Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Egg-citing Event: K-9 Easter Egg Hunt

This Saturday, March 24, marks what Red Door hopes will become an annual tradition: our first K-9 Egg-stravaganza! Dog Easter Egg Hunt. Sponsored by Dog Obedience Group and Rex's Place, this doggy event will be tail-wagging fun.

In the U.S., the best known Easter egg event is probably the White House Easter Egg Roll, which officially started on the South Lawn of the White House in 1878 (although some history references mention a possible egg roll overseen by Dolly Madison). But at the White House, the eggs are rolled--with a spoon or a stick--across the grass. Even First Dog Bo looks pretty excited about the whole idea this year.

I think I found a bug...
Red Door's Egg Hunt will have leashed dogs and their owners searching for eggs along our course. Every owner is given an egg carton and every egg sniffed by his or her dog goes in the carton. Of course, each egg is stuffed with treats--plus there will be many extra prizes for dogs or humans! Prizes include dog toys, bags of dog treats, chocolate bunnies for humans, restaurant gift certificates, coupons for doggy day care, and a pet portrait at Sutton Studios.
There's better be treats for this...

The event is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Dog Obedience Place/Rex's Place, 2120 Ashland, Evanston. Entry fee for the K-9 Egg-stravaganza is $10 per dog. Also, the Easter Bunny will be on hand for instant photo portraits with your pet ($5). All money raised benefits the abandoned rabbits at Red Door.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Respect The Rabbit - Easter Amnesty Program

It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog that Easter can be a difficult time for rabbit rescue groups.  Every year we see rabbits who are purchased as impulse gifts for the holiday, and then neglected or discarded when the novelty wears off.  New rabbit owners are often ill-informed about proper rabbit care and the need for spaying or neutering.  The lucky ones are turned into Red Door or other rescue organizations, but too many are dumped in the wild under the mistaken impression that they will survive.

That's why we are excited about this year's new 'Respect The Rabbit' campaign!

   Through press releases, radio spots, and posters we are working to spread our message about rabbit education!

No Greg, that's not what we meant ...

"We want the public to become more familiar with rabbits and educate them on proper care" says Rabbit Adoption Coordinator Toni Greetis.  "Most people think of rabbits as low maintenance starter pets who only live for a couple of years. Red Door wants rabbits to have the same level respect that is given to dogs and cats. the more people know about rabbits, the less likely they are to make impulse purchases."

Stores participating in the Amnesty program agree not to sell any rabbits between April 1st and April 15th, and to display our poster in their store. 

The Amnesty simply prevents people from buying a rabbit on impulse just because it looks cute cuddly and fluffy. But the Amnesty also works to raise awareness of rabbit welfare issues. It is an idea opportunity for retailers to openly demonstrate how they take their animal care responsibilities seriously - and are both able and willing to put animal welfare before commercial profit. The Amnesty is also a great way of engaging customers, forging long-term relationships with customers and the local community through positive action...From the retailers perspective, acustomer who gives the rabbit up after a few weeks or months is only a very small and short-term financial benefit. A customer who is truly committed to the long-term care of their rabbit can be a great customer for 10 years or more!

  (from the program intro packet)

Over a dozen pet stores were approached, and we are pleased to announce that  The Animal Store  and Wilmette Pet Center have teamed up with us as part of this new campaign.  Each store will be featured in an upcoming blog entry, and we encourage you to choose them for your pet supply needs and to let them know how much you appreciate their taking part in this campaign. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Girl Power!

In many ways, the rabbit world runs on Girl Power.  Domestic rabbits were originally bred from the European wild rabbits, which have a matriarchal social structure. In some breeds, the female is usually larger than the male. But no matter what the breed, there are a lot of girlbuns whose personalities are out of all proportion to their physical size.  A perfect example of this is Dora, who is currently living in a Red Door foster home.

I'm not quite sure about you yet...

Isadora was found outside in the spring of 2009. The person who found her was able to foster her for a short while until we had space available. She came to Red Door in April of 2009. She was adopted in June of 2009, only to be returned in June of 2011 when her mom moved to Louisiana.

Dora was not very happy to be back at the shelter, and she became increasingly irritable, so she was fostered by our own Toni.  Toni woke up one day to find a huge puddle of blood in Dora's pen. After a visit to Animal 911, it became apparent that Dora had a severe urinary tract infection and had passed a stone overnight. Poor baby must have been in pain for a while, and that's certainly enough to make a girl pretty cranky!

And what do YOU want?
Dora recovered from her UTI, but was still pretty fiesty when penned, so we sent her to be fostered with Victoria Velinski in September of 2011.  Victoria took to calling her Go-Go, after the character in Kill Bill, because of her aggression.   Female buns, particularly those from less-than-ideal backgrounds, can be VERY cage-protective.

Spring in the garden!

With some stability and patience in her living environment, she has made loads of progress.  She is still very opinionated, usually announcing her arrival in a room with an emphatic THUMP!  But she is also quite social with the animals she shares her foster home with - she likes to play tag with her kitty friends and even gets along well with their large Bernese Mountain Dog!  She can run hot-and-cold as far as other rabbits are concerned, but perhaps she just hasn't met the right guy yet.

Queen of the Castle
Of course, a woman needs her own space.  Dora is still picky about how her cage is arranged, but as long as you open it and let her leave on her own first,  you can clean it without being molested.  Just remember that once you're done, she is going to want some time to move and chin everything back to exactly the way she wants it.  Can you really blame her?  Would you want your living room rearranged every few days?

She will tolerate being picked up, as long as her butt is properly supported, and will even give bunny-kisses!  She is also quite the mountain-goat, once surprising Victoria from the top of the piano.

This confident bungirl is going to need someone who understands that at the age of 4 she has her own ideas about things and wants to be able to do things her own way.  She demands respect, but with her around life will certainly never be boring!

Dora is available for adoption.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Leap(ing) Year!

We had a great month of adoptions in the month of February.
Here are some of the cats and bunnies who found their forever homes in February:

Venetia was found in some pretty rough shape. She had were patches of fur missing from her back, scabs all over her body, a small hard nodule just beneath her skin on her shoulder (later found to be a BB pellet), and a damaged left eye.  Now she sleeps in her new momma's bed and greets their 5 year-old with headbutts every morning!

Popeye made a love connection on Valentines Day with a family who originally came in looking for a rabbit!  This charmer managed to change their minds.  (Hint hint - he gets along GREAT with bunnies....)

Little Highway was just a baby when he was found dumped on Dempster Street in Skokie, with a bad case of coccidia.  With time, loving care, and proper treatment he recovered, got his neuter, and now has a home of his own.


Swatch and Rolex have been Red Door buns from birth!  (Their mother Blossom was pregnant when she was rescued)   They have great homes now, but their brother Poke Chop will be ready for adoption soon.

Mr. Peppermint got to spend some quality time with Toni before finding his forever home.  Now this cuddly big boy is named Louie and he loves to tooth-purr for his new people.

Sir Paul was adopted by a single mom, and is really enjoying having the space to run and binky!  He's still a bit shy of his new people, but they are being patient with him and he should settle in just fine.

Congratulations to our latest Red Door Alumni!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Hoppily Ever After

Some rabbits have a long road to travel to find their Hoppily Ever After.  Here is Greg's story:

Greg originally came to Red Door in July of 2005. He was transferred from Anti-Cruelty Society and spent the next 6 months in our care. In January of 2006, he was adopted and bonded to a beautiful female named Grace.  Greg and Grace had several happy years together, but he lost his love in 2011.  In the midst of his grief, his "family" had to move to Hawaii.  Because of concerns about invasive species, it is very difficult to bring many pets to Hawaii.
Back at Red Door in 2011

But a Red Door Rabbit is a Red Door Rabbit for life, so Greg came back to us in September of 2011.  He was obviously sad and depressed, and was  also overweight.  One of our Board Members, Lee Kidd, agreed to foster Greg while we again began to search for a home for him.

What Greg didn't know was that he had angels on the horizon.  Keith and Amy had recently lost their bunny, Gelato, at the age of 8 1/2.  After some time, they decided to bring another bun into their lives, so they contacted Red Door.  "We knew it would be harder to find a home for an older bunny, and wanted to be able to spoil one who had been a little down on his luck recently."

Keith and Amy met several buns on their visit.  "Greg seemed very timid and sat quietly and stared straight ahead most of the time we were there, but when we were ready to go he turned and looked at us and seemed to connect with us a little bit.  A few days later we asked to be able to spend time with him separately and spent about two hours with him.  During that time he seemed curious and smart and warmed up a little bit.  He was reluctant to be petted but tried to chew Amy's shoe, so we knew he was feistier than he appeared.   He seemed to like the willow ball we gave him, and seemed willing to spend time with us.  We decided that, in his own way, he was letting us know he wanted to come home with us."

 "We were expecting an older bunny to be more laid back and cautious. But within a few hours of being home, Greg had explored most of our condo, had already figured out that the basket of bunny toys we gave him belonged to him, and had claimed his favorite lounging areas. Greg quickly got on a routine of spending time in a cage at night, in a playpen during the day, and wherever he wants to be when we're home. He is very well litter box trained and didn't have any difficulties at all.

Greg definitely still has some trust issues -- he does not want to be picked up -- but is becoming more comfortable with being petted. He is also scared when he hears a loud noise -- even loud music for a commercial on TV can be enough for him to take off and hide until he decides it's not a predator. We know 7 years is a long time to develop habits, but hope over the next several months he will continue to grow more comfortable in his forever home."

Professor Greg enjoys a quiet read
At nearly 8 years of age, Greg isn't exactly an Olympic-level binkier, but he's certainly enjoying his new life with his new family. He enjoys racing around the coffee table, playing with his toys, and lounging on the living room rug for an evening of TV. ('Law and Order' is a particular favorite)

"When he puts his mind to something, he tends to achieve it. You can tell when he is thinking about his next project -- he will sit and stare at something (the couch, for example), then stands on his back legs to study it further, and then finally -- when he thinks no one is looking -- he hops up onto it and claims his spot.

Sorry, Keith.  It's my chair now!
He has done this with all of our chairs, the couch, the back of the couch, and even our TV stand. When Keith was gone for a weekend recently, Greg seized the opportunity to occupy Keith's favorite chair and seemed quite pleased with himself.

So while there is no denying the appeal of a cute baby bunny, there are a lot of reasons to consider adopting an older rabbit. If they have spent time in foster care, you can find out a lot about their personality and habits, so you have a good idea of what you are getting into.  You won't need to worry about basic litterbox training.  But nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you are giving somebunny a second chance at happiness.