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The Specials: Adopting Special Needs Bunnies

Kringle was abandoned at Chicago Animal Care & Control in 2012. He is an eight pound, seven-year old Californian rabbit. Sadly, Californians are often bred for commercial or backyard meat production. Chicago is also home to many live animal stores where chickens, rabbits, and ducks are sold for home butchering and consumption. Those that do not sell are often abandoned on the streets.  Fortunately, Kringle was spared this tragic fate.

Kringle was transferred from CACC to Red Door Animal Shelter where he lived for six months while waiting for a home.  Because of their size and red eyes, Californians are difficult to adopt in the same way black cats are challenging. To make things even more complicated, Kringle also has issues with his spine as well as a heart murmur.

Adopting special needs bunnies

Kringle was abandoned at Chicago Animal Care & Control in 2012. He is an eight pound, seven-year old Californian rabbit. Sadly, Californians are often bred for commercial or backyard meat production. Chicago is also home to many live animal stores where chickens, rabbits, and ducks are sold for home butchering and consumption. Those that do not sell are often abandoned on the streets.  Fortunately, Kringle was spared this tragic fate.

Adopting Bunnies With Special Needs

Kringle was transferred from CACC to Red Door Animal Shelter where he lived for six months while waiting for a home. Because of their size and red eyes, Californians are difficult to adopt in the same way black cats are challenging. To make things even more complicated, Kringle also has issues with his spine as well as a heart murmur.

During his six months at Red Door, Patty visited Kringle several times a week. A long-time volunteer with over twenty years of rabbit experience, Patty is also an expert and advocate for rabbit care and rescue. She loves Californians and finds their red eyes extremely expressive. When it became clear that Kringle’s chances of adoption were slim, she brought him home to foster. She had recently lost her bunny, Claire, and her remaining bun, Clooney, was lonely. Once home, Clooney perked up and Patty decided to adopt Kringle.  She took him to a chiropractor and discovered that his upper back was fused together which put pressure on his left lung and heart. After treatment, his condition improved and he was able to reduce his heart medicine.

Adopting special needs bunnies from a shelter

Krissy was abandoned in a cardboard box with her brother. Both rabbits were emaciated, but Krissy more so. They were separated so each could be monitored and receive proper nutrition. Once she was healthy and spayed, Krissy was adopted, but was unfortunately returned a year later. By this time, Clooney had passed away and Kringle needed a new friend so Patty brought Krissy home. Rabbits usually take about a month to bond, but Kringle and Krissy took a bit longer. As you can see in the video below, they are now thoroughly bonded and spend their days grooming and cuddling.

In early May, Patty brought home a third Red Door bunny, Ebenezer. This adorable, black lop-eared bunny was abandoned at a manufacturing plant in a dirty carrier. He had ear mites in addition to an ear infection as well as a severe eye problem. His tear duct is permanently scarred and he needs his eyes flushed monthly and anti-inflammatory drops daily. While Ebenezer loves Krissy and Kringle, they are not quite sure of him just yet. They do touch noses occasionally through their pens, but there are also still tiny spats. Patty feels they are moving in the right direction and is hopeful that Krissy will soon have two boyfriends!

Rescuing and adopting special needs bunnies

Patty describes rabbits as smart, gentle, curious and Zen like. Sharing her life with bunnies is peaceful and watching them play, groom, and snuggle is calming and almost meditative. Whereas cats like to jump up on furniture, counters, and people, rabbits like to burrow under things. They enjoy cuddling, but usually at ground level and dislike being picked up or held. She hopes Ebenezer can eventually become a therapy bunny through Bunnies in Baskets Visiting Therapy Rabbits.

Rabbits are now the third most popular pet in the United States, but still often misunderstood and ignored by many shelters. They are affectionate, social, and loyal companions. When spayed or neutered, they can be litter box trained and with good proper care can live 10-12 years. A rabbit’s diet should consist of free access to Timothy Hay and fresh, washed salads twice a day.  Rabbits form strong bonds with other rabbits, but do prefer to pick their own mates. For more information on rabbit adoption, care and nutrition, please visit Red Door Animal Shelter here.

One final note, contrary to popular belief, rabbits do not make good pets for young children as they dislike loud noises, sudden movements, and injure easily. Every year thousands of rabbits are purchased around Easter only to be abandoned in shelters or left outside to die alone a few weeks later. Please do not adopt a rabbit (or any animal) unless you are committed to providing a life time of love and care.

Why you should adopt a rabbit

Kringle, Krissy, and Ebenezer are part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pits and black cats. If not for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here

38 Comments

  1. Molly and Mackie
    June 3, 2016 / 9:22 am

    There is sure a lot to know about bunnies! Bless Patty for giving these 3 a loving home♥

  2. Yamini MacLean
    June 3, 2016 / 10:31 am

    Hari OMWhen we were younger, we had two rabbits; gorgeous, intelligent and definitely personalities!!! YAM xx

  3. Emma
    June 3, 2016 / 11:48 am

    OMD! You need a warning on this post. I'm overcome with instinct from all the wabbits! Mom adopted wabbits twice as a kid, both from the Humane Society. These days we couldn't have one at our house, but she loved hers as a kid.

  4. Sandra
    June 3, 2016 / 11:48 am

    i never knew about bunnies as pets or that people keep them and abandon them. this is a shocker to me that all this exists.

  5. Mark Muller
    June 3, 2016 / 12:41 pm

    thanks for this great post about our bunny friends… they are wonderful pets and I hope that all people take good care of their pet rabbit…

  6. tubby3pug
    June 3, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    very cute. Iv ealways loved bunnies but with dogs and cats Id never own one. Too risky retro rover

  7. Unknown
    June 3, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    I love my Bunnies! They are wonderful to be around and just LOVE to be pet!

  8. Three Chatty Cats
    June 3, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    Thank you to Patty for rescuing these bunnies. I've always thought it would be fun to have a bunny (or rather a bonded pair). But being realistic, I would need to do proper research first to know what to expect.

  9. Linda
    June 3, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    Special needs animals are like special needs humans. They need love, respect and kindness….and understanding. Such a great post.

  10. Linda
    June 3, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    Special needs animals are like special needs humans. They need love, respect and kindness….and understanding. Such a great post.

  11. Deborah Berdell
    June 3, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    God bless my beautiful cousin Patty!!!!!! And her beautiful babies!!

  12. Saddle Seeks Horse
    June 3, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    They are all so adorable! I had no idea people buy them for home butchering. That makes me sick. I'm so glad these bunnies are safe. I have a friend who's mom found a gorgeous black rabbit in her back yard. My friend adopted the bunny and had many years of love with her. She passed away last year, and my friend was heartbroken. He was the one who introduced me to the concept of a house rabbit. Great post!

  13. Frankie Furter and Ernie
    June 3, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    When I (Frankie Furter) had my OUTSIDE Furends Charcoal and Charcoal… I had to take vERY good care of them… I was sooooo sad when they went to the bridge… Butt they were with me fur almost 2 years… OUTSIDE…

  14. Nichole Burke
    June 3, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    Those are some beautiful bunnies there! Adopting a pet with special needs is not for everyone, but for those who do, they get nothing but pure joy and love in return.

  15. Madi and Mom
    June 3, 2016 / 6:21 pm

    Mom loves the Vet show called Dr. K. She is an exotic animal vet in Florida.She has lots of bunnies on her show and many other unusual pets. We have learned lots about bunnies from Dr. KHugs madi your bfff

  16. Jean Dion
    June 3, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    What darling bunnies, all. And I have such admiration for the momma willing to take in buns that need meds daily. I know my childhood rabbit really disliked medical handling of any sort. I can't imagine how we would ever provide that level of care for him. Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  17. da tabbies o trout towne
    June 3, 2016 / 8:53 pm

    high paws & St Francis' blessing two ewe Patty…..bunz R total lee kewl; we R veree happee kringle, krissy & ebenezer finded ther for everz home; we R sorree guys ya had such a terrible start in life ~~~~~ ♥♥♥

  18. Tenacious Little Terrier
    June 3, 2016 / 9:55 pm

    Bunnies are not low maintenance for sure! I didn't know they went to the chiropractor too. And I love their names!

  19. Idaho PugRanch
    June 3, 2016 / 10:26 pm

    our granddaughter has a friend with a pet bunnyhugsMr Bailey, Hazel & mabel

  20. The Island Cats
    June 4, 2016 / 12:25 am

    We're glad Patty was there to rescue these sweet bunnies.

  21. meowmeowmans
    June 4, 2016 / 2:30 am

    We are so grateful for Patty, and the awesome work she does to help the bunnies at Red Door!

  22. Ruth Epstein
    June 4, 2016 / 2:59 am

    WHat amazing work she does and I so love bunnies 🙂

  23. M. K. Clinton
    June 4, 2016 / 3:28 am

    I love the lop eared bunnies. They are so cute but I've never had a rabbit of my own.

  24. Denise Gruzensky
    June 4, 2016 / 5:14 am

    Another great post Kristin! We had a lot of pet bunnies growing up. They are so soft and cuddly!

  25. Christine Caplan
    June 4, 2016 / 5:17 am

    I also love the lop eared bunnies and to imagine this bunny in a manufacturing plant in a dirty carrier is so terrible. I also think the concept of therapy bunnies is such a good idea — I didn't know about this so will research it further.

  26. Murphy
    June 4, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    I'm sorry, I was barking at the bunnies. I tried not to but Stanley talked me into it. We hope then find furever homes!Your Pals,Murphy & Stanley

  27. Daily Dog Tag
    June 4, 2016 / 11:34 pm

    They sure seem like great rabbits, I'm glad that Patty was able to bring them home! It sounds like Patty is able to give them all the love and care they need.

  28. pilch92 15andmeowing
    June 4, 2016 / 11:50 pm

    Excellent post, I am glad these beauties were saved. Before I was a crazy cat lady, I was a crazy bunny lady. Rabbits are such gentle creatures.

  29. Cathy Armato
    June 5, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    How wonderful!! Patty is a special person indeed to adopt 3 rabbits in need of a loving home. I had rabbits as a kid, I loved them ! Thanks for another great Specials post Kristen!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  30. Cathy Armato
    June 5, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    How wonderful!! Patty is a special person indeed to adopt 3 rabbits in need of a loving home. I had rabbits as a kid, I loved them ! Thanks for another great Specials post Kristen!Love & biscuits,Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  31. Spencer the Goldendoodle
    June 6, 2016 / 1:09 am

    Great post! My mom had rabbits growing up and they can be lots of work! 🙂

  32. Sweet Purrfections
    June 6, 2016 / 2:49 am

    Patty is a wonderful person to adopt the special needs rabbits. I learned more about rabbits when I worked with a science teacher and she had them in her classroom.

  33. Amanda Yantos
    June 6, 2016 / 5:06 am

    I feel like rabbits get forgotten a lot. We have a really large rabbit sanctuary here in AZ that adopts out rabbits. They are so wonderful. I have a special place in my heart for special needs animals, as I have a special needs cat.

  34. Sweet William The Scot
    June 6, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    Lee had a rabbit for awhile. A kid in the hood got it for Easter and after a year just turned it out to fend on its own. Lee gave it shelter in our yard and feed it with fresh salads every day. As the summer progressed the wild rabbits in the hood took a liking to it and it was adopted and learned how to live in the wild. We saw it for over three years and then no more, it was red in color so it stood out. We know this is contrary to what normally happens.Thanks for being a friendSweet William The Scot

  35. The Menagerie Mom
    June 7, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    Another beautiful story for The Specials series. Although I've never had one, I've always loved rabbits. I am so glad that these cuties got their much deserved happy ending.

  36. Valerie
    June 7, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    This makes me so sad :(, so many animals who are abused or left behind 🙁 ! Thank you for raising awareness about special need animals!!

  37. Jenna,Mark Drady
    June 9, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    Wow, this was fantastic! I have always had a soft spot for bunnies 🙂

  38. Bocci
    June 14, 2016 / 12:07 am

    Oh, these sweet bunnies! Patty is certainly a hero for adopting three in need! And I learned so much from this post…thanks as always.

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