A Home for the Holidays
by Judith Pierce
06:56 PM, Saturday, December 10
If you’ve ever considered a rabbit for your family, consider opening your heart and your home to a rabbit who’s been rescued from a past life of neglect.

Rescued dogs and cats are well known as “rescue pets,” but domestic rabbits are the third most relinquished animal to shelters and humane societies. In San Diego, nearly every shelter in the county has a rabbit adoption program. Rabbits come to them from owners giving them up, found stray on the streets, or from confiscation due to lack of care. In our area alone, there are well over 300 rabbits looking for new homes on any given day.

San Diego House Rabbit Society, our local rabbit rescue organization is promoting a “Home for the Holidays” program throughout the month of December. Adoption fees have been greatly reduced to $40 for a single rabbit, and $60 for a bonded pair. Adopters must be 21 years of age or older, and complete an adoption application and screening. The Society adopts only to homes where the rabbits are kept as indoor family companions.

Adoption is a great option for rabbit companions as one of the first things they need is to be spayed or neutered. Altering your pet rabbit makes him or her a much better companion, enabling litter box training, reducing hormonal tendencies such as digging, chewing, and spraying urine, and calms their personality. Altering your rabbit also prevents reproductive cancers, which is a great concern in rabbits over the age of three years old. However, this is a costly procedure, running an average of $300 or more in San Diego County.

By adopting from a shelter or rescue organization, your rabbit companion will already have been spayed or neutered, litter box trained, be put on a healthy diet, and been checked out by a veterinarian that specializes in rabbit care. With local adoption fees running from $20 to $50, you’ve achieved a significant savings, while getting a family-ready pet.

Rabbits make great family companions for the right people. They flourish in a home where they can be their “rabbity” selves. When provided with a roomy living area, plenty of out-of-cage (or pen) play time of three to four hours a day, they can run and play and show off their normal rabbit behaviors. Rabbits also thrive on routine. They are much like small children who need to know what to expect and what is expected of them, in order to live an orderly life.

When adopting from a rescue or shelter, great care is taken to match the right rabbit with the right adopter. You can learn more about which might be the best match for you, by visiting rabbit information sites such as www.rabbit.org or www.sandiegorabbits.org. There, you’ll find advice on proper housing, diet, normal rabbit behaviors, and see rabbits available for adoption.

After learning about rabbits and their care, we hope you’ll consider offering a “Home for the Holidays” to a needy rabbit who just needs a loving family to call their own.

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