Rabbit Haven is a non-profit rabbit rescue located in Gig Harbor. Though Rabbit Haven has been a non-profit for 16 years, Sue Brennan, the founder, has been caring for rabbits since the 1980s.
The rabbit that started it all was Alice. Brennan first met Alice as her owner was offering to cut off and sell her “lucky rabbit’s foot” foot for $5. Instead of letting the small, innocent rabbit be killed, Brennan bought the whole french lop for the price of the foot. Brennan quickly fell in love with her new bunny and ventured out to learn as much about rabbits as she could.
As a private contractor, Brennan had no prior knowledge about rabbits. While searching for more information on how to take care of her new pet, she found a veterinarian who informed Brennan Alice was actually a male bunny. Soon after rescuing her bunny — now named Al — a friend asked Brennan if she was willing to take their rabbit Roxanne in for a couple of weeks. Those weeks turned into months, which turned into a “forever” home.
Once word got out that Brennan was willing and able to take care of bunnies in need of a home, the rabbits came pouring in. Six months later, Brennan was taking care of thirteen bunnies.
The number of rabbits Brennan was taking care of expanded rapidly, quickly outgrowing her house and all the extra space. Thanks to the help of donations, Brennan was able to purchase a house on several acres and began work on giving the rabbits their own dedicated building. Luckily, Brennan, a licensed contractor, helped build the current location known as the ‘barn,’ which cut a significant amount of the costs. The bunnies were able to move from a small backyard shed into the barn in 2003.
Rabbit Haven houses roughly 45 rabbits, and the rescue works hard to educate the public about rabbits. While cats and dogs have many advocates and guide books, rabbits are underrepresented.
“Bunnies are wonderful pets and many people don’t know about the time and effort it takes to give a rabbit a long, healthy and worthwhile life,” Brennan said.
Over the years, Rabbit Haven has worked hard to develop better veterinary and housing practices, and has spread the word about how domestic pet rabbits shouldn’t be let loose into the wild. They also lead outreach programs to help teach the public about the proper care and handling of rabbits.
“Most people don’t know that a hutch isn’t big enough for a rabbit to live in.” Brennan said, “The cage should be at least four times the rabbit. They need enough room to jump and fully stretch out.” Rabbit Haven also offers boarding services, grooming services, and sell a special blend of local hay.
Typical operations at Rabbit Haven include keeping the center clean, rabbit socialization and daily preparation of food. Volunteers also drive the bunnies to their veterinary appointments and help with fundraising and outreach efforts.
Rabbit Haven is completely run by volunteers. Rabbit Haven is always looking for dedicated volunteers who are kindhearted and willing to commit themselves to helping the helpless and giving a voice to the quietest of pets.
Rabbit Haven is currently working with three other rescues to put on the “Burley June Bug Flea Market” fundraising event. This annual event will be held on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Burley community hall and grounds. Vintage repurposed, recycled and handmade items will be sold to fundraise for Rabbit Haven, Chew Dog Rescue, Harbor Hope Cat Rescue, and Sunrise Equine Rescue.