Mark McClure is giving forgotten rabbits a second chance at life as a devoted foster caregiver, shelter volunteer and educator.
The 18-year-old Wilkins resident never thought he’d end up loving the furry friends until he noticed the bunnies at the shelter while adopting his dog, Champ, from Animal Friends.
“I didn’t know anything about them and it was all new to me,” he said.
Today, McClure specializes in caring for bunnies in need. He currently fosters an older hospice bunny, who also is blind. One foster that turned into a full adoption is Jojo, a female that jumps about the dining room dodging from one end of the table to the next, to upstairs.
Another rabbit, Seneca, quietly sits in a pen in the living room. She recently was rescued from a hoarding situation in Ohio in which 87 rabbits were saved from small cages and horrible living conditions in a barn.
“It felt good to help bunnies that really needed it,” he said.
McClure loves the way bunnies live and has a knack for lending comfort and unconditional love to the pets.
“I like their personalities,” McClure said. “They’re incredibly spontaneous and have their own way of life.”
McClure, a PA Cyber student, is an official member of the House Rabbit Society, which is based in California. The organization prides itself in having members who are knowledgeable of the medical needs of rabbits. McClure, who aspires to be a vet tech with his own rescue organization someday, is now experienced in helping rabbits with special needs thanks to his foster work.
His volunteer work with Rabbit Wranglers, Animal Friends and the Animal Rescue League also have been great educational experiences for all things bunnies.
“They’re so smart and a lot of people don’t realize that,” he said. “They thrive on attention.”
While sometimes rabbits can be compared to cats because of their independence, at the same time, they take as much work as having a dog.
Bunnies require yearly visits to specialized veterinarians, a good diet of hay and pellet food, regular play and interaction and must be housed indoors. The average cost to adopt a rabbit is $60, McClure said. They live from 10 to 12 years.
“It’s a lot of cleaning and a lot of work, and acquiring bales of hay in the suburbs isn’t always easy,” he said with a laugh.
McClure is always looking to spread the word on just how cool bunnies can be as pets—and said the work is definitely worth it.
“They need more people out there who love bunnies,” he said.