“Make Mine Chocolate!” That’s the annual spring campaign from the House Rabbit Society to educate the public on the realities of living with a rabbit and to discourage parents from giving into the impulse to purchase adorable little baby bunnies for their children as a gift from the Easter Bunny. The unfortunate reality is, weeks or months after Easter, many rabbits are relinquished to local shelters or worse, abandoned outside to fend off predators and other dangers when owners discover that caring for a rabbit takes a lot more work than they had bargained for and are far from low maintenance.

Rabbits can be very social and friendly, but they can also be temperamental and skittish so they may not be the best pets for exuberant children who are eager to pick up and cuddle their new furry friend. Owning a rabbit requires a long-term commitment. If housed indoors (which is preferred) and given proper care and loving attention, rabbits can live from seven to 12 years. Outside hutch rabbits don’t fair nearly as well because they become bored and depressed from isolation. They are naturally curious and enjoy a daily romp around the room; however, they need to be supervised because they can get into trouble by chewing electrical cords, books or furniture.

We don’t recommend giving rabbits as gifts. Make it a chocolate bunny instead, but if you have a quiet home and can make the commitment to the care of these intriguing furry critters we have four rabbits that are currently waiting for adoption. Rabbits like Thumper, our pet pick of the week. Thumper is a neutered, white albino rabbit about 1-and-a-half years old. He is a very sweet, mellow rabbit. And oh so soft! When you open his cage, he will come to the door to willingly receive your attention. He loves to be petted and will sit quietly on your lap. He requires a sizable cage to be comfortable in and plenty of daily play and exercise time out of the cage.

Thumper and his friends may not be for everyone, but they may be for you. Not because it’s Easter but because you’re interested in making them part of your family. Our staff will be happy to discuss the care of rabbits with you to see if they are the ideal pet for your family.

Our adult cat population continues to be high. Many of our cats have been waiting for months and in some cases well over a year for a home to call their own. We’d like to see these adult cats like Jibbet, Cupcake, Wallflower, Cricket and Sprite, as well as others, get a home before we are inundated with kittens and the adult cats are once again overlooked in favor of their younger counterparts. If you have room in your home and your heart for a fabulous feline stop by the shelter and meet your new best friend.

Save the date: Our annual Blessing of the Animals Ceremony and bake sale will be held Saturday, April 10 at the shelter facility at 11 a.m. The Rev. Michael Murphy of Waldoboro will be in attendance and will individually bless each animal. Following the ceremony there will be refreshments in our lobby and a bake sale. If you’d like to help by baking your favorite confection for the sale please call Tracy at 594-4897.

Our wish list this week: KMR (kitten milk replacement), kitten nursing bottles, steam mop, new tall multi-purpose cabinets resin (non-metal for easy cleaning and disinfecting), 13- and 30-gallon garbage bags, Ziploc bags (quart and gallon size), toilet paper, paper towels, postage stamps, laundry detergent, clay cat litter (non-clumping), canned cat and dog food, and gift certificates to Staples and Wal-Mart.

We are located at 65 Dexter St. Extension off Route 1 in Thomaston. Contact us at 594-2200 or P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841. We’re open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesdays. For more information visit hskcme.org.

These ads were written by the middle school aged, Animal Care Team, of Youthlinks, of Rockland. Youthlinks is a program of Broadreach Family & Community Services located in Rockland that provides community service, leadership and enrichment opportunities to all youth ages 11-17 from anywhere in mid-coast Maine.These programs help youth learn skills, build self-esteem, cultivate social responsibility, develop leadership abilities and connect to their peers, to adult mentors, and to their communities.

Youthlinks is funded through a combination of state grants and the generous donations of individuals, businesses, and foundations. All programs are free for participating youth.
For more information on Youthlinks, visit youthlinksonline.org or call 594-2221.