Saturday, October 22, 2011

Binkying at Sweet Binks.

Today I have the honor of sharing an interview with Pam from Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, who I became familiar with through a great listserv back in my early rabbit slave days a little over ten years ago.  Pam was a constant poster on the listserv and has courteously answered questions about all types of concerns to panicky rabbit owners (or do they own us?) on the list.  Pam is knowledgeable and also was/very caring towards the slaves and the buns.

I have heard many wonderful stories about rabbit adoptions from Sweet Binks as well.  In fact, Sweet Binks will be celebrating its ten year anniversary soon!  In the near future, I will be doing an interview with a rabbit that was adopted from Sweet Binks and to be inspired by her wonderful story and her mate.

I, personally, have rescued some rabbits over the years, but nothing in the capacity of what goes on at Sweet Binks.  Having always wondered what it would be like to do something like running a Rescue, I especially have wondered about Sweet Binks because it appears to go to a higher level than many and has consistently displayed a high standard that led me to ask her for an interview. Pam does most of the rescue operations herself and has volunteers for special events as you will see. Please read on as Pam shares with us:

RS:    What inspired you to start Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue and how long
ago was it?

SB:   It was my first bun as an adult.  I was just incredibly attached to her and wanted to help other buns.  I started doing private rescue in 2000 and started Sweet Binks in 2002.  There was such a great need for a rabbit rescue in Rhode Island.

RS:   Where does the name "Sweet Binks" come from?

 SB:   Our home/farm was established in 1790 and is listed as the Sweet-Wheaton Farm.  It was in the Binks family for years, and because binky is such a special term for rabbits, I named it Sweet Binks Farm and later Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, Inc.

RS:    How do you find out about rabbits that need to be rescued?   Do
people drop them off to you or do they come from another organization?

 SB:   We only work with shelters and strays.  We do not accept owner surrenders unless the circumstances are extreme.  We prefer to help rabbits in the worst of situations.

RS:  Do you have any campaigns, organizations, philosophies that you
work with or support?

SB:  We are the Rhode Island chapter of the House Rabbit Society and share the same philosophies as the HRS.  We started the white campaign many years ago around the holidays (I'm Dreaming of a White Bunny) to promote adoptions of big, white ruby eyed buns.  We hold several Rabbit Education Seminars for the public and attend many events such as the RI Pet Expo, dog walks and other pet related events.  We work closely with the RISPCA and most of the RI shelters.

RS:    Have you seen any changes or trends in the time that you have been operating as a rabbit rescue?

SB:   Yes, the breeds of rabbits that come through. Sometimes it was lots of Hotots, sometimes lops, then Lionheads.  The economy has certainly changed how many rabbits are getting placed but also how many are coming into Sweet Binks.  We are also now seeing much older rabbits coming into the shelter than we used to.

RS:    What does a rabbit go through when he or she first comes in?

SB:   Every rabbit is examined upon arriving.  If it is felt the rabbit needs to be quarantined, then the rabbit is.  Most incoming rabbits are kept separate from the general rabbit population in our shelter for a couple days to monitor and then moved to the appropriate room in our shelter.  In large scale cases, this is not easily done but we manage.  Every rabbit is logged into a register with information (breed, where from, health data, color, sex, weight, spay/neuter date, etc.)

RS:    Do you have any stories to share about your rescue and/or the rabbits that come in?

SB:    I have so many stories that I could write a book! And I just may someday..  You will have to wait for the book!  Every rabbit has a story and some of their stories are just amazing.  The will to live is great and there is a huge feeling of reward and satisfaction bringing a rabbit back from death's door to see him or her, recover, blossom and get adopted.

RS:    Do you have any points of view on purchasing a rabbit from a breeder or a pet store?

SB:   Very much so.  Purchasing a rabbit from a pet shop just supports the pet shop and the backyard breeder that purposely breeds and sells rabbits to pet shops, only for them to usually end up in a shelter but often they die prematurely because of the bad products and wrong care provided by the pet shop and their lack of knowledgable employees. Reputable breeders usually do not sell to pet shops and often many breeders are sadly, very ignorant.

RS:   What is your favorite thing about being surrounded by rabbits?

SB:   Binkies, the sound of munching hay and genuine happiness to see you.

RS:    What is one of the most difficult things you have had to deal with or that you experienced at Sweet Binks?

SB:   Cruelty cases.  Going into places (usually with the RISPCA) and removing rabbits from absolutely deplorable conditions.  Seeing the ones that didn't survive until we came to help.  And angoras, I see too much severe neglect in angora rabbits.  And the never ending dump calls, they just never stop...

RS:    What does being a state licensed rabbit rescue mean?  What is the
difference between that and someone who just sets up shop (if you will)?

SB:   Sweet Binks is a state licensed shelter meaning that we are inspected and issued an annual license to operate an animal shelter with the State of Rhode Island.  We follow the Animal Health laws of the state.  Rhode Island is pretty strict on who can "just set up shop" and for good reason.  A shelter operating without a license here will likely be quickly shut down, esp. if they are operating under code and without state inspection.

RS:    Do you have any messages you would like to pass on to readers?

SB:   Sweet Binks has become more than I ever thought it would.  I didn't know ten years ago when I started if it would be successful, if we would even get any buns adopted.  Ten years later, we have a great group of volunteers, supporters and a large presence in Rhode Island.  We have placed over 1300 rabbits and have helped a whole lot of buns..  A huge thank you to everyone out there that has supported Sweet Binks, even in the smallest way and especially to those that have supported Sweet Binks in the biggest ways!

RS:    Why do you feel it is important to neuter or spay a rabbit?

SB:   We have enough homeless buns in our shelter, we do not need more!  Spaying/neutering is key to a happy, well-behaved, healthy companion rabbit.  Bottom line.

RS:    Is there anything else you recommend along with neutering?

SB:   I do recommend having your rabbit as a client with a rabbit savvy vet (very savvy vet!)  When an emergency happens, it is much easier to get your rabbit into a savvy vet if you are already a client.  Also, hay, hay, hay!!!  Can't feed to much hay and brush (Furminate) those buns when in a shed!  Dental exams are important too.

RS:     Am I correct in understanding that you also have a rabbit
bonding service?   If you do can you explain what that is?
SB:   We do a LOT of bondings.  Because we do not utilize a foster home network but have all adoptable rabbits in one location, this makes it much easier for bondings. We normally do bondings (adoptions) on Sat. afternoons and a typical bonding here can take a few hours.

RS:    How many hours and days a week do you put in doing this?

SB:   It is my full time (unpaid!) job.  It is 365 days a year, no sick days or vacation... It consumes my life.

RS:    Can people volunteer with you? How would one go about it?

SB:   We have volunteers for fundraising and events.  We do not have volunteer opportunites at the shelter but we always need volunteers willing to learn, get savvy and help with outside events.  If interested, they just need to e-mail and I put them in contact with our volunteer manager, Jen.

RS:    If someone wanted to make a donation to you, how would they do it?

SB:   Donations are greatly appreciated and very much needed.  It is how Sweet Binks operates.  Donations can be made on our website through Network for Good or PayPal, on Facebook Causes or the best, the old fashioned mail in a check way.   Check can be mailed to:
Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 415
Foster, RI 02825

RS:    Do you have any favorite success stories?

SB:   Dave..  He is shown on our Cruelty Page (warning: some graphic material) on our web site.  Dave recovered completely and you would never know.  Dave is bonded and a happy bun.  Many, many success stories.  Seeing the cruelty case rabbits get adopted and absolutely blossom and become so loved and cherished in their adoptive homes, it is so rewarding.  Every adoption is a success story.

RS:   Thank you for joining us. This has been a wonderful and interesting time for me. Thank you for taking the time and sharing about your work. I know I certainly couldn't do what you do and am thankful that you are there for the bunnies! And congratulations on your ten year anniversary!

Sweet Binks runs mainly on outside help and greatly appreciates any donations which can given through the website or as mentioned in one her answers in this interview. Coming up soon there will be two fundraisers for the rabbit rescue, a bowl-a-thon and a party. You can get all the current information and details at Sweet Bink's Face Book page.  Sweet Binks also has a Cafe Press store from which the proceeds go to help the rescue's operations. I personally bought their bunny calendar which has many of their "client" bunnies in it. Very cute and nice quality.

Sweet Binks Website
Adoptable Bunnies in Rhode Island Link
Sweet Binks Petfinder Page
Sweet Binks on Face Book
Sweet Binks Cafe Press Store

Thank you readers for taking the time to read Rabbit Slippers. It means a lot to have you visit and share your comments. Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions and suggestions in the comments.
Have a Bunderful Day and hope to see you soon!
Mary Ellen

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  1. Enjoyed it...

    Hey, I have a question: Do you know if mini rex bunnies live for 5 years or? Also, can they handle harsh winters?

    Didn't know where else to turn... this seemed appropriate.


  2. Hi, They can live as long as any other rabbit. Mini-Rexes are beautiful rabbits. Rabbits can probably live around 8-14 years depending on the rabbit, the care they receive and the environment they live in. Although it is just my opinion from personal observation, I think smaller rabbit (breeds) may tend to live longer. They generally are more spry in their later years.
    Every rabbit has its own issues and some breeds have their own issues due to breeding-just like dogs and other species have tendencies towards certain problems withing certain breeds.
    I will research this more for you and post.
    Sorry I didn't reply sooner, but I am out of state right now and had very limited internet access.
    I will research this and get back to you.

  3. No prob... thanks for the great info!