Activism Animal Rescue

Where the Bunny Tail Leads: The Retired Rabbit Sanctuary

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 Cheyenne Hendricks

Many people in America look upon the rabbit as a fluffy, undemanding pet who makes for a great gift, but contrary to popular belief, rabbits are among the most high maintenance animals one can own. After the initial excitement of adopting a bunny dissipates, the animal quickly loses its appeal, and the owners tend to either neglect or give it away. This phenomenon has grown to be such a problem that in 1998, a rescue, just for rabbits, opened in Southern Texas called the Retired Rabbit Sanctuary.

The idea started when the Hendricks family adopted an abandoned rabbit. They thought it'd be nice to get a friend for the bunny; hence, they went to a breeder to buy another one. When they saw the squalor the animals lived in and inhumane treatment they endured, Kay and Kyle Hendricks knew they couldn't sit idly by knowing the animals were suffering. Thus, the Retired Rabbit Sanctuary, a place dedicated solely to the rescuing rabbits, was launched!

Starting a nonprofit organization was no easy task for the family. At first, they could only afford to build pens from recycled materials and feed the rabbits pellets bought at local pet shops. However, today they have thirteen acres, ten full length pens, ten hand made hutches, and a large chain link enclosure housing the animals. The food served to the rabbit is top of the line, fresh vegetables are distributed weekly, and they have bales of hay spread throughout the pens monthly.

The rabbits come from all types of backgrounds such as neglectful homes, 4H/FFA clubs, dog fights, snake farms, and abandonment. Many of the animals have had traumatic experiences leaving them wounded or ill. The Sanctuary has a local vet which works with them to treat the animals, and the Sanctuary conducts an in house clinic bi-weekly.

They have worked closely with the Humane Society since 2003, teaching seminars about the proper rabbit care. Their work became widely recognized when featured on Animal Planet, leading many other media outlets to headline the RRS for their outstanding humanitarian achievements. This publicity allowed several volunteers, including the Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts, to see what they could do to help the RRS. The organization operates on the income of Kay Hendricks, a nurse, and former Marine, Kyle Hendricks. Both are deeply grateful to every volunteer for their hard work and to anyone willing to donate money to the Sanctuary.

Hunter Merchant

For several years, the RRS has worked tirelessly to ensure that every rabbit in need has a forever home available to them. Each rabbit is given the best possible care and becomes a part of the Hendricks family. In sixteen years, the RRS has evolved from one pen rigged out of chicken wire to a thriving, family owned rescue spanning three states with seven affiliate branches, and a central location housing over 115 rabbits!

I am the youngest in the Hendricks family, and I am proud to work for such a worthy cause. It is my pleasure to work with these animals and help our community learn how to treat them. If you'd like to get involved, too, click HERE or visit their Facebook page! Every donation counts.

Photos by Cassandria Alvarado

Cheyenne Hendricks 

Cause & Lifestyle Blogger

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