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Real Animals Don't Make
Appropriate Easter Gifts

As Easter approaches, the novelty of presenting the child in your life with an Easter pet will become more and more tempting. Resist the urge to bring a real Easter bunny, baby chick or duck into your home.

While all of these creatures are adorable when young, just like any other critter, their novelty will fade, and they will grow up. In the meantime, they can require a great deal of care. An impulse purchase for the holiday can translate into another unwanted animal several months later. Neglect or unintentional mishandling of these delicate creatures can result in an early death. Or worse, having outgrown the "cute" stage, chicks, ducks and rabbits are often released into the wild to fend for themselves, which they are ill-equipped to do.

Rabbits are adorable, especially when young, but they can live to be 10-12 years old and require more care than one would think. Rabbits are born to run, and confining them to a small cage can shorten their life span considerably. Most are terrified of cats and dogs, so they may not mix well with other pets in your household. You should groom and clean your rabbit's habitat regularly. Rabbits require a varied diet including fruits and vegetables, along with chew toys to keep their teeth worn down.

Most rabbits do not appreciate being held and cuddled and can bite or inflict other pain with their hind legs as they attempt to escape someone's grip. If you are going to let your rabbit roam your house, remember these little guys love to chew cords, shoes and furniture. And just like any other pet, your rabbit will need to be neutered to prevent unwanted spraying or other unpleasant odors.

Likewise, chicks and ducks require special care. They need a specific diet to thrive and will do best in temperature-controlled settings. These birds are especially fragile, and some might carry disease. The best option for these pets is a farm where others of their kind already live and can show them how to survive. Chickens and ducks were not meant to live in apartments or subdivisions. And, as a general rule, animals do better with animal companionship. If you are intent on adding one of these creatures to your home, consider adding at least two.

The reality is that children like a pet they can hold and cuddle. That's not the best job for a rabbit, chick or duck. It is a great job, however, for a stuffed animal.

We all need to do our part to avoid adding to the unwanted animal population. Easter pets purchased on a whim will only add to the thousands of pets given up each year in the months following the holiday. And rather than teaching children a lesson of humane treatment of all creatures, sending an animal to a shelter or to the wild only reinforces the idea that animals are disposable after the newness wears off.

Feeling the urge this Easter? Go ahead! Give in to toys and chocolate!


Authored by Mary Paulsell.
Mary is a board member for Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary. You can contact her at mp2mp@aol.com.

For more information about Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary, please call Susan Hatfield at 445-1680, Jim Johnson at 445-4177 or email info@htsanctuary.com.

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