Rabbits Disapprove of Giving Rabbits for Easter

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

We are a family who has House Rabbits. 

I'll give you a moment to compose yourself as you laugh and wipe away tears. 

Yes. House Rabbits. Free Roam, litter trained, spayed and neutered House Rabbits. Kind of like Cats, with longer ears and the whole vegetarian vibe going for them.

I never planned on being a House Rabbit parent.  No sir. I was fine with La Chatte, a neighborhood cat who adopted us upon our moving into HER home. I mean, it wasn't as if we were going anywhere, and she seemed nice enough. I was however, a little shocked. People just move away and LEAVE their pets? Really!?

I later came to find that in Montreal, it is a huge problem - especially on the July 1 - Moving Day. Shelters around the city begin to be flooded with animals of all sorts whose owners decided that , Meh - just not worth the trouble to move the animal. 

Now, there is a pet store in our local Mall, which shall remain nameless. Every time we are in the mall, Emily Begs to go and see the animals. Lizards, Birds, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Ferrets...all the way up through $1200 purebred dogs. And I hate it. I hate the whole thing.  I watch children beg and plead for the cute animals...and sometimes they go home with them. 

But what happens after that?  Let me tell you what happens after that Twelve dollar baby bunny is no longer "cute" or "convenient" or "fun".

Jackson is our male gray chinchilla rabbit, with lovely long silky ears. He was most likely adopted as a baby bunny around Easter last year. He was, no doubt, very sweet and cute and fuzzy. He was also, most likely, well behaved and easy to manage.

When they found Jackson ( and another male rabbit) they figured that the two boys had been in the now empty, locked apartment for 2 weeks. They were both undernourished, but managed to stay alive. Maybe the previous owner had left the rest of the bag of pellets out for them. In fact, that is the only way I can figure they were able to not starve to death. Jackson was taken to the SPCA where he was examined, and when he was healthy enough, put up for adoption. His path and ours intersected as we were looking for a guy to bond with our female rabbit. 

We were interviewed, and gave our Exotics Vet name and number as a reference. We got a call, came back and met Jackson and agreed to foster him for a couple of months, to see if he and Coco bonded as well as free up a space in the shelter for another rabbit in Jackson's situation. His neuter was scheduled for the coming Friday and we planned to pick him up after the procedure. 

Of course, Jackson's experience with humans had not been stellar up to this point. It took him some time to relax and heal. It took longer for him to get used to eating a proper rabbit diet of mostly greens instead of pellets designed for Meat Rabbits. He did, however, fall in love with Coco ( who had been rescued after living in a dark basement in a small cage for 2 years). By October, we had gone back to the SPCA and made the fostering into an official adoption. He had a forever family.

Loki, our current Feline Family member is also an SPCA abandon. Never Neutered. Never immunized. When we adopted him he was already infected with Feline Rhino, a viral infection which stays with the cat for life if infected. His already damaged nose ( kicked in the face? His front teeth were also broken) is now forever really messed up. He can't smell most things due to the after effects of the virus.

What do all these stories have in common? Abandoned Animals. Discarded when the novelty wore off. Animals who became teenagers after being cute puppies or bunnies or kitties and their humans just couldn't be bothered.  

For we in the House Rabbit family, Easter is a terrifying time. I know that people will buy bunnies from pet stores, only to turn them "loose" by summer when their hormones kick in and they become rebellious, sexually frustrated teen Buns - like a smaller, furry motorcycle gang with the ability to rapidly reproduce.

What happens to those rabbits? Well, what would happen to you if we stripped you naked and set you in the middle of the Amazon?  A majority become dinner for larger prey. A few ( very,very few) make it until the cold, or people or cars kill them. Some go on Craigslist where some people may "adopt " them, not knowing anything about the intensive care and feeding that rabbits require, only to be given away again, or set "free". Some become food for peoples pet snakes.

So, do me a favor. Research. Consider. Think. If you choose to bring ANY pet home, are you willing and able to provide care, medical attention, nutrition, and social interaction/exercise that this Pet deserves? 

Just because a pet is small, doesn't mean it doesn't need to be seen by a Vet who is knowledgeable about their species. In the case of Coco and Jackson, they see an Exotics vet for yearly checkups and the occasional in between visit for possible ear infections/teeth/sore hocks issues.  When Coco was so ill with Bloat this winter, it was 500 bucks for a 4 day illness. When Jackson was seen a month ago for Stasis - a condition which can worsen and kill a rabbit - it was 170 dollars for a visit AND all of the medication, special food and fluids. Not to mention I had the supreme honor of having to force feed a rabbit with a syringe.

Yes, they were both spayed and neutered, and it wasn't cheap. Yes, they eat a very small amount of pellets, but the majority of their diet is fresh greens - about 8 cups a day for the two of them. And the Hay I buy in bulk from a local farm. They eat a 4 pound bag a week. Oh - and you can't just "leave them alone" when you go on vacation - Rabbits need to be boarded or otherwise cared for in your absence. More $$.

Rabbits need a minimum of 3 uncaged hours per day - more if they can, and in the case of Coco and Jackson, free roam, 24/7. Less leads to muscle issues , as well as gut immobility. They are grazers and built to be moving. Being confined in a tiny cage does not serve their body well.

Which leads me to rabbit proofing - thick plastic cables to encase the cords, small gates to keep them from the bigger things and hundreds of dollars of replaced cables when we forget.

In the words of my vet, who examined Jackson after we had adopted him and after hearing the story of how he had been found in the locked apartment:

"There is a special place in hell for assholes like that."

I sure hope so.

Don't be one of those people.

Want to research more on the care of House Rabbits?

House Rabbit Society is an excellent place to start.

A personal favorite: Binky Bunny Forum. This is my "rabbit" home and these folks have kindly taught me nearly everything I know. Jackson and Coco stories are on there, including their bonding story. I also  LOVE the store and my rabbits adore the Maze HavenTunnel and every other product!

Sacre Bleck!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

This morning Emily was discussing a post she saw on Facebook referencing Easter.

As you know, we are not a religious sort of family. Now what you may not know is that both Terrance and I were raised as Catholics. I took a detour into the Anglican church during high school, but still considered myself raised as a Catholic. Our choice to not immerse our offspring in Catholicism and religion in general was quite intentional.

Terrance: Was she talking about Good Friday?

Emily: I don't know!

Dawn: It could be she meant Good Friday...

Terrance: All I remember was that we couldn't go outside between noon and 4 because that was when
Jesus died...

Dawn: What?!? How on earth does anyone know the precise time Jesus died?  What would have happened if you had gone outside?

Terrance: Oh, and those stations!

Emily: Stations?

Dawn: Oh, yeah, the Stations of the cross. I hated those.

Terrance: Yeah, they freaked me out. I once came across an outdoor version in college. Scared the shit out of me. What were they? Reclamations?

Dawn: Acts of Reparation, Terrance. What would you be reclaiming?

Terrance: What was that time of day called? When Jesus was dying?

Dawn: The passion.

(Emily listening, horrified and amazed)

Emily: So, you had to do something?

Dawn: Yes. You have to go to each station and pray.

Terrance: Now you have to look it up. Go look it up and tell us what you find out.

(This is the price to be paid when both parents are PhD's.  Look it up! Look it up!)

Emily (Later): I looked them up....

Dawn: And?

Emily: They were horrifying. Like stop action animation.......but FAR WORSE and creepier!

Dawn: That is an excellent analogy. Hey Terrance, you could take her to services this week while she is on Spring break.

Terrance: Yeah, I suppose I could. There is Good Friday.

Dawn: And Maundy Thursday.

Emily: WHAT?!?! What is so Good about dying on a Friday? Why is that Good?

Dawn: Of course that only comes after Headache Monday.

Emily:  (silence)

Dawn: Then there is Groin Pull Tuesday

Emily: (silence with smile)

Dawn: Then comes Stomach-ache Wednesday. Jesus had a terrible week.

Emily begins to full on belly laugh.

I love my kid.

ETA: Later, we were walking to the movie theatre and Emily leans is to say:
"It sounds like Jesus had the type of week that Daddy has every week..."

That's my girl.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

I write stories in my head as I fall to sleep. I do not know if others do this, but this soothes me. Helping me make sense of the day and ordering the toys I have not put away, I add pieces and bits to the stories until I finally blink out for the evening.

It may be my need for some kind of order, some kind of understanding of why things happen or why people act and react in the manner that they do that drives this habit. Perhaps it is borne of my years of observing children, puzzling through the how and why of their actions to catch fleeting glimpses of the wonder inside their heads. Perhaps I am just a storyteller.


I do not think I am beautiful. I do not say this to elicit responses of "On NO, Dawn, you ARE", but to simply frame my understanding of myself. My attractiveness is rarely considered by me. I will dress in a manner that pleases me,  for I am attracted to a certain look, a certain feminine sureness. I like high heels. I like dresses. I like jewelry and I (finally) love makeup. Yet, I am oblivious of how I appear to others.

My appearance is never something that I consider static. I dress for a part and those parts are divided by where I am. I can be "Professional Dawn", which has morphed into "Professor Dawn".  I can be "Not at work" Dawn. Those people are not the same and don't really look the same. "Not at work" Dawn wears her quirky tshirts and funky flat shoes. She wears about the same amount of eyeshadow.

(I had a couple of nights of work time in my Creative Arts class. I arrived in my yoga pants, a Red Riding Hood wearing a wolfskin tshirt and my black sneakers with rainbow skulls. One of my students was startled. She told me she almost didn't recognize me.)

I am not married to man who makes much comment or notice of my appearance. He does not tell me I am beautiful, or attractive. I do know that he wishes, frequently, that I would tone down certain parts of myself. That's not happening any time soon, so I continue to wear patterned fishnet stockings and bright eye shadow. If a person flirts with me, I rarely understand it is happening at the moment. It is only in the reconstruction of my day before I fall to sleep that a glimmer of "ohhhhh" may take place.

I often wonder what it would be like to be with a partner who "gets" me in the way that Terrance does not. Terrance does not think I am funny, nor finds the things I find funny to be humorous. Terrance is not impressed by my outfits. Terrance thinks my newfound love of eyeshadow is ridiculous. He quietly seethes at my shoe collection. He does not like my music nor the shows that I like to watch.

My plan to choose a partner and not a friend as a spouse has exceeded my expectations.


While cleaning the bathroom, I note how much hair I seem to shed. It is quite obviously mine; long and brown. As I clean, I find more and more.  

I begin to wonder how I can lose that much hair and still remain with the ridiculously thick and unruly amount on my head. 


The rabbits are noticing spring. Jackson makes humming noises as he hops around. This usually means that he feels romantic, despite his neutered state. He has decided to reconstruct his cardboard house and spends hours ripping and shredding cardboard. 

Coco is more taciturn, preferring to figure out how to knock the barrier down and make her escape down the hall. She is showing her age a bit more, but rejoices when she makes her break. 

I hear squeaky bunny snores as I drift off, weaving the stories of my day in my head.

Acceptance II

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yes. There was a post that was here with a similar title.

While I rarely take posts down, that one felt too close to my bone. Perhaps it is because I am getting older, or perhaps it is because that inevitable ending belongs to another person as much as it belongs to me.

Within all of my writing here I have always tried to assert that this is my version of the story. I am never blameless.

Acceptance of the way things are is a difficult concept. My nature is not to accept anything, but to push forward, onward. It is that nature which has fueled my survival.

Being in this emotional place, this in between - Not happy and not entirely unhappy - is like being on a raft in a lake of no consequence. I neither win nor lose. I simply am.

Yet there remains some small voice that emerges saying "There is more. There is different than this." It is that voice which I instinctively heed. Other times, such as now, I stifle it. The discontent it breeds does not serve me well.

I must learn to sit on my raft and be content for now. My stasis is not unhealthy to the position which benefits the majority of my family.

I must accept that.

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