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  • Writer's pictureGail Petersen

Chocolate and Baskets – Not Real Bunnies

If you go into Walmart, Hobby Lobby or any food store right now you will find a plethora of rabbit nick-knacks, decorations, signs, chocolate eggs and bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and colored baskets of every shape and size. Peeps and chocolate in pink, green, yellow and purple. They all look amazing, fun and exciting for a basket treat for the kids or a loved one.

Fond Memories of Easter Surprises

My mother always made baskets for my brother and I and put them outside our bedroom door on Easter morning. We were thrilled when we woke and opened the door to a pretty basket full of sugar eggs with panoramic windows and chocolate bunnies. Then we did the “hunt” in the yard and found eggs with cute bunny stickers on them, or a quarter wrapped in foil and ribbon.

A big lunch followed with family or neighbors who came for the holiday. Italian Easter pie was the favorite, served with asparagus, potatoes and pickled red cabbage. Rabbit shaped butter cookies and homemade ice cream were the kids’ favorites.

The day ended with sick stomachs from eating too many jelly beans. But everyone was smiling.

Good Intentions Gone Wrong

In the years since my childhood, people have purchased real rabbits and chicks for their children to find on Easter morning. The intent is kind, but misguided.

The actuality is that rabbits and chicks aren’t presents, gifts or holiday cheer. Live animals are a 10-year plus commitment to feeding, cleaning, vet care, socializing, exercising and loving. You can’t put them in a cage and “add water” and food once a day.

Think of them as human beings, with a personality, feelings, emotions and muscles that need to move. Because they are. Every rabbit speaks to you if you take the time to listen and observe. Just because a rabbit can’t talk doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. People talk to human babies, talking to your rabbit allows them to know your voice and understand your role in their life. They communicate to you by licking you, jumping in the air, grunting, clicking, racing around your feet or snuggling on the couch. They can be a source of unending joy, laughter and love.

A Life and Soul in Your Hands

If you are thinking of getting a rabbit, don’t do it at Easter. Breeders sell a lot of rabbits during Easter and it is detrimental to society to support the unnecessary breeding of domestic animals for profit. There are too many unwanted, adoptable rabbits in rescues that need a home. Most are already spayed or neutered and litter box trained. Many are highly social and as cute as any you will find in a pet store or from a breeder.

Exactly like a cat or dog, rabbits should not be treated as a possession or a toy. They need nutritious food, proper handling and exercise. You wouldn’t lock your cat in a small cage and leave it outside – so you shouldn’t do that to rabbits. Bring them into your home, into your family and into your daily life. They will return your commitment and kindness ten times over.

Do your research before getting a bunny. Read about their needs, how much they will cost, how long they will live and what you need to do to “bunny-proof” your home. Talk to someone at a shelter or rescue about the rabbits that they have and which one might suit your family best. Young or old, big or small. If you are knowledgeable about all these factors you will be more successful in finding the right addition to your family.

Happy Easter Every Bun!

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