When I was growing up,
Easter was always a fun holiday. My mom would get new Easter outfits
for me and my brother, and I even remember a few of my dresses and
hats. Easter morning we would check out what the "Easter Bunny" had
brought for our baskets. My favorites were the chocolate rabbits and
Reese's peanut butter eggs. And Dad even had a basket filled with
marshmallow PEEPS. As we left the house, we would always take a family
photo by blooming plants or the front door first, then it was off to
church to celebrate that Christ lives! Even today my mom still says
that the "Easter Bunny" visits and fills our baskets. Every Easter my
husband, brother and sister-in-law gathers at my parent’s house for
Easter lunch. We still take a family photo, even our pets have a place
in the photo, and I can always count on a chocolate rabbit from the "EB"!
I did not realize how important chocolate rabbits were till I became a
"momma" to the best rabbits in the world, Snuffey and Jackrabbit. Both
I "acquired" but not at the same time. Snuffey was an older rabbit that
no one wanted;
of my High School teachers found him and brought him in for a classroom
pet for her students to learn from. Snuff had some health problems; his
teeth grew out of his mouth so he could not eat like a normal rabbit. I
had to take him to the vet to have his teen filed and clipped down so he
could eat. I ended up keeping him over the summer which led to keeping
him for life because the classroom was not a comfortable place for him
to live. My teacher was going to take him home, but she knew how much I
loved him and was so gracious to let him come live with me. He was my
buddy. Snuff gave me something to look forward to when going to school.
I would hurry to class so I could be the one to give him his food and
let him out to run. He lived with me all through High School. When I
was a Senior, he developed a respiratory disease called “snuffles” and
endured several surgeries. He passed away with me in his house with me
and my parents by his side.
My second rabbit, which came to live with me in college, was
Jackrabbit. She was my baby and a rescued rabbit that I’ll take more
about in a moment. So how do chocolate rabbits for Easter fit into all
this? Quite simply, chocolate rabbits save real rabbits ... sounds
funny........ but its not, and here is why.
Every year, after the Easter baskets are put away and the candy is
eaten, REAL bunnies given for Easter end up in shelters or humane
societies because parents don’t know the ends and outs of rabbit
adoption. Children become tired of bunnies because they are not the
cuddly, huggable pets that they are made out to be. Uneducated owners
fall into misconceptions about their children’s rabbits and their care.
Rabbits and small children are just not a good match. Even the most
well behaved child is too much stress for a sensitive animal like a
rabbit. Rabbits have weak hearts and can get stressed easily from being
held. Young kids love to hold and carry pets like stuffed animals. The
problem with that is, rabbits are not passive and cuddly animals.
Rabbits do not particularly like to be held or restrained; they like to
stay on the ground or jump in your lap. Most young kids like a pet they
can hold, carry, and cuddle. All too often kids lose interest in their
Easter bunny, and the parents either have to find a new home for it or
the rabbits end up neglected or abandoned. So make your Easter Bunny
chocolate this year! This is the message that the House Rabbits Society
conveys when Easter hops around.
Alabama Ears is the local chapter of the House Rabbits Society and one
of my favorite rescue groups. Their "Make Mine Chocolate" campaign
aims at saving future Easter bunnies and educating the public on
proper rabbit care .
came to know Alabama Ears after Jackrabbit was featured on a local
morning show along with Alabama Ears as part of a segment talking about
"No Rabbits For Easter." I thought the campaign was great and a much
needed voice in the world of pets and pet responsibility. Jackrabbit
was an abandoned case. I don’t know if she was a product of an Easter
gift gone wrong, but she did need a home.
A rabbit is not a low maintenance pet by any stretch of the
imagination. They can live 10 to 12 years if in a good home. Rabbits
have intricate personalities and stubborn streaks at times. My baby ,
Jackrabbit, was a diva-rabbit! She liked her food bowl where SHE put it
and her hay bin where SHE put it and.. well you get the picture. When I
got married, SHE had to approve of the groom! Ha, Ha. Jackrabbit
became our baby and my husband loved her as his child. When we would
come home from work, she would jump up ready to get out of her house and
start running. She had a routine of running under the bed and out, then
make a quick turn thump the floor and then jump on our bed... excuse
A funny thing happened one vacation when my parents were keeping
Jackrabbit while we went to the beach. My dad let Jack out in the
bathroom and she ran and kicked the toilet and then ran back in her
house.... I don’t know what that was about! She disapproved of the
toilet I guess.
One aspect potential owners don’t think about is the process of
rabbit-proofing the area in which the rabbit is going to live, and a
cage 24-7 is not healthy. Electrical cords to lamps and TVs are lunch
for rabbits…you could be out a lamp and a rabbit if the shock is enough.
more rabbit care info
Another misconception is that rabbits do not require veterinary care.
Rabbits need routine care check-ups, nails clipped, ears cleaned
and other exams. When Jackrabbit was 5, she had to have a lymphoma
removed from her stomach.
She had another one 2 years later.
Last year 2 weeks after her annual "well-bunny" exam she developed a
large knot on her side. We did not know what it was and were shocked at
how sudden it came up. Our vet took a sample of it and sent it to the
It took a week to get the test back, but my vet already knew what it
was.… cancer. The vet just could not tell what kind.
Small animals and cancer is not the same as humans and cancer. Smaller
animals, when they are older and sick, tend to go down fast and it is
difficult to stabilize them. Jackrabbit’s health declined in just a few
days after going to the vet and sending off the sample. That night she
started to slow down and had very labored breathing. I cried all night
with her, and we called every emergency vet in the city and even
emergency care line. All we could do was make her comfortable.
Jackrabbit was 10 years old when she passed away.
My rabbits were a joy to have as family
and a joy to care and learn about. Rabbits are good pets to have if you
are ready and committed.
If your kids or
you yourself are thinking about a rabbit as a family pet, don’t make an
impulse buy for Easter. As an alternative, give a chocolate rabbit with
a book on how to care for rabbits. Talk with your family and see if a
rabbit is right for you, it is a life long commitment.
Photographs ©2008 BluffParkAl.org and Heather - All Rights