Sunday, November 25, 2012

Luckybunny



A few people have wondered in the past why I use the nickname Luckybunny... The nickname is basically from our rabbit refuge. We've been taking in old and special needs rabbits for 7 years now. We've had over 100 rabbits at our farm through the years. At one point I was getting up to 10 surrender requests a day.... these are all for pet rabbits - not meat rabbits from farms, but from people who didn't want their pet rabbits any longer for various reasons. I had about 60 rabbits at one time at the most, and that was a lot of work for me and it was also a lot of money. We operate with no funding but our own, so it was a little too much for me to comfortably manage without feeling like I was killing myself. I had little time for anything else other than rabbits too, no time for milking goats, or having other animals, or just ah.... sitting down!

My rabbit rescue still operates but it's on a much smaller scale. We have 20 rabbits now, which is about where I like it, maybe a little less. It's a lot easier for me to manage. Our rescue is called, Trails End Rabbit Refuge. I haven't accepted a rabbit into my care in over a year and a half, not since my big surgery that slowed me down considerably. At this time I only take in senior rabbits or rabbits with disabilities, or the odd surrender, but only when I have space without me having to make some. 

We've had blind rabbits, deaf rabbits, rabbits who were paralyzed, sick rabbits, rabbits with no teeth, teeth that needed trimming almost daily... rabbits who have had strokes, ancient rabbits, rabbits from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and every big city in Ontario and Quebec. I have even got many calls from New York State and Pennsylvania with surrender requests. Which is amazing to me but pet rabbits are hard to place, they are a dime a dozen, and most shelters are over run with them and often euthanize right away or won't accept them at all. 

Nibs was my first rabbit. I adopted him from the Toronto Humane Society. He was found in a dumpster in downtown Toronto. He was my heart bunny, honestly... that rabbit was like a dog, and he was with me for almost 12 years. He saw me through a lot of difficult times in my life, the most difficult times, and he spent the first couple of years with me here at Our Forest Haven. He also made my first trip to Alaska with me, and he is the reason we developed Trails End. We had first planned on raising rabbits to sell as pets, and then quickly realized how many rabbits that are bought as pets are dumped and abandoned, so we did not want to contribute to that. But we still wanted to have pet rabbits, so we decided, we'll take in homeless rabbits, just a few.

Eventually like I said, we had dozens. I've been able to do some adoptions but most rabbits live out their lives here, which is how we had planned it, so that's why my turnover is not that of a shelter. I started turning rabbits away at one time, which broke my heart, but honestly I couldn't kill myself trying to care for them, then no one would be any further ahead. 

Some of our rabbits here now are seniors, some are rabbits I bottle raised, one of them is blind. All of them are spoiled to the very best of my ability. Our current rabbits consist of a mixture of Holland Lops, Mini Rex, Flemish Giants, and Dwarfs. The most common two rabbits I've had surrendered are Holland Lops and Mini Rex, but we've had a few other breeds as well. 

Because it would take forever to list all the rabbits we've ever had here, and even all of our current rabbits, I've just tried to share as many as I can. I've been working on this post for a while since for our older rabbits I had to go back into my files quite a ways. But I've found plenty of pictures to share.

Some of our current rabbits














Yukon and Peter were bottle fed. They came in a group of 23 rabbits I took in 2008 from the SPCA. 







Aside from their mother, they are the only rabbits from that rescue still here. The others have been adopted and a few have passed on. They are both very nice laid back boys who love to be cuddled.

















Noel is the diva of the rabbits. She demands only the best in life. She had a stroke when she was 6 months old and almost died. Amazingly with a ton of TLC and a few sleepless nights - she recovered. It took about a week for her to be able to walk again, she was dragging her one side after the stroke, but then she went on to recover completely. She had her stroke in 2008. 

Frisco came from Montreal where he was running around loose. He was completely tame when he was found so he wasn't let go a long time before, someone probably just let him loose when the people who brought him to me found him.  He is very laid back and a total sweetheart.


Bob was one of the first surrenders we took in, he's been with us since 2006. He came from Ottawa where he was being kept out on the balcony of an apartment because he was mean. Apparently he scratched people and displayed aggressive behavior. He is easily at the top of the list of the three sweetest rabbits I've ever had here. He's been that way since he came. 


Blueberry lives with Mr. Pickles who is below. He is a sweetheart but likes his space. He's one cute kid though.  

 Mr. Pickles is currently our smallest rabbit and well, he's adorable. He's full of personality and, well... did I mention he's adorable?

Ferdinand is one of my bottle babies. I bottle raised him in 2010. He's a big baby now. 

My trio of Rex girls. I have two other Mini Rex females, Noel, and Pekoe, but these three girls have always been bonded. They came in 2007 in a group of five, but two of them have since passed on... They are good girls and they do love their treats, they'll eat any fruit and most vegetables, don't get in the way of them and a good papaya. 

 Pistachio has been here since 2008. She is our only remaining English Angora, we had 5 at one time. She is the best EA I've had, the most patient with getting groomed, she doesn't really like it but she also doesn't fuss too much and never tries to bite me. 

Peanut was one of our first rabbits. He is as sweet as pie, and is the cleanest rabbit I have. He litter trained himself and will not mess anywhere else. 

Bandita is another bottle fed rabbit - the youngest rabbit here, she is 1 1/2 years old. 


Miracle came in 2008. The OSPCA did a big rescue and they had 300 rabbits to rehome after a meat farmer decided to just quit and walk away from his barns and leave the rabbits abandoned. They started euthanizing rabbits right away (I don't know why they did this, especially since they were all meat rabbits, they could have just given them all away to anyone, since they were going to kill them anyway.) We took in 23 - which had to be transported to us. We already had enough of our own rabbits so I took in two mamas with their litters, assuming I'd be able to rehome some of the kits once they were old enough. Miracle had 16 kits - and she was completely dry of milk. I ended up having to bottle feed them all. I lost 2 but the rest survived.  Two of her babies still live here, Peter and Yukon. 


Moose was also one of our early rabbits he came in a group with Peanut. A year ago he lost his best friend, Maple who he lived with. I had hoped to bond him to another rabbit but I've had little luck, he likes to play with some of the other rabbits in their play area, but he won't accept another rabbit in his cage without a fight. So at least he gets some social time. He's big for a Holland Lop, thus the name Moose. 

Some of our past rabbits

This was Ellie Mae, she came in with three other rabbits, including Larry who is below. That is a baby Buckwheat (my Saanen buck, the one with the recently bloody head from fighting with Barnaby) When he was a kid. I love this picture, it cracks me up every time I see it. 




This was Fred. He was blind and deaf, that's why he's hunkered down on the grass. He came to become used to my smell and got so used to smelling me bringing treats for him, he'd really perk up. He was 12 when he came here and he lived with me for a year and a half. When he passed away and I carried him outside the barn, Max, my eldest Great Pyrenees came to smell him as he does with any animal that passes here. After he smelled him he ran into the barn and started going up the rows of rabbits. I had 40 rabbits at the time, and Max went straight to Fred's empty cage and sat down and looked at me. That's when I fell apart. He knew that's where Fred belonged. 

That reminds me of when our last Llama passed away. Kevin brought the tractor up to pick him up with the bucket and Max was very upset the entire time. While we were loading him in the bucket of the tractor, Max came over and brought Chance his toys, which he started putting in the tractor. My heart fell into a thousand pieces at that moment. Anyone who says animals don't have emotions and don't know what's going on - doesn't know anything about animals.  

Fortune was the first rabbit Kevin and I ever adopted together. She passed away last spring. She and I were very close and she was one of a kind, no question about that. 

Pancakes was one of our early rabbits too, he came in 2007. He was so darned cute and sweet. 

Rae Rae also came in 2007. She was spoiled. She liked to relax in the hammock, on the porch swing... She lived the high life. She was a bit of a glamour girl. She was very good friends with Nibs, and also Noel. 

Firefly came with the 23 rabbits we took in from the OSPCA, she was the second mama. She spent only a year and a half here before passing on, yet Miracle is still with us. We had no idea how old these does were or what kind of shape they were in so she may have been older. She was very gentle and enjoyed life. This picture is from the first time she was ever on grass. 

Then there was Larry. He weighed 27 pounds when he came here. He was pretty rolly, couldn't clean himself and was a bit of a mess... I got him down to 22 pounds where he was much better. At first I thought he was a Flemish, but I've had a lot of those and he just didn't quite fit for one, I believe he was a British Giant, but he could have just been a large Flemmie too. He was a complete sweetheart and I miss him terribly. He was a gentle giant. 

Some of my favorite pictures 

Baby Sammy giving Noel an ear massage.... 

Trying to start getting organized in the barn after we got the roof on it... 

Lambie says, who are you?


Salad bar for the ladies that lunch...


Baby Peter playing

Nibs sleeping in the garden while I was working, he was a very old man enjoying the sunshine. 

Noel tasting a nice fat piece of grass... 

Plenty of lucky bunnies have called our farm home, and I've been very lucky to be able to offer them a safe loving place to live. I have a special place in my heart for rabbits because of Nibs, more so than any animal. I can't imagine life without a rabbit in it anymore. Sometimes I think maybe, just  maybe, in a past life, I was a lucky bunny myself. 

12 comments:

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

You are amazing!
I do hope that you are able to "fix" the females so there aren't anymore little rabbits. You're not able to get sick - ever!! If you don't crawl out of bed to feed all your animals - they probably don't get fed!! No vacations either!! Bless you!
PS- this is my thrid time to try to get the verification thing right!! If I don't get it - it'll have to be my last!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

this is one of the sweetest stories i have ever heard! they truly are the luckiest bunnies! your place is animal heaven and you are god!!!

Nana-Bob said...

What a great story! I am teary over the sadness though. :( My family thinks I am nuts, lol.

Mary Ann said...

Donna, that's incredible! I knew you and Kevin had big hearts, but, oh my!

Primitive Stars said...

You are an Angel... So sad that people can just throw an animal away, thank God for sweethearts such as you..... Tears rolling down my cheeks as I read your post but loved seeing all the pictures of the beautiful rabbits......such a wonderful story on all your rabbits, Blessings Francine.

Chai Chai said...

Wonderful pictures. I had no idea that rabbits needed their teeth trimmed!

I love the little wood tunnel.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i had to come back here and read this again. you should write a book! this is seriously a wonderful story. i know another bunny advocate/rescue person in cananda. i think she is out west or in the middle. how you afford all of this is hard to imagine. you should have a wish list and post it and see if people can help you out. i would be happy to show it on my blog. i sure have a lot of animal loving followers. if there was one wish you could have granted what would it be?

Dreaming said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures and the information about so may of your bunnies. They are all so cute - I would have a hard time decided which was cutest. Thanks for being a Bunny Angel!

The Japanese Redneck said...

A very sweet post. What a huge rabbit you are holding.

All of these gals and guys are certainly very lucky. What a wonderful thing that ya'll have been and are still doing.

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Oh my gosh...they are all so cute! These photos are killing me.

It's so great that you take them in. But I agree with you, you should only take as many as you can handle. You are doing such a great service. Thank you!

Regina said...

Wow, I am in awe. It is clear that with the animals you take in (and so many with special needs), you truly give them a wonderful life. You are not just "warehousing" them, but spending time with each one, getting to know them. That is so special. Maybe you don't even realize it, because that is just who you are. I think you are also incredibly lucky to have a farm caretaker you can trust when you go away, when it is such a big job. I am sitting here stressing out over an upcoming trip and worrying how my pets will do...I really don't know how you do it!

Jan Berry said...

What a beautiful post! I am so glad I read this - my daughter has three pet bunnies, wants to eventually breed them but I'm going to show her this and right now I've decided no, no breeding - if anything she (we) should get into helping to rescue these poor babies. I had no idea that so many were abandoned, that's heart breaking. Your animals look like they are living the life though - what a wonderful thing you're doing. :)

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