Article contributed by: Phyllis O'Beollain
February is ‘adopt a rescued rabbit month’ Why a rabbit? Rabbits are quiet, very clean, and don’t require annual vaccinations (they do require an annual checkup). They don’t require daily walks, they won't go after the postal carrier, they will use a litter box, and they are comforting, soothing friends.
As with any pet, you need to do thorough research on bunny basics to make sure a house rabbit is the right pet for you (rabbits are generally not good pets for younger children, as rabbits do not generally like being held and a rabbit's spine can be very severely damaged from being improperly held).
If you are still not sure that a house rabbit is the right choice, volunteer at your local rabbit rescue or humane society before making the decision to adopt. House rabbits have their own unique personalities, and are naturally most active in the mornings and evenings; they nap during the day and at night (this works well with the busy schedule of most families).
House rabbits do not require a lot of care but they do require daily care, which includes providing a constant supply of fresh food and water, clean indoor living quarters and a clean litter box. They must be played with and interacted with daily; however if you get an already bonded pair, their bunny buddy can provide much of the companionship.
Bonded bunnies will groom each other, entertain each other and generally keep each other company when you are away at work. As they will use the same cage, same food and water bowls and (usually) the same litter box, the daily chores will not take up any more time than with one bunny (and there is nothing sweeter than two bunnies kissing each other’s face and then snuggling with their faces pressed together).
Why adopt a rescued rabbit? House rabbits are the #3 most euthanized pet; adopting a rabbit saves a life.. Adopting a rabbit from a rescue group means you are getting a rabbit that has been worked with on a daily basis and has a personality that is known to the rescue workers: volunteers can tell you which rabbits are more timid, which are bold and brassy, and which ones just like you to sit and pet them. Rabbits at rescues have been examined by a veterinarian, are in good health and are spayed or neutered.
However, if you adopt a rabbit and are later unable to keep the rabbit for any reason, PLEASE do not turn your rabbit loose. Domestic rabbits will not survive on their own, and they will not move in with their wild ‘cousins’; bring your bunny back to the rescue from which you adopted it (yet another reason to adopt from a rescue)!
Do your homework. Know the details of rabbit ownership: read up on house rabbit basics and talk to other rabbit owners. If you decide that a house rabbit is for you, then visit a house rabbit rescue and make February ‘adopt a rescued rabbit’ for your household!
Phyllis O'Beollain is a pet enthusiast with a healthcare background; she is a member of the Dayton Area Rabbit Network, the Buckeye House Rabbit Society, the Columbus House Rabbit Society and the Ohio House Rabbit Rescue. She and her daughter live in a household ruled by 3 rescued rabbits.