Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: An Easter Bunny?

Dear Porky and Buddy,

Easter is coming up and I am thinking about getting a baby bunny for my kids. My six year old has dropped hints about it , and I think they would really enjoy having one. Do you have any tips about bunny care?


Dear Joan,

We say this every Easter and we really hate to repeat ourselves and we really, really hate to lecture, but sometimes we just have to make exceptions.

At Easter time pet store windows are filled with adorable baby bunnies. Your kids are begging you to buy one. It’s so hard to resist. After all, you think, wouldn’t this be the perfect, low maintenance “starter pet” for a young child?

Think again! Every year, many thousands of rabbits are abandoned to shelters or released outdoors (a sure death sentence for a domestic rabbit) often because of misunderstandings on the part of the parents who bought them for their kids.

Rabbits are prey animals by nature. They are physically delicate and fragile, and require specialized veterinary care. Children are naturally energetic, exuberant, and loving. But “loving” to a small child usually means holding, cuddling, carrying an animal around in whatever grip their small hands can manage—precisely the kinds of things that make most rabbits feel insecure and frightened. Rabbits handled in this way will often start to bite or scratch simply out or fear. Many rabbits are accidentally dropped by small children, resulting in broken backs and legs. Those rabbits who survive the first few months quickly reach maturity. When they are no longer tiny and “cute,” kids often lose interest, and the rabbit, who has no voice to remind you he’s hungry or thirsty or needs his cage cleaned, is gradually neglected.

Parents, please help. If you’re thinking about adding a rabbit to your family think about this: pet rabbits have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years. Don’t buy on impulse. Wait until after the holiday. Make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first. Consider adopting from a local shelter or rescue group. For the rabbit’s health and well-being (as well as for your child’s) make sure an adult will be the primary caretaker and will always supervise any children in the household who are interacting with the rabbit. Domestic rabbits are inquisitive, intelligent, and very social by nature. A rabbit is a delightful companion animal as long you remember: he’s not a child’s toy. He’s a real, live, 10-year commitment!

For more information on rabbit care and adoptions contact the Upstate New York House Rabbit Society at www.therabbitresource.org , or search for rabbits available for adoption at www.petfinder.org .

IT’S RAINING CATS AND DOGS IN OSWEGO COUNTY! So please come to the April Showers Pet Adoption Day on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 11 to 2 at the Tractor Supply Company, Route 104 East, Oswego. There will be cats and dogs for adoption or just to meet and admire. And we’ll have coffee and cookies and treats for kids. You can see most of them on our website at www.oswegohumane.org. Take advantage of our rainy day specials and adopt two! You’ll have twice the fun.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter assistance, information and referral, adoption assistance to pet owners, humane education programs, foster care and adoption for pets in urgent need, assistance with lost and found pets. Our administrative offices and spay/neuter clinic are located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Check our web site at www.oswegohumane.org or call (315) 207-1070 for more information or to be placed on our mailing list for our newsletter.