Basil and Thyme, two bonded rabbits available for adoption at the Irvine Animal Care Center, got a lot of attention at the Bunny Bunch picnic that took place at the animal care center on May 20, 2012. They were only two of the rabbits available for adoption during the picnic.
This event was the third time the Bunny Bunch picnic was held at the Irvine Animal Care Center. The Bunny Bunch, a no-kill, nonprofit rescue and education organization, is based in Montclair, California, but puts on the rabbit picnic in Irvine annually. Caroline Charland, founder of the Bunny Bunch, said during this event they spotlight the rabbits at the Irvine Animal Care Center that are waiting for adoption. Basil and Thyme have been waiting since 2010; these bunnies’ personalities are wonderful, but their larger size and the fact that they’re bonded make placement more of a challenge.
Many other rabbits could be visited in the Bunny Yard, which has two rows of pens in a gated area. The rabbits get some free-hop time outside their pen but within the gated area on a rotating schedule. Some people who came to the picnic brought their own bunny and chose a bunny from the animal care center to “date” their pet. This is one way to test whether two bunnies might get along. Bunny dating was done under strict supervision by shelter personnel, because there’s always the risk of a fight when introducing two bunnies.
In addition to seeing all sorts of rabbits at the picnic, people could also buy items for their rabbits at the Bunny Bunch merchandise table, get their rabbit groomed by Bunny Bunch volunteers, enter a photo contest, bid in a silent auction for rabbit-themed prizes, listen to Sari Kanfer, DVM, give a talk about rabbit health and just hang out with other rabbit enthusiasts to talk about rabbits.
Kanfer works at the Exotic Animal Care Center in Pasadena, California, and specializes in exotics. She treats a large number of rabbit clients. During her talk, Kanfer discussed bloat and other health concerns. One point she stressed was that if a bunny stops eating, owners should contact a veterinarian after only one hour, not wait for five hours or more to see if the issue resolves on its own. Rabbits can go downhill fast, and not eating is a serious sign. She also discussed how regular grooming by an owner might help prevent gastrointestinal stasis. If a rabbit gets recurring gastrointestinal stasis, she said two possible causes could be an oral spike, which can only be diagnosed during an oral exam with the rabbit anesthetized, or scars or an adhesion from a spay. She also said that recurring gastrointestinal stasis sometimes seems to occur for no known reason. Wound management and parasite control were some of the other topics covered, so it was a great chance to learn about rabbit health from a professional.
Kanfer brought a couple of rabbits to the event to be adopted. She treated both for dental issues. She is offering free dental care for these two rabbits for life. Anyone who adopts these rabbits just needs to bring them back to her for dental care when needed. Whiskey’s tooth problems will be ongoing; Kanfer said that R2’s dental issues might normalize with time. Anyone interested in adopting either rabbit can call Kanfer’s office or email her directly at bunnyvet at yahoo.com (replace the word “at” with @ symbol).
Charland was excited about the picnic and happy to debut one of the new products from the Bunny Bunch, the Carrot House. She said the Bunny Bunch also has many other exciting projects in the works. A website redesign is scheduled for both the Bunny Bunch Boutique and the Bunny Bunch site itself. She hopes that both redesigns will be completed by the end of summer 2012. The Bunny Bunch is still working to open a location in Orange County, California. And later in 2012, the Bunny Bunch is scheduled to have a DVD series come out in conjunction with a book Charland wrote about rabbit care. The DVD and book tell people exactly what to expect from owning a rabbit. The hope is that educating potential rabbit owners will decrease the number of abandoned or surrendered rabbits. The Bunny Bunch holds many other events throughout the year, all with the goal of helping rescued pets find homes or raising funds to help care for the pets it has rescued, including rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and more.