“We had one, but it died.” These are, perhaps, the saddest words I’ve ever heard. Too many parents buy rabbits, especially at Easter, thinking that a bunny will be a good pet for their children. After a few months, the novelty wears off and the poor animal becomes neglected.
Many once-beloved bunnies end up in a backyard hutch where they succumb to disease or heatstroke, or die of fright from predators. Others are dumped in parks or similar open spaces where they become dinner for various carnivores. Those animals who survive the trials of weather, disease and infighting among their own species, cause property owners a lot of grief because rabbits breed rapidly, eat people’s prized garden plants and dig up yards. But these heartbreaking scenarios need never happen.
Many good internet links exist specifically to help people properly care for their bunnies, ensuring that the creatures live long, happy lives. For example, the http://www.rabbit.org web site has ample resources to help novices with their bunny companions. The alt.pets.rabbits newsgroup is also a good place for information and the group’s dedicated bunny-loving folks are more than happy to share their tips with whoever asks. Then there is the PetBunny e-mail list where no sincere inquiry is considered stupid by its members.
Along with electronic resources, there are books on rabbit care. A paperback titled House Rabbit Handbook by Marinell Harriman is probably the best on the subject, and well worth reading. I too have made mistakes and been led astray by what popular opinion has said regarding rabbit care. I wrote When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) to counteract the lies and misinformation that is so prevalent in today’s society.
Through recounting my experiences in this book, I hope that readers will learn from my mistakes, as well as my discoveries. If the trend of animal welfare awareness continues, bunnies may eventually be treated as adequately as dogs and cats are today. More information on this memoir is at the http://www.inscribe.org/BruceAtchison page.