Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's not my fault!

In the rescue world we come across many people who think that there must be something wrong with an animal for it to be in a rescue. Surely it must be sick, have behavior problems or be fundamentally damaged in some way? The reality is, nearly every animal we see come to our rescue is a perfectly fine, but the person that was supposed to care for them let them down.

So many of these adorable critters have been in our rescue for far too long.  The reasons why they came to us and why they have not been adopted are not their fault. Each and every one of these animals is loved, and we are just waiting to find the right family to love them as much as we do!  Read on, and they will tell you their stories.

Hi!  My name is Caramel.  I’m about a year and a half old.  I was born on St. Patrick’s Day.  In some ways my life has been lucky, but I’ve also been unlucky.  Let me explain.  I’ve never had a home to call my own.  The rescue has always been my home.  You see, I was born in the care of a shelter, and the rabbit rescue took me in when I was very young.  So in a way, I was lucky because I’ve never had to know the fear of living outside, or been fed a poor diet.  I’ve always been cared for. 

I am glad that I don’t have to worry about being given proper care or love, because I receive all of that in my foster home.  What I want most of all is a home of my own!  All of my siblings have been lucky enough to find loving homes.  I kept getting overlooked because for a while (and this is SO embarrassing) my litter box habits were not great.  My foster home worked with me, and I have been successfully litter trained!

Now my foster home can’t figure out why I keep getting overlooked!  I am cute and sweet.  I would love to be your bunny!  It’s not my fault I continue to get overlooked.
We really don't know why we don't seem to get inquiries about this sweet girl!
My name is Summer.  I was given up to a shelter while I was pregnant, along with the father.  My first “home” didn’t seem to understand that unfixed bunnies of the opposite sex will indeed reproduce when kept together.  I gave birth and raised my babies.  All have found homes to call their own except for Caramel.  Their father has also been adopted. 

My foster home isn’t sure why I haven’t been adopted.  It most likely have to do with the fact that I am a bigger girl (more bunny to love!), and my coloring is a bit plain (even though my foster home says I am beautiful).  I have a shining personality.  It’s not my fault that no one has given me a chance yet.

Summer is a beautiful girl with so much love to give.

My name is Stormy.  My first family didn’t really understand me.  They said I was aggressive, but I was confused and young, and constantly had small children pestering me.  My hormones didn’t help either, but the family refused to take the advice of having me spayed.  They gave up on me and sent me to a rabbit rescue.

Going to the rescue was probably the best thing that’s happened to me so far.  I was spayed right away, and while I am still quite spunky, my hormones are no longer raging.

I’ve been here now for close to two years.  I’ve lived in various foster homes.  I am constantly overlooked because of the color of my eyes.  I have the most beautiful ruby eyes, but unfortunately many people find them “creepy”.  The people who care for me now don’t understand that.  At least they tell me my eyes are beautiful.

It’s not my fault that my first family didn’t want to put effort into me, and it’s not my fault I have ruby-colored eyes.

Stormy is such an adorable, spunky girl.

Pets come into our rescue for a variety of reasons.  Most of the time, the common theme is that their current family simply doesn’t want to put any effort into properly caring for them.  While there are certainly legitimate reasons for surrendering a pet (such as serious illness), we find that usually there are alternatives.  Here are the common reasons given to shelters upon surrender:

  • Moving and don't want to spend the time to find a pet-friendly place to live
  • Suddenly develop allergies after years of living with their pet.  I am allergic to hay.  There are, of course, life-threatening allergies, but there are ways to deal with minor allergies.
  • Unsure "why their pets keep breeding" and have too many
  • Think they aren't spending enough time with them, so they surrender them to assuage their guilt.  Unfortunately, a pet will get far less attention in a shelter situation.
  • Didn't realize their pet would get bigger
  • Having behavior problems, but refuse to get their animal spayed/neutered or work on correcting the problem
  • Did not research care requirements of the pet before they acquired the animal on impulse.  Upon realizing that animals do indeed need things like food and do things like poop, they decide they don't want the animal.
  • Purchased the pet for a young child.  After a short period of time, the child lost interest and they decide to get rid of the pet.
  • Changing life circumstances - illness or death in the family, marriage, birth of a child, etc. - and they decide a pet no longer fits into the picture.
There are a million reasons that animals are given up. The pets in our rescue had no say in the matter, they just want to be loved.  It truly isn’t their fault.

If you live in Southwest Florida and are interested in one of these lovely overlooked bunnies, please fill out our adoption questionnaire to get the process started!  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Announcement: New Adoption Procedure

There is now a new adoption procedure in place at Pigs n Buns Small Pet Rescue. Sadly, it is due to a disturbing number of returns - and a couple of our bunnies have been returned with improper and potentially deadly treats, litter, and a small cage that is definitely NOT on our "recommended housing" list.

Fernando was adopted out and, as with all of our adoptions, we gave his new home all the information they would need. This includes details about all of the dangerous things typically marketed for a rabbit as well as other slip-ups we see new bunny families make. We provide literature including a new bunny family packet, go over housing and diet in great detail, and we are always here to answer bunny care questions.  All of our efforts did nothing.

Fernando was recently returned to us. He came back with his supplies, including clumping cat litter. This can be deadly as it can cause potential blockages if ingested by the rabbit. He also had yogurt drops and other unhealthy treats. One of the saddest things, knowing Fernando’s past history of being forced to live in a Rubbermaid bin, was that he was in a tiny plastic bottom cage commonly marketed for guinea pigs (though it is too small for even a single rat).  Another pair of bunnies was returned with molasses hay - another definite "no"!  One of the pair is extremely overweight.   For one of the bunnies in the pair, this is the third time she has been returned.  It's been through no fault of her own - she's a wonderful bunny - she just needs a committed FOREVER home.

Small cage, clumping cat litter, and yogurt treats.

The former cage is now his litter box.
With these recent revelations, it has become abundantly clear that we can no longer trust that even though we educate people and speak with them at great length about proper care, provide them with informational sheets, ask them what kind of housing and food they will provide, sending links to great websites, and ask them to express any questions, it is not enough. As such, our new adoption procedure is outlined below: 
  •  You must purchase and set up all supplies (housing, accessories, hay, litter, pellets) before adoption.  No more "I'll buy what I need when I adopt the bunny/guinea pigs." We will guide you on what to buy and even go shopping with you so you make the right purchases. You will not be allowed to bring home a rabbit or guinea pig without providing a video of the entire enclosure and surrounding area. If you cannot provide a video, we will arrange a home visit instead.   Please see the below videos to get an idea of what we are looking for (and yes, you may see a bunny/guinea pig or two already there - I've already been approved for adoption ;))
This is an example of what we are looking for in rabbit adoption application videos.
This is an example of what we are looking for in guinea pig application videos.
  • You must read through all materials provided to you. This may take a couple of weeks, but is necessary so that you can become informed. We will be in communication with you and answer your questions until you have a good grasp of the care required. 
  •  You must attend a rabbit or guinea pig 101 class. This will be held at our monthly Pet Food Warehouse events. In this class we will also go through the store with you to show you what kind of products to buy in the future. This class will reinforce what we have been discussing via email and in our links and educational materials. This will also give you some hands-on experience where we can teach you how to properly hold a rabbit, groom them, etc. 
  •  You must do a one week and one month follow-up with us. This can be either by email, phone or in person. This will ensure that everything is going smoothly and that if any problems have arisen we can take care of them quickly before they become an issue.
Get your notebooks out!  It's time to learn about bunny care!  We will also have Guinea Pig 101.

Some small exceptions may apply such as people that have adopted in the past and are pre-approved or those who already have a good grasp of the care required. Occasionally, we will also hold the adoptions and Bunny/Piggy 101 classes at our Dover location during larger events.

Our rescue is not looking to make things harder on people - that is not what these new guidelines are about. Rather, it is about assuring that our animals will be getting proper care. If someone is willing to go through the process, that tells us that they are committed to the care of their new pet.  After all these animals have been through, we owe them that.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions about the new procedures, please contact us. 

We want to see all of our future adoptive families receive an A+ for bunny/guinea pig care!