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What is the 'right' decision?
March 6, 2012 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Mefi animal lovers, I adopted two bunnies ~6 months ago from the local house rabbits society. A few surgeries later, my finances are on the brink. I am now up a creek, and thinking about returning them to the society. How can I be sure I am making the best decision possible for all parties involved?(bonus, adorable pics!)

About 6 months ago, I impulsively decided to adopt some bunnies. I am a vegan, and I charmed myself into the idea of having some vegan buddies to munch salad with.

I went to the local shelter, and really fell for an adorable flemish giant named Ashley. Ashley had been an outdoor bunny, and was attacked months before I adopted her. She had battled an abscess, which the person at the society said was most likely dealt with, but could return. She made it clear I would be responsible for any future medical bills.

From the beginning, I was a bit overwhelmed. I am used to living alone, and Ashley is only sort of potty trained, so yea, basically, lots of time spent cleaning her enclosure. Furthermore, in my head I figured rabbits were these lovable playful animals. Ashley is a cutie-pie, but she doesn't really 'play' persay, and our interactions are basically just me petting her. To top things off, I work quite a bit, and when I'm off of work, I get right to hobbies. I barely ended up spending anytime with her, and I felt bad leaving her alone all of the time, so I got her a buddy named Pasha to keep her company. They bonded, and now are quite inseparable.

I was holding things together, then the abscess returned. A few thousand dollars worth of surgery later, and Ashley is doing well. My finances are not though, and I put all of those surgeries on already near maxed out credit cards.

The sum total of what I owe now is about 25k, a massive amount of money. I make near 6 figures though, so paying off what I owe is very doable(if I live like a complete miser).

I am struggling now with what to do next. Part of me wants to return the bunnies to the society so I can save ~100 bucks a month and pay off my debt sooner. Also, the abcess could return, and I cannot afford anymore medical care for these bunnies. In addition, if I return them to the society, they will be fostered or immediately adopted out. There is no risk here of them being put down or ending up in a shelter. However, part of me loves these bunnies madly, and wants to do whatever I can to keep them.

I am having a very hard time making the right decision here. Historically, I am an extremely impulsive person. Getting the bunnies was an impulsive decision and I really do not want to return them simply because they are 'inconvenient.' On the other hand, I have an overdrawn bank account and 25k in debt, so do I really have any business holding onto these animals when my own life is in such disarray? Working 12 hour days, and on weekends, I barely get to enjoy their company anyways.

How can I think about all of these issues in an objective fashion?

Just for perspective, here they are.
posted by satori_movement to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
 
Why don't you talk with shelter about what you can do if the absess returns? Caring for an absess should be something can manage at home.

And does the absess simply return, or is there some bunny biting in the picture?

What pecent of the overall debt is bunnie debt?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:57 AM on March 6, 2012


They're very cute, and I can see why you love them. But it doesn't sound like you love living with them, or even like it much. Why not let them go to someone who will love living with them and spend more time with them? It sounds like it might be best for all of you.
posted by ldthomps at 9:59 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't 25K a huge amount of money for bunny surgery? Even repeated surgeries? Did I misread something?

At any rate, I think you should contact the agency, see if they'll take the bunnies back, and resist future such urges. It sounds like you've already thought it through rationally and pretty completely.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:00 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I put all of those surgeries on already near maxed out credit cards.

I'm sorry, I missed that. I knew I had to have missed something unless your bunnies were getting their boobs done.

Any case, yes, you should give them back and work on the credit card debt. It doesn't sound like you're totally into it, and you really have to be totally into it to have pets because as you've noticed, there's a lot of surprise expenses and poop involved.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:03 AM on March 6, 2012


There's no need to be a martyr about this. If you can make sure they're going to a safe place (which it sounds like you already know) then it's okay. The main thing is that you learn this lesson about yourself and remember it in future situations.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:03 AM on March 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Let me switch around two paragraphs here, if you don't mind:
I am having a very hard time making the right decision here. Historically, I am an extremely impulsive person. Getting the bunnies was an impulsive decision and I really do not want to return them simply because they are 'inconvenient.' On the other hand, I have an overdrawn bank account and 25k in debt, so do I really have any business holding onto these animals when my own life is in such disarray?

In addition, if I return them to the society, they will be fostered or immediately adopted out. There is no risk here of them being put down or ending up in a shelter. However, part of me loves these bunnies madly, and wants to do whatever I can to keep them.
I appreciate that you care a lot for these cute little furballs (and they are most certainly that), but the bolded text shows that you kind of answer your own question here. You mention you have issues with impulsiveness, but that's a side issue. As others have noted, you say you love them both deeply, but from what I can tell you've got too much going on for them to be just an "inconvenience." The fact that you know that they will have homes is really what should give you that little nudge to say goodbye. It'll be very hard in the short run, but every little or not-so-little thing you can do to make your situation easier is probably worth it in the long run.

FWIW, and IANA Financial Advisor, your top priority should be eliminating that 25k in debt, starting with any high-interest accounts. Living like a miser shouldn't be necessary, just adjustments here and there, of which giving up the cute but very expensive bunnies to good homes is one step. Try checking out financial blogs (my personal favorite is Get Rich Slowly) for advice on the best way to do that. For a start, you might want to think about putting any money that's not going towards mortgage/rent, monthly bills, food, or debt payoff into a savings or other account with no access via cards (and if possible, checks) to cut down on impulse spending.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:29 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Return the bunnies and volunteer to work with bunnies at the animal shelter a couple of hours a month - it sounds like a better fit for your schedule.
posted by mikepop at 10:33 AM on March 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Historically, I am an extremely impulsive person. Getting the bunnies was an impulsive decision and I really do not want to return them simply because they are 'inconvenient.'

I understand where you are coming from with this. I impulsively brought an iguana home from the animal shelter, and it/was way more work than I ever imagined. There are times where I have considered finding her a new home, but I just love her too much, and I DO have the resources to care for her. I also don't have 25k in debt and maxed out credit cards. If I were in your situation, I would be heartbroken and dissapointed in myself, but I would find my iguana a new home. I'm not saying you should be dissapointed in yourself, it sounds like you're looking at this tough situation, taking responsibility, and trying to do the right thing.

BlahLaLa says There's no need to be a martyr about this. If you can make sure they're going to a safe place (which it sounds like you already know) then it's okay. The main thing is that you learn this lesson about yourself and remember it in future situations.

I think this is really excellent advice. Learn from this heart wrenching experience, give the buns back to the society, and move forward with eliminating your debts.
posted by OsoMeaty at 10:43 AM on March 6, 2012


I don't know if saving 100.00/mo is going to make a difference in your debt level. But more bunny surgeries will. So I'd say keep the bunnies for now, they have each other and your affection as well as a comfortable place.

Have the shelter on standby should the abscess open up again. It's unreasonable to invest more money into a recurring problem. The shelter should be made aware of the steps taken to date to deal with the abscess, and be willing to recommend futurecourse of action, even as drastic as euthanasia if the problem can't be managed at home on a reasonable budget for someone, whether that's you or not. The shelter should have been involved from the start, even just to give you their vet rates if they have a relationship with veterinarians in the area.

So, if you really want to keep the bunnies, the 'normal' cost of maintenance shouldn't be a deal breaker. But if you're having buyers remorse, consider it an expensive lesson learned, work with shelter to surrender them (even keeping them as a foster until a new home is found), and foster before committing to animals in the future.
posted by tatiana131 at 11:26 AM on March 6, 2012


I really appreciate all of your feedback on this. To clarify a few points:

Lesser Shrew - Bunny abscesses require surgery because bunnies lack the genetic marker for liquid pus. As a result, if the abscess is not opened up and cleaned out, it will return. The abscess was caused by the attack. The vets had cleaned out the pus, but left an infected tooth root, so the abscess kept coming back until I paid for a cat scan so they could find the root cause.

Only 20% of the debt is bunny debt. I had 15k or so in debt before the bunnies, and then about 4k in surgery and examination fees, plus gas to take her to all the vet visits(her vet was ~40 miles away from my place of residence).

Zombieflanders, your post resonated with me. The society is already working to find them a new home, and I am holding on to them in the meantime.

Osomeaty, thanks for the comment.

I want to clarify, I adopted these bunnies from the house rabbit society which does NOT euthanize animals. I am holding on to these bunnies until they have a new home(foster or permanent)

Tatiana, I personally think your suggestion maximizes the happiness of all parties, given the constraints.
posted by satori_movement at 11:51 AM on March 6, 2012


What I don't really understand is the link. You are advertising the bunnies on petfinder? (It says "bonded pair" and you got the rabbits individually, so I'm sure it is your own advert.) So you have already decided to give them up, right?

In that case, I absolutely think you should be returning them to the shelter rather than advertising them yourself. The shelter is in a better place to be vetting potential owners, and you may have even signed a contract with them that says you would return the bunnies if you could no longer look after them.
posted by lollusc at 4:36 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lollusc, my bad, I REALLY should have said something about this. The local rabbit society itself put the ad on petfinder, NOT me.

I DID sign a contract with them explicitly saying I would return them to the society and not adopt them out.

When I mentioned my financial situation to the Society, they decided to place the ad just in case.
posted by satori_movement at 7:01 AM on March 7, 2012


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