Rabbit House Rescue – a place where bunnies can frolic, play and live safely

Having been to several animal sanctuaries for animals such as dogs and cats but never to a rabbit rescue sanctuary, I didn’t know what to expect.

The Rabbit House Rescue sanctuary must make the bunnies feel as though they have gone to heaven.

                                                          For larger view, Click on Image

There are no cages and the rabbits have free reign in what amounts to a bunny playground and condo living.

There are two insulated and heated buildings that the bunnies can enter and leave at any time.  Their playground has everything a bunny could want … walkways, areas to explore and play in, fresh water for drinking, large trees that provide shade and all enclosed against predators.

This bunny paradise was started by Ruth Shannon five years ago in rural Bruce County on her wooded lot that once belonged to her grandparents and where she used to spend summers as a child.

Shannon says that animals have always been a big part of her life. From dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs all the way to mice, she has had a passion for rescuing. Before domestic rabbits, she also rehabilitated many wild animals, from deer, raccoons, squirrels and chipmunks to birds.

“I could never have done this without the support of my family and, especially, my husband. We have rezoned the property, obtained permits and built structures to house many rabbits and have official NON PROFIT status,” says Shannon. “Unfortunately, the need to rescue domestic rabbits now and in the future remains a necessity. We receive many requests and drop offs for a variety of bunnies on a regular basis and recently had two, one from Allenford and another from Guelph.”

Shannon explained facts about rabbits that I, and perhaps many others, don’t realize.  “They are very social animals and are easily ‘litter-trained’ like cats.  I have two who live in our home and who have free run with the dog.  They are incredibly smart and loving.”

“We recently received two females and unknowingly they were expecting.  Rabbits can have two to four kits and the mother will make her nest out of rabbit fur that she pulls from her mate or any other handy rabbit.  The fur or hair is very insulating for warmth as the babies are born with no hair covering.  A female also has two uteruses which means they can have a double litter.  Also, their teeth constantly grow so that, like a cat or dog’s claws, they have to be clipped.

Shannon also takes some of them to schools where they are considered therapy support and, most recently, a long-term care facility in Walkerton has requested the same service for residents. “To hold and nuzzle a soft creature like these can be very calming and, at the same time, uplifting.”

“Their primary diet is all about nutritional needs,” explained Shannon.  “We get hay from farmers but they also have to have greens such as Spring Mix, Romaine lettuce, cilantro and parsley … dried cranberries are the ultimate treat for them. We were getting a large part of the greens from a local Port Elgin grocer when items reached their ‘after date’.  Unfortunately, their corporate office stopped it as it was considered a liability.  Now, I guess it just goes into the landfill. Thankfully, however, Giant Tiger in Port Elgin stepped in and makes a monthly donation in product.”

The rabbits are fed twice a day and their water is constantly refreshed.  “It is costing approximately $56 a day to care for them and, along with veterinary costs such as spay and neuturing, it works out to almost $32,000 a year. We invite families to come out with their children and learn about these sweet creatures and have the chance to hold them and appreciate what nature has given us.  All we ask is that, if they are able, to give a donation to help with the costs of food and medical care.”

Rabbit House Rescue helps domestic rabbits in need through sheltering, adoption, education, spay/neuter, and community outreach. “We aim to promote and provide the resources, education, and programs. We will provide care, comfort, and compassion to rabbits in need as we seek to strengthen the human/rabbit bond,” says Shannon.

Currently, the sanctuary is caring for 58 bunnies that are separated into groups depending on age, gender, spay/neutered, and compatibility.

“The playground is their happy place where they are able to run, dig, hide, tunnel and basically frolic,” adds Shannon. “Adoption is our main goal but many come to us and are not suitable for adoption, so they will live their lives out in the sanctuary being free to choose where they go and are never caged.  We are very selective when it comes to adoption as we want to know that they are going to a forever-home where they’ll be loved.”

To arrange an appointment to visit the sanctuary email: rabbithouserescue@gmail.com or to learn more or donate, visit: https://www.rabbithouserescue.ca or https://www.facebook.com/RabbitHouseRescue/