Comparing rabbits to other pets is misguided, says Tama Capellini, a Madrid fiber artist who makes wearable art and handspun art yarn: “Asking if a rabbit is more like a cat or a dog is like asking if a dog is more like a goldfish or a canary.” Her three-pound albino bunny, Duffy (short for Fluffy Duffy Rabbit), makes a “clicking” sound when happy, “binkies” (leaps, twirls and bounds) and runs in circles when exceedingly happy, and grunts to say back off. Capellini notes that each rabbit has a unique personality and quirks — Duffy runs in clockwise circles only — and that they exude a calming energy.
Giving rabbits to children for Easter makes Capellini cringe: Duffy was “a classic Easter present” abandoned by November. Left outdoors in a cardboard box, and dehydrated, starving and filthy, he was retrieved by the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. Capellini, a volunteer in the shelter’s rabbit room, nursed him back to health at home and then ended up adopting him.
Capellini urges prospective rabbit owners, “Please adopt, and do some research first.” Rabbits are social, but have to warm up to you. They tend to chew everything, including cords. They’re fragile and don’t like being picked up. If frightened, they can bite, scratch or thump.
The ideal owner, Capellini says, is an adult who has a stable lifestyle and can commit to the rabbit’s eight-to-twelve-year life span. Indoor pets, rabbits need timothy hay and fresh greens daily. They require an indoor hutch, but need freedom part of the day. They will use a litterbox. For the right owners, rabbits are loyal, endearing and endlessly entertaining companions. For more information, contact the Santa Fe Animal Shelter or the New Mexico House Rabbit Society. Enjoy a “Duffy” of your own: Both organizations also do adoptions.
Janet has served as the editor of The Essential Guide for fourteen years, and she is excited about fulfilling that role for the Santa Fean as well. She grew up in Dallas and lived there most of her life before she and her husband moved to Santa Fe fifteen years ago. In Dallas, she had a long career as an award-winning college professor and top-selling textbook writer. She holds a BA in English and Latin, and a PhD in the pedagogy and psychology of reading. She loves words and learning new things. She is the author of Placed Out, a work of historical fiction.