Posts Tagged ‘SaveABunny operations’

Ever considered fostering? Now might actually be a pretty good time…

Monday, June 29th, 2009

At SaveABunny, we work in partnership with Bay Area shelters and other organizations, taking in rabbits that they don’t have room for or are about to euthanize. But sometimes (way more often than we’d like, in fact,) we don’t have enough room, either.

On Saturday 10 rabbits were rescued by Sonoma County Animal Services. This is from the email we got:

We have 10 rabbits that arrived at the shelter today. We have 6 female
babies, 1 female adult, and 3 male adults (one we were unsure of). The adult
female along with the adult male was in pretty good condition.
Unfortunately the other 8 have severe urine scalding. The 6 babies and the adult lionhead were the worst. We bathed all of the rabbits using bunny bath:) and tried to get as much of the urine off as we could. We didn’t bathe 1 of the
adult males because he seemed to be pretty clean. From what I heard the
scalding was caused because of their horrific living conditions.

The officer that transported them had told me that the cages themselves
looked pretty clean but what the previous owner had done was put a whole bunch
of lettuce in the cage. All the lettuce in the cage was preventing the
urine and feces to drain down to the bottom tray so the rabbits were basically
sitting in the feces and urine.

If you’re wondering what urine scalding is…

this might give you a pretty good idea

this might give you a pretty good idea

Sorry it’s not the most pleasant thing to read about  – but if I only wrote happy blog entries, this would be a severely skewed view of animal rescue.

If you’re in the Bay Area, let us know if you can foster to help us make room for these bunnies. Here are a couple more photos of them:

A little cleaning up, a little medical care...

and a little love - then theyll be ready for adoption.

501c3. It’s more than just a number. Er, more than just a number with a letter in it.

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Last week SaveABunny was approved for 501c3 nonprofit status.  What this means for you is that any donation you make is now tax-deductible! Just in case you don’t know (I didn’t!), here’s how it works:

You donate something. Let’s say, for example, $30 to help sponsor Dulciana, an adorable special-needs bunny with a head-tilt:

Of course we would all be perfectly content just knowing that our $30 is going to a good cause. We don’t need anything back! It’s called giving for a reason! But thanks to those four little numbers (and one letter!), the kindness of our hearts has a little extra incentive.

Come tax season, you can subtract that $30 from your taxable income. Let’s say you made $29,687 last year – thanks to your donation, the government will now only tax you on $29,657. Of course $30 won’t exactly save you bridge fare, but a large enough donation can drop you right into a lower tax bracket. And if you can donate a few times a year, it really adds up.

So not only do you save money, but Dulciana gets the funds she needs to live a better life!

And it’s not just cash that’s tax-deductible. Gifts are, too! Any item from our Wishlist is a great place to start.

We’re all super excited about our new status here at SaveABunny, and we hope you are too! Come by and celebrate with us at the SaveABunny Bake Sale next month:

Saturday, April 11, 2009
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

In Front of Bank Of America on 18th & Castro Street, San Francisco

- Bring your appetites!
- Bring your baked goods!
- Bring your generous donations!

Your wonderful support will help rescued rabbits find caring guardians and loving homes. Please note, baked goods and donations can be dropped off prior to the event.

Meet Jasper, and learn a little bit about the woman who saved him.

Friday, August 15th, 2008

A note from Marcy, founder of SaveABunny:

Jasper is a very cute, neutered dwarf mix boy who seems to have lived a hard life. From the little we know about him, he lived alone outside in a hutch in Oakland and was not treated very well. He has the saddest look in his eyes and he cringes when you touch him.

He looks like an older gentleman. His teeth are not fabulous and his eye is weepy—perhaps from an issue with his teeth? He will see a veterinarian soon and we will know more. Our goal is to do what we can to make his golden years be filled with love and not disappointment in people. Jasper didn’t ask to be someone’s unwanted pet. How tragic to live his entire life being neglected, or worse—mistreated and then left alone at a shelter to be euthanized.

It is the “throw away” bunnies like Jasper that make rescue work especially sad and challenging for me. As I walk through the shelters every day…passing row after row of bunnies each needing rescue or they will be euthanized…who do I pick if I can only save one or two out of the dozens?! And the rabbits all know and sense who I am. They pick up on the energy that I am the rescue person who both understands and hears them. They sense I could save them, so they run to the front of the cage and call out to me. They all want to live.

Bunnies like Jasper, though, are often so beaten down from heartbreak that they sit hunched in a corner as if they have given up hope that life has anything good to offer them. They know that their time left on Earth is limited, and like others around them, they will be euthanized because no one wants them any longer.

So, they slowly raise their heads and look at me—half expecting that I too will turn away from them and the other half desperately hoping I will see them and save them. All I can say is that it is devastating to leave these sweet little beings behind. It makes me really angry that our little volunteer run group is their only hope and that we simply do not have the space and resources to save them all. It is truly haunting to remember all the little faces and I can tell you that it doesn’t get better with time. It’s been ten years of this intense work for me and I still cry and remember each and every rabbit.

So, that brings me back to Jasper…Yes, I picked him for rescue over another healthier, younger rabbit. It was a very tough choice, but I feel strongly that our commitment to help the special needs rabbits who others leave behind is part of what gives SaveABunny our integrity, passion and uniqueness as a rescue group.

It is expensive, lonely and heartbreaking to rescue rabbits, however I can tell you with all certainty that some of the most incredible, resilient and loving rabbits we have ever met are the ones that had the worst situations. With love, patience, conventional and alternative healing we see miracles. Even in a very short time I have seen a brightness start to return in Jasper’s eyes.

However, the reality is that most people will ultimately only want to adopt a cute, little bunny without issues. So a bunny like Jasper will need to stay here for as long as it takes to find him a forever home. Perhaps he will live his days out as a SaveABunny sanctuary rabbit surrounded by volunteers who love him, or maybe we will be lucky to find him a forever home.

Either way, that’s what we do here at SaveABunny. We love each rabbit. Thank you for supporting our work on behalf of these amazing little survivors.

To sponsor Jasper, visit the SaveABunny website.

Food, wine and bunnies: the 1st ever SaveABunny Get-Together

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Last Monday was the first-ever SaveABunny get-together, hosted, organized, and 100% possible  thanks to Marcy. There was wine, vegetarian food (omg that lentil loaf should be called lentil heaven. I was amazed,) and of course all the SaveABunny bunnies were there. We hung out, talked about SaveABunny goings-on, ate some strawberries, learned about grooming bunnies, ate some carrot cake, talked some more, and squeezed in another helping of lentil loaf.

Bunnies got attention, wine got imbibed, and in short a great time was had by almost everyone. Here’s some pictures from the event:

Marcy even squeezed in some cuddling between handing out glasses of wine and collecting addresses:

And of course, the bunnies enjoyed some yummy food, too:

It was a fun night! We learned a ton and met some new people. Hope you can make it next time!

When bunny teeth go bad – update

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Just to let everyone know, we still have several other bunnies that urgently need medical care, and it won’t happen without donations. We’re very happy to have Brazil’s operation funded, but we still need about $1500 for other bunnies with medical problems right now.

I love reporting happy endings to keep the blog on an uplifting note, but there is always more to be done, more rabbits to save, and more money needed. We are a non-profit, after all. So I hope that when I mention the generosity of a donor or volunteer, you realize that they are someone just like you who took action, and I hope you feel inspired, rather than relieved that someone else stepped in.

That’s all – now back to finding less guilt-trippy things to write about. Here’s a cute bunny picture for you:

When bunny teeth go bad.

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

There are many problems with other pets that bunny owners never have to deal with. For instance, a bunny will never eat cat poo and then try to lick your face. A bunny will never get stuck in the neighbor’s tree, forcing you into the embarrassing, if humorous, position of calling the fire department to get it down. A bunny will never slither away into the ventilation system of your apartment building, only to be found months later after swallowing an entire rat whole and getting stuck in a gas pipe.

But there are many issues bunny owners face that other pet owners have never heard of and will probably never understand. This is the first in a series of entries about bunny-specific medical and behavioral issues that we come across at SaveABunny. The stories don’t always end happily, but awareness is generally the best prevention, so we’re going to share what we know. Hopefully we’ll help potential bunny owners understand the responsibilities of caring for a rabbit, and help out some troubled, confused, or curious bunny owners at the same time.

We currently have a bunny named Brazil who has a malocclusion. We saved her from the euthanization list at an overcrowded South Bay shelter. Euthanization is the usual fate of bunnies with severe malocclusion – the surgery is expensive, and without it bunnies can suffer for years or even starve to death. We’re not OK with that.

Also, did I mention Brazil is a ridiculously adorable little lop-eared girl?

As you can see, she’s otherwise completely adoptable in all respects. She just has bad teeth. So we had to save her, even though we might not have the funds to pay her vet bills. At least with us, she would have the precious time she needed to find a generous sponsor.

When a bunny gets a malocclusion, it means that for whatever reason, the teeth have become misaligned or malformed, causing discomfort and pain for the bunny. Here’s a quote from Veterinarian Margaret A. Wissman:

“The causes of malocclusion are usually multifactorial, and can include infectious, genetic and traumatic causes. The chewing action of the rabbit is both vertical and horizontal which provides a grinding type of action that keeps the occlusal (the opposing surfaces of the teeth that meet normally) surfaces evenly worn. If the mandible (lower jaw) is too short or too narrow, this will result in the misalignment of the teeth. Once teeth are misaligned, they will no longer grind down correctly.”

(Read the full article here.)

Since a rabbit’s teeth grow faster than your fingernails, it’s pretty important that they get ground down properly. (This is why rabbits are always chewing on everything in sight.) In bad cases of malocclusion, the teeth essentially grow out into tusks and prohibit the rabbit from being able to eat anything at all. They can get infected, disformed, and cause all kinds of other problems for the bunny’s delicate mouth tissue. Usually, a rabbit with misaligned teeth will do OK as long they get them trimmed regularly – but it does cause them a lot of stress. Imagine if you had to go to the dentist every few weeks for the rest of your life!

Often, as in Brazil’s case, the teeth have to be removed completely. Since the roots go far back in the bunny’s jaw, the surgery is a bit more complicated than it would be for animals like dogs, cats, or people.

As far as preventing malocclusion, the best answer I’ve found is keeping plenty of fiber in your bunny’s diet and having lots of good things to chew on. Sometimes it’s hereditary, and there’s not much you can do.

It’s easy to check for malocclusion – just regularly look at your bunny’s teeth and make sure they seem normal. If you’re not sure, ask your veterinarian.

Because malocclusion is often hereditary, baby rabbits who have it are usually euthanized to keep the condition out of the gene pool. (Definitely not our recommendation.) This is another really, really good reason to always spay or neuter your rabbits.

Little Brazil was lucky enough to find a sponsor, by the way – one of our awesome volunteers generously donated $500 for her surgery. She still needs a home – but at least she has the chance to find one now.

If you have any input on malocclusion, whether it’s something I forgot in this blog, or something I got wrong, or a story of your own, please share in the comments section! We love to keep the conversation going and learn new things.

If you think your bunny is suffering from malocclusion, take him or her to a veterinarian.

If you want to see more cute pictures of Brazil and maybe, just maybe, foster or adopt her, check out her page on the SaveABunny site.

A reminder for all sad, mistreated bunnies who somehow have internet access: There’s Hope Out There!

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

We do lots of rescues at SaveABunny – big ones, small ones, really, really sad ones, and just kind of sad ones – but earlier this year we had a rescue that was both big and really, really sad. If you’ve been following us (or you watch View From The Bay every afternoon) you might remember back in February when we rescued 29 bunnies that had been severely neglected. Here’s the clip if you didn’t catch it back then:

Sadly three of those bunnies were lost to us because of their injuries. That’s what moved the rescue from “Really Sad” status to “Really, Really Sad” status. But the progress we’ve had rehabilitating the 26 bunnies that we saved has been really exciting, and I want to share one example with you to spread hope for hopeless bunnies everywhere. Meet Lionel Barrymore:

Granted, he still looks a little worse-for-ware with that big bare patch on his side, but to get some perspective, this is what he looked like when we first brought him in:

Sorry you had to see that. I’ll add some space here you can scroll past it…

Anyway, Lionel has gone through some tough times. But the amazing part of his story that gives us all hope is that, even after the neglect and trauma that he went through, he is now a healthy, happy, and very sweet little bunny rabbit. (Who, by the way, would be a fabulous addition to any home.) It’s proof that every bunny, even when things seem hopeless, is worth saving.

Check out Lionel’s page on the SaveABunny site.

Read more about the large-scale rescue back in February, and see more video footage of the rabbits.

Saving Bunnies.

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

When you go to the SaveABunny website, on the surface we might look like a bunch of bunnies looking as cute as possible (which is really not that hard) to get adopted into loving homes. But behind all the floppy ears and purple web pages, we’re a team of hard-working, dedicated humans. We spend our days – and nights – making sure bunnies all over the Northern California get the second chance they deserve.

So as our first SaveABunny Blog post, I’d like to share a little piece of what goes into saving bunnies on an average day. (Also, I should introduce myself. I’m Thea – volunteer writer. I squeeze in writing for the website and this blog, among other things, into my schedule as a part-time student and copywriter at a local ad agency.)

Last Thursday, Marcy, the founder and head cheerleader of SaveABunny, and I made a stop at San Francisco Animal Care and Control. The shelter was overcrowded and they’d given us a call asking for rescue assistance. It was my first time visiting this (or any) animal shelter, but Marcy is a regular there. The staff all know her, and greeted us with a casual familiarity. They were kind enough to let us drop in well after closing hours, around 7:45. Having just come from a SaveABunny team meeting, were more rushed than we should have been. Lights-out was at 8, but squeezing in those few minutes to check out the new bunnies would mean a world of difference for some of them.

You see, while SaveABunny bunnies are promised love and care for their whole lives, whether they get adopted or not, most shelter rabbits have no such guarantee. Just like all the cats, dogs, rodents, reptiles and other animals that end up at crowded animal shelters, bunnies that don’t get adopted get euthanized. No matter how cute they are.

So our mission at Animal Care and Control was to meet the new bunnies that had arrived and get to know them a little, checking their health and temperament. Our immediate goal for rabbits there is to keep them from being euthanized. No one at San Francisco Animal Control wants to euthanize them – that’s why they call us – but when they run out of room for them, they don’t have a choice. We also post bunnies from local shelters on the website when we don’t have room for them at our facilities in Marin, because it increases their chances for adoption. If we’d had more time and more space, we would’ve taken a few of them with us.

There’s no set rule as to which bunnies we take into rescue – sometimes we’ll find one that has little to no chance of getting adopted, so we take him or her under our wing. Sometimes, we find exceptionally adoptable bunnies that would find homes quickly at a different shelter. Sometimes we meet bunnies that have been traumatized, and with a little hard work and a lot of love, we’re sure they’ll find a home. All they need is time. Unfortunately, it’s time that shelters just can’t afford to give them. So we take those ones, too, and hope that help will come forward.

We entered Room 225 at Animal Care and Control. It was a small room, with cages stacked higher than my head. There were about 13 bunnies in there – plus one guinea pig, a chicken, two rats, a tiny gray mouse and one quail that had been rescued from the back of restaurant. He pecked away happily at a bowl of seeds, occasionally letting out a curious “Squawk!”

We checked up on the bunnies one by one. They all had their own reactions to us – some excited, some timid, some just casually looking up between mouthfuls of the newspaper that lined their cages. Each and every cage had a sign with a big blue stamp on it: “AVAILABLE”.

Many of these were bunnies that Marcy had already met – and most of them looked like they had a decent chance of getting adopted. While she made sure they were all still doing fine, I asked her about the little quail in the corner.

She answered wearily, “Oh, he’ll probably be euthanized. It’s illegal to keep quails as pets, and he’s not releasable because he was raised for food.” According to California state law, no “wild animal” can be kept or sold as a pet. Wild animals are defined species by species, not case-by-case.

“So you mean no one can adopt him?”

“Nope. He’ll almost definitely be euthanized.” I know it’s as heartbreaking for her as anyone else, but she said it almost nonchalantly. I realized why – this happens to animals here (and everywhere else) every day. You just have to do what you can, knowing that you can never save them all. But I couldn’t help feeling especially bad for this little feathery guy. He’d been put in a catch-22 by a combination of well-meaning human rescue efforts and well-meaning human law.

At least bunnies are legal pets. That’s one thing that makes our job easier – and we have to count our blessings sometimes.

Marcy and I moved on to an even smaller room across the hall. If it had been earlier in the day, we would’ve spent some quality one-on-one time with each bunny, making sure they stay friendly and happy. They’re social animals, like dogs and birds (and people), so even the shy ones crave interaction and attention.

This tiny room was where the new bunnies were. Many of them had been bought at a local pet store and then left at the shelter when they were no longer wanted. They weren’t all as well off as the others. Two had just come back from surgery and had big signs on their cages asking to be handled extra gently. One gold flop-eared bunny was huddled in a corner, shivering. I wondered what had made her so timid. A little black dwarf rabbit had been mistreated a different way – she was grotesquely overweight; probably two pounds over her healthy 1.5 pounds. That’s like a human weighing 350 pounds.

We took photos of each one and their charts, to review later. We checked them all for general health – clean, soft fur, healthy toes, and straight teeth. One of many new things I learned was that a bunny with crooked teeth is all but unadoptable; without expensive surgery, he won’t able to eat properly, and he’ll be malnourished. How expensive is the surgery?

“Hundreds and hundreds of dollars,” Marcy answered.

I also learned that there’s a trick to handling these bunnies – sweetness. Marcy took extra care to pet each one and say a few comforting words. A little rub around the ears can go a long way.

She took extra time with the gold flop-eared bunny. When you talk to them, for the most part it doesn’t matter what you say, (although bunnies can usually learn their own names, and possibly a few other words,) what seems to matter is that you’re gentle, soft-spoken and let your genuine concern show in your voice. Marcy had perfected these.

“Hey honey, it’s ok, yeah. It’s ok. I’m sorry. People can really suck, huh? I’m sorry.” She said it softly over and over, and our flop-eared friend seemed to slowly but surely calm down. When Marcy finally closed her cage, she hopped up to look back out at us, completely transformed from a shivering furry lump into a beautiful, outgoing rabbit girl. I was amazed.

“Sometimes they just know rabbit people, and they open up to them,” Marcy explained. But I suspect almost anyone could be a “rabbit person” if they took the time to learn how these special animals work.

As we left, the words Marcy had repeated to the gold bunny also repeated in my head. “People suck.” It was so easy to think that, coming out of the animal shelter. But a little nagging voice in my head argued back, “Wait – not all people suck. We’re here, aren’t we?”