Last weekend GHRS attended the Cobb County Animal Control Adoptathon. It’s a neat little event; I worked the one back in April and other than the crappy weather it was a good day. We didn’t take any bunnies to that one so this time Darren (GHRS chair) asked volunteers to bring their own. I don’t really like upsetting my babies’ routine, but there’s pretty much nothing I won’t do for the bunny house so I took Bear. (Russell is easily the most charming, but I can’t separate him from Jane, and she would lose her little bunny mind if she had to be outdoors, in public, with a bunch of strangers.)
Poor Bear. “That’s what you get for being a laid-back bunny,” I told him on the ride to CCAC. As rabbits go, Bear is not all that outgoing, but he’s very even-tempered. I took Russell and Jane’s old ex-pen, two towels, a sheet, two bowls, a litter box, a bottle of water, pellets, hay, treats, toys and a hidey-box. (For a two-hour event. I told you bunnies are high-maintenance.) We arrived, I set up his temporary home and the Adoptathon was under way.
We didn’t really expect to get much interest. CCAC, like the vast majority of government-funded animal controls and shelters, is overwhelmingly concerned with dogs and cats, not bunnies. But it’s good exposure to the 10 or so people who do stop by the tent.
Here’s where the problem(s) began: People are insensitive and oblivious and I want to choke them.
Exhibit A: A woman walks up, briefly admires Bear, and relates the story of her bunny, who lived only about eight weeks because the neighbor’s cat killed it.
Exhibit B: A man and his son come by, the son asks if they can get a bunny, and the man says “Sure, we’ll make him for dinner one night.”
Exhibits C and D: Two (TWO!) different individuals come by with their (large) dog on a leash. Both dogs lunge at the ex-pen, straining to get inside, and both owners are stupid enough to say, “Oh, he wants to play with it!” All this time, Bear is cowering inside his hidey-box and I am forced to place myself physically between the dog and the pen.
I was reminded of why I’ll never work in PR. When people do and say obviously insensitive things about rabbits to rabbit people, my reaction – without fail – is to give them a “Please kill yourself” look. Around Easter, I worked a Petco where they were offering a picture with one of our bunnies for $5. I was there to supervise Hershey and Stormy, a bonded bunny pair, and literally the entire time I was listening to idiotic comments like “I bet my dog would enjoy those two rabbits!”
Look, I absolutely am aware and understand that rabbits are used for meat and for bait and it breaks my heart that people can be so arbitrarily cruel. I just can’t stand that, because rabbits inexplicably have this status as “disposable,” people think it’s okay and even funny to discuss their death and ignore their fear in front of people trying to protect them. Truly, the only thing that keeps the back of my hand from contact with these individuals’ faces is the fact that if I were arrested, my bunnies would worry.
Edie says every demonstration of ignorance is an opportunity for education, and she’s right. She’s a kinder, gentler spirit than I am, though, and it’s extremely difficult – not to say impossible – for me to take this view.