Hippity Hoppity...

Posted by Pia

With the spring holidays upon us, many a bunny, a baby chick and even a young child are at the mercy of us adult humans to model how best to respect and care for another living being. Below is an updated post from springtime's past- filled with tips on how to have a compassion-filled spring. Enjoy!

1 of 5
Silver Marten
Boston, Ma.
Pure cutie pie!
(See end of blog for a link to my info.)

1 Shinobi Silver Marten Boston, Ma. Pure cutie pie! (See end of blog for a link to my info.)

I'm a loyal chicken with lots of personality and love to give.
Will you come help me?
Bonita, CA
(See end of blog for a link to my info.)

2 Acorn I'm a loyal chicken with lots of personality and love to give. Will you come help me? Bonita, CA (See end of blog for a link to my info.)

Lop/Holland Mix
Loves to be pet and eat his greens!
Dedham, MA
(See end of blog for a link to my info.)

3 Peter Lop/Holland Mix Loves to be pet and eat his greens! Dedham, MA (See end of blog for a link to my info.)

My name is # A1293478
That's no kind of a name for smart little lady like myself!
Can you give me a home and name?
Van Nuys, CA
(See end of blog for a link to my info.)

4 My name is # A1293478 That's no kind of a name for smart little lady like myself! Can you give me a home and name? Van Nuys, CA (See end of blog for a link to my info.)

Rex Dwarf
Mellow, friendly, curious and used to living with kids and dogs!
Shaftsbury, VT
(See end of blog for a link to my info.)

5 Winnie Rex Dwarf Mellow, friendly, curious and used to living with kids and dogs! Shaftsbury, VT (See end of blog for a link to my info.)

In my quest to learn more about bunnies, I had the good fortune to speak with Cindy Stutts, an educator for the House Rabbit Society, and bunny parent herself.

According to Cindy, rabbits are fundamentally different from dogs and cats and therefore require an entirely different care-giving approach. We cannot simply apply what we know about cats and dogs to rabbits.

For one thing, rabbits are prey animals in nature. That means they are more fragile and fearful than dogs or cats, both natural predators. While they can be held and cuddled, bunnies may respond fearfully at first, perhaps with a sudden movement or harmless nip that could startle a small child and result in the bunny being dropped. For that reason, a rabbit may not be an ideal companion animal for kids under five.

Impulse Easter pet store purchases result in tragic outcomes for thousands of bunnies (and chicks) each year. The majority of those acquired in this manner ultimately end up injured, neglected, multiplying or relinquished to a shelter. While it is understandable that a doting parent might be tempted by the cute little bunnies that fill pet store windows at Easter, I encourage parents to proceed with caution!

It is important to use common sense when an eager salesperson downplays the long-term needs of a companion animal. When it comes to indulging a child (which is not always a bad thing), there's a big difference between a candy treat and an animal with lifelong needs.

One of the most important and challenging lessons a parent must pass along is the benefit of making an informed decisions rather than an impulsive one. But children learn exactly the opposite when well-meaning parents return home from the pet store with a fragile, un-altered bunny and little information on his/her proper care.

If adding a bunny or two- or even a chick or chicken- to your family is something you have thought out and decided upon, than adopting one from a shelter or rescue group is undoubtedly the way to go! Not only will you be far more likely to get the information and support you need to make for a happy bunny and child introduction- but in most cases, a rescue group will assist if the adoption does not work out as hoped. And since most groups require all companion animals to be altered and have shots before leaving the shelter, you are assuring that more homeless critters are not born into an already overpopulated system. So by saving a life, you will also be saving many more!

Thankfully, bunny whisperer Cindy Stutts offers up many alternative ways to indulge a child’s affinity for bunnies while avoiding the pitfalls of impulsive pet-store purchases that are harmful to bunnies and families. Here are a few alternatives:

For other great alternatives and information, be sure to check out Make Mine Chocolate, an initiative focused on reducing the harm that Easter purchases cause bunnies. Consider 'adopting' this yummy chocolate bunny as a great way to support rabbits in shelters!

So here’s to a Happy Easter, a Happy Passover and a peaceful spring for everyone -- especially the bunnies, chicks and humans who love them!

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk


Comments (10)

  • Good morning Dr. Pia,
    I hope Acorn, Winnie and the rest of them get good homes. That is sad that the one chicken doesn't even have a name. I hope that chicken gets a good home and they give it a terriffic name. Please keep us posted.
    Kirby will be leaving shortly for the mountains. I know we all hope he has a great time but we will miss him a lot. I bet he will have all kinds of stories for us when he gets back home. Delia, I am glad your doctor vist went well and hope your blood work is good too.
    Funny thing, Missy chow gets after paper towels and Zoe gets after toilet paper. Flip the letters around
    PT for paper towels is TP for toilet paper. Those two have something in common. hehehehehehe
    Chloe, I don't know why your mom is upset about you trying to get into her veggie garden. You are only trying to eat healthy foods.
    Cora-Belle, I am so sorry about your good friend Kit Bang passing away. Your family has gone through so much. Tell James and Lucinda that we all care about your family and if there is anything we can do to make you feel better, just let us know. Karen said the same thing. After all, we are the Glue Squad, when someone loses a family member, we are all sad.
    Love to all,

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    And hello to you too Dr. Pia. There are lots of bunnies around my house. I see one almost every night Daddy and I take my walk before going to bed. They usually sit real still until I get about 20 yards form them and then they quickly hop away. I mean, they can really move when they want to. I surely would like to give chase but Daddy won’t let me. He says that I wouldn’t stop until I dropped. He knows that the rabbit wouldn’t stop and just lead me on a “merry” chase. I’ve never had that kind of a chase before. Is it any good? It’s going to rain this weekend so we will be off tomorrow. The mountains are calling and I must go.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Thank you for posting this outstanding information about bunnies and chickens and how important it is for people to understand how to care for them before they take them in as pets. It is very disturbing that some shops sell them for times like Easter and they are gives as surprises. Not a good idea. People should not have any animals until they know how to properly take care of them. Sonya, so glad you are doing better, also! Chloe, you are incredible! Cora Belle, so sorry about your family loosing Kit Bang, your good friend. Zoe, my prayers are with your Grandmother and sure hope your Dad is OK, too. Sure hope all of our Glue Squaders have a better day! Dr. Pia, hope you and your family have a great weekend and see you next Thursday! Love to all, Jan & DDR

  • Great Advice Dr.Pia about Bunnies...every year I think of this time of year and the gifts of a bunny or chick from a well meaning parent...I think SPONSORING and or a CHOCOLATE bunny/chick is the best for a child. ;-)
    Thanks for this information and link.

    Maddox Thanks for your thoughts on my tests, today I find out...Kirby have a great time in the mountains, be careful! Cora Belle, my heart goes out to you and human family for the loss of your friend Kit Bang..stay strong!

    Today we are back to reality with the weather, it's in the low 30's but sunshine...the weekend will be warm again. :-)

    Kitty is out and about, but I'll update her with what's going on here with Dr.Pia and the Glue Squad happenings.

    looking on the bottom of this DW-MS page I see decorated Easter eggs, check out the Eggs that I have painted in the past http://www.squidoo.com/one_of_a_kind_painted_easter_eggs

    delia & Kitty =^, ,^=

  • Morning Dr. Pia,
    Hope all the friends find good homes. They just can't come to my house. I last time I chased a bunny, I turned real fast & hurt my knee. I do chase the geese back into the water. They don't scare meeee. Chickens, hmm, I think I eat chicken, hmmm.
    Delia, Mimi hopes you Doctor visit went o.k.
    As for Missy & Zoe, the P.T & T.P. girls, well I like kleenex. It's so fun to tear up! Chloe, you need to hang out in the kitchen for an oops! That's a good place to get your veggies.
    Dear Cora Belle, I'm sorry to hear about KitBang. Losing a pal is so sad.
    Til tomorrow.
    Your pal,

  • ..I love bunnies and chickens..we had California KIngs..not to eat but just for our pleasure,( they would come to their names and were just fun little buddies).. James built them a huge enclosure, for years all went well then a weasel got in...no chickens, the raccoons would kill them in a heart-beat..but that is what naughty raccoons do..Zoe, hope your granny is doing better and Delia hope all goes well with the blood tests..KIrby chasing things is really fun..I chased and herded cows for years..only they are big and can kick..but that is what a cattledog is born and bred to do...have fun on your vacation...Rebel, you are too petite to be chasing and be careful if it is a wild can. honker you are chasing they can do damage to a little doggie...I laugh when I hear about you funny T.P. and P.T. eaters, we glue squaders are something else...and thank you glue squaders for all the kind thoughts..I am just happy I had such a good pal..and guess what? Lucinda said a mink just went down the driveway..wow! I must get out there and smell where it went...now they are mean little guys and do not back down..meaner than a coon when in a tight spot..yippee..this will be fun!..Don't worry glue squaders I would never harm it..just want to get a smell of it..oh, and James went to get us mochas and maple bars...over and out..Cora-belle p.s. 5 inches of rain last night..Lucinda is talking now about a stupid home-made raincoat...OMG..hope the outdoor critters don't get wind of that stupid idea!

  • p.s...Delia..your eggs are truly works of art!..Cora-Belle

  • Hi Dr. Pia,

    Didn't know if you knew this but there is a bunny (her name is Lily) that lives upstairs in Abbie's room. Mom doesn't think I know she is up there, but I do :) I have even seen her a couple of times with mom not knowing. She is very cut. Maybe one day we will be able to play, but since I did get a bunny out in the yard I don't think mom will go for it:)
    Maddox...I agree. I won't give up though. Mom took me for my nightly walk last night and I met a new friend. Her name is Molly and she is a 15 year ball of white fluff. Mom was nervous, of course, cause she thought I was going to hurt her but I would never hurt anyone :) We had a good walk!

    Well, can't chat long, mom needs to use the computer (ya think she would buy me my own) so I guess I'll go check out the yard and see what trouble I can get into :)
    Have a great day everyone.

    Chloe xx

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Thanks for sharing the information on the bunnies & chickens, it's always a good idea to know what's best for them when they go to their new homes & family.

    Cora-bell, so sorry to hear about Kit-Bang, remember the good times and happy memories. Zoe, hope Grandma is feeling better, Delia, good luck with your results. Kirby, have fun on vacation.

    I left the P.T. alone last night ;) ; but that still didn't keep me out of mischief. My "nibbling" is getting me into trouble with both Dad & Mom. They say it hurts when I do it - I don't mean to hurt anyone :( . They are hoping this is only a passing fancy and will outgrow it soon. With 5 weeks to go for basic training; I better listen to them or else,I may be joining Chloe at doggie boot camp or private training.

    Till next time,
    Missy Chow

  • I was just searching the internet and said, "that's my bunny!" I can tell you that Shinobi (now Geoffrey) has found a very good home! He lives with me in Boston in a very large, four story bunny home. He has all the love he could want, and probably more.

    Unfortunately, I noticed some abnormal behavior when I first got him, and after a trip to the vet it turns out that he has dental disease. Due to this, he has a broad array of health issues, but we visit the vet regularly and manage his disease as best we can.

    I can't express the importance of reading about rabbits before getting them. I was lucky enough to have done a lot of research before adopting my previous rabbit, and was able to notice the signs of dental disease the first night I got Geoffrey home.

    He's a sweet and amazing little bun, but needs a lot of medical care. It's very important to be prepared and to be knowledgeable about buns before adopting!

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