Does your contribution to House Rabbit Society really pay for the things you intend? We’re glad you ask. We welcome the opportunity to tell you of the programs you support when you make a donation to HRS. They all fall under two major headings: rescue and education.
The primary purpose of House Rabbit Society is to rescue and foster homeless rabbits, which means that the largest portion of membership contributions and other donations goes to our fostering program. This program includes rescuing rabbits from “death row” (when their time is up at animal shelters) and bringing them into private foster homes, where they can be maintained as close as possible to the privileged style that your own “pet” rabbits enjoy. The average fosterer usually winds up spending about $5,000 on the project out of his/her own pocket during the first year. Food, housing, and veterinary care comprise large amounts of fostering expenses. Although our veterinarians are generous with their discounts, our volume adds up. All rabbits who come through our doors are spayed or neutered, and any physical problems are treated.
HRS’s rescue program involves far more than gathering abandoned rabbits. Rescue means responsibility for the animal’s maintenance and welfare. The first goal is to save lives. The next goal is to enrich the lives that have been saved. The most expedient way to ensure enrichment is through the bunny’s adoption into a caring home, where there’s an abundance of love and all the good things that go with it.
On the other hand, bunnies who are not adopted also deserve a good life. That’s why we have different kinds of foster homes. Some house only adoptable rabbits on a temporary basis; others house only sanctuary rabbits on a permanent basis; some handle nursing care; and many foster homes do all.
Education, our secondary program, is important because it helps reduce the number of abandoned rabbits who need to be rescued, and it improves the quality of life for the ones in permanent homes. The aim here is to educate people sufficiently so that fewer rabbits will be abandoned, and fewer will need to be rescued. Helping people understand their rabbits’ behavior and solve problems that might cause them to relinquish their rabbits is how education saves lives. The second part of our education program is to help our conscientious members, who cherish their animals and want to keep them happy and healthy for as many years as possible.
Our education program includes mailing printed educational material to individuals and presenting slides, videos, flipcharts and handouts to groups of people. It also includes printing and mailing the House Rabbit Journal, and the maintenance of this website. We have trained and committed volunteer educators who do this work throughout the country, but printing the Journal and our other educational materials costs money. This portion of your contribution makes it possible for us to continue our important educational work, and for HRS members to receive the health and behavioral updates that we furnish in our national Journal and local newsletters.
This organization—from the home office to every chapter across the country—is run by volunteers. In addition, our new Adoption Center/Home Office has one full time paid staff person, plus two part time animal caretakers. All of our volunteers, as well as the home office, have office expenses. They have to keep track of incoming animals, health records, and accounting records. They have to maintain files, desks, office supplies, and computer equipment. Our home office maintains a Mac and PC network with desktop publishing software to produce the Journal and other materials, and database software to track our animals, the health database, and the membership list for the national organization. Other offices/homes involved in the organization have similar set-ups used for everything from creating guidebooks for our educators and fosterers to soliciting grants from foundations and corporations. While the overhead costs for running House Rabbit Society are low compared to organizations, we do still need to purchase basic items like computer equipment, paper, office supplies, and postage.
All of these programs are worthy of your support. Your $20 donation to House Rabbit Society, plus any additional donations, supports our national efforts such as the website, the House Rabbit Journal, as well as the nation’s first rabbit adoption and education center, which supports not only Bay Area rabbits but provides educational materials and phone help to the public around the country. Because House Rabbit Society doesn’t financially support our chapters, they need your help as well. By joining your local chapter, you will be making rescue and education in your area possible.