Archive for the ‘Rescues’ Category

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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

Hoppy days are here again

February 7, 2018

Here we go again. It’s frigid. It never stops snowing. We’re all going through decongestants and tissues like water. Valentine’s Day reminds us we’re (still) single. And that sinking feeling when we realize we’ve eaten our body weight in guacamole during the big game? At first glance, February sure seems like the Month of Misery.

But we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s no problem in this world that a bunny can’t solve. Which is why we consider it perfect timing that February was named Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month! Think about it. When have you ever needed somebun more?

Cold? You won’t find anything warmer, or softer, than a bunny belly! Lonely? A rabbit roommate means you need never come home to an empty house again! Too sick to get off the couch? You won’t even need to fumble around for the remote, not when fuzzy four footed acrobats are putting on a floor show in your living room!

Discard the stereotypical image of a bunny as a glorified shelf sitter! Many people are surprised to learn that rabbits have distinct personalities. It’s magical getting to know your new adoptee and watching his or her individuality emerge.

Thinking of adopting? Take your time to ensure your choice is a good fit with your situation. How much space do you have? How much time? Are you looking for an energetic, outgoing rabbit, or would you prefer a quiet, reclusive sort? Research the pros and cons of adopting young vs senior buns, and spend as much time as possible with your potential new mate before signing any papers.

Our free Bunny Basics booklet is a valuable tool. Read and download at our website, www.rabbitsanctuary.org. Think of this as a sort of Rabbit Driver’s Ed! Bunny Basics covers the minimum information every rabbit parent needs before bringing home their new addition.

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!

 

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.