I confess I've never had a rabbit -- I'm sure some people do it, but somehow, sighthounds and rabbits just don't seem like a good combination to me. But bunnies are pretty much the perfect pet for a lot of people who've never even considered one, and who may not realize just how well a rabbit might fit into their lives and homes.
"Homes" being the operative word, because life in cage or hutch is not life at all for a pet rabbit -- and it's not too fulfilling for the pet owner, either. From my column this week on SFGate.com:
When Jennifer Lee reluctantly agreed to take care of a friend's rabbit for a while, she set him up in a wire cage in her laundry room, just as his owner told her to do. But that didn't feel right to her somehow, so she did a little research online about rabbit care.
What she discovered surprised her. "Everything my friend told me about taking care of rabbits was wrong," Lee said.
Rabbits, it turns out, don't do very well when they're left alone in a cage or backyard hutch. They're bored, because they have nothing to do all day and no one, human or animal, to interact with, and boring, because watching a fuzzy creature stare at the cage wire isn't why most people have pets.
But once you bring them out of the cage and start interacting with them, it's a different story. They hop around, investigate things and love to play with toys. You can even train them, using a little tool popular with dog and cat trainers known as a clicker. "They're completely engaging," said Lee.
So engaging, in fact, that not only did she persuade her friend to change her rabbit-caging ways when she reclaimed her pet, but Lee went out and adopted three rabbits of her own, named Burt, JoJo and Megan.
"Anyone who thinks rabbits are boring pets should see mine," she laughed. "Every night they follow me up three flights of stairs, and sleep under my bed." Except, that is, for 13-pound JoJo, who jumps right up on the bed and sleeps on Lee's feet. "Then in the morning, Burt hops up onto the bed and hops all over me, trying to wake me up. Then he hops down and races over to a little carpet next to the bed, sitting there looking like he's talking to me, telling me to get up and feed them. And the three of them follow me right back down the stairs and run into their little corral to have their breakfast."
Read the rest here!