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|Thistle enjoys playing "peek-a-boo" with her box|
Tips for Rabbit Care and Play Time
As January draws to a close, how are your New Year's Resolutions coming along? We've resolved to create newsletters with useful ideas for the Friends of Rabbit Haven. Read on to learn new ways to keep disabled rabbits comfortable and how to make entertaining and stimulating toys for your rabbits. There's also news about a new Rabbit Haven event that's in the works. And, of course, there are photos of the ever-charming residents of Rabbit Haven. They've all resolved to find a "forever home" this year - might it be yours?
A Comfortable Bed for Disabled Rabbits
Sue at Rabbit Haven has been asked recently about how to set up a safe, comfortable and healthy area for rabbits who have lost the use of all or some of their limbs due to illness, injury or age-related issues. While there are many variations, here's what she's found to be beneficial to the buns as well as being easy to set up and maintain for care-givers.
|Example of an interlocking mat|
First, obtain interlocking foam mats to form the base. They look rather like giant jigsaw puzzle pieces and are obtainable online, at home repair stores or departments, and sports stores. Determine the area best suited to the size of your rabbit. Somewhere around 3' x 3' would be a good start for a small or mid-sized rabbit. Size it to fit in a baby play-pen (such as a "pack & go"), or within your exercise pen. It needs to be "cushy" enough so your rabbit doesn't get pressure sores, and contained so they don't slide onto a hard, wet surface.The next layer is towels - at least a double layer - to soak up urine and provide extra cushioning. Be sure to have enough to change daily, and so your washer and dryer aren't constantly running. Thrift stores can be a good source of these.
The top layer needs to wick the urine away from your rabbit. Synthetic "faux" sheepskin or fur is a wonderful, washable material for this. Pet stores have rugs made of this, though fabric stores often have it for a lower cost. Polar fleece can also work, but does not always wick as well. If you're purchasing fleece, look for the fuzzier versions of the fabric. Wash the "fur" several times, and it will "clump" which wicks even better. This will need to be watched to see if needs daily washing, depending on the urine output of your rabbit.
you need to make sure the fuzzy top layer stays in place. One method is to make a sort of fitted sheet out of the fabric. Cut a piece of the fleece the size of your mat plus about 3 extra inches around all four sides. To make mitered corners, cut a square the size of the extra inches from each corner (about 3x3 inches), then bring one edge of one corner square to the other edge of the same square (right sides together!) and sew a seam.
|Types of "faux fur",the white has elastic stretched then sewn onto it.|
For the next step, you will need some 1/4 to 3/8" wide elastic. Keep the fabric flat while stretching the elastic on top of the edge, and using your sewing machine's zig-zag stitch, sew them together. This method is described at this ehow website. Though, do note that the elastic pieces will need to be shorter than your fleece (the site describes cutting elastic lengths for a full-sized bed).
If you don't have a sewing machine, cut the fleece twice as large as the mat, tuck the edges under the mat, and carefully safety-pin it underneath so it doesn't pull out. Careful placement of the exercise pen can also work to keep the fleece in place.
Voila! A bed fit for a kingly (or queenly) rabbit! Here's a few more important things to keep in mind:
-be sure to place it so the bunnies are kept out of drafts, but where their human "bunny slaves" have easy access.
-be sure to clip all trailing bits of yarn and such as they can easily get wrapped around a rabbit's leg and quickly cause damage.
-if your rabbit is a "chewer", watch carefully and repair holes so bunny doesn't get a leg caught, or even get his whole body through the hole
-oftentimes, a roll of fleece or towel can be beneficial to help prop your rabbit, especially when eating.
For more information on caring for your special needs rabbit, check out Rabbit Haven's site at http://rabbithaven.org/disabilities/ This page also has a link to a wonderful book, When Your Rabbit Needs Special Care: Traditional and Alternative Healing Methods by Lucile C. Moore and Kathy Smith. Still more questions? E-mail Sue at email@example.com
A Busy Rabbit is a Happy Rabbit
We all know that rabbits are intelligent animals, and are much happier when they have toys to stimulate their minds - they're also less apt to get into mischief! There are many sites that have wonderful toys for rabbits. But, did you know you probably have the makings for great toys right in your own home? Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
The first set of toys are stuffed with hay. Clockwise from the top there's a piece of brown paper (could also use clean paper bags, computer paper, or clean junk mail), a toilet paper roll, two "pouches" from an apple box that are tied together, part of an egg carton, a kleenex box (be sure to take out the plastic insert!!) and a small box in the middle. Undyed raffia or sisal is usually untreated and safe to tie things together with for your rabbit. Make the hay even more appealing by adding bits of treats such as natural dried apples, raisins, dried cranberries, "fruitable" bunny treats, papaya fruit plus tablets or delights from "Bunfectionary". Or use Oxbow
Botanical Hay, which has added herbs, for a tasty treat.
|Jingling toys to toss about|
The next set of toys are jingling toys. Jar lid rings, shower rings, bells and other clanging things can be great fun to toss about. Decorate them with a raffia bow for that extra bit a style.
Three other fun things to play with are old paperback books with broken spines so the pages "fan out", old phone books, and a larger box with "in" and "out" holes cut out, and then filled with paper shreds so your bunny can dig to his heart's content without making a mess all over your floor.
Those are just a few ideas to get you started. But we know you Friends of Rabbit Haven are clever folk. Check out our Facebook page and tell us about your rabbit's favorite toy. While you're there, be sure to "like" us!
|Fondue has her radar ears set to PayPal|
Donations and Volunteers Needed
Of course, new volunteers are always welcome! Shoot an email to Sue if you're interested in helping with tasks such as washing dishes, cleaning, feeding, or fostering rabbits.
Due to a recent shift in weather in California, the cost of the veggies and fruits that we feed the rabbits at Rabbit Haven has increased dramatically!
If you have the ability to donate some to our food fund, it would be very much appreciated. Just click on the PayPal link in the left column of this newsletter. Or pop a check in the mail, if that's easier for you.
Donations are always welcome at Rabbit Haven as we are a nonprofit organization. Our shelter exists and is able to do all the wonderful things we are able to for these unwanted and mistreated rabbits because of the generosity of people like you.
The rabbits of Rabbit Haven thank you!
Low cost spays and neuters in Tacoma!
|Dennis Hopper & Basil are excited about the new Center|
The good folk at Northwest Spay and Neuter Center are excited to announce they're officially open. Formerly known as "Coalition Humane", their mission is to promote and provide affordable, high-quality spay and neuter services for cats, dogs, and rabbits in an effort to stop the killing of animals due to overpopulation. For information about them, their new location, donation opportunities and more, be sure to check out their website at http://www.nwspayneuter.org/
|Douglas and Crosby, Stills & Nash like their cardbord ring toys, and would love to find a forever home.|
We're pleased to announce that Levi, Alice & Wendy and Joe & Coleman have gone to "Forever Homes", and Nessie & Bently will soon! But, there are plenty more rabbits still available. Are you ready to open your heart and home?
|Fondue's on the lookout for gently used pet supplies.|
Pet Supply Sale!
Have you resolved to clean out your house and have gently used pet supplies that you'd like to get rid of? Well, we'd love to take them off of your hands! We'll be having a sale later this spring and are looking for items such as litter boxes, bowls, leashes, and more for pets of all kinds. Watch our website
, Facebook page
and upcoming newsletters for date and location.
We remember beloved friends who have recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge
Josephine, Ziggy, Harlow and Jenga.