Saturday, March 31, 2012

Say Yes To Chocolate Easter Bunnys and NO to Real Bunnys

"He's a great rabbit," she assured the shelter employee, "but he started spraying and chasing my son."
"How old is the bunny?"
"Oh, about 8 months."
"Is he neutered?"
"No. Will you be able to find him a good home?" 
"We'll do our best......"

Rabbits require as much time, love, and care as a dog or cat.  They are not low maintenance pets.

Contrary to Easter-time advertisements, rabbits and small children are NOT a good match. The exuberance of even the gentlest toddler can be stressful and even deadly for a rabbit.

Children like a companion they can hold, and cuddle. That's why stuffed animals are a good choice. Rabbits are not passive and cuddly. They are ground-loving creatures who feel frightened and insecure when held and restrained. The result is the child loses interest, and the rabbit ends up
neglected or abandoned.

Upon reaching adolescence (3 – 6 months old) rabbits are capable of breeding. Rabbits are animals of prey, at the bottom of the food chain, and in order to survive they must mature sexually very quickly and breed often, hence the mating instincts of both males and females are very strong and they start reproducing at a very young age. Small, dwarf breeds of rabbits reach adolescence at 3-4 months of age; others, anywhere between 3 and 6 months of age.

“I will tell you that had we known that information before we had purchased our bunnies, we would have been more careful!" said a woman after her two “male” bunnies had babies and the caretaker was now caring for 10, rather than 2 rabbits.

During adolescence and later as an adult, a rabbit is driven by hormones, compelled to act in ways that are not desirable for a house companion. He or she isn't being intentionally contrary, just following Mother Nature's basic urges.  Rabbits must be neutered or they will mark their house with urine.

When you spay or neuter, you do your part to keep the rabbit population from growing, and  help already-born rabbits find responsible, permanent homes.  Even being "purebred" or really cute doesn't guarantee an animal a loving home or room at a shelter.  When shelters and rescue facilities are not packed with unwanted animals, the perceived value of each companion animal increases.  In a nutshell, to purchase from a breeder or pet store is to write a death warrant for a shelter rabbit. 

(Excerpts and quotes taken from the House Rabbit Society's website and real life rabbit caretakers.)

Top photo © Sebastian Duda -
Bottom photo © Julija Sapic -

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Is In the Air---Time to Spay and Neuter!

Spring is in the air. Trees are beginning to blossom, and (just perhaps) the rainy season is coming to an end. The air is fragrant and everything looks green and beautiful.

The sad news is if you're pet is an unspayed or unneutered cat or dog, it's that time of year to roam, fight, impregnate or get pregnant. How sad that such a glorious season can end in lost or injured animals and so many unwanted litters.

 Each year Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter, the Grass Valley Animal Shelter and AnimalSave collectively take in about 1,000 kittens. If these kittens were wanted, they wouldn't be in a shelter. Several hundred unwanted
puppies are taken in by Pound Puppy Rescue, Animal Save, the Grass Valley shelter and Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter each year.

Sometimes people think a litter would be fun to have, or that they need to let their pet have a litter before they spay it. "It'll be easy to find homes for Fluffy's kittens!" These folks are surprised to learn how much work it is to have puppies or kittens. And that no one wants Fluffy's kittens. It's around this time when these babies are brought to the shelter.

Male dogs and cats can smell a female in heat up to a mile away. If you wonder why your unneutered male dog or cat is constantly getting out and running away, this is probably why. Do not underestimate the reproductive urge. It is powerful.

Please give your pets the best Spring present ever — spay or neuter them!

Sammie's Friends has vouchers that Nevada County residents can receive to help pay for the procedure. Anyone who has absolutely no money can call Sammie's Friends at (530) 471-5041, and we will see to it that your dog or cat gets spayed or neutered.

Do it SOON! Spring is prime mating time and about two months from now the puppies and kittens will show up. Are you ready for them?

author Cheryl Wicks is the co-founder and president of Sammie's Friends in Grass Valley. For more information, visit

Top Photo copyright Qole Pejorian via

Monday, March 19, 2012

Who the Heck is Murphy the Cat?

My full name is Murphy Elliott-Caporale.  I lives here at Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter, and this is my Woman Debbie.  I am about two years old in my first cat life.

I am important here in the office and even types. See? cv cv cv. I actually typed that. I'm not typing this blog though. Even typings just this little bit leaves me exhausted.

I'm here when cats comes in to get spayed and neutered. I welcome them and tell them they are going to be okay. I help my people when they use phones and spreadsheets. So many calls all day. People looking for their lost cats and dogs. (Dogs. Who cares.) I'm glad they won't have to have kittens. Kittens are a lot of work. 

The Man makes pages that shows all the dogs and cats and horses (what's a horse?) and chickens, and roosters (I know what roosters is---we had one in the office.) that comes into the shelter and goes out. Everyone finds a home. Yay!

Sometimes after a hard day, I has to have a mocha.

When I came to Sammie's Friends I had a problem with my nerves. Some motor problem thing made me walk kinda funny. My Womans, and my Mans all love me. I think they're nice too. I think I might be pretty lucky. Some peoples wouldn't have loved a wobbly cat so much.
Follow Murphy on Facebook!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


You may recall the June 2011 story where Sammie's Friends, Nevada County Animal Control and several horsewomen were called out to rescue 12 horses from deplorable conditions on Banner Lava Cap Road.

Thank you to ASPCA for your generous grant
After several days of hard work, and trudging through four to five feet of mud, the horses were ready for the vet, hoof trimmer, and groceries. Most were thin and had overgrown feet requiring immediate attention. They were also desperate for dental work.

But wait, there's more! Many of the horses had not been gentled, making them difficult to handle, and requiring experienced foster and adopter homes.

We're very nearly at a Happy Ending though! The eight stallions have all been gelded, and many of the horses have already found new homes.YAY!

Knickers went to Journey's End Animal Sanctuary in Arizona. Watch Knickers on YouTube.

Thanks to many generous donations from the Nevada County community and a grant from ASPCA, we were able to do the work needed to for these horses to make them adoptable.

To learn more about the horses that are still waiting for homes go to Sammie's Friends at Petfinder.  You can also see them at Pinterest!