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Hopping to go home

Jackson County Animal Services volunteer Dana Feagin is an admitted bunny lover.

With a small warren of her own, she recently signed on to "take all the bunnies" that arrive at the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

She reasoned with herself that no one was better than an avid bunny fan and caregiver to foster any long-eared critters that occasionally show up at the mostly dog and cat shelter.

Her first charge, a mama bunny with six kits.

No problem.

A day later — and a sign she’d possibly jinxed herself with such an easy-going nature — 11 more adult bunnies were dropped off in a single cage.

“I had literally just offered to take over the process,” she said with a laugh. “The very day after I got the mama who had the babies, 11 show up in a dog crate. I did say I was the bunny person. But it was like, ‘Be careful what you wish for!’”

With more than 20 hares on hand, Feagin and shelter crew are hosting a bunny adopt-a-thon this weekend. While most people who come to the shelter are in search of cats and dogs, Shelter manager Barbara Talbert said the special event will raise awareness that the rabbits are ready for homes too.

The event will be hosted from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, 5595 S. Pacific Highway, between Talent and Phoenix. Adoption fees range from $25 for one bunny to $40 for two.

Bunnies are happier and less lonely in pairs, said Talbert.

“They’re all really nice animals, so we’re hopeful they’ll all get to go home, and hopefully in pairs, after this weekend,” she said.

Talbert said all the bunnies — numbering 18 as of Thursday — were currently housed by Feagin and other volunteers providing foster care, but the kits wouldn’t be available just yet. Rounding out the collection of non-canine and non-feline residents, the shelter also has accumulated a small band of guinea pigs available for adoption.

“It’s pretty unusual for us to have so many of the smaller furry types,” Talbert said.

Allison Reneau, a Phoenix resident whose two children are fostering four bunnies, vouched for the personable nature of the rabbits. In fact, at least one of her children were having difficulty with the idea of not adopting at least one of the four.

“I don’t think we need more, but these are nice bunnies and they’ve been fixed, so they’ll make really good pets for someone,” she said. “They make quiet and cute pets and they can be litter-box trained.”

With foster families tasked with the naming, Reneau said her family came up with the names Caramel and Maple for two fawn-colored rabbits and Willow and Gracie for two darker bunnies.

Feagin said she was relieved they were surrendered versus turning them loose.

One advantage of adopting adult and older juvenile bunnies is being able to determine personality types.

New bunny owners will also be able to avoid the $90 to $125 cost of having their bunnies spayed or neutered — the cost was covered by the shelter.

“They’re all ready for their new homes,” added Feagin. “Now we just need lots of bunny lovers to come to the shelter and fall in love with them this weekend!”

The shelter is taking donations to help pay for the cost of spaying and neutering the 18 rabbits, and providing supplies. To donate, see the Friends of the Animal Shelter website at www.fotas.org/.

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Blake Reneau, 9, and Lillie Reaneau, 12, are helping to provide foster care for bunnies that are up for adoption at Jackson County Animal Shelters.