No meat, all greet

April 26, 2017

Help our sanctuary celebrate spring with two Sunday soirees!

First up is VegFest, April 30, at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, which features anything and everything to support a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Learn from several guest speakers, including a cardiologist, nutritionist, Emmy-award winning journalist, and the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

Watch cooking demonstrations, discover new recipes, shop for cruelty-free products like soap, makeup, household cleaners, and faux leather items. Enjoy free samples of delicious, creative vegan cuisine, and learn how to turn your trash into earth-friendly treasure.

Be sure to look for the GLRS booth, where you’ll get all your rabbit-related queries answered (including the age-old question: What do I do with all this bunny poop??). There are plenty of kid-friendly activities and an extensive, vegetarian food court for when it’s time to recharge your engines!

Then get ready to do the Bunny Hop at the annual GLRS Cinco de Mayo get-together! Join the rabbits, cats, and pigs (and other humans!) at our sanctuary on May 7 from 2:00-5:00 PM. You’ll enjoy an all-you-can-eat vegetarian nacho and taco bar, tours of our barns, kids’ activities, and general festivity! Then kick back and embrace the peaceful country atmosphere with an icy  Margarita or soft drink.

There is absolutely no charge for this event (of course, we appreciate any and all donations!) Please RSVP to info@rabbitsanctuary.org by May 1st, so we can plan accordingly.

Snacking season

April 18, 2017

Spring is finally here! The forsythia is blooming, the buds are popping out on the lilac bushes, and the first tulips and hyacinths are pushing their way up in our garden plots. It promises to be a beautiful season. But appearances can be deceiving. All that beauty can blind us to the dangers lurking beneath the nearest brush pile.iu-2

That gorgeous display of April greenery may be attractive to look at, but for our wild rabbit friends, it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet! Tulips in particular are like bunny crack—one nibble won’t do. Those voracious monsters won’t stop until there’s nothing left but a bed full of stubs. And there’s nothing sadder than a shrub that’s been stripped of all its lower branches by the powerful jaws of a hungry cottontail.

thSo what can you do, short of encircling your yard with barbed wire? Fortunately, there are gentler solutions! Chicken wire is inexpensive, lightweight, and, at two feet high, it’s tall enough to keep out even the most athletic rabbit. Walmart carries a green version that blends in well with the foliage it’s protecting.

If fencing is impractical, turn to your kitchen. Mix up a simple natural repellent with eggs, hot sauce,and pepper. Spray it on your growing plants to dissuade foraging pests like rabbits, chipmunks, and deer. The solution won’t harm your flowers or vegetables, and because of the sticking power of the eggs, doesn’t need to be reapplied even after rain.th-1

The easiest, most cost-effective deterrents might be found in the toy aisle of your local Meijer. Colorful plastic pinwheels stuck in the ground every few feet can serve to startle the rabbits, who don’t like the movement. Some people have reported success using balloons, which bob around in the wind and frighten the buns. Neither of these solutions will work, however, if there’s no breeze.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen all else fails, plant more! Strategically placing marigolds or daffodils around the plants you’re trying to protect may work, since rabbits don’t like the taste. And choose your battles. You may have to sacrifice a few tulips to keep the lilacs safe, and vice versa. Remember, providing a snack for the wildlife now and then is just part of interacting with nature. Relax and enjoy!

Hare today, gone tomorrow?

April 5, 2017

“But Mom, I HAVE to have it!! I LOOOOOVE it!”

If you’ve spent any time at all with a child, you’ve heard this. Maybe it’s the Sparkle Pretty Barbie with the glittery hair. Or the box of SugarStuft cereal guaranteed to induce a diabetic coma. Or a “real” cell phone that doesn’t have a flip screen and prepaid minutes.

Sure, it’s easy to get sucked into the promises of “I’ll take good care of it”, “I’ll keep my room clean for the next six months”, “I’ll never ask for another thing as long as I live”. And more often than we want to admit, after hours (days? weeks!) of nonstop begging, we’d do anything for some peace and quiet. Better to whip out the wallet than the bottle of merlot…And just imagine the joy in their little eyes! What could be better than that?

Until two weeks later when Barbie is missing a leg after a heated tug of war between siblings. The cereal sits opened and growing stale because, well, it didn’t taste as good as it looked on TV. And that great cell plan isn’t such a bargain when you factor in replacing the screen after the phone fell out of an open backpack (for the third time), or opening the first monthly bill to discover that really, how is anyone expected to survive without unlimited texting?

We did it when we were kids, and our kids will do it to us, every time. And maybe you’ve already heard it. “I want a bunny!” “Oh, he’s so CUUUUTTTTTEEEEE!” “I’ll feed him and water him and clean up after him and he’ll be my BEST FRIEND for the rest of my life!”

Um, yeah. That’s what she said about Sparkle Barbie, and see how that ended up. It’s not your kids’ fault; they’re designed to have short attention spans and shifting interests. Someone who can’t be relied on to brush her teeth without being nagged is not likely to stick with the much larger responsibility of caring for a living creature. A living creature that’s possibly going to be around for 8-12 years!

So, please, be strong this Easter when the inevitable pleas for a real, live, cuddly little bunny start pouring in. If the children in your life need a bunny fix, bring them to a shelter. Let them learn first hand what it really takes to be a rabbit owner. And in a couple of months, when they’ve decided they’re actually into horses instead, sit back, sip your wine, and remember—this too shall pass!

Ready for a rabbit?

March 29, 2017
Today’s blog is from guest writer Jessica Brody, creator of the website “OurBestFriends” (ourbestfriends.pet).

With proper care, the average lifespan for most domesticated rabbits is between 8 and 12 years. It’s no wonder that many people refer to pets as their “lifelong companions.” Pets are indeed our loyal friends for life. Of course, this means that pet ownership is a huge responsibility that takes a lot of time and dedication. If you’ve been thinking of getting a new pet, here are some questions to ask yourself…

“Do I have enough time?”

The ASPCA recommends asking yourself these questions when considering whether you’ll be able to care for a new pet:

 

  • What major changes might happen to you during a pet’s lifetime? Marriage? Children? New job? Long-distance move? Are you willing to continue spending the time, energy and money to care for your pet when taking on new responsibilities like those?
  • What will you do if your spouse or child is allergic to or cannot get along with your pet?
  • If you’re getting a pet for children you have now, are you willing to take on the responsibility of caring for this pet when your children grow up, lose interest or move away?

Another consideration when it comes to time is life span. You’ll need to dedicate yourself to taking care of this pet each and every day – possibly for a decade or more. As your pet ages, expect to spend more time and money on his/her care. Can you commit to that?

“Can I afford a pet?”

This is a tough question, and one that only you can answer for yourself. Start by balancing your monthly budget to determine how much you can reasonably spend on a pet, and then try to pick a pet that will fit within that budget each month. Be sure to include calculations and estimates for the cost of food, water, housing, toys, and also unexpected costs like grooming (if needed) or vet bills. One final consideration is the cost of your pet itself. You’re likely to pay more for a rabbit from a shelter than from a pet store bargain bin, but shelter rabbits will already be spayed/neutered and health checked.

“What breed should I choose?”

All rabbits are not created alike. Before adopting, consider the qualities, temperament, fur, and maintenance level of each breed. A fluffy Angora will require daily brushing and regular trimming; lop rabbits must be monitored for earwax buildup and infection. Energetic dwarf breeds will need extra living space, while laid-back New Zealands are the best choice for homes with younger
children.

Be sure to check with your landlord or apartment complex before getting a pet, if you rent. Expect to pay a damage deposit, which, realistically, you probably won’t get back.

“Where do I get my rabbit?”

It’s extremely important to get your new pet from the proper place. Local humane societies, pet rescues, and no kill shelters are a compassionate way to find a “forever home” for a pet in need. Even if you’re looking for a purebred (not mixed breed) rabbit, many of these pets are waiting in your local shelter, and there are hundreds of breed-specific animal rescues all over the country. Just be sure to avoid backyard breeders, flea markets, and other pet retailers with shady or unethical practices.

In Conclusion…

These questions are meant to be a starting point and are by no means all-inclusive. There are many other considerations to think of, including any additional pets in the household, any children or adults in the home, location, and more.

Are you ready for a rabbit? That is a question that you will ultimately have to answer for yourself. As you can see, pet ownership takes time, patience, dedication and love. It costs money and requires effort. However, it is also one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable and allows you an important opportunity to build a bond that could last for years.

If you’re ready to take the leap into pet parenthood, Petfinder is a great resource for finding your new best friend, no matter what kind of pet you’re looking for. Of course, if you’re looking for a pet pig, rabbit or cat, the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary has plenty of loveable creatures who would love to come home with you.

Can’t buy me love

March 22, 2017

The signs are in the windows of most every pet shop—“Easter Bunnies! Sale! 2 for $10!” Who couldn’t scrape up five or ten dollars to make their child’s holiday magical? Throw in a clearance cage and some pellets, and even the most miserly would be satisfied that they’ve found a cheap and easy way to satisfy their little one. It’s not like giving in and bringing home that pony they’ve begged for, for heaven’s sake.Bunny bucks 2

There’s an alarming tendency to view rabbits as inexpensive starter pets. This is a dangerous assumption! A pet rabbit may seem like a bargain hunter’s dream, but appearances can be deceiving. Bunnies chew up more than your table leg or living room carpet. Those sweet, innocent fuzzy faces belie a rabbit’s most destructive tendency—the ability to shred the most well-planned budget.

iu-4Sure, $10 gets the rabbits in the door. But that tiny cage? Rabbits grow at lightning speed. You’ll need to upgrade to a puppy pen in a matter of days. Feeding your bun only pellets is like feeding your child only Cheetos. You’’ll need a supply of high-quality hay and a nearby grocery store with a good produce department.

Then there’s all those things you aren’t thinking about when you’re at the store gazing into those adorable eyes. Litter boxes are fairly cheap, but you’ll need more than one, and the litter to go inside them. You’ll need a basket or rack for the hay, and sturdy bowls for food and water. Every rabbit needs a few toys, and healthy treats.iu-5

Set-up costs for a rabbit can run as high as $300, but the real expenses you’ll incur are vet bills. Rabbits are considered exotic pets, which means you won’t get off as cheaply as you might with Benny the beagle or Kathy the kitten. Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $300 to have your rabbit neutered or spayed, and for females especially, that’s not an optional procedure.

Every bun needs a yearly checkup (twice a year if they’re over age 6), and rare is the bunny parent who hasn’t found herself at the vet more often, for common conditions like stasis, pasteurella, ear infections, misaligned teeth, e cuniculi, or bladder infections. Elderly rabbits will likely need treatment for arthritis. Rabbit medications are just as pricey as those for humans, and your Blue Cross card won’t help.

iuSo what’s the bottom line? A conservative estimate for a year of rabbit care runs around $1500. That’s for a relatively healthy, well-cared-for indoor bun. If your rabbit develops a chronic health problem, the number can quickly rise. Just one overnight at the emergency vet can cost as much as a mortgage payment. And odds are you will make such a trip at least once with your bun.

All this is not meant to dissuade you from choosing a rabbit as a companion! In our collective iu-2opinion, rabbits are well worth every cent. You can’t put a price on the massive amounts of love, joy, entertainment, affection, and peace a bunny will bring to your life. But it is vitally important to be realistic about how these fuzzy little creatures will affect your bottom line. Far too many $5 bunnies have been bought on impulse and discarded once they stopped looking like such a bargain. And that’s no way to celebrate Easter.

Multiplying like rabbits?

March 8, 2017

What’s not to love about a large family? Hand-me-down clothes, five minute showers, fights over the last scoop of cereal, built-in playmates (or punching bags)…Life in a crowded home can be heaven or hell, depending on your perspective. With nine dependents, Melissa and Derek are firm believers in “the more, the merrier”! But there’s a twist.

In Melissa and Derek’s home, the “breakfast menu” consists of far more than waffles and OJ. How about chopped kale, dried dill, or red romaine? Assigned to clean the bathroom? You’ll need more than bleach and a toilet brush. Don’t forget the vinegar and shredded paper! Reaching into the cupboard for a snack? Look carefully before you munch. You just might get a mouthful of baked hay and kibble.

It started out simply enough. Melissa and Derek had two sons, then a daughter, and the family seemed complete. But you can probably guess what was missing. What’s a home without a set of furry feet? And adopting a rabbit is a bit like sticking your hand into a bag of potato chips. First comes one, then another…and what will it really hurt to have just one more? Oh, and one for the road, and so on, and so on.

Hilda and Shawn

And so came Misty, who needed a mate, Shawn, and after Misty passed,  Shawn chose Hilda, and how could they overlook Lily, who of course wasn’t complete without her Calypso…And really, once you have four rabbits, it’s not that much of a hardship to bring in a dog, and then a cat too…

Lily and Calypso

Derek was a little floored at first. His cozy family of five had ballooned into a clan of eleven! You may have seen the slogan “Real Men Love Bunnies”. Well, Derek was a real man, and together with Melissa and their three human children, they were off on the adventure of a lifetime!

Not Melissa and Derek!

So what’s the key to sanity in a house full of fur? Melissa cautions others who may be thinking of building a four-footed family not to assume animals are easier! They’re just as much work as children, she tells us. Just like toddlers, they’ve got insatiable curiosity, boundless energy, and endless enthusiasm.

Melissa’s main advice? Give all of your kids (human and critter) lots of love, and especially with your buns, KEEP THEM BUSY! An interested rabbit is a happy rabbit. There’s nothing more heartwarming than returning from work at night to a home filled with blissful, binkying bunnies! Even if you have to wait in line for the bathroom.

Snow days

March 1, 2017

iuIt’s been a tough winter for snow lovers. Days of balmy spring weather have all but eviscerated our dreams of snowshoes and sleigh rides. But those of us who still long to be surrounded by soft, fluffy whiteness don’t need to wait for the whims of Mother Nature. We can stock our homes with snowballs from the sanctuary, the special kind that won’t sting our fingers or melt all over our carpet!iur

This week marks the end of “Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month”, and if you’ve checked out our Petfinder page, you may have noticed a pattern. An avalanche of white bunnies has descended upon our barns! Californians, New Zealands, Florida Whites—these are among the most beautiful rabbits ever created, and the best natured.

1Maybe your philosophy is “bigger is better”. Than you’ll love Martha, a plus-size stunner who never refuses a cuddle. Or a snack. Martha wants your Fritos more than you do, and for a big girl, she’s remarkably quick. But she’ll forgive you for offering fresh veggies instead, as long as you don’t stop petting her until she’s good and ready.

For double the pleasure, consider twin brothers Bailey and Shepard. Just1-1 put down the grooming shears! Thanks to Daddy’s wild streak, Shepard sports a lovely long lion’s mane. Unless you’re their mama, that’s the only way you’re going to be able to tell them apart. These two are on the quiet side, which makes them ideal roommates, especially in the middle of the night!

3Do you appreciate a rabbit that’s a little rough around the edges? Fern’s a former street urchin turned mom of eight. There’s no need to break out the shampoo—she comes by her muddy markings honestly. Fern’s a tough cookie with a tender heart. If you’re looking for a bunny buddy  who can weather any of life’s storms, Fern’s your girl.iu-2

We can understand being a bit hesitant about bringing home a white sweater or a white rug, especially in winter. But you don’t have to worry about dripping hot chocolate down the front of your bunny, or tracking slush through your rabbit’s fur. With a little TLC, your living, breathing snowball is guaranteed to stay sparkling and fresh, no matter what the weather!

Magical Miffy

February 22, 2017

She came into the world as “Nijntje”, and in the sixty years since, she hasn’t aged a day. So screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-4-15-27-pmbeloved is she that she has not one, but two museums honoring her extraordinary life. She’s instantly recognizable all over the globe, and can even stop traffic on a dime! Who is this sainted celebrity? And could she really have…four feet??

gettyimages-76212962-767bc88887ca1978aff2b406706950bf4dd853a4-s700-c85-1Nijntje, or Miffy as she’s known outside of her birthplace, was the brainchild of Dutch illustrator and author Dick Bruna. Everything was creative fodder for Bruna, so when his son spied a wild rabbit on their walk, Bruna quickly concocted a story about it. A deceptively simple line drawing later, and Miffy was born.16233314379_19ba523e13_z

The first Miffy book was published in 1955. Much like a viral video today, soon everyone heard about the little white bunny. Miffy mania struck the Netherlands like a tsunami! Children and adults alike gravitated toward the innocent and appealing Miffy and her newly created animal buddies.

ap_17048581521191_custom-85e8b0b344c6787ce6869624ca8fa889c481d9c2-s700-c85And just like rabbits are prone to do, Miffy multiplied. One country couldn’t hold her; not even one continent! Bruna’s unassuming little bunny found fame across Europe, Asia, and even North America. Miffy went on to star in dozens of stories. 85 million copies of her books have sold to date, in 50 languages.15797030804_47d032ef96_z

You don’t need to read kiddie lit to experience the phenomenon, though. Thanks to a bit of marketing genius, Miffy can be found on just about every product known to man. There are Miffy lamps, Miffy flip flops, Miffy silverware, Miffy toothbrushes, even Miffy bandaids and facial cleanser.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-4-21-02-pmWander around downtown Utrecht and you’ll see little white ears wherever you go! There’s so much Miffy, in fact, that it takes two buildings to properly represent her. The Miffy Museum sits right across the street from the Centraal Museum. Miffy will even help you across the busy intersection. Just look up! Instead of a boring “Lopen” (walk)  and “Wacht” (wait) crossing sign, take your cues from a red or green Miffy!

Love lessons

February 14, 2017

How does your bunny love you? Let us count the ways. Or rather, let us show you! Our rabbits 21603863-1-x100aren’t ones to hide their emotions, but bunny affection can take some unusual forms. If you pay careful attention, you just might hear the “I love you” message they’re sending.

iu-2Have you ever felt something poke your ankle, then looked down to see a fuzzy little furball hopping away? That’s a bunny nose bonk. Think of it as a pat-on-the-back kind of greeting, just a casual checking in. Or you might look down to see him rubbing his chin on your shoe. Congratulations, you’ve just been marked as his property!

That gentle chattering you hear whenever you pet your bun? Cats aren’t the only animals who purr iurwhen they’re content. Consider that sound a verbal hug. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get a few kisses too. When your rabbit feels bonded to you, he may groom you with his tongue. If you’ve just eaten something sweet, he’ll probably lay one right on your lips!

If your bunny is young, he may perplex you by running around and around you in an endless circle. Here’s a hint: if he’s still “intact”, this is your cue to make that vet appointment, STAT. He’s letting you know that it’s time for him to choose a mate, and you’re looking like an awfully good candidate.

socks_with_toe_holeSometimes rabbits choose a rather questionable way to express affection. Gnawing and chewing aren’t reserved just for the baseboards. Socks, pant legs, shoelaces, and any other item of clothing at bunny level is fair game. So is bare skin! It can be tough for him to remember that we humans are a bit more sensitive than his bunny buddies.iu

You’ll know you’ve reached the top of his love list the first time you witness your rabbit stop dead in his tracks and flop over onto his side, motionless. Despite what your eyes will tell you, this is not an occasion to freak out and rush him to the ER! What you’ve just seen is the ultimate expression of bunny bliss, the bunny flop. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Love is in the air

February 8, 2017

It has a reputation for being cold and dismal, possibly the most hated month of the year. But let’s send  some love February’s way! Look a little closer, and February might just be the warmest and fuzziest month of the year!iu

Valentine’s Day gets all the press, but there’s much more to celebrate. February, after all, is “National Mend a Broken Heart Month”, and “Relationship Wellness Month”. Do you sense a theme? We don’t think it’s a coincidence that February was also chosen to represent “Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month”.

So your girlfriend dumped you? Husband only interested in watching the big game? Have you resigned yourself to sharing your evenings with Netflix and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s? Put down that spoon! We can offer you a loving companion with unsurpassed loyalty (and stunning good looks!) who will always keep you smiling. You don’t need to look further than our sanctuary.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 4.49.51 PMThose of us who live with rabbits know what delightful and entertaining housemates they are. Rabbits will keep you sharp by challenging your bunny proofing skills, and impress you with amazing acrobatics. A rabbit will always listen when you talk. And they’ll talk back! Your rabbit will teach you an entirely unique language, made up of nose bonks and ear twitches and gentle purring.

You don’t need experience to make a great bunny parent. Some of our happiest human/rabbit matches have been with first time owners. If you have patience, flexibility, and the willingness to learn what your rabbit wants and needs (along with a somewhat relaxed philosophy on housekeeping!), you’ve already got what it takes.iu-1

Check out our adoptable bunnies on Petfinder, then contact our Adoption Coordinator (adoptions@rabbitsanctuary.org) and arrange for a tour to meet your favorites. We can answer all your questions and help you decide if a rabbit is the right choice for you. Bring home the love!