Posted: October 24, 2013, 4:45 p.m. EDT
Get ready for cuteness overload. The 2014 batch of fundraising calendars is here, and the small animal pets that grace their pages are living proof that small, furry pets are champs at being adorable. And the calendars are a fun way for rescues, shelters and organizations that assist and/or promote these pets to raise much-needed funds.
The 2014 Bunny Bunch S.P.C.R. 12-month, wall calendar features pictures of rabbits taken by volunteers at the rescue. Caroline Charland, president of the Bunny Bunch, which is in Southern California, said that all rabbits included in the calendar have been rescued, but some have found their Forever Home with a volunteer and some are still awaiting homes.
Each month features one large photo, one small photo and an education or care tip about rabbits.
"The most fun about making the calendar is seeing all the really, really cute photographs,” Charland said. She added that it’s like going down Memory Lane to see rabbits again that have been adopted.
But the numerous photos also present the greatest challenge in making the calendar. Charland said it’s difficult to choose which photos to use because there are so many cute ones.
All money raised goes 100 percent to help rescue rabbits at the Bunny Bunch. The calendar measures 11x 8.5 inches when closed and opens to 11 x 17 inches. For further details, visit the Bunny Bunch website.
The Orange County Cavy Haven of Orange County, California, is all about helping guinea pigs (cavies). Fundraising calendars have not been attempted by OCCH in the recent past, but this year it is offering two. Michiko Vartanian, president of OCCH, said that they did not use the cheapest company to print the calendars.
"We realize they are on the high side for pricing, but we really aren't making much on them at all. We opted for quality over profit because we just want people to be pleased and enjoy our pigs and, of course, the money goes directly back into the rescue to support the piggies.”
The first calendar OCCH features more than just guinea pigs and is titled Real Men Love Guinea Pigs.
"This is a new idea we came up with based on the feedback we got on Facebook when we would post a picture of a man holding a guinea pig,” Vartanian said. "We had a feeling this type of calendar would be popular, and it is selling at four times the rate of the regular guinea pig calendar.”
Vartanian said photos for this calendar were taken by Fire Light Photography during a photo shoot day that gathered a group of men and guinea pigs. She said organizing the shoot was the most challenging task, but once everyone was together, it became enjoyable.
"It was so much fun having all of those models — human and guinea pig — together in one place,” Vartanian said. "Everyone was being such great sports, posing and having fun with the whole thing. Jerame and Heidi of Fire Light Photography are awesome guinea pig lovers, and it was just a great day.”
Malcolm, who happens to be Vartanian’s guinea pig, turned out to have hidden talents. "He is so used to being photographed that whenever it was his turn in front of the camera, he literally posed and gave his ‘best angles.’" She said. "He's a photographer's dream piggie!”
This is a 12-month calendar that measures 11 x 8.5 inches when closed and opens to 11 x 17 inches.
The second OCCH calendar is titled Guinea Pigs of Cavy Haven. It was created using photos of guinea pigs that are being fostered by the rescue or are personal guinea pigs of OCCH volunteers.
"A fun note about this calendar is that the cover photo was taken during the photo shoot for the ‘Real Men’ calendar, not by Fire Light, but by volunteer Michael K., who caught Malcolm and Gin Gin waiting for their turn in front of the camera,” Vartanian said. "It turned out to be such a beautiful photo, we found a way to use it — for the calendar cover!”
This 12-month calendar is the same high-quality as the Real Men calendar, but it is a slightly smaller size, measuring 5 x 7 inches. "We went with a smaller-sized one for people who may want to post them in an office or even carry them in a bag and show off cute piggies wherever they go,” Vartanian said.
For further details about both calendars, visit the Orange County Cavy Haven website.
The Missouri House Rabbit Society first produced a calendar for 2005, and has created one every year since.
"The calendar is a labor of love, produced by people who rescue abandoned pet bunnies and love their companion bunnies,” said Susan Ruby, calendar chairperson for MHRS. "Our volunteers create the sets, select the rescues for the photo shoots, take the photos, enlist sponsors and write text, which includes bunny bios, and sell and ship the finished product. Graphic design is provided by Wade Howell Design and printing by Simon Enterprises/Gateway Printing.”
She said that photo shoots are the fun part of making the calendar. "Rabbits are opinionated and wrangling them is a challenge, especially when there are multiple rabbits in a set,” she said. "They head in opposite directions, turn their backs to the camera, scramble over the set and knock over the props! They want to nibble the scenery, especially if produce is part of the set. Occasionally, a bunny will pose for the camera like a professional, but most photo shoots are amusingly chaotic.”
Funds raised by the calendar support the rescue work of MHRS, which will soon be adding a stand-alone shelter in addition to fostering. The 12-month, wall calendar measures 12 x 9 inches closed and opens to 12 by 18 inches. Holidays, moon phases and mini calendars are some of the features, along with an entire page devoted to rabbit care information. For further details, visit the Missouri House Rabbit Society website.
Make way for rats and mice! This year’s calendars from the American Fancy Rat And Mouse Association celebrate these sometimes misunderstood pets.
"All the photos are submitted by rat and mouse owners around the world. I'm sure the animals are ‘stars’ to each owner,” said Karen Robbins, president of the AFRMA and the person who puts the calendars together. Her favorite part of the process is receiving photo submissions from rat and mouse owners. The most difficult part is choosing which photos to use for the calendar.
Both the rat and the mouse calendars are 12-month wall calendars that include features like moon phases, season dates and more.
"AFRMA calendars have a typical calendar format with the top of the page a full-size photo of a rat or mouse and the bottom with the dates with a box for each day,” Robbins said. "Each calendar is 12 months with a page for the next year's calendar dates and a page for ‘dates to remember.’ All the usual holidays are listed, along with AFRMA events, ratty/mousey-related dates and fun dates."
The calendars measure 12 x 18 inches opened. For further details, visit the American Fancy Rat And Mouse Association website.
This is the debut calendar for BunnyLuv Rabbit Resource Center in Van Nuys, California, which was founded in 1996. Each photo is of a rabbit that was available for adoption at the time of the calendar’s printing. Photos were taken during several shoots that took place over two months. Jody Springborn volunteers at BunnyLuv and was wrangler for the photo shoots.
"For me, the fun part was working with my two friends, Annette [set designer] and Kristina [photographer],” Springborn said. "Both ladies have been volunteers at BunnyLuv for a long time now. The three of us have gotten together for several projects, including fundraisers and the website pictures. Annette is incredible with putting together set designs for the photo shoots. She can describe a scene which may be hard to picture, but when she puts it together, it's just magic. Kristina brings terrific energy to the projects, which just propels you forward. A project like this needs people who bring creativity, enthusiasm and energy to the job. That's what you need to make it work and to make you want to finish it and to think of the next fundraising idea.”
Working with the bunnies during the shoots had its challenges. "Some bunnies don't mind the camera and are just natural stars,” Springborn said. "Others just hunker down and look miserable, and it's difficult to get a look that doesn't make the bunny seem angry, bored or disgusted. The most difficult set was actually our Valentine's set. We were trying to photograph a pair snuggling and in love, and got pairs who were looking like they were about to file for divorce. It took us something like three hours and four different pairs of rabbits before we finally got the picture we were looking for.”
Springborn has hopes for the calendar beyond just raising funds. "Many of the bunnies we chose are ones that are frequently overlooked by potential adopters for one reason or another. I really wanted a picture of Andrea (November). She has been living at BunnyLuv since 2003, and she is currently our longest resident. We hope that the extra exposure will result in some adoptions!”
The 13-month calendar measures 11 x 8.5 inches closed and 11 x 17 inches opened. It includes holidays, rabbit-related days, seasons and other important days. For further details, visit the BunnyLuv online store.
The Ferrets of the FML calendar has been raising funds since its 2002 calendar for Support Our Shelters, which helps ferret shelters nationwide. But this was the year the calendar nearly didn’t happen due to a lack of photo submissions. Sharon Bearden organizes and creates the calendar from design to sales to shipping. She thinks people just missed the notices about the deadline to submit.
"With some help from Renee Downs and Lori Parker, word about the calendar being in trouble spread quickly,” Bearden said. "I received so many great photos that it made the process of picking the best ones really difficult for this calendar.”
Bearden said the calendar is an important fundraiser for Support Our Shelters, and she appreciates all the support it receives. "There wouldn't be a calendar if it weren't for those who support the calendar each year with their great photos,” Bearden said. "Those who purchase calendars keep the project going. Ferret Depot once again is sponsor, and they are appreciated for all they do to help shelter ferrets and SOS. Everyone who is involved in and supports this project is helping SOS help shelter ferrets in need.”
This year the calendar is 12 months instead of 13, which allows for more photos to run. It includes U.S. and Canadian holidays, moon phases, note space, a featured poem by Sue Pyron and more. The calendar measures 11 x 8.5 inches when closed and 11 x 17 inches opened. For further details, visit the Support Our Shelters website.
This is the second year the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary in Michigan has created a calendar. A volunteer who had done a similar calendar with another rescue group suggested this type of fundraising calendar. Marie-Chantal Patino, another GLRS volunteer, explained that people who donate $100 can have their rabbit or a current GLRS rabbit of their choice, star in a month. They also get a free copy of the calendar.
"It is a bit challenging to find enough people who are willing to make the $100 contribution,” Patino said. "There was a time this year when we didn’t think we’d make it. It can also be a challenge to collect all the pictures and make sure they are high enough resolution and don’t seem blurry when they are blown up to fit on the calendar. We’ve overcome this challenge by starting our calendar early, so we have time to communicate with people and are not rushed to production.”
Patino was happy to report that after a slow start, this year they had enough donations to create two calendars.
And that wasn’t all to be happy about. "Seeing the photos from our supporters of their happy, spoiled house rabbits is always a joy.” Patino said. In addition, she’s glad to know that the funds raised help the rabbits at GLRS find loving homes.
Photo shoots were done for GLRS-sponsored rabbits or for pages that weren’t sold. Patino said the key to photo shoots with rabbits is to be patient. "They are curious sorts, so it just takes a little time to get some fun pics,” she said. "It took 45 minutes before Auburn (Calendar B, October) decided to crawl through the hay bale opening. She went behind, next to and on top of the bales, but not through. But sometimes you do get lucky. Goliath (Calendar A, November) only took about five minutes before getting curious enough to crawl through the opening in the straw bales!”
Based on experience, Patino offered some advice for rescue groups considering doing a calendar.
"There are a lot of different ways to publish and publicize your calendar,” she said. "It does take some time and a calculator to figure out which way is best for your rescue group. There are also many templates out there that can help rescue groups who may not have the creative influence we are lucky enough to have.”
This is a 12-month, hanging wall calendar that measures 11 x 8.5 inches closed and 11 x 17 inches opened. For further information, visit the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary online store.
Adorable gerbils finally get a calendar this year! The American Gerbil Society debuts its first-ever gerbil calendar for 2014.
The photos are a combination of those taken at a photo shoot by photographer Sarri Kukkonen and also some winning photos from entries to the 2013 AGS Virtual Show.
"The photographer had wonderful equipment and endless patience,” said Donna Anastasi, current vice president AGS. "She must have taken many thousands of shots."
Anastasi said the photographer talked to the gerbils during the shoot to tell them what to do for the shots.
For further details about this wall calendar, visit the American Gerbil Society website.
It’s been five years, and the LegalizeFerrets.org calendar is still going strong. This year, changes include a bigger size. It now measures 12 x 12 inches when closed, 24 x 12 opened.
The theme for the calendar this year is the best veterinary care for California ferrets. This addresses an important issue: ferret owners in California being afraid to take their pet to a veterinarian for fear of being reported. As stated in the calendar, "California veterinarians can legally treat your ferret and are not required to report you.” The calendar profiles some California veterinarians and lists more.
Photos are a combination of photos from two photo shoots, plus images submitted by ferret owners.
This 12-month, wall calendar includes holidays (including National Ferret Day), phases of the moon and more. Each month has a main image and numerous smaller images to liven up the pages.
For further details, visit the LegalizeFerrets.org website.
Like rabbit photos? Then you’ll love the Rabbits 2014 calendar from Bunspace.com. It features 127 rabbit photos.
This 12-month, wall calendar is created with images of rabbits taken by members of the Bunspace online forum.
For further details, visit the Bunspace.com online store.
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