Pet Connections

The Bunny Bond… It’s more than you think By April Minech

Most of us have special memories from our childhood that include pets. The dogs we played ball with or secretly fed under the table with whatever we didn’t like on our dinner plates. Cats that cuddled up to us in bed or brushed their love softly against an arm or leg for comfort on a bad day. The seeds for that special relationship were planted early and we grew up learning how to care for those souls that would later be a part of our adult families.

So where do bunnies fit in? Suaz Forsythe from Rabbit Wranglers has a great way of looking at it. “I think the difference between other two and rabbits is that you know dogs and cats instinctually. Whether you have lived with one, raised one or just been around them as a kid, you know how to take care of them.” And rabbits are different she explains. “You really have to focus on their behavior and activities to know them. And it’s very grounding.” Many of the rabbit people she knows now never grew up with rabbits as pets when they were younger but are captivated by them now.  Carefully observing what bunnies are interested in and how they react to their environment can be calming in its own way. Like gazing at the stars, the sky has always been there, but you need to slow down and take a moment to appreciate what’s really going on.  “Once you take on a rabbit, your life changes,” she says calmly. Many of the rabbit volunteers and fosters who have been in the game for a long time really seem to get it.  

Because rabbits are prey animals, there is a lot to consider for there care that might not be evident at first. Rabbits hide everything going on – their feelings, injuries or anything bothering them lest they make themselves more vulnerable to predators. Owners need to be watchful and vigilant so anything going on can be addressed in a timely manner. “Sometimes you have to be a detective,” she cautions.

The reasons people adopt rabbits as pets can be surprising. A lot of people don’t consider a rabbit companion until they realize how much they never knew about them.  Part of the charm is realizing what they are all about, through an enlightened friend or witnessing a bun-run (an indoor gathering of rabbits that allows them to roam freely and explore in a large safe place) in person. “I never had my first rabbit until I was in college,” Suaz admits. “But they’ve helped me to see a bigger picture. That animals everywhere are overlooked like this.”

The culture towards animals has evolved and there are many more vegetarians and vegans visible in society. Many animal lovers are asking why we don’t have these love-like-a-pet feelings for more than just dogs and cats. Suaz explains the lightbulb moment that changed her thinking: “I was out for lunch at a serene little park with a pond, eating wings and watching ducks. I picked up my wing and BAM it all connected for me.”

Rabbit Wranglers, the non-profit group Suaz started, helps guide people who are newly interested in rabbits learn more about their secret lives. “What we could really use right now are volunteers and fosters. As we don’t have a facility, we manage about 70 rabbits at any one time though our network of foster homes.” And the rabbits continue to move through the network for care until they are ready to be placed through adoption. They work with people on a one-to-one basis to help people learn what they need to keep rabbits in their homes and become part of their lives. Volunteers who would like to foster and need to know how are walked hand-in-hand throughout the process.

For those interested in adopting a rabbit, Suaz offers some advice. First, remember that all animals are individuals, just like people. Maybe your dog saw a rabbit before and liked it; don’t assume it will like all rabbits. Or if you held a rabbit before and he liked it, another (or two) may not find it as fun. The most important thing is to be sure the rabbit is safe. Maybe it stays in x-pen when not supervised and allowed to roam in larger spaces that are safe from curious chewing (especially WIRES!) And the biggest mistake to avoid? They’re not the best fit for children. Rabbits are prey animals, and they don’t like being picked up, and most don’t like to be hugged or cuddled. Kids would do better with a bunny loving parent where they can learn the intricate and gentle relationship of a family rabbit.

Rabbit Wranglers mission is to help abused, neglected, and abandoned rabbits and to educate the public to improve the lives of these companion animals.

You can also visit the international group, House Rabbit Society at


December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023


December 14, 2023
November 22, 2023