From Trash to Treasure
Like most of the bunnies who have found their way to the Lewis Oliver Farm, Tootsie was abandoned by her owners who no longer wanted her. Sadly, she was placed in a sealed up cardboard box marked “Fragile” and left at the curb on Burt Avenue, next to a pile of garbage that was scheduled to be picked up the next day.
Luckily, a couple of young girls visiting the farm discovered Tootsie when they happened to walk by the pile and heard scratching sounds coming from inside the box.
This would have been a stressful and frightening experience for any animal but even more so for a bunny who by nature, is a timid and fearful creature of prey.
Despite being scared, we were shocked at how friendly and trusting she was which made it even more difficult for us to understand how someone could just discard her in that way. We immediately took this big, beautiful and scared bunny out of the box and into our hearts.
Bunnies: Most People Just Don’t Get Us!
Unfortunately, domestic bunnies are one of the most misunderstood household pets whose owners grow bored with them and often give them up once the novelty of owning a new pet wears off.
There are many misconceptions that people have about owning a pet bunny including:
- they’re an easy, low maintenance and inexpensive pet to care for
- they make great pets for small children
- they do well living in an outdoor hutch
In reality, bunnies can live up to 12 yrs+ and like any other pet, are a long- term commitment. They are very delicate with highly specialized dietary needs and require a lot of attention, care and money to maintain.
As animals of prey, bunnies instinctively do not like being handled, picked up or chased -all of which small children instinctively want to do when they see a bunny.
They are highly social animals and yet sadly, many lead a very lonely existence when their owners choose to stick them in an outdoor hutch where, apart from feeding them each day, they are often ignored and forgotten about.
Bunnies are also extremely susceptible to heat stroke and should not be left out in temperatures over 75 degrees. A life outdoors also means, a high risk of parasite infestation including fleas, mites and the dreaded fly-strike where their fur, skin and eventually their organs wind up getting infested with maggots .
At night, predators such as raccoons and fox will lurk around and try to break into a bunny’s hutch; their mere presence is enough to literally scare a bunny to death which is something that often happens during thunderstorms as well.
Many inexperienced owners complain that their pet bunny is “boring” and brings very little enrichment to their lives the way a dog or cat can.
Sadly, when it comes to a lifetime of confinement in a small hutch, away from their humans, this couldn’t be more true!
Bunnies need space to run, jump and to play. Until you have seen a bunny free from the confines of a hutch, you couldn’t begin to understand what fun -loving creatures they really are. When confined to a hutch 24/7, bunnies are not given the opportunity to interact with their owners or express their personalities . There is nothing more delightful than to see a bunny jump straight up in the air, twist and kick his back legs out. This adorable acrobatic stunt is an expression of sheer joy and is best known by bunny owners as a “binky”.
When in the right environment, with plenty of opportunity to exercise and interact with their humans, bunnies make wonderful pets. They’re affectionate, highly social, extremely amusing to watch and are even easily litter box trained!
Sweet Like Candy
Needless to say, we are happy those girls discovered Tootsie that fateful morning before a neighborhood dog or raccoon did and certainly before the sanitation crew came by and who most likely would have unknowingly tossed that box into the garbage compactor.
Tootsie is a very sweet and friendly bunny who, like all of our bunnies, loves getting as much time as possible outside of her hutch. Our volunteers try to give them as much free time as possible to run, jump and exercise but they can never get enough! We are always looking for more volunteers to spend time with our bunnies. We set up exercise pens in the bunny room and we also use our hay storage area as a bunny playground where we have set up a huge play tunnel and where the bunnies love to explore and climb on the hay stacks.
Next to running through the hay room, Tootsie’s favorite pastime is munching on a fresh salad of dark leafy greens and getting her back and ears scratched. In fact, she adores being pet so much, that she will often roll over onto her side where she’ll stay for as long as you’re willing to pet her.
We call this trick the “Tootsie Roll” which is what earned this sweet, dark chocolate -colored bunny her name .
Want to see the more fun-loving side of Tootsie ? Join our team of volunteers and help give her and our other three bunnies more time to run, jump, play and to be the way bunnies were meant o be ..Tootsie and her friends will love you for it!