Posted: November 6, 2013, 5:50 p.m. EST
© Marylou Zarbock
This young rabbit is one of many at the rescue who need a home.
Depending on your perspective, a one-year anniversary can be major or minor. For an animal rescue, it’s major. Bunny Bunch Orange County celebrated its one-year anniversary at its Fountain Valley location on November 2 and 3. The stand-alone shelter offers a temporary home to rescued rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, and it also has great rabbit products at its boutique and will soon have education classes for rabbit owners.
Besides sharing in some anniversary cake, participating in the raffle for a fabulous gift basket, shopping and more, the event was also a chance for rabbit owners to bring in their pets for a mini spa treatment that included a nail trim and scent gland cleaning.
And for rabbit owner Lyndy McGrody, it was an opportunity to find a companion bunny for her rabbit Doc, who had lost his friend a few months earlier. After hearing the situation, Caroline Charland, president of Bunny Bunch, pointed out several rabbits that could try a "bunny date” with Doc to test compatibility. McGrody chose to try Roxanne, a brown rabbit about the same size as Doc. Roxanne had also recently lost her bunny companion.
Charland settled into a small X-pen area with Doc and Roxanne for the 15 to 20 minute "date” as McGrody and others at the event watched for signs of bonding (see video below). Charland pointed out that the goal is to keep the rabbits calm and make it a pleasant experience. Fresh veggies were piled by the rabbits to encourage them to eat together. Charland also stroked the head of each rabbit to encourage grooming between them. It was a calm meeting, and after a few minutes both rabbits seemed to be offering their head for grooming by the other. Mutual grooming is a good sign for bonding. Roxanne was the first to nuzzle and groom Doc a bit. Although Doc never reciprocated, he was certainly open to getting further grooming from Roxanne. The date was a success! McGrody began paperwork to adopt Roxanne. (Too cute not to mention is Doc’s full name, which is Doctor Hoppenheimer.)
Charland said the event had a super turnout. "Lots of familiar faces and lots of new faces too,” she said. "We did adopt out two rabbits and have some applications pending. We also had some new people interested in volunteering, and got lots of products from our wish list.”
The wish list refers to items besides donations that the rescue needs to keep operating. This includes paper towels, large trash bags, bath towels and more.
Volunteers are critical for the success of Bunny Bunch Orange County. Charland always offers thanks for the many volunteers who help. One young volunteer at the event mentioned that she had been there for only two months. She had adopted two rabbits and within a month was volunteering at Bunny Bunch OC. She’s also working on a school project about rabbits.
The rescue is in an industrial park, so it has office space in front and a small warehouse area that houses the main rabbit population in back. Upgrading the warehouse interior is an ongoing process. This summer, the bland white walls got fresh coats of colorful green or purple. Sealing the floor is another major project that will greatly improve the area. Charland said someone has offered to do it at a very low rate, but the rescue still needs to raise the funds for that, and paying rent comes first. Another goal is to lower the ceiling in the warehouse area so that air conditioning can be installed.
© Marylou Zarbock
Rabbits live in exercise pens and many have companions. This is Lily.
The anniversary party is just one of many events held at the rescue. Charland said that the recent Halloween photo shoot drew crowds of people. There will likely be a Christmas party or photo shoot in the coming weeks.
Bunny Bunch Orange County has come a long way in one year and helped many rabbits, and Charland has great hopes for its future. The next step is getting the education classes going at the Orange County location, which Charland hopes to do this month. The original Bunny Bunch location in Montclair, California, has been offering classes for years. The Montclair location celebrates its sixth anniversary next month.
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