More than a dozen real-life bunnies were welcomed to Willowbrook mall on the weekend to celebrate Easter and raise awareness and close to $1,000 for a local animal rescue.
For the Bunny Love event, the local shopping centre partnered with the Small Animal Rescue Society (SARS) and offered people yoga sessions with real-life bunnies rescued by the animal welfare group.
About 80 people participated in the three yoga sessions offered by certified instructors.
While it was hard to focus on the exercise with cute furry friends around during the session, Willowbrook Shopping Centre’s marketing director Nicole Lotz said people enjoyed playing with and feeding bunnies afterwards.
All the proceeds from the ticket sales and on-site donations will benefit SARS. Lotz shared that Willowbrook Shopping Centre, too, will be matching the donations.
Volunteers from SARS were present for the event, ensuring the safety of the bunnies and creating awareness about their organization.
The money raised from the event will help SARS spay and neuter animals and cover shelter costs, Maria Rosa, one of the rescue’s volunteers, explained.
“Events such as this mean everything to us, as we are a 100-per-cent volunteer-run organization that relies strictly on donations and fundraising to do our work,” Rosa said.
“This is the first fundraiser we have been able to hold since March 2020. It’s been a really tough two years. All of the proceeds from this event will go towards feeding, housing, and vet care of all of our animals.”
In addition to the presence of live bunnies for the yoga session, Willowbrook also had a life-sized Easter bunny on site. Families were seen lining up to get photographs with the bunny, who also gave chocolates to the kids.
Concerned by the increase in the number of people surrendering their rabbit pets soon after Easter, Rosa believes the event gave them a platform to reach more people with the message that rabbits are great animals but are not necessarily great pets for everyone.
The group welfare society typically observes a spike in people wanting to surrender their rabbits four to six months after Easter.
To those interested in adding a rabbit to their family, Rosa suggested looking into fostering options.
An animal welfare society dedicated to small animals, SARS BC, was founded in 2004 to help unwanted small animals.
The Aldergrove-based non-profit has rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed thousands of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, gerbils, degus, chinchillas, and hedgehogs.
For more information, people can visit smallanimalrescue.org.
Have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.