Great love can be so powerful that it will stir the direction of our lives. As a human companion to my rabbit Booni, I became a pet photographer. As for Marie Louise Chua, bunny mama to two rabits and foster mama to another two, she decidedly became an advocate and founder of Rabbit Awareness Philippines.

Personal advocacy

Like Marie Louise or Marisse, our family heavily relies on educating ourselves about rabbies through the House Rabbit Society (HRS). The HRS is an international nonprofit animal welfare organization based in Richmond, California with an exceptionally comprehensive website called rabbit.org. While we had lots of information at our disposal, it is, however, another challenge to find ethical rabbit caretakers and expert veterinary care here in the Philippines.

I know for a fact that Booni’s life changed because of Marisse’s Rabbit Awareness Philippines Facebook Page. There, we were able to find rabbit care suppliers and veterinary clinics with competent exotic animal doctors who are highly recommended. We have had Booni for a decade by the time we found her page, yet a decade of knowledge still proved incomparable to the wisdom of an advocate and educator-in-training like Marisse. Her passsion for the welfare and wellbeing of rabbits combined with her patience and kindness make her a great educator.

Common purpose

Last January, I finally met Marisse her two rabbits Boosagi and Boonato, and her two fosters Boonilla and Boofee. I sincerely believe in the power of our animal companions conencting us with other people who are like us. As Jim Henson said, “There’s no word yet, for old friends who’ve just met.”

Her home office features a big desk for her work and two enclosures for her fosters. Boonilla and Booffee, who were abandoned in the trash smack in the middle of the pandemic last year. Seeing them healthy with shiny coats and clear eyes, one would never have known that they were rescued bearing terrible mites and sore hocks.

Here bedroom is shared by her two precious rabbits Boosagi and Boonato. Boonato was rescued in Baguio City in 2019, roughly 320 kilometers or four hours away from Manila, suffering from burrowing mites on his skin, sore hocks, and overgrown molars, apart from having tummy troubles due to low fiber diet. He needed emergency care and the love of a doting human companion like Marisse.

She was greatly supported by her fellow rabbit advocates and donors through Rabbit Awareness Philippines. The list of medications Boonato had to take makes for a good tongue twister, but thankfully, he thrived under her care. Boonato quickly bonded with big brother Boosagi, who has been with Marisse since 2015.

Full-time job

I only had one rabbit in my life and yet it took a village to raise Booni. Marisse having her own rabbits and still carving out time, energy, and attention for her fosters is nothing short of commendable. Being a young woman in her twenties, juggling work life and her own hobbies, and caring for bunnies and herself, she is doing her best setting boundaries and finding the right support from a few peers who have the purest of hearts. Animal welfare could be tricky and overwhelming so it is important to find genuine support.

Every successful adoption is a cause for celebration. Through the years, Rabbit Awareness Philippines, with the help of Fuzzy Bunny PH who screens potential adopters, has made it possible for rabbits to have their forever families.

Knowledge and comfort

Our rabbit community in the country continues to grow, so it is all the more important to always give the right information. Apart from giving rabbits proper shelter inside the home, she also advocates spaying or neutering and proper veterinary care. Like other species, domestic rabbits are intelligent animals who require quality care, mental stimulation, exercise, and social interaction.

Random pictures of Boosagi and Boonato give me warm fuzzy feelings, especially after losing Booni who made 13 years of memories with us. Meeting them and taking picture of Marisse interacting with her bunnies really brought back my most special and unique memories of him.

There is so much wisdom and funny memes to be shared through Marisse’s Facebook page. By sharing her knowledge and her journey with her rabbits, she is chaning many rabbits’ lives and giving humans like me a happy heart with the knowledge that there is goodness, compassion, and growing awareness.

Let’s help rabbits!

If you would like to support Rabbit Awareness Philippines on Facebook, donations for food and supplies, and funds for spaying and her fosters’ medical needs are greatly appreciation. You may also share the page to help present and future rabbit parents who may need a valuable resource of information.

If you are looking to adopt a rabbit, you may apply through Fuzzy Bunny PH.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s March-April 2021 issue.

You might want to read:
– Dear Booni: A hooman’s love letter to her senior bunny
– The gift that keeps on giving
– Creative tribute to frontliners