By Mary Johnson
During a recent visit to Calgary, I was lucky enough to have timed it so that I would be able to attend “Bunanza,” the first annual gathering for rabbits and their owners put on by the Canadian Rabbit Hopping Club. This five year old club performs regularly at a variety of venues, and was even on Canada’s Got Talent! Although it was their first large event it was well organized with many interesting displays. There was a full obstacle course where members showed off their bunnies, which seemed to enjoy the activity and attention.
There were two very experienced exotic veterinarians, Dr. Leticia Materi of the Calgary Avian and Exotic Pet Clinic and Dr. Eva of The Dewinton Pet Hospital, on hand to perform health checks while club members provided nail clipping and other grooming.
I very much enjoyed the medical talk Dr. Materi gave on common rabbit ailments, discussing causes and treatments, illustrated with a comprehensive slide show. I learned a crucial bit of information – you should never kiss your rabbit if you have a cold sore as the herpes virus can cause deadly encephalitis in the rabbit. Dr. Eva let me look through her lighted oral scope while she was examining a rabbit, a view I had not had seen before.
The stars of the show were, of course, the rabbits, and they did not disappoint. To someone new to hopping, it was a revelation that they can be so easily trained. Amanda Greening, the club’s founder, gave a demonstration where she had a new bun going over a jump within minutes. It’s clear that she and all the club members care deeply about rabbits, evinced by the rescues they have taken in and even brought to the event! They are expert in handling the critters (not an easy feat) and all the rabbits were well groomed and healthy.
As Calgary rabbit owners come to know about this event, I predict that future occasions will be popular dates to put aside on calendars. Take a look at the CRHC’s videos at http://canadianrabbithoppingclub.com/
Mary Johnson is a director of Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Advocacy.