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More than Just an Easter Bunny: A Year-Round Family Member

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Everyone associates cute little bunnies with Easter, right? Adorable baby bunnies are often a symbol of the season. Canadian author and trainer Joan Orr, co-author of Getting Started: Clicking with Your Rabbit, wants us to move beyond initial assumptions and think seriously about a rabbit as a pet.

Rabbit book cover

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Bunnies purchased as Easter gifts are often enjoyed (and cared for) only fleetingly. Sadly, these animals are often abandoned or dropped at shelters. Many baby bunnies are purchased on impulse at Easter without consideration for the long-term commitment and care required. Rabbits can live up to 12 years, must be fed and housed properly, and require attention, training, and vet care just like a cat or dog. An adorable baby bunny grows to be an adult in a few weeks. Many of these adult rabbits are neglected, abandoned, or surrendered to shelters; thousands of rabbits are waiting in shelters for loving homes.

Rabbits can make wonderful pets. They are smart and entertaining, and have their own distinct personalities. Rabbits can be trained to come when called, go into a carrier, and use a litter box, among many other useful and entertaining behaviors. Joan Orr's book, Getting Started: Clicking with Your Rabbit, co-authored with Teresa Lewin and published by Karen Pryor Clickertraining/Sunshine Books, is the first book on the subject of clicker training rabbits.

In order to promote adoption of shelter rabbits, and to showcase the talents of clicker trained rabbits, Andrea Bratt Frick of B.U.N.S. (Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter) in Santa Barbara, CA, (www.bunssb.org) has created the entertaining Super Bunnies video, which can be viewed on YouTube. The House Rabbit Society is promoting the purchase of chocolate rather than live bunnies for Easter through the "Make Mine Chocolate" campaign (www.makeminechocolate.org).

Give a chocolate or plush bunny for Easter, and then do some research into caring for and raising rabbits. Visit your local shelter as a family to pick out the perfect bunny pet.

Visit www.clickerbunny.com for information, resources, and videos about clicker training rabbits, ferrets, or other small pets.

About the author
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Marie Clougher is the managing editor at Pen and Press, an editorial services and consulting company. She contributes to Karen Pryor Clicker Training in many behind-the-scenes capacities.