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Do YOU Have What it Takes to Foster a Bunny? by Libby Armstrong Moore
Open House: A Sample of Fostering Set-Ups
GastroIntestinal Stasis, The Silent Killer, Part 2 by Dana M. Krempels
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by Libby Armstrong Moore
The Buckeye House Rabbit Society is in need of foster homes for the many homeless and unwanted bunnies we’re asked to help. But not just anyone can be a foster parent -- it takes time, money and most importantly, commitment.
Time -- A foster rabbit may require far more care than your own well-adjusted bunny and, consequently, more time on your part. S/he may have been neglected, may have special needs, and very likely has to be socialized and litter-trained. Establishing your own limits from the outset is the most important – and most difficult – part of fostering. If you can take care of only one other rabbit besides your own, you are already saving a life that otherwise may not receive care. It comes as a surprise to many people that fostering does not mean housing dozens of rabbits. Actually, the fewer the better, because this ensures quality care for both your own rabbit/s and the foster. Start with just one foster bunny and decide what is a comfortable limit for you, given your lifestyle.
Money--Some foster rabbits will require immediate veterinary care; all will have to be spayed or neutered unless this procedure has already been performed. Vet care, as we all know, can be very expensive and fostering a bunny requires a firm financial commitment from the fosterer. The Chapter helps fosterers with medical expenses as donations become available, but we are still a small, new chapter , so funds are limited.
Commitment --Taking in a needy bunny can be a long-term commitment. Although we do our best to ensure the bunny is placed in a good home as soon as possible, sometimes it takes months to find just the right home or family. Rabbits are not placed in the order they come in; rather we try to make the best human/lagomorph match possible, taking into account the needs of the bunny, the desires of the owner and, if applicable, the potential success of pairing the foster with another bunny in the home. If a rabbit has serious health problems or special needs, or is otherwise difficult to place, sometimes his only realistic option is to remain in the foster home as a "sanctuary" bunny, where he can receive proper care for the rest of his days.
Steps to becoming a fosterer -- If you are interested in providing a temporary home for a needy bunny, please contact our Chapter Manager, Herta Rodina (firstname.lastname@example.org, 740-797-7616). She will outline the rules and regulations that must be followed to become a fosterer. In brief, the basic requirements are that you be a member of the House Rabbit Society (both national and local chapter), that you have a number of years of experience in caring for rabbits, and that you have a working relationship with a qualified rabbit vet.
If you have read this far, we hope you are still interested in helping a needy bunny find his way to a permanent home. We often receive calls from shelters or from individuals who have found an abandoned rabbit, and we don’t want to turn anybunny away. If you can find the room, the time, and the money, we’d love to have your help.
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Interested in fostering, but concerned about space? Take the photo tour below and see how we’ve organized our own foster homes to maximize practicality for the human caregiver and ensure a quality lifestyle for the foster rabbits.
A spare bedroom converted into an office and foster room
The Coles have partitioned off part of the room with an exercise pen that is 36” high and has 8 2-foot-wide hinged panels. Using the wall to form one side of the enclosure increases the overall available space. The enclosure is approximately 6’ x 6’ and gives the bunny unsupervised exercise room, complete with litter box, toys, and grass mats. “We also keep a cage in that area, with the door open, so the bunny has a safe place to go that is all his and where no one will touch him,” says Kristi. “It’s good for foster bunnies to be familiar with a cage, since potential adopters may need to use one for part of the day.”
“When we’re home, we open the enclosure and the bunny can roam the hallway and the steps into the foyer. He still has access to his food and litter box. The cardboard tunnel in the hallway adds extra enjoyment to playtime.”
Kristi adds: “I encourage anyone who has a spare room to consider fostering a rabbit. You don’t have to think big and imagine caring for a whole room full of bunnies. With just a small space, a foster rabbit can enjoy a comfortable living area until a permanent home is found.”
Two photos above courtesy of Kristi and Bill Cole.
Kristen and Paul Doherty of Aurora foster several rabbits for the Buckeye HRS and have been very creative at using discarded building materials from their home renovation project to house the bunnies. All following photos courtesy of Kristen Doherty.
The wire partition separates Vicky and Scooter’s living space. Partition folds back when they are supervised so they are able to have “bonding sessions.” At night the partition goes back up until they are completely bonded. Entire space is 8ft x 9ft, each bun gets exactly 1/2.
Scooter requires this electric heater in his living space. 4 years ago we discovered that he was cold at night when we turned the heat down. He would climb into bed with us every night, sit on my back, and peepee on me! This happened several nights in a row and we couldn’t figure out why. We noticed he was always following sun patches (we lived in Arizona) and figured maybe he was cold when there were no sun patches. We hooked up this heater, and attached an automatically-controlled thermostat, which adjusts itself to a constant temp of 72 degrees. We call this his “mom heater” or “mh”, because he snuggles right up to it, or behind it when he’s cold, like a baby w/ his mom. Works like a charm!
Each bun has an entry/exit hole, with a slide-in door panel. When its time for rabbit to come out, just slide the panel up and remove it.
Paul is sliding the door panel up using the finger grip at the top of the pane
Bitsy’s cage and living area
Cage, “hide box” inside of cage, straw mats, chew toys, phone book, choice of water bottle or water bowl.
Vicky is a digger, so we placed a full-sized litter box inside of this cardboard box to reduce digging messes. She occasionally uses this as a litter box.
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by Dana M. Krempels, PhD, in consultation with Susan Kelleher, DVM
[Reprinted with permission]
Both parts of this article can be found combined in Harelines, Vol 2 No 2, The Silent Killer.
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by Trudy Day
“One day, my husband and I were at a flea market and there were booths selling rabbits. I know that if I wanted a rabbit, I should adopt one from the HRS, because buying one just promotes a vicious cycle of breeding and overpopulation, but I couldn’t ignore Benjamin.
After looking at many pretty rabbits, I came across a beautiful rust-colored Rex. Next to him was a big, white blob. That’s when I first saw “Benny,” a New Zealand White. He was handsome, but he was also showing his age and lack of proper care – dim-eyed, long-nailed, and urine-soaked. My heart wept. He was in a cage too small to even move, and, even more horrible, another nearby rabbit was biting his tail. With no way to move away, no food or water, in 75-80 degree sunshine, he was going home with me. I named him Benjamin after one of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit bunnies.
After tons of good food and lots of socializing with our two other bunnies, Princess and Nosey, he’s doing great and we love him dearly.”
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Spotlight On ... Whitney
by Kristi Cole
I got a call in early August from a lady who had found a black bunny in an Akron park. She brought the bunny home, but had large dogs and couldn't keep her. She wanted to know if we could help. I had just gotten back from vacation and had an open foster slot, so I went and retrieved the bunny.
She was a beautiful black mini rex and I quickly realized she was injured. She had open sores on the bottoms of all four paws and wasn't putting any weight on one of her back legs, holding it tucked underneath her body. After an examination and x-rays by our veterinarian, it was determined that Whitney had two broken bones in her ankle. She came home sporting a neon green cast -- quite a contrast against her velvety black fur.
Five weeks and three casts later, Whitney is doing great. The wounds on her paws have healed with cleansing and protective ointment. The final cast was removed and she is using her leg very well. She is a very sweet rabbit. She loves to be petted and to groom humans in return.
[Whitney has been adopted --
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June 20, 1992 - July 2, 1998
To our sweet and precious little Lopster, our little Rabscuttle:
|Your ears were two petals from a flower in Heaven
The pink of your mouth was the color we loved
We need to breathe the scent of you
Once more to see the face of you
It's just too long to wait
Until we meet again above.
Just as surely as you claimed us with your chin,
So happy and gentle and fearless you were, little Friend! We love and miss you so much, Bosco. Love Always, Karen & Daddy Bob
December 1993 - July 1998
Sable was our first 'house rabbit' and my husband's and my first pet together. Sable picked me out by jumping on my arm and running up to my neck when I reached in to pet the other bunnies he was with. Sable had his favorite places to lie in our apartment where he could keep his eye on us from any direction. He would beg for treats, snort to say thank you, jump on the dining room chairs to sit with us, and lick and nudge our feet for attention.
His last year with us, he bonded with a neglected bunny we saved -- Muffin. They had so much fun running around in circles, cuddling together, and grooming each other. Sable, thank you for the gifts you gave us. We will miss your presence and love.
-- with love, Cynthia, Scott, and Muffin Hatfield
Fibi Jasmine Seligman
Fibi was our second black lop girl, but that did not make her any less special. We will always fondly recall hearing of the rabbit found wandering the streets of Parma, Ohio. A good Samaritan picked her up and we adopted her. She was beautiful, of course, but her coat lacked luster. As she was fed nutritious food, her dull, rusty fur turned to a shiny, deep black.
Right from the start, Fibi fit into the family. There was no fighting -- the other bunnies accepted her and she loved them. You’re a fabulous little girl, Fibi, and we love you forever!
Velvette Sweetums Seligman
Velvette is missed very much by the Seligman family. She came to be known as “Miss V,” but no matter what name she heard, she raced over to lavish affection on us.
A local organization, Friends of Pets, knew me as a “rabbit person” and called me about a lop needing a home. We decided to adopt her and to our surprise, a mini rex, not a lop, arrived. Accepted by our other bunnies and dogs right from the start, she was one of the sweetest rabbits. She groomed everyone, dogs included!
We had only two short years together in this life, but we will be together forever in the next life, Miss V.
-- the Seligman Family
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Congratulations and all the best to these extra-special bunnies and their devoted human companions:
Celebrating in October: Zoe, 1 year with JoAnn ; Arlie and Jazz, 8 years with Joni; Bucky, 7 years with Kim; Ricochet, 4 years with Julie; Snowball, 2 years with Cathy.
Celebrating in November: Laurel with Scott; Snickers, 6 years with Diane; Coco and Pepper, 2 years with Clay and Nancy.
Celebrating in December: Vincent, 1 year with Carla and Patrick; Bundles, 1 year with Susan and Henry; Ashes and Freckles, 1 year with Donna; Bugs, 7 years with Tony and Vicki; Peanut, 2 years with Marie; Valentine, 2 years with Bob.
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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!|
Don't let this issue of Harelines be the last to reach the web. Send your membership to us today!
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Tony and Vicki Ricci of PIP Printing on Boardman-Canfield Road in Youngstown for their most gracious offer of free copies.
Gary and Sue Embree and Eileen Matias for their very generous gifts to our spay/neuter fund.
Scott and Debbie Raschke for their continuing support of the Buckeye HRS.
Scott Edwards for his much-appreciated contribution in memory of his beloved Hardy, who passed away on April 5, 1997.
Beth Croghan and Michael Lain, our Fulfillment Coordinators, for ensuring the smooth organization of our fund-raising efforts.
Alphagraphics of downtown Cleveland, for their ongoing discount on printing our materials.
Our heartfelt appreciation to all of you, too numerous to be listed here, who included a bit extra with your dues and renewals. Every dollar counts and we thank you for helping us help more rabbits.
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 Libby Armstrong Moore
Libby Armstrong Moore
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