Archive for the ‘Sanctuary’ Category

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


Out of the mouths of buns

July 19, 2017

If we can chew it, say goodbye to it! That’s a universal house rabbit motto. And that can lead to some dicey dilemmas. Sure, we want bunnies in our home. But we’re also pretty fond of our upholstered living room set and wall-to-wall Stainmaster carpeting.

Even little things can cause big headaches. Ever tried to charge a cell phone with a frayed lightning cable? Or change channels with a remote that’s missing half its buttons? And it’s safe to say that every one of us has learned the hard way not to toss our dirty clothes on the
floor…unless we’re into the “distressed” look.

It’s a given that we love our stuff. And it’s also a given that rabbits love to chew. A lot. So how do we balance our desire for creature comforts with our creature’s need for comfort? Here’s a list of dos and don’ts.


–recognize that you’re dealing with the four-pawed equivalent of a hyperactive toddler. Frodo is not going to respond to “no, no, we don’t put electrical cords in our mouths, sweetie”. Try the old bait-and-switch. Distract Frodo with a willow ball or seagrass mat, and get that cord out of sight! Block it with other furniture, run it under the rug, duct tape it to the floor, encircle it with cord protectors, etc. Out of sight means out of mind, and out of mouth!


–yell, chase, or strike your rabbit. Sure, he’ll drop that cord and run, but what has he learned? Not that cords are bad, but that humans are scary. This is a tough one, especially when you round the corner and see him about to take a big chunk out of your favorite video game controller. One sharp “Hey!” to break his concentration, followed by redirection to something chew-safe, is generally all that’s needed.


–go undercover. As in, cheap area rugs over good carpeting. Newspapers under food and water bowls. Incontinence pads positioned on inviting “accident areas” like the bed. Cardboard shielding the floor under the sofa or around baseboards. Tarps or shower curtains to protect wood floors or tile. Tin foil wrapped around table legs. Think of it as “shelter chic”.


–forget to think like a rabbit. Cunning, clever, and creative, that is! That two-inch gap in the fencing? Might as well be an open hangar door. The burrow box placed within a foot of the bookcase? Think of it as a trampoline, launching Bunny up to his choice of shelves. Are you convinced he won’t dare cross the shiny kitchen floor to get at that bag of bird seed? If your bunny can dream it, he can do it.


–use this as an opportunity to streamline! Not all of us are inclined to neatly fold or hang our clothes every night. But we can be selective where we toss them. Even a dedicated rabbit can’t jimmy open a fully closed closet door (and we’ll never tell what ends up behind it!) It’s easier to take a few minutes and put the chips away after a snack than it is to clean up the carnage that will result from Squishie discovering them on the coffee table while your back is turned.


–lose your sense of humor! Make a game of outwitting Voracious Veronica, and pat yourself on the back each day your home remains relatively unscathed. Trick her into chewing what you want her to chew—old ratty towels, margarine tubs, cardboard boxes, junk mail, toilet paper rolls stuffed with hay, balls of newspaper. Surround her with fun things, and she’ll never notice your treasures.

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!

The write stuff

May 3, 2017

Why do we write this blog? To educate, to inspire, to guide, to celebrate, to commiserate, to entertain…to promote an understanding of how to make our rabbits’ lives as happy, safe, and healthy as possible. We remember what it was like to be a new bunny parent—all the questions, all the concerns, all the happy discoveries. There’s just so much more to raising a rabbit than what you’ll find in a pet store brochure or basic “beginner” bunny book.

So it is with great pride that we announce our place in the Top 25 Small Animal Blogs of 2017, compiled by Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology. Bel-Rea has been educating veterinary techs for over 40 years, and is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the US Department of Education. So they know their stuff!

It’s for you, our loyal readers, that we write—those of you who have rabbits, want rabbits, love rabbits. There’s no end to the list of topics we could cover, from the serious to the light-hearted, to the off-beat, to the “why didn’t I think of that?”. You deserve quality information that you can use, and it’s our goal to keep providing it.

What would you like to see here in upcoming weeks? Do you have specific questions about rabbit health or behavior? Are you curious about how our sanctuary works? Have you discovered any useful hacks to save time or money? Have you heard of an interesting rabbit-related event or attraction? Would you like to share your GLRS adoption happy ending?

Please let us know via the comments section, or send an email to

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” (

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

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.

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!

Gift wrap

December 7, 2016

100_2105-copy-1Every now and then you get a present that you’ll remember for a lifetime. That perfect gift that you’ve been dreaming about for years, that would just about make your life perfect, but that never seemed to be within reach.

This holiday season, thanks to two ardent supporters, GLRS and our rabbit residents received such a gift! It’s even wrapped in shiny silver paper. And we didn’t have to wait until Christmas morning to enjoy it.10001449_10153556869247875_77916401078197866_n

It’s no secret that the colder months have always wreaked havoc on the sanctuary budget. Heating a drafty, uninsulated building like our Binkyville barn is a bit like building a campfire with wadded up currency! But it’s not easy to find winter vacation homes for the 20+ buns that live there.

14962580_10154188002817875_7622604778751789375_nBut this year, two of Santa’s elves swooped in to save the day! They’re a husband/wife team named Chris and Lindy, and they just happened to hear about our plight. They also just happen to be experienced home renovators with a surplus of brand new insulation.

Chris and Lindy didn’t just load up a sleigh—er, truck—and drop the stuff off, either. They stayed for two full days, helping us dismantle pens, move rabbits out of the way, and cover every square inch of the walls and ceiling with thick slabs of the shiny silver insulation.162667_485460747874_4165647_n

The inside of Binkyville may now look like the inside of a freezer, but it feels more like a tropical island! Our rabbits will be warm and snug in the icy cold months, and comfortably cool come summer. ’Tis the season for giving, and for giving thanks. THANK YOU!!!

No tricks, all treats

October 26, 2016

iu-1What kind of Halloween treats did you like to find in your goodie bag when you were a kid? Do you remember trying in vain to convince your parents that SweetTarts and Snickers bars made a perfectly acceptable breakfast the morning after? It never seemed fair that THEY got to set the limits. Wasn’t it OUR candy?

Looking back, it’s easy to see that a bag of M&Ms, while highly desirable, really wasn’t a healthy substitute for a bowl of shredded wheat. Our parents were trying to avoid stomach aches, cavities, diabetes, and a whole host of other ailments that come with overindulgence of certain foods. Now we’re in the driver’s seat! Those of us who’ve been blessed to be bunny parents need to be just as vigilant.iu

Our rabbits crave “junk food” just as much as we do. But they have complex digestive systems. Their guts are designed to handle hay, grass, and greens, and not much else. Where’s the fun in a plate of lettuce? If you want to witness a pure expression of bunny bliss, slip your rabbit a treat. But what’s safe, and how much is too much?

iuWe’ve all seen those commercial rabbit treats in the pet section. Yogurt drops, corn puffs, seed’n’nut snack sticks…sure, your bun will go nuts if you bring those home, but it’s some of the worst stuff you can feed him. The first rule of thumb is stick to unprocessed, preservative-free foods. Take a pass on the “nutty donuts”, and offer a handful of dried willow leaves or apple branches. Instead of “fruity biscuits”, try a small chunk of a fresh apple, pear, or banana.

The key word here is SMALL. A thumbnail size piece is plenty. The House Rabbit Society recommends no more than a tablespoonful per day of anything that doesn’t fall into the hay/grass/greens category. (Sticks and leaves fall under “grass”.) If you see any changes in the quality or quantity of your pet’s poop, cut back. There are a few rabbits out there who can’t tolerate any sugar at all.screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-4-52-46-pm

But we’ll let you in on a secret. Just about anything will pass for a treat, if you ACT like it’s a treat. Pick something perfectly wholesome, like a sprig of cilantro or leaf of kale. (Choose something that he doesn’t get every day.) Use your best Bunny Voice, praise him, let him see how excited you are…and watch him rip that produce out of your hand like he hasn’t eaten in a week!