Thursday, 13 February 2014

WHEN A MAN LOVES A RABBIT

"Why on earth do you like rabbits?" That's what many of my acquaintences have asked me over the years. In the minds of most adults, bunnies are just a pet for kids. They assume that since their rabbit didn't live long and did nothing but sit in the tiny backyard cage that they bought for it that these creatures aren't worthy to be a house pet. When I explain about what charming and intelligent animals rabbits are, people give me incredulous looks.

If only people would give bunnies a chance. The first thing they need to do is to learn the proper way to litter train, feed, and rabbit-proof the room where the bunny is kept. The House Rabbit Society website has all the information a novice rabbit owner needs to know to care for a bunny. Though there are other sites claiming to have credible information, the data is often wrong and based on opinion rather than empiracle observation.

What I love about bunnies is their inquisitive natures. Once a person wins a rabbit's trust, a precious gift in itself, they  become outgoing and affectionate. All the rabbits I've had in my house quickly warmed up to me once I got down to their level and showed them I wasn't dangerous. I let them make the first moves rather than grabbing them up like a stuffed toy. Being prey animals, rabbits instinctively fear being picked up.

Like dogs and cats, rabbits need proper veterinary care. This is often expensive because they're only seen by exotic specialists. But if somebody truly loves their long-eared companion, the expense of a proper vet is worth it.

Bunnies can live up to ten years with proper care and correct nutrition. I've heard of some who have lived to thirteen but they were quite frail by the time they died. Since this is so, potential rabbit owners need to be committed to their pet for the long haul. Vidulence is also required as bunnies tend to hide their illnesses from the prying eyes of predators. I've taken my rabbits to the vet when they exhibited some odd behaviour and usually discovered that they had a serious illness. I've also made the mistake of ignoring subtle signs of discomfort and ended up losing my beloved fur friends.

Back in 2006, I published my debut memoir called When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living With Bunnies. It shows how I came to live with these amazing and amusing members of God's awesome creation. I also pass along the lessons I learned during the eight years covered by the book. For more information about it, check the Bruce Atchison's books link.