New Marshfield Rabbit Rescue Helps Domestic Bunnies Find Forever Homes

rabbit rescue marshfield wi
Brittany Graves with Oscar Henry McPickles

Most Domestic Rabbits Cannot Survive in Wild

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Brittany Graves officially started Oscar’s Rabbit Rescue in April 2022, but has been unofficially rescuing bunnies since last autumn. She hopes to help prevent the increasing dumping of domestic bunnies locally by providing education, resources, and an alternative option.

“In September, a friend found a domestic bun outside and brought it to us, completely randomly. I knew absolutely nothing about rabbits, but I knew this bun needed help so I urgently joined a bunch of Facebook groups and connected with people who helped me nurse him to health over the weekend,” said Graves. “I cleaned out impacted, horrendous smelling scent glands, syringe fed water and mushed pellets, etc. Through this I developed a bond with him, but I still didn’t think I could keep a rabbit while having two Boxer dogs.”

Graves called a couple area pet shelters but they wouldn’t take a rabbit.

“Every phone call I was torn about giving him up, so every ‘no’ I received was such a relief. That’s when I knew he needed to stay with me and I would figure it all out,” she said. “Four months later, I lost him. I learned a lot along the way, but I still wish I had known more. I didn’t know that rabbits hide pain so well and by the time it’s visible it can be too late. I didn’t know how fast a bun can die if they don’t eat. I lost my boy and it was traumatic and heartbreaking.”

As a full-time nurse, Graves set out to determine why Oscar died.

“I researched everything possible (and continue to learn regularly). We had named him Oscar Henry McPickles as a family – with everyone contributing to it. I feel like Oscar’s voice was not heard, both at the vet and by me not knowing enough at that time. I want his voice heard through helping educate others about buns and through rescuing buns to help them and help others enjoy their love, companionship, and joy they bring into lives,” she said.

Oscar’s fate is sadly not unique. Several domestic bunnies have been dumped locally in just the past couple of years alone.

“Many see cute, cuddly baby rabbits and later get tired of taking care of them or don’t understand that their personalities change as they reach sexual maturity age and the best way to help this (while protecting from cancer as well) is to spay/neuter,” she said. “This is also the time when siblings may turn on each other and it can be extremely dangerous and deadly until all are 8 weeks post spay/neuter. Only then, bonding can be attempted and is not always easy.”

“Many think that rabbits are easy and can be kept in cages outside and just fed pellets,” she added. “All of this is not true. Domestic rabbits and wild rabbits are completely different. A domestic rabbit cannot survive in the wild and a wild rabbit typically cannot survive in captivity outside of a specialized wildlife rehab center. Rabbits take a lot of work and are very social. They should be taken to a rabbit-savvy vet annually and as needed when concerns arise. They make great companions and are well worth it!”

After realizing there aren’t any rabbit rescues nearby, Graves decided to be the solution to the problem. So far, she’s helped seven rabbits – with more coming soon. Her goal is to help educate and share her love of bunnies.

“Rabbits are so fun! I would have never guessed this as the old way of thinking is to put them in a hutch in the backyard where they tend to not get much attention. Each bun has a unique and different personality. When you give them the space, time, and love that they deserve you will enjoy a great companion,” said Graves. “Just like any animal, there are naughty buns, but also many behaviors we dislike can be improved when understood. It is important to spay/neuter to prevent cancer and to prevent/help behavior issues. They need room to run off excess energy. An X-pen is an ideal space for those unable to bunny proof the house where the bun can roam anywhere.”

She added that most rabbits do not like being picked up and are not great for small children because they are very delicate – one fall can break a back, let, hip, etc..

It’s also important to understand diet, and monitoring intake and output is critical to prevent GI stasis that causes death in so many. Hay needs to be available at all times and eating about the size of the bun daily is crucial to a bun’s GI tract to work and keep working. Knowing what to feed based on age and weight is important.

“Bugs Bunny ate a lot of carrots, but real bunnies can die from more than a tiny amount very rarely due to the sugar content causing GI stasis,” she said. “Understanding GI stasis is so important for all new bun parents along with understanding that buns hide pain well. Knowing the signs/symptoms to watch for is so important.”

Graves’ biggest concerns are vet costs and accessibility for rabbit savvy/exotic vets locally.

“I’ve not found anything here open nights or weekends. In fact, a good emergency vet for a rabbit is 1.5-2.5 hours away depending who is on if a rabbit savvy vet is working at the time,” she said. “Vet expenses for rabbits are high, especially urgent visits which can happen at any time. I don’t receive any discounts at a vet, either, as the vets I reached out to are not taking on more rescues at this time.”

If you are considering adding a rabbit to your family, choose to rescue!

“Good rabbit rescues spay/neuter for you and know each rabbit’s personality because we spend time with them getting to know them,” said Graves.

There are several ways to help Oscar’s Rabbit Rescue:

  • Like and share their Facebook page and spread the word about the rescue.
  • Cash donations are extremely helpful! (Rabbit savvy vets are expensive.)
    • Venmo: @oscarsrabbitrescue
    • GoFundMe (they keep fees)
  • Amazon Wish List
  • Garden donations:
    • Cilantro
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Basil
    • Oregano
    • Mint
    • Thyme
    • Sage
    • Arugula
    • Bok Choy

To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/oscarsvoice/

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News Desk
Author: News Desk

This piece was posted by our news team! Contact us or submit stories at [email protected]