KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
April 10, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
What makes Cami the two-year-old Dwarf English Spot rabbit special? Cami performs tricks for his nearly 10,000 social media fans. While Cami shows how smart and fun bunnies can be, his family shares an important message about giving bunnies as pets, especially during Easter weekend.
A Bunny Full of Personality
Years ago, Katy’s Heinold family cared for a pet bunny. So they were thrilled when their daughter’s friend surprised them with a little white ball of bunny joy. They welcomed their newest family member.
“We got him all the necessary bunny supplies including a spacious and nice indoor bunny hutch,” says Jerry Heinold.
But Cami soon proved to have other plans.
“One day I forgot Cami was out of his hutch and quickly started to look around,” says Jerry.
Jerry couldn't rest until he found Cami.
Eventually he spotted Cami roaming around the downstairs like he owned it.
“He was happy being out so we started giving him more freedom to roam,” explains Jerry.
Soon, Cami’s hutch was a thing of the past as he took over the downstairs.
“Bunnies are very smart, so we introduced Cami to a litter box. He quickly became litter trained, and seeing how easy that was, I started to introduce Cami to some tricks,” says Jerry.
12 Tricks and Counting
Using treats as a motivator, Cami quickly learned 12 tricks. Cami's first trick was weaving in and out of Jerry's legs while he walked. He also can walk six feet while on his hind-legs.
Jerry’s wife works with special education students and she started showing pictures and videos of Cami to encourage and motivate her students.
“Cami very much acts like a dog in the sense that he loves his treats and is always eager to please, especially Jerry,” he says.
An Instagram Star Is Born
Jerry created an Instagram account for Cami, @Camithebunny as a way for family to easily keep up with Cami’s new tricks. Soon, Cami gained nearly 10,000 followers. Jerry continues to share pictures and videos to Cami's fans.
Jerry hopes one day Cami will hold the Guinness Book of World Records for a bunny with the most tricks. A Finland woman's pet rabbit currently holds the title as her bunny performed 20 tricks in 1 minute.
Do Not Give Bunnies As Easter Pets
The Heinold family loves sharing Cami's tricks with others, but Cami and Jerry’s biggest goal is to educate the public on rabbit ownership, especially around Easter.
Each year around Easter, people give domestic bunnies as gifts to children. The classic image of a little bunny nestled in an Easter basket may be adorable, however, when the cuteness wears off, people realize the care involved with owning a pet rabbit. Unfortunately, hundreds of rabbits are abandoned each year.
While they make for cute photo props, a domestic bunny released in the wild becomes an easy prey for predators.
“Domestic bunnies are totally dependent on their owners and cannot survive in the wild,” says Jerry.
“I love to share Cami’s story with anyone,” explains Jerry. “I want people to know how smart rabbits can be, how much personality and love they can share but also that they are a real pet just like a cat or dog.”
Why You Shouldn’t Get a Rabbit for Easter:
Rabbits require a lot of care like a cat or dog.
They require a lot of space and should not just be a caged animal.
They require specialized vet care.
They should be spayed or neutered as it’s better for their health.
They are social and do better in pairs, doubling your work.
They should not be kept outdoors.
They live long lives.
They are often afraid of young children.
A Wonderful Pet, But Do Your Research
“While a bunny is wonderful pet, I still recommend that families give their children stuffed bunnies for Easter,” advises Jerry. “At least until you fully do your research and understand what it takes to own a bunny.”
Wild Rabbits Best To Be Left Alone
Each year, rabbits deliver litters of bunnies. Their nests are often found in backyards and care should be taken when mowing or raking to avoid injuring baby wild rabbits. If found, these rabbits should be left alone.
“Baby rabbits leave the nest when they're three weeks old and about the size of a chipmunk,” states the Humane Society’s website. “If you find a chipmunk-sized but fully-furred rabbit with eyes open, ears erect, and the ability to hop, they are meant to be on their own. As small and helpless as they may look, they are not an orphan and don't need your help.”
Wild rabbits that are truly orphaned are extremely difficult to wean and care for. If they survive, the Humane Society recommends turning them over to a vet or rehabilitation group to be released.
Follow Katy's Bunny Star
Thousands of fans can get their pet bunny “fix” by enjoying cute pictures and videos of Katy’s own bunny star, Cami. Follow him on Instagram at @Camithebunny.
“He is so smart and full of love and personality,” says Jerry. ”He’s truly special and I wish I knew what he was thinking.”