Julie and Jim Lamberty, and their kids Jessica, 13, and Jenna, 9, from Antioch
The family already has a shepherd mix and a cat, but big sister Jessica wants a rabbit. “She’s filled a ‘rabbit journal’ with photos, drawings and entries to try and persuade us to let her get one,” Julie says. “It was an easy sell for me; I had a pet rabbit when I was a child. On Jess’s 13th birthday, we presented her with a book on rabbits, some supplies and a certificate to adopt. I did some research and made a Pinterest board of adoptable rabbits that I thought would be a good match for our family.” Jim and Julie both work outside the home and the family’s busy with lots of hobbies, but they’re aware that a rabbit requires a lot of care and are willing to make the commitment.
“The Dutch rabbit is an excellent choice for this type of household,” says Susan Horton, a vet who specializes in rabbit medicine and is the president and chief of staff at Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital (3735 W Dempster St, Skokie, 847-329-8709). “They are strong, curious, athletic rabbits. I have also found them to be among the cleanest of rabbits, whether it comes to grooming themselves [or] using the litter box. They are highly trainable, sweet individuals and have a life span of up to 12 years.”
Horton cautions that the Lamberty family should protect their rabbit around their cat and dog. “Depending on their personalities, cats and dogs can have an intense prey drive. Not to say that your cat and dog won’t get along with your rabbit, but you will have to take it slow and always be alert to any signs of danger,” she says.