My first experience of having a house rabbit was a choice. I made the decision to buy one from a small bunch of baby rabbits at a feed store in Oregon.
I remember thinking because he was a baby rabbit, I would keep him in the house. But, other than knowing that as a baby he should be kept in the house, I didn’t know much about rabbits. I grew up in Palo Alto, and like many people in my generation, when I was younger, my family kept a rabbit in a large hutch outdoors. We named the large white rabbit “Christopher.” Christopher received attention only when we fed him (or her—we didn’t know the gender). Eventually, Christopher made his way out of the hutch and lived freely in our back yard, which was large and fully fenced.
The little rabbit I chose at the feed store was a small brown rabbit we named Houdini, but his nickname was “Bunny.” And that little rabbit changed my life.
I fell in love. While having a rabbit in the house, I discovered that he played, ran and jumped for fun, reacted to our voices, sat up for treats, and more. He had a sweet, curious personality. I did keep him in a cage, but I let him out every evening for several hours to explore. A few years later, he started to have some health issues. I read everything I could find concerning rabbit health care. I learned I hadn’t fed him properly; I had fed him pieces of dried plain toast, and only pellets and not free-choice hay. I changed his diet. I bought timothy hay. I found a rabbit-knowledgeable veterinarian. In the meantime, I discovered an organization dedicated to rabbit welfare, House Rabbit Society. I learned that most animal shelters had rabbits waiting for adoption, and many had a designated “rabbit room.” And that rabbits should be spayed and neutered, just like cats and dogs.
Because of that one little rabbit, I eventually became a House Rabbit licensed Educator. I conducted adoptions, organized rescues and transport, and educated audiences of people interested in learning about rabbits, and these efforts often resulted in successful adoptions.
Maybe you are thinking about a rabbit. You’re curious—you’ve had a cat and/or a dog, but a rabbit? How would that work out in your household? I invite you to dig deeper . . . rabbits are charming, interactive beings who will enhance your life. I encourage you to read all you can about domestic rabbit welfare, including rescue and adoption. Maybe your life will change, too.
Click below for a printable handout:Keeping Company With Rabbits