Every morning before work, you’ll find Tracy Martin slicing and dicing enough romaine lettuce, carrots, parsley, celery, cilantro, and apples to make 13 colorful salads. In Tracy’s Peaceful Valley home, no bunny goes without a healthy start to the day.
Tracy’s house is a rabbit sanctuary- a hopping haven for the velvety soft animals to eat, play and rest. Each animal has a different story but shares one thing in common; they were abandoned by their owners and left to fend for themselves on the streets and alleys of Spokane.
“There’s more to rabbits than people realize. People don’t know how to take care of them,” said Tracy.
Tracy knows first-hand the difficulties of caring for the sweet animals. A few decades ago, on a whim, Tracy took home a lop bunny from a county fair and named the new pet, Rabitron. Tracy will be the first to tell you she didn’t know how to properly care for Rabitron.
“I just feel terrible. I did everything wrong with Rabitron. I kept her in a hutch and in the sun outside. I still feel bad about it, I didn’t know any better,” said Tracy.
Rabbitron only lived for a few years. The pain and heartache of losing Rabbitron inspired Tracy to start a non-profit dedicated to rescuing abandoned bunnies and educating people on how to properly care for the loving animals.
Over the years, Tracy has rescued 75 bunnies. Right now, she has 13 bunnies hopping through her house and fenced in yard.
“I do think I’ve made amends in many ways,” said Tracy.
For several years, Tracy used her graphic design skills to develop an eye-catching billboard campaign encouraging parents to think twice about buying bunnies for their kids around Easter.
“I love the animals, but I also want people to know the reality of it. I think rabbits make great pets for adults. It’s not Bugs Bunny and eating carrots all day,” said Tracy.
A few weeks after Easter, Tracy will be busy with calls of abandoned rabbits through the region. Once parents realize how much work it takes to care for the animals, they’re set loose. Tracy and her husband will spend several hours trying to rescue and corral just one unwanted bunny.
“The bunnies don’t know how to survive. They are domesticated, they don’t have instincts like wild rabbits,” said Tracy.
Rabbits need to be outside, free to play, and spayed/neutered. If you want a bunny, Tracy encourages people to adopt before they buy one from a store. The animals also need fresh greens every day. Tracy goes through a case of lettuce a week and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Once you know bunny love, you know their language, you can really fall in love with them,” said Tracy.
Do you know of a powerful pet story you would like to share? Send an email to: PowerOfPets@avistacorp.com. Who knows, we might just share it with others, with permission of course.