Friday, 20 November 2009

Interview - Meet Herta - the Buckeye House Rabbit Society founder

I support the Buckeye House Rabbit Society in Ohio, America and being inquisitive like a rabbit I wanted to know how it all began so I was very lucky to have Herta one of the founders take the time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me.
Thank you Herta!

Brady testing the toys for playfulness. Look at those paws!

Herta could you let me know your occupation if working for Buckeye is not full time?

My name is Herta Rodina and I'm Associate Professor of French at Ohio University, where I teach advanced language classes and 19th and 20th-century French literature. That's my paying job. Buckeye is my sanity saver :-)

How did you first get started in Buckeye?

Waaay back in the mid 90's I was on a listserv called Petbunny. That's where I first met Kristi Cole and Libby Armstrong, both then living in Ohio.
One thing led to another and in the summer of 1996 a few of us from Petbunny met at a restaurant in Toronto (which by chance happens to be my home town) for an evening of getting acquainted. Then, in the late fall, Kristi hosted a get-together at her home in Canton, Ohio and we all met more local bunny folk.
Margo DeMello at the national HRS suggested we form a chapter and, in the summer of 1997, that's what Kristi, Libby and I did. We started with a handful of members, spread the word via our newly-founded newsletter, Harelines, and via our website,
The website was an anniversary gift from my husband, David Sharpe, who created it for the organization and who continues to maintain it today. It's been a lifesaver for us!

Honalee was born this spring and is sister to Napoleon. A very beautiful doe with amazing ears!

What is your role now (if it was different then)?
I still foster rabbits, of course, and in fact am now set up to take in more than I initially had room for. So, that part of the job is the same.
As Chapter Manager, I have a fair amount of paperwork and record keeping, but I'm fairly organized and detail oriented, so it's doable.

Napoleon, brother to Honalee. Do you have space in your heart and home for these two gorgeous siblings?

Why is it crucial that fundraising is done, particularly at Christmas and Easter times?
Traditionally, the holiday season is a time of gift giving and helping those who can't help themselves and that spirit continues.
The holidays offer people some time to reflect on what's important in their lives; for people who love animals and share their lives with them, giving to the homeless ones is especially gratifying, because those people understand the joy and love that a homeless bunny has the potential to give when he or she finds a forever home.
The weak economy has definitely affected donations, because a lot of folks are really hurting, but we're grateful for every dollar anyone can spare.

Kahlua has excellent litter box habits and is a gentle and very handsome chap.

Sadly, fall is our peak time for strays and shelter rescues. The Easter bunny has grown up, the kids have lost interest, winter's coming and he'll freeze in that backyard hutch.
So, a well-intentioned, but poorly informed Mom or Dad takes the creature that was once the center of attention to the shelter.
Less fortunate bunnies are abandoned in the woods, in parks, at highway rest stops, at every imaginable place.
Most don't survive, but some lives are saved by the good Samaritan who catches the stray and contacts us.

Dixie likes to play with her toys and run around. She has amazing long white eyelashes!

For Easter, it's a bit different. We focus heavily on educating the public about house rabbits and the degree of care and expense involved, because we want to prevent spontaneous Easter bunny purchases.
Too many people don't know what they're getting into when they fall in love with that cute little fluffball in the pet store.
And they don't know that so many bunnies are euthanized at shelters because of the pet rabbit over population problem, caused in large part by breeders and pet stores, whose prime motive is to sell a lot of supplies with a relatively inexpensive rabbit.
At the same time, we want to encourage the concept of rabbits as indoor companions for the right person and thereby increase our adoptions.
So, we do library talks and we submit opinion / editorial pieces to local newspapers and sometimes we get interviews on local TV or radio stations, all in an effort to get our message across -- adopt, don't buy; learn as much as you can about house rabbits before you consider one for your family.

Anise is a very soft and gentle rabbit with dark, dark brown fur , grey foot pads and beautiful slim, long ears.
Have there been hard times (money wise) at the rescue?
We've had times when foster rabbits have needed medical care that was very costly and that certainly affected our finances.
We spend 100% of all donations on the rabbits -- for spay/neuter, to treat illnesses, for medications, for long-term care for our sanctuary rabbits.
Although people are very generous, donations never come even close to meeting our needs, so we all pitch in a considerable amount of personal funds to make ends meet.
How easy is it to sponser a rabbit and can groups sponsor as well as indivduals?
It's very easy and yes, groups are very welcome. I'd encourage folks to visit our website to learn all about sponsoring a rabbit. We can also accept less than the $25 sponsorship amount per month and some people choose to send more. For other sponsorship options please contact the Buckeye HRS directly.
Thank you very much Herta for sharing your story with us about the Buckeye House Rabbit Society and the rabbits!

Just a reminder that there are only 9 days left to purchase a Raffle Ticket from Buckeye to win this delightful original painting of Charlie.
All money raised from their annual Holiday Raffle will be going to their rabbits and you may purchase directly from their page via PayPal, though if you live in America you may still send a cheque, postmarked no later than December 1st.
Charlie is Pey's rescue rabbit. Read all about Charlie in my earlier post. Pey has also donated 5 runner-up Rabbit Signs for the raffle too! Thank you Pey!

and here is Kahlua again showing off his very furry pads and relaxing, though he would love to find his forever home soon to relax even more there.
If you live in America/Canada and would like to meet any of the rabbits here please click on their names to read more about them and their contact details.

Thank you to Herta for caring about the rabbits and having this wonderful raffle - I have my tickets and I've got my fingers crossed!


  1. Very lovely post :-)
    Such a little ones
    with long ears hahahaha.....
    Your last photo is very cozy :-)

    Have a wonderful weekend

  2. Rabbit rescue is tough, any kind of animal rescue is. I started volunteering at my local bunny rescue last year. It alternates between uplifting and heartbreaking. I wouldnt trade my time there for anything.

  3. thanks Anya, hoping that Marjolein's little Brammetje is doing well

    That is great work Christina, thank you for helping the rabbits in need and for taking on rabbits to your family who have very special needs - the rabbits that hardly, if ever, get adopted.

  4. What beautiful creatures. I wish I could have one. Maybe some day... I used to have one when I lived in California (a California Rex) and I enjoyed him. He was so big ;-) The cats were afraid of him (he, he, he) I was too, sometimes ;-)

    I worked for Vets off and on and I was always told to never give an animal as a Christmas, Easter or Birthday gift, because after the novelty wears out, they end up being neglected and maybe even abandoned. It's better to make a deliberate, conscious choice to adopt a pet, knowing the responsibilities involved. So many baby bunnies and buby duckies get abandoned after Easter, it's really sad.

    I'm glad you have such a wonderful organization to help these beautiful rabbits. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I love visiting here ;-)

    Have a blessed day!

  5. Lovely creatures... seems like they would be perfect companions for so many folks...

    VERY BEST WiSHES to Buckeye and thanks Annette for such a lovely interview and photographs... I think Anise is a stunner :)



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