopting is not an option, maybe your child could make a small monetary donation. It is a lesson that will stay with them for life.
The photo here is of Andi and Flop, a mother and daughter, who are (besides looking incredibly fashionable) looking to be adopted from
I hope everyone has a glorious Easter. I hope your Easter is filled with friends and family and a ton of candy. But I also hope everyone will think long and hard about giving bunnies, ducklings and chicks as gifts. I wish them a Happy Easter too.
Here’s a link to our FB page "Friends of Newaygo County Shelter” where you can see all our available animals:
The adoption fee for dogs is $90.
This fee includes spay/neuter, deworming, heartworm test, rabies & DHLPP shots, flea & tick treatment and license.
The adoption fee for cats is $65
This fee includes spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, feline distemper combo vaccine, FIV/FELV testing, deworming and flea/tick treatment.
Newaygo County Animal Shelter
78 N. Webster
White Cloud, MI 49349
Monday - Friday 11-1
Appointments welcome and available upon request
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