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In Memory

I've been doing rabbit rescue work and advocacy for many years now.  So many rabbits, each with a different story.  They've all impacted my life and for this I'm grateful.  It was Flopsy, my first "real" rescue from a local petting zoo, that motivated me to help the countless numbers of neglected, abused, and abandoned of our society. The magnitude of man's inhumanity is staggering.

Carmina Gooch, rabbit advocate & rescuer
Founder, Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC
North Vancouver
 taking action to make a difference
Dedicated to elevating and addressing the plight of rabbits in our society.  Exploited for the fur, wool, meat, research, and pet industries their lives don't seem to be of any significance.  The larger, established animal welfare organizations, when "speaking" for companion animals, often "speak" for dogs and cats only.  Rabbits matter, and are worthy of an equally strong voice.  We strive to be that voice. Compassion, respect, and justice for those with no voice.
With our eyes they will be seen,
With our voice they will be heard,
With our hands they will know comfort,
And with our action they will be set free.
Unknown 

"A fresh obligation is laid on each of us to do as much good as we possibly can to all creatures in all sorts of circumstances."
  Albert Schweitzer

"Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind."  Albert Schweitzer 

"The question is not ĎCan they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?í"
  Jeremy Bentham

Just a few photos of the many who came into, and touched our lives

                                                  Flopsy                                                 Doogie & Rusty 

 

                                                   Cornel                                             Matlock & Pringle

 

Summer                                                          Aphrodite

 


 

Some of our rescue family enjoying a bit of relaxation.  They were all homeless; victims of our throwaway society.

NS Outlook spotlights Carmina Gooch: Bunny advocate write-up in local paper 

Shelters, rescue groups, and pounds are overflowing with unwanted rabbits. Give them a second chance. Rabbits are not low maintenance pets and can live 10 years or more.  

Rabbit Advocacy does not support the renting out of any animal, under the pretext that it promotes adoption. Make no mistake, it does not. Itís a money-making scheme, perpetuating the notion that living beings are mere commodities.

Species: Oryctolagus cuniculus or European Rabbit. Our domesticated rabbit breeds of today are descendants from the wild rabbits of Western Europe.  The species name means "rabbit who burrows." 
A good source of information on domestic rabbits and their care is the House Rabbit Society.
Translated in Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese

You can help transport needy bunnies to safety by joining the RabbitWise Bunderground Railroad.(USA)

March 2013 BC SPCA launches new animal abuse hotline Anyone with information about a suspected case of animal cruelty is asked to call the new BC SPCA hotline at 1-855-622-7722 (1-855-6BC-SPCA). If itís outside of office hours or an emergency call your local police department or the RCMP. BE PERSISTENT. The animals need your help!

May 6, 2015 The BC SPCA has created a provincial pet identification registry to link missing companion animals with their guardians. For information visit www.bcpetregistry.ca 

All animals deserve our protection, no matter how we categorize them. Whether they be wildlife, strays, pets, or farm, it is our duty to speak up and take action on their behalf. REPORT SITUATIONS OF CONCERN TO ANIMAL ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS & AUTHORITIES. NOTE: THE SPCA IS NOT AN ANIMAL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION. 

Pet abandonment is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada & an offence under B.C.ís Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. It is illegal, immoral, and cruel. As it stands now, the perpetrators know it's likely they'll never be apprehended & face the courts. Letís correct this wrong!

Animal Cruelty: Understanding the Problem
Animal Neglect: Frequently Asked Questions

FBI to Start Tracking Animal Cruelty Cases

October 13, 2015 The Kelowna SPCA has a new addition to its facility, a Recovery and Adoption Barn. It will serve as a rehabilitation and adoption centre for animals that have been seized in SPCA investigations around the Okanagan.

In June, it opened a veterinary hospital in Penticton. It has a second facility in Vancouver. It also has a spay and neuter clinic in Prince George and Kamloops.

Rabbit boarding by Michele, recommended by veterinarians and rescue groups. 604-320-1705. Michele is retiring in Sept. 2014, after having provided a wonderful service to so many rabbit lovers in our community. There is another boarding facility, Ribbons & Hounds in Port Moody, run by Daynna Major, who comes recommended by rabbit groups like VRRA.   

Some Rabbit Breeds

Rabbit Facts, misinformation on rabbit vaccines corrected by Gooch

Rabbits, Cottontails, and Hares

Poor quality of life for most rabbits

Dogs enjoy a privileged status

Pasteurellosis and other illnesses; food pyramid

What you need to know - the pet store rabbit

Rabbit Adoptions

Pets in need of homes; rabbits for adoption in Black Cat White Dog

Domestic Rabbit Abandonment (current contact info)

Rabbit Multiplication (current contact info)

Protect your rabbit from the weather: Heat Kills

Perpetual Care Provisions

July 2, 2013 Red Tape: USDA Rabbit Police

We Would Have Died

Rainbow Bridge

A Christmas Story   

Beyond The Rainbow
 
A Bridge Called Love
Speak out against commercial animal mills and the backyard breeding industry.  Don't buy into the cruelty!
 Take action to stop the ruthless exploitation of pets for profits - report concerns to local government and the BC SPCA.
We can all make a difference.
 "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King, Jr
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Animals, near and far, need our help and protection now - their lives matter equally--all of them!     

Lucy came to us after we attended a rabbit show. She was a lop, and had garnered many prizes. The breeder was getting out of the business and just wanted to get rid of her stock.

She said her remaining rabbits were going to be sold at an auction. We took her home, and for months she just sat in one corner. She had always been in a cage, and didnít hop at all. Finally, she realized that it was okay and began to enjoy life. She would hop out to the garden, sniff around, and play for awhile, always returning to the den where she would lie down and rest. Sadly, she passed away in my arms a few months ago, but at least she had happy times with us.

 

Rue & Shelby. In the summer of 1999 I was contacted by a family in North Vancouver reporting two bunnies running around their yard. They had been there for a few days, and needed help catching them.

I went over, and after a great deal of effort managed to get them into my car and home. These fellows were hungry and thin, but otherwise okay. Nobody came forward to claim them, which is predictable, as they were likely intentionally abandoned. They were shy at first, but came around, and remained the best of friends until their deaths late last year.

 

 

Nibbles was bought from PetCetera at 6 weeks of age by a teacher who thought a rabbit would be a good learning tool. By the end of the school year nobody wanted her so I decided I could take yet another one.

The teacher admitted this had been a big mistake and there were many problems associated with having an animal in the classroom. Children would taunt the bunny, poke at her, and in general, make her life miserable. Kept in a tiny cage, she had nowhere to escape. After she arrived in my home the signs of trauma were obvious. This rabbit never recovered, and unfortunately died at a very young age.

 

Petunia was another unwanted rabbit that ended up at the pound. When we viewed her she lunged at the bars of the cage and grunted. After observing her for a short time I decided to try to pick her up. Managing to do so, I tried to calm her down, but it was apparent she was afraid.

We decided to take her anyhow, and on the way to the car she bit my husband. Her behavior didnít improve much over the next few months but she was friendly with a couple of other rabbits. Until her death she never trusted us completely, and she bore the scars of previous abuse until the end.

 

 

Elfin is just one of the many rabbits that are abandoned or surrendered to pounds and shelters because they are no longer wanted. This little bunny was being dumped from a car near Shannon Falls.

A concerned citizen managed to catch her as the vehicle sped off. That was one lucky rabbit. Domesticated house bunnies, dependent on food, shelter, and love from humans, would not stand a chance of survival in the wild. Now she is in our loving home with other rabbits that have survived similar circumstances. There are many other bunnies like Elfin that need a second chance at life.

Charlotte is a cute little Dutch that was purchased at a pet store when she was six weeks old. In a matter of months the owner decided she was too much trouble.

She was chewing at electrical cords and didnít always use her litter pan. This led the irate and cruel owner to abuse her, before she was rescued. When Charlotte first came to our home she was extremely fearful and aggressive. She didnít want to be touched and would bite. Many months of hard work and love paid off. She made friends with other bunnies and discovered that all humans arenít so bad. Today she gets to hop around the den, and lay on the bed, although she continues to keep her guard up.

 

 

 

Cinnamon is a four year old dwarf bunny, who along with his brother was given away at seven weeks old. The people who owned them had let their adults mate, and didnít want to have rabbits anymore. A family took the two young ones home in July and by September the kids were losing interest. They were back in school, and the rabbits were put in a tiny enclosure in the backyard.

A neighbour contacted me during the winter, informing me that Cinnamonís brother had frozen to death and the people were moving. If nobody wanted Cinnamon in the next few days he was to be let loose. Of course I took him and he has enjoyed life with his bunny pals and us for the last three years.

 

 

Sara had been brought to the SPCA at approximately 3 years of age. She had never been let out of her cage and was severely overweight. We took her home and set up a room where she could freely move about. However, she had resigned herself to a life of quiet desperation, and never overcame her past. One evening she just slipped away peacefully in my arms.

 

 

Nellie was used for breeding purposes in Cloverdale. She had already had several litters when we purchased her. I asked the woman what happened to the rabbits that didnít find homes. She said they were released on the property and after awhile just "disappeared." Although there was no real demand for rabbits, she kept at it for several years, until the family got a dog, and decided it might be an idea to breed her.

 

Vanna was struck by a car and fortunately somebody witnessed the incident and brought her to a veterinarian.  She received good medical care for her injuries but while recuperating it was discovered that she had a number of pre-existing health troubles as well.   Despite different medications and a nutritious diet it was apparent that she wasnít going to last very long.  She passed away quietly and in comfort.

It was by pure chance that a truck driver made a delivery to a rural property where he noticed some baby rabbits kept in tiny cages behind the house.  Two of them had dried blood on their fur and one had something wrong with his hind leg.  Upon inquiry the owner/breeder said they'd probably been fighting.  After some discussion it was agreed that the driver could take the rabbits.  He said he wouldn't make any money off them, anyway.  A visit to our vet confirmed that both would be okay and that the male had likely been attacked and the leg broken. It was still tender but about 90% healed.  Nowadays Conley navigates about just fine, despite the one unviable hind leg.

In memory of Mopsy

Born to feed the pet industry and sold out as a classroom teaching tool, that was Mopsy's beginning. In her too brief time here on Earth her innocence and wonder at exploring a new world was shattered.

By the time she entered my life, at six months or so, she was so traumatized by human approach that she would dart madly about, and do anything she could to try to escape. In the two years that she shared with me she became more trusting, but never fully recovered from whatever past experiences she had endured.

I'm so very thankful for all the moments we shared, she was truly a gift and a star but on Thursday, 11:20 a.m. it was time for her to leave for the Rainbow Bridge.

You are loved, Mopsy. You'll be with me forever. Carmina, March 2007

 

Kennedy - there would be no road to recovery

His story is one, yet it represents thousands more. Left outside in a cage, ignored and neglected, the days turned into weeks, and then into months. Maybe even a couple of years, it was hard to know. By the time he was rescued his body was just a shell of what it should be. But Kennedy was a rabbit with dignity, and although his health was poor, and he could only take a few hops at a time, he had accepted his broken life without bitterness. There would be no road to recovery, but there was one small miracle, twelve weeks of quality time and comforts, of new friendships, and a place to call home.

He's now taken his final bow. I'm just so sorry I couldn't do more. Good night, Mr. Kennedy.

And in his memory:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
  Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

A Matter of Inconvenience

            

before                                                                                                                 and now

These three little rabbits, one male (the grey one) and two females were bought at an auction by a couple for their ten year old daughter.   They hadnít been altered and one of the females had already had a litter before we were called.  Those were given away.  The family was moving and said it was too inconvenient to take them.  The bunnies were all under a year old and had been kept in tiny cages on the patio.  Today they spend their time enjoying the good life with other new friends.

Darby's Rescue from the SPCA

   

Darby was rescued from one of the BC SPCA's branches.  After speaking with several volunteers on my initial visit I was told that she was a biter and had already bitten somebody.  A warning tag had been placed on her cage.  After some discussion I suggested that the tag be removed and replaced with friendlier wording.  When I returned several days later the tag was still there, and a different volunteer confirmed that she "bites hard."  I decided to remove the note myself and spoke with a staff member who strongly suggested that if I was interested in her that I fill out an "adoption application."  The following day I received a call from an insider saying it was "that time again" and to get over as quickly as I could.  I did.  Luckily for Darby.  

 

Craigslist features free classified advertising and has become very popular for those wishing to rehome their pets.  Very often these pets are given away for any number of reasons and in the case of Pearl she was bought from Petcetera as a baby and became unwanted after just three months.  Apparently the little girl had lost interest and the parents had enough to do with breeding rats for several of their snakes.  When I went to pick up the rabbit I was offered some of the rats as well.  Today Pearl is still frightened from whatever past experiences she had endured and does her best to avoid human contact.  There has been some progress in that she will come for her treats when I step away. 

 

Benson had been surrendered to a local branch of the SPCA after he was no longer wanted.  Evidently the kids grew tired of cleaning the cage and he just didn't live up to expectations.  This is an all too familiar story, and the sad outcome of many a pet store rabbit bought on impulse as a live toy to amuse the children.  Benson spent many happy years with us, just doing what rabbits do, until circumstances sadly forced us to make the decision to have him euthanized.   
 

 

 

Marvin and Tasha were both saved from the SPCA where perfectly healthy, non-aggressive, and rehomeable pets are being put down. While the BC SPCA should be providing a leadership role in animal welfare, it's not the case.  The small rescue/advocacy groups are doing the real work, and sadly, on many occasions have had to go in and buy out animals that were going to be killed.  Rabbits under threat of "euthanasia" or quietly disposed of, because of "no other options" is not 21st Century "speaking for animals."  Fortunately, these two made it out, and into a wonderful home together. 

We never got the real story on Alfred and Albert when they were surrendered by their owners, but the opinion of our veterinarian was that their deformities were congenital.  Discussions ensued with other professionals and those within the animal welfare field as to options for these two youngsters and a prognosis for quality of life.  They could only propel themselves short distances and couldn't raise their bodies at all.  Although they enjoyed their meals and seemed accepting of their limitations, it just didn't seem humane for this to continue.  It was terribly   heart-wrenching to make the decision to euthanize, but we all agreed that this was one of those times we had to let go.
 Rest In Peace, little fellas.

   

Carter and his friend, Alma, were among the 30+ rabbits existing in filthy, cramped cages at the back of a rural property, rented by tenants who had been given notice to evict.  When volunteers went to look at the place they found that some of the rabbits were in need of immediate medical attention, others had old wounds, some exhibited a fear aggression, and others were simply afraid.  Carter has one ear and Alma has maloccluted teeth but that doesn't seem to bother them one bit.  They've adjusted to their new home, with all the comforts they deserve, and are quite the characters.     

        

Rhonda                                                                                                           Cinders

In March of 2006 the North Vancouver District Animal Welfare Shelter received a call regarding some rabbits that a resident had let loose in the neighbourhood.  A coordinated effort was launched to round them up and in days we had several on our hands.  During the course of several months one was struck and killed by a vehicle and another was attacked and killed by a dog. The others were caught.  However, within days of being brought to the shelter two of the bunnies gave birth.  We brought Rhonda, the black and white one home with us.  She had two stillborn kits and two others that she was ignoring.  Sadly, they died after just three days.  Cinders, the cream-coloured bunny, had seven kits, four of which survived.

As to the father and daughter who let the rabbits roam, despite trying to have them held accountable, they "adopted" one of their rabbits back and made a small donation to the shelter for the care of the others.  Pet abandonment is illegal.            

We were contacted by another rescue group asking if we could speak to a woman wishing to surrender two young rabbits.  We called, and she said that several months earlier the family had gone to an auction and purchased the two bunnies for the kids.  Predictably, they grew tired of caring for the pets and she didn't have time, either.  She went on to say that the female gave birth to a couple of kits which a pet store was willing to take.  She'd exhausted every other avenue for the adults and as she was going on a business trip the following week was desperate for a home.  Otherwise they were going to be brought back to the auction.  We made arrangements to have them spayed and neutered and brought to our sanctuary.  We were willing to adopt them out but in over a year never received any interest.  Amy and Sparky are now permanent residents with us.  

Penny had been at a local branch of the SPCA when a rescue group was asked if they would take her.  There was a good chance that she would be killed if she wasn't so arrangements were made to have her transferred out.  We were then contacted and agreed to take care of her.  She had what appeared to be a respiratory tract infection but tests were inconclusive.  Antibiotics were ineffective.  She also had a tumor near her heart and over the next while began having seizures and then a stroke.  Despite everything, she was a happy bunny and was always excited to see us.  However, her health worsened until one evening we made the painful trip to the vet clinic to have her 'put to sleep'.  It never gets easier.  (Left: Penny  Right: Penny & her friend Sage)

Summer Rescue 2006

In the summer of 2006 I received a call regarding four domestic rabbits who had been dumped in a works yard adjacent to a bottle depot.  I managed to catch them all by enticing them with carrots.  The adult male's fur was sticky and urine stained, and all were skittish and scared.  It took several months before they settled down but now they're enjoying themselves as part of our family.
See Photos

Baby bunnies dumped - July 2007 Rescue

July 2007.  Today was no different than many other days in the past.  I received a call regarding a sighting of dumped baby rabbits and was asked if I could go take a look at the situation.  more / photos

 

A kind family had been looking after a little rabbit named April and her friend Niblet when they contacted us for help.  The previous 'owner' had been providing inadequate and sporadic care for these two, and April had an ongoing problem with an abscess on her jaw.  According to the vet she also had dental problems and because of her age, which was estimated to be 7-8 years surgery was not recommended. A tube was inserted to drain the pus and a course of antibiotics prescribed.  We covered the cost of the bill and are happy to report that April is now doing well and receiving proper care.    

Rabbit abandonment in Pemberton Heights

It's a typical story.  Owners of a couple of unsterilized pet rabbits decided to move and left them behind.  Soon the neighbourhood was full of baby rabbits, the population increasing and decreasing over several years as some were hit and killed by cars and others taken by predators.  It's not an easy life abandoned to the outdoors and most don't last long.  When a litter of kits was born underneath a backyard shed, we were contacted by the homeowner.  He thought these ones would have a better chance of survival if we could move them to a safer area, adopt them, or bring them to our local shelter.  After some deliberation we had them placed in a foster home and at four months (bit early) they were sterilized.  These bunnies weren't what we considered adoptable and it was agreed to move them to a small sanctuary outside of North Vancouver.  There they enjoy a peaceful life with other rescued little critters.  Over time the situation in Pemberton Heights seems to be in check.      

On one of my routine checks of the rabbits at the Vancouver SPCA I noticed a little fellow running nonstop back and forth in his cage.  Another woman and her daughter were also watching him.  We started talking and she said they had a female rabbit who needed company.  I told her that this bunny wasn't neutered and her response was she wanted her daughter to experience the "miracle of birth."  My attempts to enlighten her as to the plight of unwanted rabbits appeared to fall on deaf ears.  However, her daughter was somewhat receptive and said that maybe they should think about it.  Once they left I immediately got Scoobie out of there, had him neutered, and brought to our home.  Here he had lots of room to explore and play with his new rabbit friends. (Left: Scoobie & Mandy  Right: Scoobie)

   Rescue & In Memory cont'd