As Easter nears, Kansas bunny rescue group works to educate the public
Wichita-area group Bunny TNT is nervous that even more rabbits – a frequent gift this time of year – will end up at the rescue.
When you ask Joyce Gedraitis how Bunny TNT began, she tells you it’s a long story.
What started as helping care for a rabbit for a friend who was out of town evolved into showing others how to take care of their rabbits. Later, she and some others formed a nonprofit bunny rescue group.
“The three of us got together and decided that it was about time to educate people about rabbits because obviously rabbits are being dumped all the time around here,” Gedraitis said.
The rescue is run by mother-daughter duo Joyce and Joan Gedraitis.
They have dozens of rabbits available for adoption, which are housed in a residence in College Hill. But adoption isn’t their only goal. They also hope to educate others on how to take care of their new furry loved ones.
Joyce Gedraitis, also known as Grandma Bunny, said that’s where the TNT comes from, which stands for training, nurturing and therapy.
“When people adopt from us, we make them a member of our group for a year, so we can educate them,” she said.
Nancy Lucas has adopted three rabbits from Bunny TNT and said the group helped her become a better rabbit owner.
“She could help me with … teaching me how to interact with the rabbit, because you don't play with them the same way you do a puppy or a kitten,” Lucas said.
Educating others on how to properly care for rabbits is essential, especially with many rabbits ending up in the group’s care because families no longer want to do so.
Rabbits also often come to the group from people dumping their unwanted pets or from breeders – like its most recent bunch of 11 rabbits they rescued.
And like many other animal rescue groups, it seems more and more animals have come into their care lately.
“As soon as we think we're doing good at getting the numbers down … ” Joyce Gedraitis said. “You get an emergency,” Joan Gedraitis interjects.
Taking care of the rabbits is not cheap.
The rabbits are fed a mix of hay, food pellets and greens, which includes lettuce and cilantro. With food prices continuing to go up, costs to take care of the rabbits also continue to rise.
That may be another reason why some families give up their animals.
“I used to spend about $300 a month on greens and it's about 600 now,” Joyce Gedraitis said.
“It's pretty much 20 bucks a day just for lettuce,” Joan Gedraitis said.
With Easter approaching, the group is nervous that even more rabbits – a frequent gift this time of year – will end up at the rescue.
“Some of these people think their kids are going to do all the caretaking of the rabbit,” Joyce Gedraitis said.
“Young children aren't ready for that. That's too much responsibility.”
Before adopting a rabbit like she did, Nancy Lucas said those interested should educate themselves on rabbit care and take inventory of their lifestyle to see whether adopting would be a good fit.
“Rabbits aren't something you're going to take out for a brisk walk every day; I have a dog for that,” Lucas said.
“But when I want something that I can relax with, that I can just enjoy the companionship and the cuddliness; and that make me laugh. Bunnies are wonderful.”
Bunny TNT hopes to someday move out of its residential home into a place that’s larger and easier to clean.
But for now, taking care of bunnies is what they enjoy doing.
“Giving them all the love we can,” Joyce Gedraitis said.
“Our house may be a disaster, but we take care of the bunnies.”
To see bunnies for adoption, go to bunny-tnt.org.
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