At some point bun parents find themselves in a position where they are left with one remaining rabbit, whether that be all of their other rabbits have passed away or they have had countless pairs with one passing and being rebonded and now the remaining rabbit is elderly or unwell. Some parents no longer want to continue the cycle of getting new rabbits as they may find themselves drained emotionally, financially or at a different stage in their life. However what about their last remaining bunny? They acknowledge that their bunny still needs rabbit companionship and that they will be grieving and lonely. Human companionship is never enough for a rabbit. This is where our programme comes into play. This programme allows the remaining bunny to have rabbit companionship temporarily while giving the parent support without continuing the cycle.
How does the programme work?
We have now been running this programme for over 3 years and have found the right method that works best for both parents, the rescue and rabbits involved.
An initial home visit is done by one of our trained team members to meet the bun parent and the rabbit, this is to see the home environment and which of our rabbits would be best suited to and to get an idea of the rabbit and their personality. (Our adoption standards still apply regarding space, neutering and vaccinations).
The rabbit would then come to stay with us for approx 2 weeks at the rescue where we would match them up and bond them to 2 suitable BBBB rescue bunnies. Why 2? A trio allows the bun parents rabbit to have additional companionship without the worry that if anything should happen to the BBB bunny that their bunny would again be left alone. Even a young, healthy rabbit can pass away from numerous causes so we can never guarentee that one rabbit will outlive another rabbit. Bonding the bunny with 2 companions give assurance that the bunny will not be left alone first. Trios are a very stable dynamic and provide a lot of support and comfort to elderly or poorly bunnies, we found that this increased the life expectancy of the remaining rabbit, more so than only having one companion.
The bunny parent comes to collect the new trio and signs the end of life foster contract which gives them the reassurance that when their bunny passes, the BBB bunnies will be returned to us.
What if the Parent Wants to Adopt the Bunnies After Their Bunny Passes Away?
This is unusual as most people going for this programme are certain that they do not want or cannot have any more bunnies after their remaining bunny was to pass away. If they became in a position to do so, an adoption form would be completed and the BBB bunnies would be able to be adopted with consent from the rescue trustees and adopter. If only one BBB bunny remained, this bunny would first have to come back to the rescue to be bonded with a suitable companion and they could be adopted together.
What Kind of Bunnies Would the Bunny be Bonded to?
The BBB bunnies that we would choose would be not only well matched for the bunny in question and get along well but also happy in the home environment using our unique 5 criteria matching model. We will not choose older bunnies as this increases risk of the remaining bunny outliving them, usually we choose bunnies aged 3 and under. We will not choose special needs rabbits or those with serious health issues for the same reason. If there are breeds more prone to health issues we also try to stay away from these to give the parent as least amount of stress as possible while caring for 3 bunnies. We may choose to bond them with 2 single BBB bunnies or an existing bonded pair depending on who we have that is best matched.
What Fees Are Involved and What Support do You Recieve?
There are no adoption/fostering fees at all involved. All that we ask is that we recieve regular communication and updates on how they are doing and that the BBB bunnies are insured (we will provide a voucher for this) by the parent. We also ask that care, food etc is provided for them and that they are registered with an exotic vet for annual vaccinations (the BBB bunnies will leave neutered, vaccinated, rearguarded etc but we expect the fosterer to continue this on an annual basis or bring them back to us to have it done) and any emergency health care needed. We will not pay for any vet bills or treatments after they have went home (as the foster bunnies could potentially be with the parent for many many years) however can always offer support, advice and discounts where possible. The fosterer will recieve a 24/7 call line for help and support should they need any advice that they can utilise at any time. They are also free to bring the bunnies to the rescue for nail clipping, health checking etc at any point during the fostering (at no expense). Holiday boarding is available also at the rescue for the trio and priority will always be given first to foster bunnies so boarding can almost always be guarenteed.
Once the Parents Rabbit Passes Away, What Next?
We ask the foster carer to give us up to 1 month to find a space for the BBB bunnies back at the rescue where they will find their forever home. If an urgent situation arrises and the rabbits must urgently come back to us for any reason, emergency foster cover will be found for them with one of our team members.
How Do I Get Started? Does My Bunny Qualify For This?
If you have one remaining bunny who is fully vaccinated, neutered and has access to lots of space and enrichment then they qualify. To get started, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can organise one of the team to call you and discuss. From the initial visit to taking home the bonded trio could be anywhere between 1-3 months (first visit then finding a match and then having the rabbit come for 2 weeks bonding) so it really doesn't take long. If you are urgent to get started sooner than this we will always try and get the bunny in with us as soon as we can.