Why do you rescue rabbits? What do you do with them? Where do you get them?
After five years of running the rescue in Creswell, Oregon, we are still amazed that those are the most frequently asked questions. The rabbit is a very unique animal with a very unique set of needs. Red Barn Rabbit Rescue is located in a predominately rural community and the idea that rabbits need rescuing and that they are indoor pets is perplexing to the majority of the public. Unlike cats and dogs the donations and volunteer support is greatly diminished due to such a wide unfamiliarity with them. Our ability to reach out to people in metro areas and apply for grants is imperative to our ability to collect donations and keep this a successful mission.
RBRR started because a teenage girl, Alex Crippen, decided her time would be better spent helping less fortunate rabbits get proper care and safe, caring permanent homes. That teenage girl’s mom, Heather Crippen, was all for it; “anything to keep her busy and away from boys.” Little did Heather know that Alex would turn RBRR into a non-profit organization that is known all around the world. Or that she would be spending 30 hours a week as a volunteer for these complicated and intriguing animals. Alex, Vice President, is primarily responsible for research, social media, fundraising and minor medical needs. Heather, President, devotes four hours a day studying, cleaning and caring for the rabbits. Life has changed dramatically for them both as they realized that these furry creatures are in dire need of a facility that is devoted to them and their unique needs. It was also very obvious that they needed protection from the archaic belief that they are farm animals and do not deserve the same type of protection and treatment awarded to cats and dogs.
After being asked by concerned citizens to attend a rodeo event where children were chasing, grabbing and keeping whatever rabbit they caught (“animal scramble”) Alex and Heather were mortified. RBRR did not hesitate to try and get these scrambles stopped and the participants educated on the inhumanity of the event. Heather spearheaded and co-wrote a bill that would bring an end to animal prizes in the state of Oregon. Sadly the Bill made it all the way to committee where it was not sent forward for reasons that still remain unexplained. Heather hopes to try again in the next legislative session.
Because RBRR is in a rural area finding people that are familiar with the true needs of a house rabbit has proven to be very difficult. Rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States but most of them reside in metro areas. It has been a challenge for RBRR to find people who are truly versed on the pleasure of owning a rabbit and thus it has been a bigger challenge to find people willing to give their money to help support something they really don’t understand or have any kind of history with. Today RBRR is under huge demand. The rescue is at capacity with 40 cherished and respected rabbits . RBRR gets at least 4-5 e-mails or phone calls from people asking for help or advice on how to catch stray rabbits running loose in their neighborhoods. All of this would be very manageable if the two main RBRR volunteers and caretakers did not also have other full-time jobs. Lack of time and volunteers to go out and really fund raise combined with the diminished understanding of rabbits by the public makes it essential for RBRR to receive unsolicited donations and apply for grants. Our first grant was an enormous turning point for the rescue as it allowed us to get caught up on our neuters and spays. It was not just a simple grant award. It is a permanent part of the history of RBRR and is mentioned every time the story of RBRR is told. Petco helped immensely again in 2014 granting RBRR another generous grant allowing us to assist low income rabbit owners and continue to rescue rabbits in need without hesitation.
Please help us continue to educate the public and save these wonderfully unique and intriguing animals by becoming a regular donor and spreading the word to other people that you think might find our cause worthy of helping.