However, just as they do with toys, most children stop caring about the pet when it is no longer cute and new, and by late spring, large numbers of unwanted rabbits are dumped at shelters and rescue centers, or are left outside to fend for themselves.
Many more will languish in small cages, basically ignored. Rabbits and children are NOT a good match. Despite their cuddly appearance, rabbits are fragile creatures who require special care, and it is unreasonable to expect them to enjoy being held and carried by any toddler.
PLEASE do not give in to the requests of the kids for a living animal. Instead, give them a plush toy that can take neglect and abuse with nothing more than an occasional detached button nose or ripped seam. They cannot feel pain, and they will not end up in a shelter or abandoned. Use the opportunity to explain WHY it is not a good idea to make an impulse purchase of a pet who could later be discarded or might die of mishandling or neglect.
If the kids resist the idea of a stuffed toy, they can surely suggest a more suitable gift that will make Easter special!
I received a VERY SPECIAL Easter gift this year. Sometimes I hear people complain that today's youngsters are self-centered and selfish, and I am sure that some youngsters are. However, I am privileged to know the neatest group of fourth graders that you can possibly imagine.
Last Christmas, elementary students from Laurens-Marathon contacted me at the shelter where I work and told me that they had decided as a class to forgo giving gifts to each other, but instead, donate money to the center. What an encouragement this group was!
Then about a month ago, they contacted me again, asking if the dogs needed blankets.