Week 43: Does petting bunnies count as volunteering?

Project: Ohio House Rabbit Rescue

Actual Time Taken: 1.5 hours

This weeks’ project was once again supplied by the wonderful site VolunteerMatch.org. If you ever, ever need help finding a volunteering project, I highly recommend this site. You can search by city or by the issue you’re interested in helping out. I punched in “Columbus, Ohio” and “Animals,” and had a bunch of great projects to choose from. Last week I helped out with kitties, so this week I moved over to bunnies.

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Apparently, since rabbits are historically (and biologically) prey animals, they are generally scared of huge hulking beings hovering over them. We gigantic humans resemble bears, cats, wolves, bobcats, dogs and other predatory animals at first glance, so the rabbits’ first instinct is to turn tail and hide.

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Trying to lure a shy gal out her hut.

So to counteract millennia of evolution, the Ohio House Rabbit Rescue asks volunteers to come in to socialize these little guys and teach them that not all humans are all that bad. Most of these rabbits have been rescued by staff or volunteers of the non-profit, and a very select few have been given up by their owners. After such a traumatic experience, I would be afraid of us humans too.

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Bribing a bun with a wicker chew.

This is one volunteer opportunity that my friends at work were eager to help out with, (really? No takers to scoop poop? Ok then…) so one of my dear friends Dionne (our physical therapist on the road) and I showed up at 3:30 for our quick orientation which consisted of being told to talk softly to the rabbits, step into the open enclosure, sit down, and wait for the bunny to approach.

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This little girl has already found a forever home! Yippie!

Once the rabbit is near you, keep talking in low tones and pet them. Apparently, these two things are all the bunny wants from you. They’re quite social animals and want a significant amount of interaction from their human friends.

The first bunny I interacted with was Clover, a sweet and extremely soft-furred-rabbit of the Rex species.

2014-10-21 16.00.20   2014-10-21 16.01.50 At first, she was a little shy, but eventually she warmed up to me

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I kid you not when I say that this species of rabbit have the SOFTEST fur I’ve ever felt. It was like petting a stuffed animal for 15 minutes, and she even almost fell asleep while I was sitting with her!

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I moved around the room and made lots of new friends, including this big guy, who goes by the name of Snowy. This hulking Norwegian rabbit was as big as a house cat and really needed some love and attention- I managed to groom off another bunny’s worth of fur from this sweet guy!

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I absolutely fell in love with a few of these buns, including Zia (On the left) and Frasier (On the right) Zia had the most beautiful blue eyes and loved all the attention she was getting, and Frasier was the cutest Lion Head rabbit with tufts of hair that were like a little mane behind his ears.

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Some buns really wanted (and needed) lots of attention and love, like Jasper here. He would hop over to the side of the enclosure when I came near and stand up on his hind legs or try to jam his face through the bars, hoping to get a pat or two.

Once again, I found that I had lost track of time (turning into a trend with these animal-centric volunteering gigs- I’m having so much fun I don’t want to leave!) and we had to run to work, so we said goodbye to our soft, sweet new friends and headed out. We will be going back next week and I know it’s going to take everything in my power not to come home with a new furry friend… (danger, DANGER Seena Robinson!)

All photos taken by me!

If you are interested in welcoming a sweet bunny into your home, or just want to help support this non-profit organization that relies entirely on donation (amazing!) visit their website here!

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