June 2012 Newsletter

In This Issue
The Great Outdoors
Beat the Heat
Vacation Time!
Barn Sale Report
Auction News
A Remarkable Young Lady
Bunny in the Spotlight
Recent Adoptions
In Memorium
Volunteers Needed!
Rabbit Fun Fact of the Month

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3 baby bunnies, not so little anymore!
Spring has Sprung!
Spring has sprung at Rabbit Haven!  We've seen babies of all sorts: ducks, pileated woodpeckers, geese, deer, possums, squirrels, and even a baby beaver.  The 3 baby rabbits are growing like weeds!  They enjoyed their first session in the outside run, and are now relishing the spaciousness of their new inside run. 

Speaking of the babies, we're going to have a naming contest.  Having just discerned we have 2 little girls and one boy, we will soon take some new photos and set up a separate Ebay auction for each one of them.  Highest bidder gets to name their baby.  All funds go directly to bunny care.  How fun is that?  More details will be coming soon, so get your creative juices flowing and start thinking of names!

The Great Outdoors
As the weather is getting nicer (well, at least the rain is getting a little warmer here in the Pacific Northwest!), our thoughts turn to the outdoors.  Much as we love to keep our furry friends by our sides all the time, one must take some special precautions before mixing domestic rabbits and the outdoors.

If you do take your rabbit outside, make sure the situation is as controlled as possible.  While you probably know what chemicals have or have not been used on your yard, what a neighbor might have used is often a mystery.  With a rabbit's inclination to munch on plants, there's a good chance of them ingesting something toxic such as pesticides, fertilizers, moss killer (which can turn a bun's teeth black) or a special gift from a passing animal, such as raccoon roundworm. 

And, remember they're tempting prey to animals both on the ground and in the air.  One shouldn't blame such animals for following their instincts.  It's better to keep our beloved rabbits away from possibly dangerous situations.


We've been hearing some talk recently about rabbits and harnesses.  While the idea of "taking your rabbit for a walk" might sound charming, there are some serious dangers. 

First and foremost, rabbits are "prey animals".  When they're frightened, their instinct is to flee.  In an unfamiliar environment like the outdoors, just about anything can frighten them - dogs barking, horns honking, branches falling, airplanes passing overhead, and a whole host of other things we humans might not be aware of.  A quick bolt with a harness on can result in a rabbit's fragile bones snapping, a broken spine, or even a heart attack.
Click to see what Orlando Rabbit Care  has to say about harnesses.

If you do wish to harness train your rabbit, please remember some important items:
-Never use a collar!
-Make sure the harness fits well - neither should it be constricting, nor should the rabbit be able to slip out.
-Introducing your rabbit to a harness can be a l-o-n-g process taken with many short sessions.  Some rabbits take to it, some do not.  Above all, remember that the leash should be for the enjoyment of the rabbit, not the owner!
-While some folk do outstanding work with clicker training and agility training with rabbits (and such situations often require a harness), rabbits usually cannot be taught to "heel".  When "walking a rabbit", let them hop about as you follow.

Here's a clever idea for taking your bun for a walk - a rabbit stroller!  Originally designed for small dogs and cats, many of them are dandy for rabbits.  Examine the pet stroller carefully to make sure there aren't ways for the rabbit to escape or hurt themselves.  And, of course, stay right next to them to stave off any possible problems.

Babies outside
2 of the babies enjoying their first visit to the outside run.

Outdoor Rabbit Runs

An outdoor rabbit run can be a wonderful way for your bun to enjoy nature.  When setting one up, do remember a few important points:
-Rabbits love to dig.  They can make a tunnel faster than one can say "Jack Robinson" (or maybe that should be "Peter Rabbit").  So, for the Rabbit Haven outdoor runs, Sue put wire mesh under the dirt before she laid the sod. 
-Remember to have screening on the top to protect from predators.
-Be sure to have shade!  Rabbits can overheat quite easily (more about that later).
-Watch out for toxic plants, pesticides or fertilizers.

Beat the Heat

Here Comes the Sun 

One doesn't often see rabbits laying out to get a good tan, and for a good reason.  With their lovely thick fur, they're susceptible to heatstroke.  Even if your rabbits are indoor all the time, make sure they're able to get out of the sun that might come through windows or skylights.  Blinds, curtains or a window shade can make all the difference to a rabbit's comfort and health. 
As the temperatures rise, so do a rabbit's chances of getting heatstroke. Though this is a legitimate concern for all rabbits, those who are overweight, are young or old, or who have thick or long coats of hair are at an even greater risk. Temperature, humidity and air ventilation are all factors that contribute to heatstroke in a rabbit. Like people, rabbits are individuals and could respond to these conditions somewhat differently. It is important to check your rabbit consistently to insure they are comfortable and do not overheat. Early detection of heatstroke and proper corrective steps could mean the difference between life and death for your beloved companion.

Signs to watch out for:
-Fast, shallow breathing
-Hot ears
-Wetness around the nose area
-Tossing back of head while breathing rapidly from open mouth.
If you see these signs, get your rabbit to a cooler place.  Mist their ears with cool (not cold) water.  Don't get their entire body wet as this may induce shock.  And, contact a rabbit friendly vet immediately!!

Cooling bunniesWays to keep your rabbit cool:
-A gentle fan (be sure the cord is well protected from rabbit teeth!)
-Freeze bottles of water (be sure to leave room for the ice to expand!) for rabbits to snuggle next to.
-Keep marble tiles (available at home improvement stores) in the refrigerator, lay them out when the temperature rises.
-Make sure there is plenty of drinking water available, add an ice cube or two on hot days

For more information about rabbits and heat, check out:
Beware of Fly Strike!
A particularly ghastly summertime danger is Fly Strike.  House flies lay their eggs on your bun, the eggs hatch into maggots and begin burrowing into the animal.  Shock and death can happen in as little as 72 hours.  Please read the information at: Rabbit Haven website - fly strike.
Vacation Time!
Going on a vacation?  Great!  But, while we're traveling, what does one do with the rabbits?  Here are a few suggestions:

Boarding Your Rabbit
For local folks, Rabbit Haven offers rabbit boarding for $10 per day for one, $15 per day for two.  Call for monthly rates.  Sign up soon as slots are filling up! Contact Rabbit Haven at  or (253) 208-4206.

Live far away from Gig Harbor?  Ask possible boarding sites for references, check with your rabbit-savvy vet for recommendations, and be sure visit the site to form your own opinion!

Rabbit Sitters
Provided you can be sure their living situation will be safe while you're away, a rabbit sitter can be a good option.  Be sure it's someone who knows rabbits well and could take care of emergencies that might arise.  Also be sure they have the contact information for your rabbit-savvy vet.
Traveling with Rabbits
Sometimes, it's necessary for your rabbit to join you as you travel, especially if you're moving.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

-Use a safe animal carrier with sufficient room for your rabbit - but not so much room they'll be in danger of flying about if you need to hit the brakes.  Do not use a cage, as rabbit feet can get caught.  Be sure to strap or seat-belt the carrier in place.
-Never, ever transport your rabbit in the trunk of the car!  The lack of air, overabundance of fumes, and lack of temperature control can be fatal.
-Bring familiar food and water along.  Be sure you have enough for when you reach your destination.
-Let them out of their carrier at least every four hours.  Pre-prepare a space in the vehicle, keep them on your lap, have a small puppy pen, but, whatever you do, never let them on the grass at rest areas!  The grass is lovely and green because of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and such.
-They're most likely going to be nervous and probably won't eat or drink while traveling, so be sure to offer them water and food during stops.
-Puppy potty pads instead of litter can work well, but do be sure your rabbit won't eat the pad!
-Never, ever leave your rabbit in the car unattended.  Even if it's in the shade, it can take only moments for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation.  Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days.  A cracked window will not suffice.  Again, do not leave your rabbit in the car unattended!
-Have a sun shade for the window while traveling to keep buns out of the direct path of sunlight.  A portable battery-powered fan can also be of use if the car gets too warm while traveling.
-Be sure to check ahead to see if the motel allows pets.
-Bring along baby simethicone for possible tummy upsets.
-Bring along a Certificate of Health from your veterinarian when crossing state lines or international borders.

-Under no circumstances allow your rabbit to be transported in the cargo hold of a plane.  The noise, pressure changes and temperature fluctuations can be terrifying &/or fatal.
-Be sure your airline is one of the few that allows rabbits to travel in the cabin.  Check, double check, verify, and get a reservation for them.  If so, you will need an approved carrier that fits under the seat.
-A Certificate of Health from your veterinarian is required by airlines.
One Final Summertime Note
We all know our rabbits have different temperaments.  Some are outgoing and seem to relish new situations.  Some are shy homebodies.  Do keep your rabbit's "rabbitude" in mind when deciding whether to take them outside or on trips.
Barn Sale Report from Sue
Thank you all!!! Our Barn sale was a great success. We made a lot of new friends and contacts, have a possible new volunteer and raised $1,767.00. After expenses we netted
The wonderful, smiling Target volunteers.
over $1,380.00. I am amazed.

Amanda & her friends from Target got us packed and unpacked in record speed.  Thanks to Diedre for all of the wonderful snacks, Kristin did a great job on the jewelry boards, Cheryl, Jen, Melissa, Kim, Barbra, Jerry, Taryn, Cooper and Chris did a fabulous job of greeting people and selling our treasures.

A Big thanks to Mike and Kathy for their special efforts to get the sale set up and put away. Brian and Joe, (Freddy's new dad) did the lion's share of the heavy lifting. Rachel and her husband (Quigley and Eve's new parents) and our new friend, Jane were a great help.

Tom took a lot of our left overs to JBLM to support the families of our troops. Chris Norland took more of the left overs to add to the sale for the Tacoma Humane Society being held next month.

Thank you to all of our donors and supporters, we could not have done it without you!
Auction News
Keep a sharp lookout.  We'll be sending out news about the Fall Auction soon!
Atta Girl, Rosie!
Rosy's birthday
Flash thanks Rosie for the "rabbit favors" and birthday presents.
Rosie is a wonderful 8 year old who chose to make her birthday party theme all about helping bunnies.  Instead of presents for her, she asked for gifts for Rabbit Haven rabbits.  At her party, she and her friends made toilet paper rings filled with hay, aka "rabbit favors".   What a great idea to get kids involved & to give back!

(By the way, for all you cat lovers out there, do take note of the lovely ginger cat, Cuervo, cuddling next to Rosie.  He's looking for a cat-loving forever home.)

Bunny in the Spotlight

Christopher Robin, sweet as a pot of honey.
Who needs a Pooh Bear when you have an adorable rabbit named Christopher Robin?  He loves to snuggle and get pets.  He's not looking for the "Hundred Acre Woods", just a forever home where he'll steal your heart.  For more information on Christopher Robin, and to see the other wonderful bunnies available for adoption, check out  Rabbit Haven website.

Recent Adoptions
Quigley & Eve
Quigley & Eve snuggle in their  new Forever Home.

Hooray!  All of these wonderful rabbits have found their forever homes:  Crackers & Butternut, Fawn, Freddy, Houdini, Josephine, Pilgrim, Quigley & Eve (thank you to their new parents who gave Rabbit Haven an especially generous gift!), Spirit, Stella, Winnifred, and Yogie.  Orphan Annie's in a foster home, that just might become forever.

In Memorium

We remember Grayson who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Volunteers needed!

If you are passionate about rabbits and want to lend a helping hand, we would love to talk to you.  We're especially needing volunteers as some of our "regulars" have conflicting summertime obligations.  Maybe you know of a student who has extra time on their hands during the summer break?  Not only do our volunteers get "warm fuzzies" from volunteering, they get to interact with the "warm fuzzy" rabbits of Rabbit Haven, and a great group of other volunteers.  Please contact Sue at
for more information or to volunteer today!
Rabbit Fun Fact of the Month

pygmy rabbit
It's been a decade-long struggle for Washington's pygmy rabbits. The palm-sized bunnies have been all but wiped out in the state. Efforts to breed them in captivity were failing. So, biologists are now attempting to breed the rabbits in their natural habitat.  Guess what, the pygmy rabbits are finally doing what rabbits are supposed to do, breeding like rabbits!  Check out this link for more information:pygmy rabbits on nwpr.

Upcoming Events
Fall Auction!  Details coming soon!
About Rabbit Haven
We are a non-profit shelter and sanctuary dedicated to the care of unwanted and mistreated rabbits
... until they all have homes.
The Barn at Gig Harbor
The barn is located in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Rabbit Haven
PO Box 2268
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335

(253) 208-4206

Kate & William
Kate & William approved of this newsletter. 
They also approved of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee!