Play fair!

July 17, 2018

Planning to attend the Ann Arbor Art Fair this year? Be sure to stop by the GLRS booth and say hello! Look for us on Liberty St., between Division and Fifth. We’ll be there this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (July 19-21) from 10 AM to 9 PM, and Sunday the 22nd from noon-6PM.

The art fair is a fantastic opportunity for us introduce the sanctuary to the public, and to educate people about the important work we do. Many people have never heard of GLRS, and have no idea that such a place exists! This is our chance to talk with people, one on one, and promote responsible rabbit ownership.

Wondering how you can help the rabbits? Talk to us about making a donation, or volunteering your time at the sanctuary. Whatever your interests and abilities, we can make good use of them! Drop by our booth and learn about the many ways you can be of assistance.

Don’t worry about melting into the pavement! Ann Arbor temperatures for the weekend are expected to top out in the low 80s. After endless days of Death Valley-like weather, this is going to feel downright refreshing to us humans!

Alas, the heat and crowds would be a little much for our furry four-footed friends. So you won’t meet any of our rabbit residents at our booth. They’ll be lounging back at the sanctuary, in air conditioned comfort (thanks to your generous donations!). If you’d like to see our rabbits “in person,” talk to us about arranging a tour of our facilities.

We look forward to meeting you and answering your questions. See you at the fair!

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Summer fun

July 17, 2018

Planning to attend the Ann Arbor Art Fair this year? Be sure to stop by the GLRS booth and say hello! Look for us on Liberty St., between Division and Fifth. We’ll be there this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (July 19-21) from 10 AM to 9 PM, and Sunday the 22nd from noon-6PM.

The art fair is a fantastic opportunity for us introduce the sanctuary to the public, and to educate people about the important work we do. Many people have never heard of GLRS, and have no idea that such a place exists! This is our chance to talk with people, one on one, and promote responsible rabbit ownership.

Wondering how you can help the rabbits? Talk to us about making a donation, or volunteering your time at the sanctuary. Whatever your interests and abilities, we can make good use of them! Drop by our booth and learn about the many ways you can be of assistance.

Don’t worry about melting into the pavement! Ann Arbor temperatures for the weekend are expected to top out in the low 80s. After endless days of Death Valley-like weather, this is going to feel downright refreshing to us humans!

Alas, the heat and crowds would be a little much for our furry four-footed friends. So you won’t meet any of our rabbit residents at our booth. They’ll be lounging back at the sanctuary, in air conditioned comfort (thanks to your generous donations!). If you’d like to see our rabbits “in person,” talk to us about arranging a tour of our facilities.

We look forward to meeting you and answering your questions. See you at the fair!

Home of the (not so) brave

June 30, 2018

We commemorate the 4th of July in all sorts of ways. Some of us pack up a hamper and head to the beach for a picnic. Others take the family to Cedar Point or a Tigers game. There’s nothing like a relaxing float on the pontoon, or escaping summer’s stifling heat by spending the afternoon at the movie theatre.

No matter how we choose to spend our holiday, it wouldn’t be a true Independence Day celebration without fireworks. Depending on where you live, your neighborhood could be bombarded with everything from firecrackers and bottle rockets to elaborate (and loud!) pyrotechnic displays.

To our four-footed friends, bright flashing lights and window-rattling booms are far from festive. Think more along the lines of bunny Halloween. And not the fun kind with free candy and Peanuts TV specials! The 4th of July and other noisy holidays can terrify the most hardy rabbit.

You’ll know Sammy is stressed if he stomps with his back feet, races around in a panic, or huddles wide-eyed and motionless. He may become more aggressive, stop eating and drinking, or forget his litterbox training. He might decide to self-soothe by gnawing a hole in your sofa cushion or favorite shoes.

Save your loved buns from Fright Night with a few simple steps. Soundproof the best you can by keeping the windows and curtains closed. Run the AC on low, or set up a box fan for white noise. (Be careful to aim the air flow away from your pet.) Many bunny parents swear by relaxing background music as a calming aid.

Your rabbit needs somewhere to hide away. This can be as simple as a cardboard box with holes cut in it. Add a security blanket or old towels so Sam can work off his tension by burrowing. This is a good time to introduce a new toy or “brave bunny” snack.

Sometimes the best gift you can give your rabbit is your presence. Spend as much time as you can in the same room as him. Talk to him, sing him the Star Spangled Banner (trust us, he doesn’t care if you shriek like a wounded hyena) or better yet, a lullaby. Best wishes for a happy, safe holiday for ALL our friends!

Buns in the sun

June 13, 2018

Bright sunshine, a gentle breeze, chirping birds…it’s a joy to be outside on days like these. We may iu-5
be tempted to bring our rabbits outdoors to enjoy the fresh air too. The natural world can be the perfect bunny playground…but it can also present grave dangers. We’re all familiar with bunnyproofing our homes. It’s just as necessary to bunnyproof the back yard!

iu-3The first thing you need to do is figure out how you will contain your rabbit. If your yard is fenced, go around on your hands and knees and check for holes at the grass line. It’s been said that a rat can squeeze through a keyhole. A rabbit can give that rat a run for its money! Even if you have a sturdy fence, you might choose to be extra safe and set up an Xpen. How high can your rabbit jump? Make sure the pen is higher. Or invest in a lid.

Do you use pesticides or weedkillers on your lawn and gardens? These can be deadly to your iu-2rabbit. Only set your rabbit up in an area that you are certain is not chemically treated. Do you have mostly grass, or are there unfamiliar plants in your yard? Some weeds can be poisonous. Wild rabbits know to avoid these, but our domesticated companions don’t have the same instincts. Always be aware of exactly what is going into your rabbit’s mouth.

We can douse ourselves in Off when the bugs start to swarm, but our bunnies are unprotected. Mosquitoes, black flies, fleas, and ticks are all a concern. Choose an area away from tall brush or standing water. Do your neighbors have barking dogs or free-roam cats? Even if they don’t approach your rabbit, just the sound and smell of them can cause her to panic.

iurKeep an eye on the temperature. Rabbits, having lovely thick fur coats, can’t handle extreme temperatures well. What feels comfortable to us can cause our bunnies to dangerously overheat. Anything over 80° can be fatal. Always give your rabbit a place where she can get out of the sun, and provide a big bowl of water.

You wouldn’t let your toddler outside to play unsupervised, and your rabbit is even more iu-1vulnerable. She can’t cry out to let you know something’s wrong. Stay with your rabbit at ALL TIMES! Especially if you have a digger, who can tunnel her way under an Xpen or fence, or burrow under your back porch. We’ve had this happen at the sanctuary, and coaxing a rabbit who’s drunk on freedom back into a carrier is no easy feat!

Be sure to keep playtime relatively short, and watch your rabbit’s cues. Some bunnies love being outdoors and revel in the novelty. Others are much happier inside under the bed where it’s quiet and familiar. Let your rabbit tell you how she feels about her new adventure!

Buns in the sun

June 13, 2018

Bright sunshine, a gentle breeze, chirping birds…it’s a joy to be outside on days like these. We may iu-5
be tempted to bring our rabbits outdoors to enjoy the fresh air too. The natural world can be the perfect bunny playground…but it can also present grave dangers. We’re all familiar with bunnyproofing our homes. It’s just as necessary to bunnyproof the back yard!

iu-3The first thing you need to do is figure out how you will contain your rabbit. If your yard is fenced, go around on your hands and knees and check for holes at the grass line. It’s been said that a rat can squeeze through a keyhole. A rabbit can give that rat a run for its money! Even if you have a sturdy fence, you might choose to be extra safe and set up an Xpen. How high can your rabbit jump? Make sure the pen is higher. Or invest in a lid.

Do you use pesticides or weedkillers on your lawn and gardens? These can be deadly to your iu-2rabbit. Only set your rabbit up in an area that you are certain is not chemically treated. Do you have mostly grass, or are there unfamiliar plants in your yard? Some weeds can be poisonous. Wild rabbits know to avoid these, but our domesticated companions don’t have the same instincts. Always be aware of exactly what is going into your rabbit’s mouth.

We can douse ourselves in Off when the bugs start to swarm, but our bunnies are unprotected. Mosquitoes, black flies, fleas, and ticks are all a concern. Choose an area away from tall brush or standing water. Do your neighbors have barking dogs or free-roam cats? Even if they don’t approach your rabbit, just the sound and smell of them can cause her to panic.

iurKeep an eye on the temperature. Rabbits, having lovely thick fur coats, can’t handle extreme temperatures well. What feels comfortable to us can cause our bunnies to dangerously overheat. Anything over 80° can be fatal. Always give your rabbit a place where she can get out of the sun, and provide a big bowl of water.

You wouldn’t let your toddler outside to play unsupervised, and your rabbit is even more iu-1vulnerable. She can’t cry out to let you know something’s wrong. Stay with your rabbit at ALL TIMES! Especially if you have a digger, who can tunnel her way under an Xpen or fence, or burrow under your back porch. We’ve had this happen at the sanctuary, and coaxing a rabbit who’s drunk on freedom back into a carrier is no easy feat!

Be sure to keep playtime relatively short, and watch your rabbit’s cues. Some bunnies love being outdoors and revel in the novelty. Others are much happier inside under the bed where it’s quiet and familiar. Let your rabbit tell you how she feels about her new adventure!

Amazing Anatomy 101: Now ‘ear this!

May 16, 2018

Ask any kindergartener to draw a rabbit. You’ll get some creatively formed creatures! It may be a challenge to pick out what exactly is a paw and which is a nose, but one feature will always be recognizable. Those long bunny ears! Rabbit ears are unmistakable, but don’t be fooled by their seeming simplicity. Those furry appendages have superpowers to rival the most impressive Marvel comic hero. 

Stupendous sense of sound!

Ever wonder why you can’t sneak up on a rabbit? Your bunny scoffs at your version of “stealth”! The length and curved structure of her ear work like a satellite dish, allowing twice the hearing range and clarity as the human ear. And our ears can’t swivel, bend, or tilt like a rabbit’s. Bunda not only can hear a pin drop, she can detect exactly where in the room it lands!

Makes sense that Bunda and her kin have such a strong reaction to noise that we take for granted, doesn’t it? You might want to keep that in mind the next time you crank up the TV or run the vacuum. It’s always a good idea to provide a “quiet space” for your rabbit housemates.

Marvelous messaging!

Who needs a larynx? Our rabbits say more with a flick of an ear than we could in a fifteen minute phone call! Want to get in on the conversation? Watch your buns closely as they interact with each other, you, and their environment. You’ll pick up certain patterns over time that will help you figure out what’s going on in Bunda’s mind. (And wouldn’t we all secretly love to know what our loved ones are really thinking?)

Thrilling thermostat!

Ah, summer! Lounging around in a sodden smelly T-shirt, sticking to vinyl lawn chairs…if only there was an easy way to stay cool. Learn from the lagomorph! Rabbits can’t sweat, so they use their circulatory system as a primitive cooling method. Heat travels up through blood vessels and out through the thin skin of their ears.

But even Bunda’s brilliant biology can’t compete with BTUs. She’ll still need your help when the weather gets hot. Try misting her ears with cold water, or providing her with a frozen water bottle to nestle against. Always, always provide shade. Our rabbits can handle temperatures up to about 78 degrees. Anything higher, and they’ll need the AC as much as we do!

Veg out!

April 18, 2018

Weekends in April are kind of tricky. With the wild weather shifts we’ve been having, we might spend Saturday cleaning out our flower beds and Sunday cleaning the ice off our windshields!  It’s enough to make us throw our hands up in the air and collapse on the sofa with a bag of Cheese Curls. But we’ve got a better way to veg out!

Join us at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi on Sunday, April 29, for VegMichigan’s annual VegFest! It’s a celebration of all things vegan.

Save your skepticism, Carnivores! A vegetarian/vegan diet isn’t all lettuce and flax seed. See for yourself, as you make the rounds of VegFest’s food court and try your free samples. Attend cooking demonstrations put on by three well-respected vegetarian chefs, and taste the incredible variety of meat-free meals available to you.

And the v/v lifestyle isn’t just for reed-thin millennials. Just ask Theo Riddick, a very vegan Detroit Lion. He’ll be there to explain why he switched up his nutrition protocol, and the benefits he’s enjoyed as a result. You’ll also hear from PBS contributor Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author and medical researcher Dr. Joel Kahn, diabetes specialist Caroline Trapp, NP, and a host of other experts.

GLRS will be among 150 exhibitors on hand to promote their animal-friendly, cruelty free, ecologically oriented products and services. Here’s your chance to “try before you buy”. Ask as many questions as you like, enjoy free samples, sign up to win cool stuff. Bring the kids! VegFest will have a special section with toys and games just for them.

VegFest runs from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $17 at the door, but save $3 by ordering your tickets on line at VegMichigan.org for just $14. No raking, no shoveling, no cooking–just a day of free feasting and fun. See you there, snow or shine!

 

 

 

 

What happens in Vegas…

April 4, 2018

…isn’t always as thrilling as slot machines and Celine Dion. Sometimes it’s a cautionary tale for everyone who owns or cares for rabbits.

You may have heard the story on national news, or followed it on our Facebook page. A children’s medical facility in Las Vegas decided it would be fun for their patients to watch wildlife in action. So they released their in-house “patient support” rabbits into a field out back to fend for themselves. Problem is, domestic rabbits aren’t wildlife.  And none of them were fixed.

You might be surprised how many people don’t realize that domestic bunnies aren’t built to survive on their own. Most rabbits who are “set free” have very short, unpleasant lives before succumbing to disease, starvation, attack by predators, or winding up as roadkill.

But what they are built to do is multiply. Rabbit reproduction is remarkably efficient. Male buns start sowing their oats by the time they’re two months old. Each doe can have a litter of up to 14 kits, every 30 days. Talk about a payout!

The rabbit total grew into the hundreds, and neighbors were irate. One dreadful night someone decided to take
matters into his/her own hands and set out lettuce laced with antifreeze. Almost 180 rabbits were found dead the next morning. It was time to fold. Rescue workers swooped in and captured as many of the 800+ survivors as they could. Eight of them came to us.

Those of us in rescue are already well acquainted with the “Easter dump”. Do you know someone, a friend or neighbor, who isn’t quite as enamored of their kid’s “basket bunny” as they were the day they brought him home from the pet store? Please encourage them think twice before they make a regrettable decision like the Vegas medical center did. Please help us spread the word!

Where the wild things are

March 14, 2018

Spring is finally on its way. Crocuses and lenten roses are popping up in our yards…and so are baby bunnies! This time of
year we field several calls and e-mails a week from well-meaning people who have discovered “orphaned” cottontails. Often they’re alerted to the bunnies’ nest by a curious dog, or come across it while cleaning out flower beds or mowing the lawn.

GLRS is not licensed to deal with wildlife, and we’re not the best resource to answer your questions about wild bunnies. We recommend that you contact Friends of Wildlife, an animal rehabilitation organization based in Ann Arbor. Their emergency cottontail number is (734)548-3126. Specially trained volunteers can advise you about the best course of action, which often, surprisingly, is to do nothing.

It’s helpful to know a few facts about wild rabbits. First, Mother Rabbit doesn’t spend much time at her nest. She generally feeds her young twice a day, at dusk and dawn, for five minutes at a time. Just because you don’t see her, don’t assume she’s abandoned her babies.

Secondly, baby rabbits only remain in the nest for about three weeks. That tiny bunny you see hopping around your yard could be well on her way to self-sufficiency. Third, 90% of baby rabbits will die if taken from their nest. The most concerned human is no match for the nurturing power of a bunny mom.

So what should you do if you encounter a nest of baby bunnies? If you accidentally disturb a nest, and none of the rabbits seem injured, reassemble the nest as best you can and place the animals back in it. It’s a myth that the mother won’t attend to her babies if they have human scent.

If you’re worried, mark the nest with a circle of flour, or make a loose yarn grid on top of it. You’ll be able to tell if Mom comes back overnight. Then, stay away! Keep your pets and children far from the area for at least two weeks.

If a baby is injured, please call Friends of Wildlife immediately. Don’t try to feed the animal anything, not even water. You can also call the Humane Society of Huron Valley, at (734)661-3512. Not in the Ann Arbor Area? Check the Department of Natural Resources rehabilitator list at www.michigandnr.com/dlr.

For more information about wild cottontails or other critters, check out the FOW website at www.friendsofwildlife.net.

Bowl me over

March 7, 2018

Bowl or bottle? Among rabbit owners, it’s as ubiquitous a question as “paper or plastic”. Rabbits are heavy drinkers–they can put a shipload of sailors to shame! What’s the best way to ensure our bunnies have a constant supply of fresh water?

You’ll find compelling arguments for both sides. At our sanctuary, we use bowls, for a few specific reasons. First off, we’ve found that rabbits drink much more water when provided with a bowl vs a bottle. It takes less effort to lap up liquid than it does to suck it out of a tube drop by drop. Bowls are easier to keep clean and refill, and there’s no leakage. We also find that lowering the head to drink is a comfortable, natural movement, as opposed to stretching upward to access a bottle nozzle.

That said, there are certain situations where a bottle is the more practical choice. A blind or physically impaired rabbit may find it impossible to maneuver around a water bowl without spilling it. We’ve even had a couple of exceptionally long-eared residents who ended up taking a bath each time they bent down to take a drink!

Whichever delivery method you decide upon, there’s a few things to keep in mind. With a bowl, the heavier the better. A sturdy ceramic or metal bowl is less likely to tip over when Pawla decides to use it as a wading pool or chew toy. Look for one that’s wider at the base. Plastic bowls scratch easily, and can harbor harmful bacteria. Choose the largest bowl that will fit into your rabbit’s space, and keep it full.

If you go with a bottle, don’t cheap out. Lesser quality bottles will drip and leak, leaving you with a mess and your rabbit without anything to drink. Some ultra-bargain brands look effective, but don’t dispense water evenly. Your rabbit will have to expend a great deal of effort to get a few drops. When positioning the bottle, double check that Pawlette can reach the nozzle comfortably without stretching or twisting.

When in doubt, try a combo unit. It’s good practice to empty and scrub your bun’s dispensers frequently, even if they look clean. Would you really want to drink the water that’s been sitting in a cup on your nightstand for the past week? Use a mild detergent and rinse well. Bottle nozzles can be hard to clean, so try a Q Tip or toothbrush. Then refill.  (Hint: the fuller the bottle, the fewer drips you’ll have.)