Today we welcome Isis from the wonderful website Disabled Rabbits who talks to us about their work and their gorgeous bunny Bonnie.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? Hi, my name is Isis Charbonneau and I am the founder of DisabledRabbits.com. My husband Jonathan and I live with our disabled rabbit spokesbunny, Bonnie, and the rest of our bunny crew in San Diego, California, U.S.
3. Have you always loved animals? Of course! I’ve had pets since I was young and animals have always been a very large and very vital part of my life. Jonathan and I adopted our first animal together in March of 2010, a German Shepherd we named Riley. From there, we got heavily involved in animal rescue. We began participating in transports, and even drove 11 German Shepherds from a rescue in Los Angeles, CA to a rescue in Denver, CO where each dog went on to find a forever home. In 2011, our love for animals and rescue brought us to one of our local humane societies where we adopted our first rabbit. While we love all animals and have had many different kinds of pets over the years, rabbits truly hold a very special place in both our hearts.
4. Please tell us a little about any pets that currently live with you and if they ever get into any mischief? We share our home with a rambunctious bunny crew. First, of course, there is our Bonnie girl. Bonnie is the princess of the family- and she knows it. She may be disabled, but she would surprise you with all the mischief she causes. She loves to unravel the rolled towels we have lining her pen. She lifts them with her head, tosses them about and then arranges them into a comfy little “nest” to sleep in. If we are late with her morning treats, she clangs her dishes together to wake us up. If we don’t arrange her hay just right in her tray, she throws it about and then tips her head back to look at us and tell us she’s displeased. There are some nights when she is supposed to be getting her bottom bath and I’ll see a brown blur go by our bedroom door and bobbing down the hallway (my husband clamoring behind). She sure does keep us on our toes!
5. What first interested you in setting your pet related website up? I founded DisabledRabbits.com, first and foremost, as a tribute to Bonnie. Bonnie became disabled in June of 2012. She fractured her spine overnight and the injury left her paralyzed in her hind legs. My husband and I faced many challenges in learning to care for a disabled rabbit. Our vet could not provide much by way of help as far as day-to-day care. We took to the Internet hoping to find some guidance but came up, for the most part, empty-handed. So, we settled for trial and error and did the best we could to teach ourselves. But it was hard. We’ve come a long way now and Bonnie is, thankfully, thriving. When I look back at our journey, I don’t want other owners to have to go through the struggle we went through. I don’t want them to have to feel the same uncertainty we felt, the same hopelessness. So, I started DisabledRabbits.com as a way to chronicle our journey and, hopefully, reach owners in need of help.
6. How long now has the site been established? I officially launched DisabledRabbits.com on January 16th, 2013.
7. How do you find your inspiration for your site? The biggest inspiration for DisabledRabbits.com really is Bonnie. Many (if not all) of the resource topics I feature on the website were inspired by her care. The guides and tips are all based on things we learned while caring for her. As we learn new or better methods, I add them to our website so we are constantly improving and expanding as we go along.
8. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the website? I begin my day with a stop by our Facebook page. I check our notifications, posts and emails. I read and ‘like’ comments, respond where necessary and make or schedule some posts for the day or week. Then I check our website email and respond to new messages. I stop by The Bonnie Store to check for new orders and, if there are any outstanding orders, fill those as possible. When I have time throughout the week, I work on updates to the website or new sections that are in progress. Periodically, I check the statistics on our website to see where we are on visitors and what search terms people use to find our page as this helps me narrow down what information is most needed in the community. Much of my time, though, is spent caring for Bonnie, taking pictures and videos of her, and thinking of aspects of her care that I can share on our website or Facebook page.
9. Do you have any plans for the future in terms of expanding the website or featuring any other areas? Absolutely! For starters, I have lots of new pages in the works. I hope to expand on our “lifestyle” section to include information on acupuncture, braces and slings, bonding and enrichment and would like to expand our “health” section with topics such as administering medications and dealing with weight loss. I have a larger section on “education” that I hope to get started soon. This area will focus on teaching people about rabbit disabilities- what they are, how they happen, how to prevent them, and how to raise awareness about them. Also under construction is our brand new YouTube channel. This channel will feature educational and instructional videos regarding disabled rabbit care. Another project I am expanding on is the DisabledRabbits.com community fund, which helps to support owners and rescues with disabled rabbits that need financial assistance for their care. So I have a lot of plans as far as expanding DisabledRabbits.com.
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about you and your website do you have a Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can learn more? Besides our main page, www.disabledrabbits.com, we have a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/