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The Buckeye House Rabbit Society

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Fall 2000
Volume 4 Number 3




Chapter Messages


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Bunny-Safe Holidays

by Lori White, New Hampshire Chapter

Holidays can be both happy and stressful times. Here are some tips, compiled by HRS volunteers, to make the festive season safer for house rabbits.

Keep deadly holiday plants away from curious bunnies. Yew, mistletoe and holly berries can be fatal if eaten. Tempting garlands should be kept out of reach and dropped foliage removed immediately.

Bunnies should never be allowed to chew on artificial Christmas trees. A low fence or playpen around it will reduce temptation.

Don't forget to bunny-proof the electrical wiring and extension cords of Christmas tree lights, window candles, and holiday displays. In one instance, an unsupervised house bunny caused a tragic holiday fire. In another, wild bunnies were caught on video chewing the outdoor lighting!

Live Christmas trees can be fun for bunnies if a little thought is put into their purchase. Ask whether your live tree has been painted or treated with flame retardants; bunnies can be poisoned by these chemicals. Many untreated live trees are safe for bunnies and make a terrific Christmas present; the lower branches are great to nibble and play beneath. One caution: the coniferous tree pigments turn the urine a bright orange color; this is safe and won't hurt the bunny. However, you should always be alert for bright red in the urine, which can indicate blood. If in doubt, ask your vet.

Choose bunny-safe Christmas tree decorations. Never, ever, use tinsel on a tree where Bunny has access. The long plastic threads are too tempting and will tangle and obstruct the gut. Keep chewable or glass ornaments out of reach; only hard plastic ornaments can be hung on bunny-level branches. Ours like to push the swinging ornaments with their noses.

Be a Santa Bunny and make a donation to the HRS foster rabbits. They accrue thousands of dollars in medical bills yearly. Caring for them uses hundreds of pounds of food and litter, gallons of laundry detergent, and dozens of rolls of paper towels and color film. See the Fosterer's Wish-List in the Spring/Summer issue of Harelines.

Make a second donation to your local shelter. For many bunnies, the shelter personnel give bunnies the first kindness they've known. Are the cages worn and need replacement? What about clean, unchewed rugs and litterpans? Or a donation of good pellets and litter? The shelter animals deserve a special Christmas, too.

Speaking of presents, you'd better not forget that special Bun. A fresh, unstained litterpan can improve habits. Does that chewed tunnel need replacing? Or that ratty cardboard box? Avoid feeding an excess of food treats: tidbits of raisin, banana or apple are the best and healthiest. Good health is still the best present ever.

Finally, make sure Bunny gets plenty of attention. All the hustle and bustle can make it hard to give Bunny the attention s/he needs. It can also disrupt his or her routine and introduce noisy visitors who don't speak rabbit language. These stresses can lead to destructive behavior. Set aside special time and remember what the holidays are really about: having love and compassion for our fellow companions, human and animal.


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Search and Rescue

by Kristi Cole

Sadly, many of the Buckeye House Rabbit Society's foster bunnies come from people who find stray domestic rabbits in a park, a field, or even in their neighborhood. Individuals tired of caring for their pet may see wild rabbits outdoors and think their domestic bunny can fare well on his own. Freedom … they think. What they don't think of are all the perils that can await a domestic animal left alone in the wild to fend for himself. A few examples include attacks by predators, extreme heat or cold, starvation, infections, and parasites.

If you decide to try and capture a stray domestic rabbit and save him from a perilous future, here are some things to consider:

Dawn and dusk are the best times for a successful capture, because that's when rabbits are most active and seeking food. Begin by providing food to get the rabbit used to you and your routine; it may make it easier to catch him. On rare occasions, the rabbit will be curious enough to let you approach him and perhaps even pick him up. It can't hurt to try this first. Or, you can sit still on the ground and see if he approaches you, then try to restrain him.

However, more often than not, the rabbit will run from you, so you need to have some equipment handy to aid in your rescue. Humane traps are cages that can be set with food bait. When the rabbit goes inside to dine, the door closes behind him. Use an aromatic bait, such as apple, banana, or grated carrot. If you use a humane trap, be sure to check it every few hours so that the bunny doesn't get overly stressed from being trapped inside too long. You should set the trap in a shady spot or put some branches on top of it, so that the rabbit is cool enough for the couple of hours it may take before you return. Traps generally work better when there isn't an abundance of vegetation available for the rabbit to find on his own.

Another good capturing aid is a net. We purchased ours at a sporting-goods store. It has a long handle and can be used to catch a bunny within approximately 10 feet of you. Rabbits do tend to struggle a bit when netted, so be sure to go to the net immediately, grasp the rabbit gently but firmly and remove him, placing him directly into a secure carrier. Nets and humane traps can often be borrowed from humane societies or animal control agencies in your area.

If you have several people helping you, exercise pens can be a very effective way to round up the rabbits into a smaller area where you can get to them more easily. (See "Noah and Galia's Rescue" for details.) We used three puppy exercise pens hooked together against a fence. First, we were able to get the rabbits rounded up in a wide area. We then made this area smaller by bringing the pens in closer and then finally in around the back to form a closed circle with the bunnies inside. Naturally, rabbits are spooked when backed into a corner, so the person who closed the fencing got inside quickly and placed the rabbit in a carrier before he had a chance to hurt himself. The puppy fencing can also help capture a rabbit who is hiding underneath a car or hedge. When you place the fence around the hiding place, you know the rabbit can't escape, so it's just a matter of coaxing her out, knowing she can't flee far.


Make sure you bring a car carrier, cage, or something secure to put the rabbit in after he is caught. It would be very frustrating to have him escape after capturing him.

Make sure you get permission to be on the property from the owner, park ranger or other appropriate party. You don't want angry land owners or the police spoiling what you are trying to accomplish.

Ahead of time, try to assemble as many people and as much equipment (fences, nets, cages, etc.) as possible to help you.

Noah and Galia's Rescue

One of our chapter members told us she had seen some white rabbits in a field next to her post office. She had seen them repeatedly and they were out grazing often, so one evening in June, several Buckeye HRS volunteers set out to help her rescue these strays. We used several linked puppy pens and a net, as indicated in the related article and photos. One bunny was under an old abandoned car, as well. It took time and patience, but several hours later and despite having to dodge raindrops from an incoming thunderstorm, Noah and Galia were both rescued that evening,.

We feel fortunate to have been able to rescue these rabbits. They are young, but we're not sure how long they would have lasted without our intervention. Noah had an injured ankle, which was infected and required surgery, physical therapy, and antibiotics. Galia was pregnant and almost died giving birth, due to an abnormally large, stillborn baby. She required a caesarean section to remove the fetus and save her life. Both rabbits also had intestinal worms. Now, they are safe and healthy, thanks to being rescued and having good nutrition, housing and veterinary care. Noah is very affectionate and gives kisses to humans and Galia is friendly as well. So toss away that notion that domestic rabbits raised or found outdoors aren't sociable. With proper care and lots of TLC, they can be wonderful companions.


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Picnic Pics and Contest Winners!

Georgia Williams adopted Sheldon at the Picnic.  Shannon Reinert adopted Phoebe at the picnic.
Buckeye HRS members enjoy good food and fellowship.

The Picciano family won the afghan raffle.

Buckeye HRS Photo Contest

At the chapter picnic in June, we received more entries than ever in our photo contest!  Members voted for their favorites in four different categories.  Here are the winners!


Bunnies in Action

Tied for 1st place, Peter the Silly Lop takes a dip in the tub
and Clyde checks out the garbage.


Submitted by Miriam Palevsky

Bunnies and Friends

Tucker and his friend, Molly
Submitted by Eric and Lois Rapheal
Cutest Face

Tribble and Pooky


Submitted by Joyce and David Weaver

Funniest Face Travis "Nub" Metzger, up close and personal. [sorry, photo not yet available]


Photo Contest Winners Left to right, Eric and Lois Raphael, Miriam Palevsky, Heidi Metzger, David and Joyce Weaver.


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Spotlight On … Malcolm

by Kristen Doherty

When Malcolm first arrived in foster care, he needed special attention. He had sores on his back end from dragging himself around in his own waste. He created messes on the floor, because he could not lift himself to use a normal litterbox. His back end was constantly wet and matted. He required daily bathing.

Malcolm was a stray found in the woods of a residential area. His back legs are splayed, sticking straight out to either side of his body. He is normal in every other way except for his hind legs, which our vet diagnosed as a genetic defect. The defect caused his back kneecaps and back lower legs to develop in a deformed sideways manner, but his upper hind legs, front legs, and the rest of his little 4 lb. body are unaffected. We knew his back end was not paralyzed when it twitched wildly (a sign of pleasure) at snack time.

After three months of gradually changing his environment to meet his needs, Malcolm is now successfully litterbox trained! His sores are completely gone and he no longer needs baths. We modified a large mortar tray, enabling him to enter from the side and step up onto a grate (a cooling rack) with litter underneath. This keeps him clean, dry, and free of mats and sores. It's a very simple setup.

Malcolm's handicap doesn't slow him down a bit. Like any able-bodied rabbit, he loves to run. He uses his front legs to power him and back legs to maintain balance. He jumps, too, especially when someone comes to his pen to give him food or pets. He has the heartiest appetite of any bunny I've known and eats hay non-stop. Malcolm is also one of those bunnies who loves to be held and petted, showering you with kisses of affection. He truly enjoys human companionship, although I think that, ideally, Malcolm would like to have a bunny friend one day -- someone to help him clean his floppy little ears.

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Looking for a Bunny Sitter?

Sooner or later, house-rabbit folks all face the same dilemma: Who can look after our beloved bunnies while we're out of town? The Buckeye HRS would like to compile a list of members interested in bunny sitting, either for a fee or in exchange for reciprocated services. We'll publish this list in a future issue of Harelines. If you'd like to have your name included, contact us by email (sitters@ohare.org), phone (740-797-7616), or post (Buckeye HRS, P.O. Box 61, Vickery, OH 43464).

Note: Rates and experience will vary, so members will need to interview prospective sitters carefully and be personally comfortable with the terms of their agreement. The Buckeye HRS holds no liability for bunny sitters.

This has become a feature on the website, updated as we get more information.  Click here to find the list of Bunny Sitters!

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Home Improvement

 by Eileen Matias

As we all know, rabbits like to explore and jump around. Recently, I had two bonded foster rabbits in a cage that was adequate, but if one of the rabbits wanted time alone, s/he had nowhere to go. While shopping at my favorite home-improvement store, I went into the aisle that has all the easy-to-assemble closet items. I found a shelf that hangs from a wire rack. It cost less than $10.00. I placed it in the cage hooking it onto the top cage bars. By the next morning, the bunnies had figured out how to hop onto the shelf. This gave them a pleasant vantage point from which to watch the goings on in the room. I placed a piece of cardboard on the wire shelf, so they had something to rip up and so they wouldn't get their paws stuck in the grid.

Melbourne and Brisbane, who now live with Julie in Columbus, are the product testers. As you can see, the test was a winner. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail me at eileen@ohare.org.

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Dearest Merlin,

Thank you for staying with us as long as you did. I am so happy to have known you, and you brought such joy and happiness to my life. I owe you so much, and I could never repay you for the things you have given me. You were such a beautiful bunny, and the best friend I could ask for -- you asked nothing, and gave so much.

I am sorry I wasn't there when you needed me. I should've known more about you and been able to know that something was wrong. I shouldn't have been away when you left me. I didn't get to see you go or say goodbye. And while I asked your forgiveness when I got home, holding you in my arms, it was too late, and you'd already departed.

I can't imagine you holding a grudge in those green plains where you now run -- but, please forgive me. I miss you terribly. Your little dances and sprints ghost in the corner of my eyes, and when I turn to look, there's no little white bunny to greet me, full of licks and love. I never meant to hurt you, and hope that you can understand.

I've studied and learned, and cried too many tears over what I should've known, but there's still an empty, Merlin-shaped hole in my heart. Too many questions about why you left. Maybe you left to show me how to take better care of the other bunny in my life. Maybe you wanted me to appreciate what I have. I don't know, but I will always cherish our time together, and keep those memories close to my broken heart.

Thank you, Merlin, for your love and for your light -- and I'm sorry you had to leave us. I look forward to seeing you again upon the other Shore.

Ever in your debt,



On March 18, 2000, I lost the bunny love of my life - a seven-year-old mini-lop named Natie. His unconditional love and special bunny ways will forever be etched in my heart and mind. Thus, I think the best way to honor his memory is to contribute to the care of the fur babies the Buckeye HRS fosters.

It's comforting to know that an organization like HRS - with such sincere goals - exists. However, I'm saddened by HRS's need to exist. The idea of such wonderful creatures being abandoned and/or abused is incomprehensible to me. As you know, when given a chance and a loving home, a rabbit can embellish a human companion's life in so many heartfelt ways.

Please keep up the good work. Precious creatures need caring, human servants.

Sincerely, Shannon Reinert

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Special Dates

Congratulations and best wishes to these cherished bunnies and their devoted human companions!

Celebrating in September:

Benjamin, 5 years with Terri and Jeremy; Lulu, 2 years with Julia and Annie; Corky, 2 years with Eileen and Joseph; Carmel, 4 years with Christine; Starlight, 1 year with Cheryl; Rosie, 3 years with Linda and Rob; Lucy, 4 years with Kris; Buster, 5 years with Linda; Cocoa, 3 years with Katy; Lucy, 2 years with Paul; Betsy, 2 years with Georgia; Tip Toe, 1 year with Wendy.

 Celebrating in October:

Maggie, 2 years with Stacie; Zeider Zee, 2 years with Carla and Patrick; Cinders, 6 years with Jim and Kim; Annabelle, 1 year with Linda; Sasha, 5 years with Kate; Snowball, 3 years with Cathy; Max, 2 years with Liz; Snoopy with Debi; Buster, 3 years with Lori; Ricochet, 6 years with Julie; Chili, 3 years with Adrian; Treasure, 1 year with Wendy; Jillie with Suzanne; Zoe with JoAnn.

Celebrating in November:

Smudge, 6 years with Bob; Snickers, 8 years with Diane; Flopsy, 2 years with Barbara; Clover, 2 years with John and Mary Jo; London, 5 years with Eileen and Joseph; Rosie, 1 year with Marcia; Cooper Bun-Bun, 4 years with Gina; Marble, 1 year with Kurt and Holly; Cinibun, 2 years with Shannon; Pooky and Tribble, 4 years with Joyce and David; Laurel with Scott; Koko and Pepper, 4 years with Clay and Nancy; Leo with Mary; Reuben, 1 year with Susan and Henry; Pumpkin, 1 year with Charles.

Celebrating in December:

Bugs, 9 years with Tony and Vicki; Oscar, 7 years with Pat; Zoe, 3 years with Dennis and Shirley; Holly with Christine; Irving and Vincent, 1 and 2 years respectively with Carla and Patrick; Rudy, 4 years with Kathryn; Sunshine, 2 years with Jim and Kim; Richmond, 2 years with Herta and David; Rodney and Myles, 1 year with Susan and Michele; Pepper Winston, 6 years with Debbie; Bundles, 3 years with Susan and Henry; Ashes and Freckles, 3 years with Donna; Peanut, 4 years with Marie.

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Chapter Messages

Spay/Neuter Help Needed

Please consider an extra donation to help us with the costs of spaying and neutering all of the foster bunnies the Buckeye HRS takes in. The past six months have been the busiest time in the history of our chapter and we could really use some additional funds to help cover these important procedures. Thanks in advance for your generosity.


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Newsletter in Print

This webzine is based entirely on the Harelines printed newsletter. The printed copy is sent out to members much before it appears here -- that's one way we can encourage you to support it by becoming a member. If you find you are reading this website regularly or with special appreciation, please consider becoming a member of the Buckeye House Rabbit Society.

Now's the time to join! Your $10 membership donation pays for one year's issues of Harelines AND helps us help needy rabbits here in Ohio. We are an all-volunteer, federally-recognized non-profit organization and depend solely on YOUR generous support. Don't forget, your donation is tax-deductible! Kari loves Buckeye members

Don't let this issue of Harelines be the last to reach the web. Send your membership to us today!


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Special Thanks to:


Harelines, the Buckeye House Rabbit Society Newsletter, is published by the all-volunteer, non-profit Buckeye House Rabbit Society, Vickery, OH. The House Rabbit Society assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.

Newsletter editor Herta Rodina

Layout and Design Ellen B. Eder

Contributing Writers
Kristi Cole
Kristen Doherty
Eileen Matias
Lori White

David Sharpe

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