“Bond. Buns Bond.”

December 6, 2017

“It is not good for man to be alone.” Those are some pretty famous words. And they’re just as true when you substitute “rabbit” for “man”. Nearly all of us have had the urge to flee our hectic lives and hole up in a remote cabin, far away from the the rest of humanity. But you won’t find many hermit bunnies! Rabbits are social creatures, happiest when they’re surrounded by others of their own kind.

We encourage potential bunparents to adopt in pairs, and for owners of single rabbits to find a friend for their bun. But it’s not as easy as throwing a bunch of fish in a tank together. How would you feel if a stranger showed up in your home and started eating out of your fridge or soaking in your tub? Rabbits are as choosy as we are when it comes to accepting a mate.

Bringing unfamiliar rabbits together isn’t like an episode of The Love Boat. Try Survivor, maybe! So how do you go about ensuring domestic harmony between your adoptees? Repeat after me: PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE!!! A few lucky bunny bonds are a case of love at first sight, but most will take a few weeks, possibly a few months. Humans don’t go ring shopping on the first date, after all.

Step #1: Misery loves company. Start right off the bat by bringing your rabbits home in the same carrier. Trust us, they’ll be too anxious to fight. You might take back roads or make a few extra loops around the neighborhood. When you check on them, chances are excellent that they’ll be cuddled together. This is a good beginning!

Step #2: Quantity vs quality. For the next several days, keep your buns in separate pens, but within eye/ear/nose shot of each other. Let them get used to their new roomie’s sounds and smells. Then begin switching pens. On opposite days, Snowflake moves into Cottonball’s pen and vice versa. Both rabbits get accustomed to sharing the same spaces, just not at the same time.

Step #3: Short and sweet. Now you’ll bring them together in one smallish area, like an X-pen or a bathtub. Set your phone alarm for ten minutes and let them interact. If they ignore each other, gently guide them closer. It’s likely that there will be some minor tussling and a few tufts of flying fur as they decide who’s going to be top bun. Stay calm, nudge them apart and speak softly. At the end of the ten minutes, break out the banana. You want your rabbits to associate “togetherness” with “yummy”!

Step #4: Slow and steady. Gradually lengthen the amount of time together and vary the surroundings. You might set them up near the washing machine or beside the rug as you vacuum near them. The goal isn’t to terrorize them, but to encourage them to seek comfort from each other. If either rabbit seems overly stressed, or if you see too much hostility, it’s time to slow down a bit. Go back to ten minutes at a time.

Lots of treats, lots of praise, lots of patience! And lots of supervision. If you see mutual grooming, eating out of the same bowl, napping together, or nose-to-nose contact, you’ll know your buns are on the fast track to bonded bliss. (Keep in mind: ONLY after you’ve witnessed a continued period of harmony, with only minor sibling rivalry, should you put them together permanently.)

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Three’s company

November 29, 2017

Adoptive bun parents know that rabbits are a bit like potato chips. It’s nearly impossible to stop with just one! Lindy and Chris found that out the hard way, when they dropped by our sanctuary last winter to pick out a bunny. One bunny. At least, that was the plan…

It didn’t take long for Lindy’s heart to settle on Apollo, a slightly scrawny redhead with huge brown eyes and fur as soft as the finest down feathers. Apollo was The One, and Lindy knew she wouldn’t leave the sanctuary without him.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the barn, Chris had his eye on a hot Californian named Layla. Full-figured and mysterious, Layla was the kind of bun destined to be a heartbreaker. Chris was just a mortal male, after all. How could he possibly resist Layla’s charms?

Marriage is all about compromise, but some situations defy negotiation. It was clear that neither Chris nor Lindy were going to budge. The only solution? Adopt both bunnies! The decision was made. Two happy humans, two happy rabbits. Mission accomplished! Right?

You know that completely illogical urge to buy just one more lottery ticket after a winning streak, read just one more page before succumbing to sleep, or eat just one more Thin Mint before putting that box of cookies back in the freezer? Well, what could it hurt to take one more stroll through the barns, just for the heck of it?

Which is how our happy couple stumbled across Ben. Pint-sized and timid, Ben was easy to overlook. But once Chris and Lindy saw him, they knew he’d be impossible to forget.

It seemed like pure craziness to adopt three unbonded rabbits at the same time. Bonding two rabbits is fairly straightforward, if time-consuming. Nothing that Lindy and Chris couldn’t handle. But three? Even seasoned rabbit experts would find that a challenge.

Love will find a way, as the song says. And it helped that Chris and Lindy have no use for the word “can’t”. Barely a month later, Apollo, Layla, and Ben were the newest incarnation of the Three Musketeers. Sleeping, eating, cuddling together—it defied all expectations.

That’s like sitting down to write a blog and getting up again three hours later with a complete full-length novel! Stay tuned for next week’s blog to find out how. We’ll reveal their technique, and offer a few more tried-and-true bonding suggestions.

Black Bunday

November 22, 2017

While you’re scouring the Thanksgiving weekend ads, don’t forget to check out our GLRS Facebook page! 

No need to bundle up and head out to fight the hordes of overly-caffeinated deal-hungry ninja shoppers for the best Black Friday deals! You don’t even have to fully emerge from your turkey coma. Just drag that second piece of pumpkin pie over to your keyboard, sit back, and discover the true meaning of “Black Friday”!

We have some fabulous black bunnies looking for forever homes this holiday season. Much like black cats, black rabbits are often overlooked because of their color. However, we think they are beautiful and definitely deserve a second look. Black bunnies are the ultimate in practicality and luxury. Kind of like rich dark Belgian chocolate, except our rabbits won’t melt all over your fingers. (We can make no guarantees about your heart, however!)

Take a look at some of the beauties just waiting to join your family this season!

 

Pascha is a plush velvet Rex who prefers to hang out at the adult table. No kids or other animals for him! Shy, gentle, and oh so soft, he’s the perfect choice for a laid-back, quiet household.

 

 

His sister Kira is the social butterfly of the family, a whirling dervish who never stops moving. Give her plenty of room to romp and explore, and you’ll never need to turn on your TV for entertainment.

 

 

Nibbler was nabbed while sneaking around a college campus. Was she searching for a party or just a place to chill out with friends? We’re betting the latter. Nibbler’s a true snuggler who’ll take all the affection you have to give.

 

 

Raymond is the epitome of an introvert. Here’s a rabbit who’s happiest sprawled out on the carpet. Maybe beside you, watching the football game?

 

 

Merry is just that, happy to be alive and not willing to waste a minute. He’s a high-octane bun, and as such, he doesn’t have a lot of patience for down time. Active, free-spirited adopters may find Merry to be the four-footed soulmate they’ve been dreaming of.

 

Interested in any of our Black Friday Buns? Contact adoptions@rabbitsanctuary.org. Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall in love in fall

November 8, 2017

Who says springtime is the best season for love? We think crispy autumn leaves and fat pumpkins set the stage quite nicely! If your fairytale fantasies focus on the fuzzy and four-footed, put down that romance novel and head to our sanctuary.

No more lonely nights in front of the TV, sipping your cocoa alone! What could be more appealing than curling up on the sofa with a warm, purring partner on your lap? Rabbits are living, breathing radiators! A fluffy bunny belly feels more toasty than the thickest fleece gloves. (And you never have to worry about dropping one in the grocery store!)

Don’t just take our word for it. Ask the many proud new bunparents who’ve embraced destiny and surrendered their hearts and homes to the partner(s) of their dreams!

Partners like Curry, one of our Belleville buns, and his sister Quinn. And Butters, whose new home comes with a bonus—a new mate! Polar Bear and Spots stole the hearts of a family in Ohio, proving that love knows no boundaries. Facebook brought River Road rescue Jasper together with a Chicago family.

Even the socially awkward among us can take heart. Little Clover, who’s been at the sanctuary since she was a kit, needs a little more TLC than other rabbits. She’s getting it now, thanks to the loving adopter who traveled all the way across the state. What’s a few hours of driving compared to a future filled with joy?

Don’t we all secretly dream of making that special love connection? No need to endure long nights at seedy singles’ bars or ghastly blind dates. For a partner that will keep you smiling, keep you hopping, and (if you’re not careful) knock you right off your feet, head straight for our sanctuary. Affection awaits!

Wander in Wonderland

November 1, 2017

You’re probably familiar with the story of “Alice in Wonderland”, the children’s classic about a magical underground universe, accessed only through a rabbit hole. Everything is slightly askew in Wonderland, eye-popping and most definitely unexpected. Imagine the fun of exploring such a place!

Emma and Wayne, animal lovers in central England, decided to make the fantasy come true… for rabbits, anyway! It had long been their dream to open a sanctuary on their rural property. But a simple collection of pens just wouldn’t do. Never the kind to go halfway on a project, the couple unleashed all their creative energy on designing a rabbit utopia!

Wonderland Rabbit Sanctuary is a marvel of aesthetics, engineering, and practical luxury. There’s a treehouse, a clubhouse complete with “tap room”, log bridges, hillocks, and temperature controlled sleeping hutches, all under the watchful eye of Eddie, a two ton clay and sod bunny sculpture who dominates the yard.

All of the structures are linked above and below ground by a 400 foot maze of tubing (including a stretch that runs right through the middle of Eddie!). The perimeter is reinforced with buried fencing and electric wiring. Alpacas and donkeys patrol the exterior, warding off foxes, while flying kites dissuades buzzards.

When the rabbits have a hankering for a snack, they can munch on anything growing within their reach. Emma and Wayne plant only bunny-safe grasses, herbs, and flowers. Eddie’s fluffy tail is actually a patch of lavender! Well-placed plants repel biting insects, eliminating the need for caustic pesticides.

Wonderland is quite an undertaking, especially considering the couple’s tight budget. They foraged for whatever materials they could find, adapting their designs to fit. And they did all the landscaping and building work themselves. Truly a labor of love! To learn more about Wonderland Rabbit Sanctuary, check out their Facebook page!

 

Brrrrringing up bunny

October 18, 2017

Ask a hundred people for the best example of “money pit”, and 98 of them will answer “children” or “old houses”! We love them, and they’re well worth the sleepless nights, endless toil, and cringe-inducing Visa bills. But holy heavens, does it never end???

We understand completely! Our sanctuary doesn’t need to fund little Sandy’s braces or pay the inevitable medical bills when brother Randy decides yet again to defy the laws of gravity and common sense. But we do have our fair share of challenges, with both kids and buildings. Especially in the colder months.

You know that sinking feeling every time you hear the furnace kick on in your home, as you anticipate another massive heating bill? Try keeping three vintage barns warm and cozy in the middle of what’s anticipated to be a harsh winter!

Have you ever seen a rabbit diving into a pile of hay? Blink and it’s gone! Our nearly 100 residents can raze remarkable amounts in a single week. And just like with most freshly grown items, hay prices spike outside of growing season. So do the greens our rabbits need to stay healthy.

Do you find yourself munching more as the days grow darker? Humans and animals alike have a biological urge to bulk up a bit for the colder weather. At our farm, this means an increase in the amount of rabbit and pig pellets we use, as well as food for the cats.

And then there are the surprise expenses. We suspect by the time we’re finished with the spay and neuter bills for our 30 new baby kits, our vet will have no problem paying off her student loans!

Here’s where we come right out and ask for your help. Our goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of October, enough to provide security for the tough months ahead. If you are willing to help with a donation, please go to http://www.rabbitsanctuary.org/donate-today/

If you’d like to see first-hand how your gift will be used, join us on Sunday, October 22, for our free GLRS Fall Celebration! Tour the barns, meet our residents, enjoy refreshments, and shop from our extensive selection of sanctuary memorabilia. Did we mention that our Farmer Dave has some of the most impressive pumpkins you’ll ever see? We’ll even help you load up your car!

Our Fall Celebration will run from 12-4, regardless of weather. Remember, the celebration is free, although donations are always appreciated. All proceeds from our sales go directly to the Winter Fund.

Buns in Toyland

October 11, 2017

So you’ve brought home your new rabbit, and you’re sure you thought of everything. Little Pawla has a spacious, solid-bottomed pen. You’ve stocked up on the best quality hay, and your crisper drawer is stuffed with fresh herbs and greens. The litter in her box is dust and fragrance free, her water bowl is full, and you’ve got a reputable “bunny basics” guidebook on your shelf next to the nail clippers and grooming tools.

Pawla is destined for a very comfortable life, no doubt! You’ve made sure all her physical needs will be met. But there’s another facet to raising a healthy, happy bunny, one that often gets overlooked.

We all know that rabbits are extremely intelligent, curious creatures. They’re also social animals, with a ton of energy. And bored bunnies are destructive bunnies! Imagine spending all day in a room with a TV that only gets one channel (and that’s C-SPAN!) You might not gnaw your way to freedom like Pawla, but we’re willing to bet you’d be tempted.

Don’t let frustration build! It’s easy to entertain a rabbit. One of our former residents, Gordon, would spend hours burrowing, digging, and ripping newspapers. Phone books and cardboard boxes are bunny magnets, and they fulfill your bun’s innate need to chew. Want to get some use out of all that junk mail? Rabbit teeth are far more effective than any shredder! Pinecones, empty oatmeal boxes, clean laundry detergent caps are all quick and easy playthings.

Try to find time every day to get on the floor with your bun. Playing together is a surefire way to build or strengthen the bond between you. Make towers out of plastic stacking cups or wooden blocks, and let Pawla knock them down with her nose. You might roll a small ball across the floor for her to investigate. Hide treats in toilet paper rolls, lunch sacks, or tissue boxes and encourage her to dig them out.

Willing to offer yourself as a human jungle gym? Try lying flat with a treat on your stomach (if you’ve got a large bun, you might want to roll over!) and wait for Pawla to climb up and get it. Once she catches on, you can do this on your hands and knees. Believe us when we say there’s just nothing more entertaining than feeling a bunny bouncing around on your back!

Resting in peace

September 27, 2017

It’s the unfortunate reality of loving an animal. Sooner or later, they’re going to leave us. Illness, accident, old age…whether they’ve been with us a few weeks or several years, the loss is profound. If we find ourselves in the heart wrenching position of choosing euthanasia, the grief and guilt can be overwhelming.

The ensuing questions are universal. “What if I’d done this differently?” “Should I have tried harder?” “Did I wait too long/act too soon?” “Was it my fault?” And then there’s the big one: “Did my bunny know how much I loved him/her?”

When a beloved pet passes, it’s human nature to second guess any and all decisions we’ve made throughout their life. If we have children, they may feel confusion, and wonder what they did wrong. It’s these kinds of doubts that keep us up at night, long after the tears have stopped flowing.

Longtime animal rescue advocate and animal communicator Shelly Pinter has fielded hundreds of these questions both through her work with shelters across the state (including ours!) and from clients searching for some peace of mind. She’s compiled many of the most common into a new book, “Have You Ever Loved an Animal?”, available on Amazon.

This slim volume contains a wealth of information and insights to help readers gain a new perspective on their animal’s life and loss. Do our pets know when the end is near? What do they need from us? How can we ease the transition for them, and for ourselves? How can we be sure the decisions we make are the right ones?

If you’ve wrestled with questions concerning the death of a beloved pet, you’ll likely find them answered here. Especially helpful is the section designed to address children’s specific concerns. Written with empathy and respect for all belief systems, “Have You Ever Loved an Animal?” offers insight and comfort when we need it most.

One more time

September 13, 2017

Our neighbors to the south are getting pounded. Harvey, Irma, now Juan…the wild weather is relentless. No doubt you’ve seen the pictures of the destruction, flooding, the empty store shelves and crumpled buildings. You’ve heard the news reports confirming how difficult it is for residents to find adequate shelter, food and water for themselves. Imagine the challenge faced by families with animals!

We published this blog a few months ago, but it seems like a good time for a reminder. In northern states like Michigan, we’re not likely to ever face a hurricane. But that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook! Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flooding, gusting winds, hail…if you haven’t experienced any of these yet, give it a couple more months!

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It’s storm season in Michigan, and that means we’ve got to be prepared. Whether we’re getting by with candles and canned food for a few days during a power outage, or hunkering down in our basements waiting out a tornado warning, having a plan is crucial. It’s even more important if we have four-legged family members.

Think about the last time you prepared to take Puffball in for a simple 20 minute vet visit. First you unearthed her carrier from the back of the closet, wiped out the dried pee you somehow missed when you put it away last time, dug around under your bed to find her favorite travel stuffie, remembered she needs a brave bunny goodie for the trip home, flushed her out from behind the fridge, and wrangled her into the carrier. Finally, an hour later, you were ready to hit the road.

A quick response is crucial in any emergency. A little advance planning now can save valuable time and untold stress later. Don’t wait a crisis hits! Gather the necessary bunny supplies and have them ready and easily accessible, before you need them.

If a storm strikes, you may have to move your pet quickly. A stressed rabbit can easily gnaw through a soft-sided carrier, so invest in one made of sturdy, hard plastic. Line the bottom with a thick towel and puppy pee pad. You don’t know how long she’ll be confined, so you want her to be comfortable. Make sure your name and contact information is written on or securely fastened to the carrier.

Fresh water is essential, so stash a couple gallons in a safe place (along with a bowl). We recommend storing at least five days worth of hay and pellets alongside the water. Pellets will stay fresh up to three months in a Tupperware container or Ziploc baggie. Hopefully, you won’t ever need to use this food, so remember to rotate it regularly to keep it from going stale.

Does your rabbit take any medications? Be sure to have a backup supply on hand. Same goes for extra puppy pads, in case you won’t have access to a litter box for a while. And don’t forget about your bun’s emotional health. A snuggly toy with your scent on it will be a big comfort to her.

Our buns absorb our emotions, so the calmer we remain, the easier it will be on them. Here’s to a safe, storm-free summer!

Baby binkies

August 30, 2017

When it rains, it pours…and you can help us hold the umbrella! Please join us on Sunday, September 10th, for a Baby Shower to welcome our newestminiature additions.

You’ve heard the old phrase “raining cats and dogs”. Around here, it’s been raining rabbits! First our heroic hoarding survivor Nala surprised us with eight tiny kits. Almost immediately afterward the Michigan Five arrived, all impossibly adorable and all under two months old. The deluge continued with four babies from Belleville.

Then just to mix things up, along came Maisy the piglet!

18 youngsters? That’s a kindergarten class! That’s both sides of a Little League game! That’s most of the Duggar family (and even they procured their kids one at a time)! You can see how this might have come as a shock. But now that the sheer terror has worn thin, we’re ready to celebrate our fresh fuzzy furbabies. And we’d love for you to join in.

Our baby shower will run from 1-4 PM, with free admission (although “diaper donations” are greatly welcomed!) Start your afternoon with light snacks, punch, and of course, cake! Stay for shower games and a silent auction (win a box of goodies to use to “baby” yourself!) Enjoy a tour of the grounds and barns, and of course, meet our irresistible guests of honor.

For more information, or for the sanctuary address, please contact info@rabbitsanctuary.org.