Lynette Harris is a rabbit foster carer for Beloved Rabbits.

FIFTY years old and newly married to the most amazing man. It was just the two of us and I wanted to adopt a pet ... and the idea was warmly received by my other half. We decided upon “a rabbit”. We’d each had “a rabbit” when we were younger and adored them ... and “a rabbit” seemed to fit well with our lifestyle.

One quick online search showed there had been great progress in rabbit care and welfare in the 35 years since we’d been smitten by bunnies. Rabbits are highly social animals, so it was strongly advised to keep rabbits in pairs or groups. Right, we’ll adopt a pair of rabbits! Again, the idea was warmly received, triggering a flurry of online research.

Rabbits are the third most common pet in the UK but, sadly, the most neglected and rejected. Fortunately, I found the Beloved Rabbits website with a video appealing for indoor foster carers, which stressed that the vast majority of bunnies being surrendered to the charity were from indoor homes and there weren’t nearly enough indoor foster spaces to accommodate their ever-growing waiting list. Talk about tugging at the heart strings!

Right, so let’s foster bunnies before falling totally in love and adopting – yes? Another idea that was enthusiastically received. Great! We’ll contribute a bit to the charity before we adopt our very own bunnies. Now – 16 months and 22 foster bunnies later – we’ve not yet adopted.

When we came on board, we were immediately warmly welcomed into the wider world of very dedicated Beloved Rabbits volunteers. Through them, we’ve learned a great deal about rabbit behaviour and care. We’ve also been

able to participate in other volunteering activities, such as representing the charity at public events and fundraising. It is very gratifying to know that every little bit of time and effort we contribute makes a difference and is very much appreciated by the charity.

There are many volunteers and voluntary roles that allow Beloved Rabbits do some pretty extraordinary work around rescuing unwanted pet rabbits whilst promoting rabbit welfare and educating the public. Fostering is a great fit for us and it has become our way of helping unwanted bunnies find a home where they will be loved and cared for. Every time I receive a message that our current foster bunny has been reserved for adoption, I get a little lump in my throat ... then immediately wonder which little ball of fluff will be the next to hop into our lives as the charity works to find them a loving home.

So, why do we volunteer? A bit selfishly ... because it feels really good to assist in transitioning unwanted (and adorable) rabbits to their forever homes! Additionally, we’ve got to know an amazing bunch of peoplewith the same motivation, many of whom put in a lot more time and effort than we do … and playing our small part in the process is inspiring and rewarding.

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