Archive | March, 2013

10 things you didn’t know about pet rabbits

There’s no joy quite like that of parenting a bunny. Rabbits are fantastic pets for the right family. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of good information out there on bunny health and care.

I shared my life with two bunnies, Hazel and Strawberry, for 13 years- that’s right, 13 years! (In case you’re wondering, my rabbits were, in fact, named after characters in the classic novel by Richard Adams, Watership Down.)

I started off like many people do- I bought a cute bunny and a cage from the pet store. I even picked up a few books on bunny care at the bookstore.

Not too much later I bought a second bunny. I knew what I was doing, right? Yeah… not so much. I had a lot of good intentions and a lot of misinformation.

It wasn’t until I started volunteering at Colorado House Rabbit Society that I learned what bunnies are all about. Fortunately my bunnies were young enough to benefit from everything I learned at Colorado House Rabbit Society and it’s parent organization, House Rabbit Society. Hazel and Strawberry lived a long and healthy life!

10 things I learned about rabbits

01. Rabbits need love and attention.

Rabbits are social animals that require daily attention and play. Not only do bunnies enjoy human companionship- bunnies are happy in bonded pairs.

Hazel loved to play interactive games with me- tossing, rolling, and pushing a plastic cat toy with a bell back and forth.

Hazel and Strawberry were a bonded pair that loved to play with each other. They enjoyed a variety of bunny games.

My bunnies also enjoyed human and rabbit snuggling and love, and softly clicked their teeth in contentment.

02. Rabbits require as much care as cats and dogs.

Rabbits need regular nail trims and regular veterinary check-ups from a qualified veterinarian. Many veterinarians do not treat rabbits, rats, and other exotic animals and some that do have only basic knowledge of rabbit health.

03. Rabbits live 10+ years.

A domesticated rabbit lives 7-10 years- even up to 13 years! Hazel lived 13 happy years, and Strawberry lived 11 years.

04. Rabbits should be spayed/neutered.

Just like cats and dogs, unaltered bunnies can display undesirable behavior such as marking and aggression.

My bunny, Strawberry, had aggressive tendencies before we had her spayed. She would lunge and bite at anyone coming near her. And trust me when I tell you bunny teeth can hurt! After being spayed the undesirable behavior stopped.

05. Domesticated rabbits are house pets.

Rabbits do not thrive living outdoors. Bunnies kept outside year-round are at risk from predators and inclement weather. Predators such as foxes and coyotes can easily gain access to rabbit hutches. Extreme hot or cold outdoor temperatures can cause serious illness and even death.

I have heard many stories from people that had rabbits kept outdoors with tragically short lives.

Strawberry Baby Mini Lop

Little baby Strawberry

06. Wire-bottom cages aren’t the best choice for rabbits.

Rabbits can develop painful sores from wire-bottom cages. Solid bottom cages are recommended and often less expensive.

After learning more about proper rabbit care I moved my bunnies from an expensive wire “rabbit” cage to a less-expensive plastic bottom dog kennel. Score!

07. Rabbits can be house-trained.

Most rabbits will use a litterbox if one is provided.

Don’t spend your money on those corner “rabbit” litter boxes- a small cat litter box works just fine. I used a small rectangular cat litter box filled with Carefresh bedding, topped with timothy hay. The bunnies loved it!

08. Rabbits like to chew!

Boy, howdy, do rabbits like to chew, chew, chew! They’ll chew on furniture, carpet, electrical cords, and more.

I gave my bunnies plenty of safe and healthy options to chew such as compressed alfalfa cubes, cardboard tubes filled with hay and treats, and small animal safe wood blocks.

09. Rabbits are energetic and acrobatic!

Rabbits are full of energy and quite playful. When you let them out of a cage they will entertain you for hours!

One of the most hilarious bunny behaviors happens when bunnies get a burst of energy- sprinting across the room, flipping in the air, and sprinting  back.

10. There are many homeless rabbits waiting for loving homes at animal shelters!

I purchased both of my bunnies at pet stores, not knowing there are many adoptable rabbits available at animal shelters and through animal rescues like House Rabbit Society. Please don’t follow my example. If you decide a bunny is right for your family, adopt today! There are many great benefits to adoption, including bringing home a pet that is already spayed/neutered.

Just look at the adorable adoptable rabbits available at Larimer Humane Society, Longmont Humane Society, and Colorado House Rabbit Society!

Hazel Netherland Dwarf extreme bunny close up

Extreme Hazel close up

If you’re ready to become a responsible bunny parent, please visit the House Rabbit Society website to learn more about these sweet and wonderful animals.

A new shelter for Larimer Humane Society

Larimer Humane Society wants to build a new shelter at the cost of $16.5 million- $13 million of which could be paid by taxpayers. While some may protest the proposed temporary tax increase, there are many great reasons to support it.

How Larimer Humane Society benefits our community

Larimer Humane Society provides many valuable programs and services that support our community. Just a few of these services include:

  • Provide shelter and care for almost 12,000 lost, surrendered, ill and injured wild and domestic animals each year.
  • Places spayed and neutered animals into new homes for a reasonable fee.
  • Offers spay/neuter assistance through Spay/Neuter Incentive Program (SNIP) program.
  • Reunites lost pets with owners.
  • Licenses dogs, cats, and chickens.
  • Investigates animal cruelty.
  • Provides animal behavior assistance through online help sheets.
  • Rents humane traps to the public for a nominal fee.

These services benefit our community by keeping homeless animals off our streets, reducing pet overpopulation, minimizing animal nuisance occurrences, and supporting proper behavior management.

Whether or not you are an animal lover, most individuals appreciate programs and services that regulate and manage the animal population in our community.

Why a new shelter is needed

Larimer Humane Society’s current shelter building is cramped, overcrowded and worn out. The building is structurally unstable and the foundation is cracking. There is no room to grow with the needs of the community.

A new shelter for Larimer Humane Society would allow the organization to  provide current services, and expand on those services, in the years to come. Without a new shelter it’s uncertain if Larimer Humane Society could continue to promote a safe, healthy, and harmonious relationships between humans and animals.

Larimer Humane Society Shelter Conditions

The proposed tax increase- how it works

Our community has the opportunity to weigh in on a proposed temporary tax increase in the form of a citizen initiative that will help fund a new shelter facility. This initiative will determine if we will vote on the tax on the November 2013 ballot.

The first hurdle is getting the initiative on the ballot in November. Larimer Humane Society needs 12,000 signatures to put the initiative to a vote. Volunteers are collecting signatures at campaign events. Additional signatures are being collected at the Larimer Humane Society Shelter and Administrative offices.

If appropriate signatures are collected and the initiative gets on the November ballot, Larimer County voters will vote on the temporary tax increase.

The tax would include a one penny ($.01) per $10 sales tax. The tax would not be levied on groceries and other items that do not currently incur sales tax. The proposed temporary tax would expire after the required funds were raised, or at the end of six years, whichever comes first.

What does that mean to you, really? Let’s say you spend $500 per month on clothing and household supplies, not including groceries. Under the proposed tax you would pay an additional 50 cents ($.50) tax per month- that’s an extra $6 per year.  Are you willing to give $6 per year to Larimer Humane Society?

I’m voting yes

I have already signed the initiate and will vote YES on the tax should it make it’s way to November ballot. We desperately need an updated and expanded shelter to continue to provide programs and services that benefit animals and our community as a whole.

This issue is not just about being an animal lover- a new shelter for Larimer Humane Society supports our community and it’s relationship with animals. Maintaining a healthy and balanced animal population benefits one and all.

Larimer Humane Society No Outlet

Do you support the tax increase? Why or why not?

Welcome to Tails of Fort Collins!

I’m one of “those” people.

You know, one of those people that talk about their pets like they are people. One of those people that talk about their pets like they are their kids.

I have been known to refer to my pets as furkids. They aren’t really pets- they’re family!

Welcome to Tails of Fort Collins, celebrating our furry and feathered families in Northern Colorado!

Fort Collins is a pet-friendly city, home Colorado State University, the 3rd highest ranked veterinary medicine college in the United States.

Fort Collins also offers limitless outdoor recreation and, as such, is home to many dog owners that enjoy exploring the vast and beautiful landscape with their four-legged friends.

We love our pets and want them to live long and happy lives by our side in this beautiful city.

Pets are a significant part of our community, affecting not only pet owners but our neighbors, businesses, and ecosystem. We need to have meaningful discourse about responsible pet ownership, animal welfare, and social responsibility.

Join me on Tails of Fort Collins as we discuss important topics like animal health and care, adoption, recreation, safety, and the impact of pet ownership- both positive and negative- on our community.

Let’s get the conversation started! Comment here and tell me what topics you want to discuss.

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You can also read more about me and my furry family.

dog wedding photo