The tall eighth-grade guy said, “Oh, I love bunnies!” He’d had enough and couldn’t take it any longer. His two companions concurred with a laugh. The three friends were on their last day of helping at the SaveABunny rabbit shelter, which they did every week. SaveABunny volunteer Christian Riehl asked the lads if anything about the rabbits shocked them on their last day of volunteering. Even five years later, Riehl remembers what they said next.
“I guess I anticipated rabbits to be like live stuffed creatures that you could pick up and pet whenever you wanted, but they despise being handled. They believe you are a predator who will harm them, therefore they will either flee, resist, or bite you.”
“Yeah,” his pal agreed. “Until they get to know you, some people are shy and jumpy. Some of the bunnies take a time to trust you.”
“And they’re a lot of effort,” the third person added. “You need to clean their area, their litter box, provide them hay, and give them time to run (“and don’t step on them!” his pal warned him)…. Don’t step on them, for sure. They’re really sensitive, so take care not to injure them or allow them to chew on something they shouldn’t.”
“Rabbits are soft, but they’re far more than you’d anticipate.”
These are wise words. More so because the majority of it was something the three of them figured out on their own. I’d taught them the essentials of rabbits and their care while assisting them with their volunteer days.
Rabbits, for example, need to consume largely hay and a tiny amount of greens like parsley, but if the cords aren’t covered, they’ll chew them. They automatically learn to use a litter box, however they do leave a few dry “pellets” when running around.
Rabbits are tenacious and forgiving creatures. I told them about our rabbit, Miss California, who had been turned down for adoption by two county animal shelters because she was too violent. She was supposed to be executed. My wife agreed to foster her and brought her home after SaveABunny rescued her, but the shelter was filled. I spoke quietly to Miss California, allowing her to sniff me and approach me at her leisure. She was munching peacefully while I sat petting her a day later.
I reminded the boys that adopting a spayed/neutered rabbit from a shelter is always preferable to purchasing a young rabbit from a pet store. People purchased bunnies for Easter only to learn six weeks later that they couldn’t handle them, which contributed to the shelter’s overcrowding.
“On Easter, people should start researching rabbits,” the tall adolescent replied. “Then come back here in a few weeks to look for a rabbit,” his pal added. “And it’ll be Easter all over again,” the third added.
Three intelligent young men provide wise words.