Archive for the ‘Rescues’ Category

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!

 

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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!

Sweet Sixteen

August 9, 2017

“It takes a village” is an apt phrase for raising children. It’s also the mantra of animal rescue groups everywhere. How else could you even begin to manage the nightmarish scenario that recently unfolded in southern Ohio?

Acting on neighbors’ complaints, authorities discovered over 80 animals crammed into a filthy, reeking house. There were some dogs and cats, but the majority were rabbits. A nearby rabbit shelter answered the call to help with removing the animals. By the time the day was finished, River Road Rabbit Rescue found themselves responsible for 53 bunnies!

As if finding pen space for so many wasn’t difficult enough, RRRR also had to deal with the various health issues that stemmed from the rabbits’ neglect. And they had to do it fast. Clearly, it was time to flash the Bat, er, Bun Signal and call in reinforcements!

Rescue groups around the country responded, including GLRS. We found room for eight of the rabbits, and willing volunteers drove them several hours to our sanctuary. At least, we thought we were receiving eight…Imagine our surprise when one of the females almost immediately presented us with eight tiny kits!

Our sweet sixteen are more precious than gold. They’re also just as expensive! Vet bills, medications, neutering, food (and these buns can eat!)…If you’re so inclined, we could definitely use some help. (You can donate here.) Many thumps of thanks!

 

Something to chew on

July 5, 2017

As a rescue facility, we hear certain questions over and over. Two of the most common are “Why does my rabbit chew on everything? How do I make him stop?” The answers are easy: “Because that’s what rabbits do. You can’t stop them. And you don’t want to.” Let us explain.

There’s a reason that so many of us are addicted to our gum, our pretzels, our gummy bears. Chewing them just feels good! But there’s a difference between our buns and us. We enjoy using our teeth; rabbits NEED to chew and gnaw. It’s vital for their dental and emotional health. Don’t mistake your rabbit’s destructive desires to be willful Bad Bunny Behavior. They’re not!

You’d hardly blame your toddler for taste-testing that six-month-old jelly bean he retrieved from under the sofa. Or for deciding that Dad’s sunglasses are the perfect afternoon snack. We know that if something makes it into our kid’s hand, it’s probably going in his mouth next. That’s just the way young children work.

Guess what? Our four-footed kids have the same all-consuming curiosity and lack of boundaries as our human ones. Rabbits, lacking hands, can’t pick something up and look it over, so they rely on their noses and mouths to tell them what they need to know. Which is mainly, is this edible or is this useful?

Look into your bunny’s mouth. Those fangs are hard to miss! Did you know that unlike our teeth, rabbit incisors grow continuously? Without anything to grind against, bunny teeth will just keep lengthening, until it becomes impossible for the rabbit to chew at all. Without intervention, this inevitably leads to starvation.

A diet rich in fibrous hay is sufficient to keep the normal rabbit’s teeth in check, but that’s only half of the equation. Nibbling and gnawing is a rabbit’s main means of entertainment. It’s how they examine the world, how they interact with it, how they have fun with it! Chewing is instinctive behavior in rabbits. It’s what they were designed to do, it’s what they excel at.

Of course you don’t want Fluffy leaving her mark on Grandma’s heirloom credenza, and you’d rather keep your computer cord in one piece. And if she gets her jaws on your Hershey bar, you’ll have bigger problems than sugar shock. Many things in our homes should and must stay off limits.

In our next blog, we’ll give tips on how to keep Fluffy satisfied without sacrificing your furniture, shoes, textbooks, earbuds…and so on. It’s easier than you might think!

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.

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…

May 18, 2016

iu-3Move over, Men of Steel! There’s a new batch of Superbuns in town. You won’t find any capes, tights, or chiseled abs on these heroic hares. They’re content to hop under the radar, living a quiet, unassuming life, springing into action only when danger strikes…or when they get a whiff of banana…

Forgot to change the batteries in the smoke alarm? Then you’d better make sure you have a Rabbit in residence! Michelle and Gerry of Melbourne, Australia learned this the hard way. Peacefully sleeping in the wee hours of the morning, they awoke to frantic scratching on their bedroom door, followed by a frenzied thumping. Something had really ticked off their six-month-old rabbit, Rabbit.Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 4.49.36 PM

Leaping out of bed, Michelle threw open the door. The hallway was filled with smoke. She yelled to her husband, grabbed Rabbit, and the three of them made a run for it. The house was a total loss, but thanks to Rabbit’s rapid response, Michelle and Gerry were alive and well.

blazerNew Jersey couple Jake and Mary also have a bunny to thank for their next breaths! They weren’t feeling particularly grateful when Blazer took a flying leap onto their bed and landed on Mary’s face at 2:30 AM. The little lop usually spent her nights quietly roaming the house, but that night she seemed determined to make as much of a disturbance as possible. She began honking loudly, walking back and forth over Mary’s head.

Exasperated, Mary shoved Blazer away and sat up. And then she smelled the gas. The house was filing with carbon monoxide from a defective stove fitting. The firemen who responded estimated that if Blazer and her parents had stayed in the house another two minutes, none of them would have survived.

It’s not always outward forces that threaten us. Sometimes it’s our own bodies. Just ask Emily and Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 4.52.07 PMher mom Aundrea. They’ve been at war with Emily’s Type 1 diabetes since she was eight years old. Now 13, Emily’s blood sugar tended to drop without warning. But that night she felt fine at bedtime, so she said goodnight to her best buddy Hammie, and dropped off to sleep.

Several hours later, Aundrea woke to a terrible racket. Hammie was thumping like a madbunny and gnawing frantically at the wires of his pen. Aundrea raced into Emily’s room. Even amid all the commotion, Emily didn’t stir. Aundrea knew what that meant. She quickly checked Emily’s glucose levels–dangerously low. Aundrea administered treatment, and stayed with Emily until she stabilized. As soon as Emily opened her eyes, Hammie stopped thumping. The danger was over. His job was done!

Where the wild things are

May 6, 2015

Spring is in full swing, and that means yards full of dandelions, daisies, and baby rabbits! 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 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 seems 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. 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.

Baby boom!

July 16, 2014

joel_DSC_5220Visitors to Binkyville may think they’re seeing double…or triple…or how about octuple?! Eight fuzzy little kits have come to us all the way from Madison, Wisconsin. All with silky white fur and shiny red eyes, these sunshiny siblings are practically identical, and completely irresistible!

Their story began a few months ago, when a well-meaning but misguided woman gave each of her grandchildren a rabbit to play with. She didn’t get the rabbits spayed or neutered, so the inevitable happened. When the babies started arriving, all the rabbits were relegated to a backyard hutch, where they were largely ignored.joseph_DSC_5252

By the time the Humane Society got involved, there were forty-one rabbits in desperate need of shelter. We agreed to take eight of the new babies, once they were old enough to travel. And here they are! We’ve got an even mix of four girls and four boys.

These babies were hand fed by their foster parent, since their mother was unable to provide enough milk. As a result, they are used to being touched and handled by people. They are very playful and will climb all over visitors! We are so happy to have the opportunity to care for them and watch them grow.

white_buns_DSC_5060(We’re facing a hefty bill to have them all spayed and neutered, so if you have a spare dollar or two, we’d appreciate the help! You can donate here. Thank you!)

Old MacDonald

July 2, 2014

What’s a barnyard without a rooster? Two are even better! Meet our newest residents, a pair of young feathered friends who found themselves in need of a safe haven when their owner decided to have them slaughtered.

DSC_5009These are no ordinary birds. They’re gorgeous, with lustrous purple feathers and imposing red combs. And they’re exceptionally curious. We staked them out a nesting area in the pig barn, where they wasted no time exploring their new home and getting acquainted with their roommates, the pot-bellied pigs.

Sociable, confident, and low-maintenance, these boys are a perfect fit for our sanctuary. Roosters are known for their impressive voices, and these two can crow with the best of them! Stop by for a visit and let them serenade you. These oh-so-handsome boys have yet to be named, so if you have any suggestions, drop us a note in the comments section.