Larry was a stray rabbit. He was found in a neighborhood near busy streets. The woman who found Larry tried to locate his home. No one claimed Larry and even if he had come from someone's nearby home chances are that he was no longer wanted. Stray rabbits are fairly common. Rabbits are also the third most common animal found at shelters.
Larry is a New Zealand white rabbit. He is a big boy weighing about 10 pounds. Larry's breed of rabbit is often sold at Easter time. People have this misguided notion that rabbits, kids, surprises and Easter go together. The people who are promoting this idea are misleading others. See, rabbits are not toys. They are not commodities. They are certainly not an impulse decision. In fact, most rabbits bought at Easter time do not make it to their first birthday. Once the novelty of the rabbit wears off, people tend to forget about them. They are neglected, given away, or in Larry's case, turned loose to fend for himself.
We think that Larry was someone's Easter surprise. His breed is often mistaken as the classic Easter rabbit. But really, the best Easter rabbit is a stuffed toy rabbit, or maybe a yummy vegan chocolate rabbit. Those rabbits don't have souls. They don't suffer and they don't mind if they are forgotten about. Of course, who would forget the chocolate rabbit?
About Larry. We responded to the kind woman's call. Sharon had found Larry running loose in her neighborhood and she was worried about his safety. She was able to catch him. After futile attempts to locate his home she then tried to find him a new home. She had three offers, but Larry would not have been happy at anyone of those 'homes'. One fellow wanted him for breeding to his other rabbits, another person wanted to give him to a five year old child and the third person wanted to eat him. Sharon did not know much about rabbits, but she knew enough to say 'no' to each of those people. Sharon brought Larry to River's Wish. She donated money to cover his neutering and some of his care. Sharon was not 'getting rid of' Larry. Sharon cared and we were happy to help both she and Larry.
Larry has a companion who looks a lot like him. Her name is Beth. Beth is spayed and Larry is neutered. Theirs is a bond that is deeper than one can imagine. In fact, we never, ever split a bonded pair of rabbits. That would be a heartless thing to do.
I painted this image of Larry because he touches my heart and he represents so many rabbits who are not so lucky. He represents the exploited rabbits who are sold at Easter, who are tested on in labs, who are raised so someone can eat them and use their fur. Rabbits are one of the most exploited animals suffering on this planet. Fortunately, Larry is a lucky one, but I consider myself lucky to know Larry. Beth is lucky too. Well, they are lucky to have each other. Actually, all three of us are lucky.
We've learned a lot over the years about rabbits. We met Sue at www.rabbithaven.org and Sandi at www.rabbitmeadows.org/shelter/index.asp in the late 90s. They have been amazing resources for knowledge and support. Our friend Tracy developed a rabbit education site called www.rabbitron.com. Her campaigns are wonderful. Our go to organization for all things rabbit is the House Rabbit Society at www.rabbit.org
Anyone considering opening their home and heart to a rabbit really needs to do their research and realize the work and commitment it takes. Larry is already 7 years old. Rabbits can live to be 12 years old and older. River's Wish adopts rabbits into homes based on the House Rabbit Society philosophy. As House Rabbit educators, we offer support to our adopters during the rabbit's lifetime. We also have opportunities for people to sponsor rabbits through our website www.riverswish.org