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New Book Shares Stories of Rabbit Guardians and their Beloved Pets

 ©2011 Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits is a newly revised book by Marie Mead.

The Fund for Animals' late founder, Cleveland Amory, often said that rabbits were the animals forgotten by God. They are one of the most abused and exploited creatures on earth: they are used in laboratory research, hunted for sport, raised on factory farms for meat and fur, and bought and sold as throwaway pets. It's no wonder Amory was instrumental in supporting the Rabbit Sanctuary, Inc. which, as he said, offered "hope for the hop-less."

Fortunately for rabbits, a wonderful new book remembers these forgotten creatures and offers them hope as well. Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits by Marie Mead with Nancy LaRoche salutes the people who have rescued domestic rabbits and celebrates the companionship between person and bunny.

The book contains a collection of poignant rabbit stories by rabbit owners… or guardians, as the author prefers to call the human caretakers. Each story offers insight into the mind and nature of the domestic rabbit, a unique, mysterious and often misunderstood animal. Included in the pages of this beautifully designed (and recently expanded) book are color photographs and charming sketches of the rabbits whose tales are told.

Just What is a Rabbit, Anyway?

The book's stories, delightfully positive and hopeful, help answer the question, "Just what is a rabbit, anyway?" Readers learn what it's like to be a "prey" animal, and how this affects the psychology of the rabbit. Each account reveals a surprising depth of communication between the guardians and the rabbit and illustrates an intimacy rarely described between humans and companion animals. The concern and support demonstrates home environments where the rabbits feel secure enough to reveal themselves. Even after months or years of neglect, living with illness or pain, each rabbit responded to the support given by his or her guardian.

The rabbits in these stories show their human guardians just what playful, perceptive creatures they are. Readers are treated to a glimpse of these lively herbivores as they shed their fears and express themselves. The stories are teaching tools about what not to do with a rabbit, and valuable information is passed on for future generations. One of the common myths refuted by this book is that rabbits make good pets for children. Because of their fragile skeletal system, they must be handled with great care, and thus, are not ideal companion animals for youngsters.

Culvert is one of the rabbits featured in the book, Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits. He lives at the Rabbit Sanctuary.

Useful rabbit care tips include diet and health, litter box training, basics of veterinary care, spay/neuter information, and housing. Small, wire-bottomed cages are bad for rabbit health and well being. Not every veterinarian is knowledgeable about rabbits, and any prospective rabbit guardian is provided with a list of questions and issues to discuss with a potential veterinarian. This book should be required reading for anyone contemplating adopting a rabbit.

Most of all, Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits is about how individual acts of humanity toward other creatures can heal both guardian and rabbit, and the great rewards which await both.

"I wanted to write a book that captures the essence of rabbits—their joie de vivre as well as their independence and individual personalities. I also felt moved to expose the common plight of domestic rabbits in a way that would allow the stories to remain uplifting and inspirational and to acknowledge the people who recognize rabbits as the treasures they are," Mead writes. 

Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit various rabbit protection organizations, including the Rabbit Sanctuary, Inc., in South Carolina, which has long been supported by The Fund for Animals.

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Posted June 28, 2007, Updated Sept. 1, 2011