From the community

New Rabbit Rescue in Lamoine

Posted Sept. 19, 2012, at 5:15 p.m.
Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue
Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue

Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue is a not-for-profit organization run entirely by volunteers dedicated to rescuing abandoned, neglected or surrendered rabbits and finding them loving, forever homes. We provide our orphaned rabbits with physical and social rehabilitation and sanctuary until they are deemed fit to be matched with qualified adoptees. We are always happy to share information on rabbit care, feeding, grooming, medical needs, social requirements and behaviors. Our rescue is funded entirely by donations to help cover the cost of habitat, food, & veterinary expenses. Donations are desperately needed, as well as volunteers willing to help with rescue pick-ups and foster care.

Rabbits are the third most often surrendered animals at shelters. After the “Easter Bunny Rush” season, the “lucky” rabbits are turned over to animal control once they have grown up and “stopped being cute.” However, a vast number of unwanted “Easter Bunnies” languish in backyard hutches, forgotten once the novelty has worn off. Many of these die from ignorance of proper care, and even from outright neglect. A significant “silent” population of unwanted rabbits are simply abandoned in parks, and never recorded as part of the problem.

Here, at Cottontail Cottage, we provide our rabbits with fresh vegetables daily, plenty of space to hop around (in our fenced in clover yard), veterinary care, toys, and other creature comforts. Caring for these beautiful animals is expensive! I have two rescue bunnies who were born with a dental problem called “Maloclusion” – basically, an underbite. Bunnies teeth continue to grow throughout their lifespan, which is why it is so important that their teeth line up in a way that enable them to keep them ground down themselves. Maloclusion prevents this natural grinding method from happening. Left uncared for by a professional vet, their teeth will grow up, in and around, till they are curved like tusks, preventing them from eating and drinking; and they will eventually die. Most breeders handle maloclusion in their rabbits by “culling” or killing them. I have been successful in rescuing two rabbits whose fate would have been just this. Unfortunately, the cost to keep their teeth in working order can run upwards of $75 every two months per rabbit!

I live in Maine, in the small, coastal town of Lamoine. My husband and I purchased our “cottage” here a few years ago. We live in the woods, with a large field, and two creeks on either side of us – and a handy outbuilding, whose original purchase was to be my husband’s workshop – but which now is used as a rabbitry where we house our rescue rabbits (at the moment nearly 20 of them). We have three children. I have them to blame for the reason I am now running a rabbit rescue.

It fell to my lot, to take care of my daughter’s bunny, that at the time she was quite desperate to have. She named her “Flopsy”, after one of the Beatrix Potter’s bunny characters. She is a beautiful, torte-colored Holland Lop. After the initial excitement of owning a bunny wore off, it became more and more clear to me, that I was the one with the new pet. It was not long after this, that “Lucky” was added. I had read that bunnies need companions, and it did seem as though Flopsy were a little bored with just myself to keep her occupied. So I told my son he could get a girl bunny to keep Flopsy company. “Lucky” was the exact double of Flopsy: a bit stockier perhaps, ears a little longer, they could have been twins. It was amazing the immediate change I witnessed in Flopsy, when we put Lucky in the cage with her. She perked up and spent hours grooming her “baby”. It was in the spring, that we realized how aptly named “Lucky” was – for it turned out that Lucky was a boy! A litter of babies later, and we had a good start on our rabbitry. Or should I say, my rabbitry.

In the year that followed, I have learned a great deal about rabbits. Not only concerning their health needs and wellbeing, but also their social and intellectual abilities. Rabbits are not only adorable and sweet, but incredibly smart and communicative animals. With a flick of their ears or a nod of their heads, when a rabbit talks to me in this way, I feel deeply honored. Regardless of whether she’s saying “Buzz off” or “Groom me,” the underlying message is: she’s treating me as if I were a fellow rabbit. I have gained great respect for rabbits – and a sadness for the neglect and abandonment they are prone to receive from the general public. It was this awareness that made me decide to start my rabbit rescue.

I am very hopeful, with the help of caring donors and volunteers, to continue my rescue, rehabilitation and education work for rabbits.

For donations and information, please contact:

Jenny Nichols

Ph: 207.664.0344

tessdurbeyville@gmail.com

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