Thursday, April 17, 2014

Greeley proves that if you Respect the Rabbit, good things will happen


At Red Door, we believe rabbits should be part of the family, kept indoors and provided with proper care and lots of love.  But all too often, bunnies are purchased impulsively by parents as an Easter gift. Soon, the novelty wears off, the kids get bored, and bunny gets neglected. In early 2013 we rescued a gray lop from a family who no longer loved him. 

After being vetted and neutered, "Greeley", was posted to our adoption site, and the applications flooded in. Who wouldn't want this sweet, handsome boy? One family stood out as the best potential home. With a thorough interview and training, they soon accepted Greeley into their family. 

This is their story...


We decided to get a rabbit around Easter last year. The Easter part was just a coincidence, we had been talking about it since December.

So we got online to check out buns on the Red Door website.  My girls and I (I have three daughters, 11, 9, and 6) looked through all the different rabbits – we read their names and personality descriptions.

But we immediately became attached to a little gray bunny named Greeley.  His picture made him look like he was posing; he seemed so sure of himself. 

He had been surrendered in February, and it was March. I felt like we already knew each other and we had this plan to come together…I didn’t really pay attention to any of the other pictures after I saw him.

The adoption interview process at Red Door is thorough, and we live in Elmhurst (about a 40 minute drive) so it took us awhile to finally get there to adopt our bunny.

I remember parking and telling the girls to not have their hopes up about Greeley, he may have been adopted already. I was saying it to them, but I was really talking to me. I was nervous.

When we walked in and found out he was there it was true relief – Jeremy (our adoption counselor) brought him to us and we were done.  Greeley was going home with us!

And what a year it has been.  We originally created a room for him in the basement, but very quickly we realized we wanted him on the same floor as us.  He has a pen, but most of the time he roams the house.  He likes to hide under the couch and sit on the vents – he has his own special places.

My daughters give him extraordinary amounts of attention, and he is deeply loved every day. When my oldest was sick, he laid next to her for hours.  When the girls friends comes over, he stays still and lets everybody pet him.  When I watch TV he sits on my lap and enjoys the calm.


Of course, he is still a rabbit.  He eats our paper off the fridge, he tries to chew my husband’s work folders. And he lets you know when he needs space (with a nudge or a nip).  I always tell the girls to respect his “rabbitness”. He is not a dog or cat, he has his own way of being, and it’s our job to understand and respect him.

Greeley goes with us on trips to Galena, he loves spa days at Red Door, and he also goes by the name “Zen Bunny” because he’s the mascot of Zen Parenting Radio, a podcast that my husband and I have doing for several years.

His birthday (or adoption day) is the day before my oldest daughter, so we had a great celebration a few weeks ago.  Our extended family loves him; he fits so naturally into our environment.

We found Greeley at the right time and the right place and we could not be more grateful. 
Big thanks to Red Door for keeping him safe until we could be together.

Red Door sends hugs and kisses to the Adams' for giving Greeley a wonderful, loving home and proving that rabbits do make excellent pets if the family is well informed. Respect the Rabbit!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Adopting a Cat Called "Badge of Honor" by NY Times. We Knew That!


At the shelter, Abigail is bored by the "news" in a recent New York Times article called "I'm a Cat Lady? Thank You."

The story says that the image of a "cat lady," once a term used to connote loneliness in women, is now getting an upgrade--thanks to people like singer Taylor Swift, who loves cats, and the cable TV series Girls, which also features a cat in what the NYT writer considers a hip, young way.

Of course, we've always thought that adopting a cat was a terrific badge of honor! Now tell Abigail something new.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lucy & Desi Do Glamorous Fashion Shoot

Lucy and Desi snuggle during their break


We are all about romance! And some great fashion thrown in doesn't hurt, either. So Red Door was happy when Glossed & Found asked us to bring a rabbit to their bridal fashion photography session at The Savoy Flea, a vintage curiosity shop located in Chicago's West Town neighborhood.

We did them one better - we brought madly-in-love rabbit couple Lucy and Desi (hint: Lucy is the stunning redhead above) to the shoot. The two bunnies, who were under the strict watch of rabbit-experienced chaperones the whole time, had a great time. And so did all the G&F people, too.

The gowns were stunning, but we think the rabbits were the most gorgeous ones on the set.

Graham Kostic, creative & editorial director of Glossed & Found, offered the rabbits a Red Door credit line. "And we will also support Red Door's "Respect the Rabbit" campaign via our social media channels, plus we will do a dedicated video interview about the "Respect the Rabbit" project."
Graham Kostic and stylist Helen Burken pose with Lucy.

Thanks, Graham! (He had pet rabbits as a child, so the subject is near and dear to his heart.)

Check the final results at the Glossed & Gowned issue and watch the Fashion Film.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Before NCAA Basketball, Hares Invented March Madness

It's that time of year when basketball fans (and those who just enjoy a good office pool), start filling out their brackets for the NCAA Basketball March Madness playoffs.

But first we should pay homage to the original creators of this month's annual frenzy: Hares found in Europe. The first use of the expression "mad as a March hare" dates back to the 16th century.
But the descriptive phrase truly became part of the English lexicon when it appeared in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, published in 1865.

The madness of hares (similar but not the same as U.S. cottontails) starts exhibiting itself in springtime, the beginning of the hare mating season; scientists in Scotland believe that the longer daylight hours and the availability of food occurring in March triggers some kind of hormonal switch in hares.

The animals will stand on their back feet and box each other or bowl headfirst into each other. They also exhibit other signs of rambunctiousness and unpredictable behavior.

In the United Kingdom, the BBC publishes a schedule of when and where observers might best be able to watch March hares going at it--and it doesn't require any filling out of brackets to be part of the fun.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Panda Moves On Up in the World

 It's time for another one of Red Door's Feel-Good-Friday Stories. This one is from Candice, a Red Door volunteer who rescued Panda:

This is the story of how Panda got a second chance and now has a DELUXE apartment in the sky!

Thanks to Red Door I found this little princess that has stolen my heart.  The shelter was doing a cat adoption event at a store that sold "pocket pets" - generally, not the kind of place we like.  I had volunteered to help with the adoption event that day.  The store had two cages with 4 bunnies crammed in together.

Naturally, the rabbits drew my attention.

Life at the pet store was crowded.
Panda (the smaller of the 4) seemed to be off- more withdrawn, a little less engaging than the other bunnies.  I told a sales person that one rabbit had a runny nose and might be sick.The sales person said she'd "talk to the owner and get the rabbit looked at".  I left that day thinking they just HAD to take her to a vet, right? Who wouldn't help that cutie? 

About a month later, I returned to  that pet shop to see if the bunnies were gone. I had been worried about how they were being cared for.  At this point, the store had MORE!!

Panda was now in her own cage, with no food, no water and her little foot was caught in the bottom bars because they didn't have the lining covered the entire way.  It took 2 seconds for me to get her out of there.

Panda's first night in a real home
I hadn't given much thought to what I was going to do with her outside of getting her out of that horrible place.  I immediately took her to Chicago Exotics the following weekend.  They did diagnose her with pasturella and we proceeded to get her on a regimen of medicine to start clearing that up.  So I figured I would nurse her back to health and see if I couldn't find a permanent home for her. 

I was silly to even think she would leave me :)  She won my heart in a matter of days.  She never wanted to leave my side, constantly jumping up on my on the couch and in my bed.  Wanting to cuddle at night and playing catch/chase all over my apartment.  I knew she would be with me for a long time.  We quickly became inseparable.
Panda loves her new mama!
She has continued to have a few medical issues, but they are clearing up. And she's worth the time and energy, of course!

While Panda sure doesn't love the medicine doses, she takes them like a champ and then circles my feet waiting for a little treat for good behavior.  I hope to eventually let her go speed dating and find a bunny friend.
At home in Michigan with the family Guinea Pig

She now owns my apartment where she lets me rent a room from her.  She loves to find the highest place to sit and relax and look over her home.  She does the bunny 500 race daily in hopes of making a world record some day.  Her daily activities include jumping up on the bed, digging under the covers and wrecking every sheet I own :)  

She is wonderfully potty trained and is meticulous about her hay bin.  This little girl owns my heart and if you ever get to meet her, she will have you in the palm of her paw in seconds (and will give you a few kisses too)  

Sometimes I wonder if she knows she is a 3 pound bunny and not a giant lion?  She brings me such happiness and I am glad she has a chance to be happy in my home and I can only hope she is as happy as I am. 

P.S.: The pet store has stopped selling rabbits! Yea!
Life is good.





Go Hawks!





Friday, March 07, 2014

Tales of Murphy: Alaskan Bunny Ambassador & Red Door Alumni


We are always happy to hear from anybunny, but particularly a Red Door alumni. Back at the shelter, we knew him as Sir Paul, a sweet Californian-breed rabbit. He had been found in a field by some high school kids who were cleaning out litter from the brush and bushes. 

Sir Paul found his adoptive mom, Jill, at Red Door and he settled into a great life in Chicago. And then....they moved to Alaska.

Here is an update from Murphy, formerly Sir Paul, on his new life far up north. He's turned into a real Bunny Ambassador for pet rabbits!


"Hello to everyone at Red Door!  Greetings to you from Alaska.  I am Murphy- although some of you may remember me better as Sir Paul.  I was adopted from Red Door by a single mom two years ago this February. 

My mom and I were having a nice life in Chicago until she got offered a teaching job in Nome, Alaska and decided that we were BOTH moving there.  I didn’t want to go because I knew that in the far north of Alaska there are many Eskimos who still hunt and live off the land.  I ate my way out of several carriers to let her know I didn’t want to go.  But she was determined and put me in a large, hard carrier and into the bottom of the plane I went. 

The weather caused us to have an unexpected layover between Anchorage and Nome for 8 hours!  They sure are pretty nice in Alaska because they let me bounce around all over the airport garden and I don’t think that would be allowed at O’Hare!  

Here I am playing outside at the airport in Alaska.
I finally started to settle into my Nome home.  There are lots of other cool animals here like musk ox, moose, seal, walrus, and bears.  There’s even a man who has a pet reindeer that rides around in the back of his truck like a dog!  Next week the Iditarod dogs will be reaching the finish line here in Nome!  Exciting!   And Sometimes I hear the Discovery channel helicopters flying overhead filming Bering Sea Gold.    

Because Nome is a small town, only 3,500 people live here, it didn’t take long for the native Inupiaq and Yupik (Eskimo) students to find out where we lived.  Mom liked to brag about me to her students.  They only understood that bunnies were to be hunted and eaten.  Bunnies are not pets up here.  Pretty soon the students got comfortable with mom and started to stop by to look at me.  I was afraid, so I hid.  But they were really fascinated by me and they wanted to pet me, and play with me, and give me food.  

Pretty soon I realized they liked me and wanted to be friends so I let them pet me and feed me.  There I am with 3 Eskimo girls who come and visit me and fight over who gets to give me my treatThey like when I bounce around or when I stand on my hind legs and beg.  They will leave me trails of food all over the house and they will just sit quietly and watch me until mom kicks them out.  They come over almost every night now! I really like them.  I even let them take me on a field trip to play in the snow- but mom took me in after a little bit because she doesn’t trust the wild animals or the people driving around on snow mobiles. 


Anyway, I really like it in Alaska and all the attention I get from my new friends.  I like that because of me, they see that bunnies are nice pets.  But I also am working very hard to cheer mom up whenever she gets lonely for family and friends in Chicago.  I will sit on the floor where she can reach me and let her pet me and remind her that even though she is 3000 miles from home, I am still with her and that makes her happy and feeling like she has a piece of her old Chicago life in her new Alaskan world. 

I don’t know where I’ll be next year- I might be here with my friends or I might move to a different part of Alaska and make even more new friends.  I only know that mom is taking me with her no matter where she goes because she loves me so much.  And maybe we will even stop by Red Door to say hello when we come to Chicago for the summer!  We miss you all! "

Murphy, did you get frequent flyer miles for that trip?

Do you have a Tale about your Red Door adopted pet to share with us? Please send it in: info@reddoorshelter.org

Saturday, March 01, 2014

It's National Pig Day! We Remember Rescuing Artie.

Since March 1 is National Pig Day, it only seems right that Red Door tells its own Pig Tale -- the pink baby pig we rescued years ago. We called him Artie.

Artie was only about 10 days old when he turned up in need of some emergency care. The story about where Artie came from was kind of -- pardon our joke -- fishy. Several young men, who appeared to be from a nearby fraternity, said they just wanted to help this poor little guy out after finding him. We think Artie was probably stolen from a farmer as part of a fraternity prank.

Artie had cuts on his foreleg, something that looked like it could have been caused by the pig being pulled under a fence. We got him emergency treatment and a lot of baby toys. Artie was capable of doing the toddler-level activity toys that required ringing bells or pushing buttons!

He looked just like Babe, but Artie was destined to grow to over 1000 pounds.

We also got a foster home for Artie and then moved him to a wonderful, rural no-kill pig sanctuary, where Artie like to hang out with -- drumroll -- the dogs who lived in the house at the sanctuary. Turned out Artie had bonded with the dogs in his foster home.

Pigs can be fun as pets, but they are smart and will grow up to be very large and often willful pets--even the ones that are promoted as "small" or "teacup" may remain. Taking one on is a huge commitment. We're happy we got to meet Artie and to help him find the right home. We think of him often-how he ran around the room on his hooves, which looked like tiny little high heels.