About the Book
Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits is a book of true stories about rescued rabbits. My inspiration for the book came from Kali, a black fuzzy lop-eared bunny rescued from a preschool classroom, where she’d been mistreated and neglected. Kali turned out to be such a surprise: a strength of will and presence that I never imagined in such a small, quiet, fragile being.
I wanted to write a book that captures the essence of rabbits – their joie de vivre as well as their independence and individual personalities. I also felt moved to expose the oftentimes sad plight of domestic rabbits in a way that would allow the stories to remain uplifting and inspirational and to acknowledge the people who recognize rabbits as the treasures they are.
What others are saying about this book…
Anyone who has loved an animal deeply, who has had a “Kali” who inspired them and changed them forever, will feel a connection to this moving book. Readers will come away with more than an understanding of rabbits’ complex personalities — they will take with them a sense of how living with and caring for an animal can teach compassion, empathy, and grace.
— MARGO DEMELLO, administrative director of the House Rabbit Society and coauthor of Stories Rabbits Tell and of Why Animals Matter
Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits is a wonderful tribute to domestic rabbits — to their uninhibited joie de vivre, endless curiosity, and wide range of expression. When allowed the time and space to develop their diverse natures, these extraordinary creatures lead humans into a magical world as interesting as Watership Down — but as reality, not fiction. If you don’t believe that rabbits have individual and complex personalities to match our own, read this charming and insightful book.
— JEFFREY MASSON, PhD, author of When Elephants Weep; Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras; and The Face on Your Plate
Truly a “must read,” Marie Mead’s wonderful book connects all caring people who have ever shared their lives and love (or wished they could) with a rabbit, a dog, a cat or, for that matter, any sentient being. The fragility and vulnerability of the domestic rabbit are captured in this volume of beautifully written stories that so delightfully convey the joyfulness, the individuality, and the tenderness of one of the world’s most misunderstood and abused animals.
— ELLIOT M. KATZ, DVM, founder and president of In Defense of Animals
Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits will enchant all animal lovers. This collection of true stories — of rabbits’ innocence and tenacity, courage and high spirits — offers readers a glimpse of the nature and needs of these gentle beings. As the adoptive parent of a rescued bunny, this poignant book touched my heart and spoke to my soul.
— KISKA ICARD, executive director of Sonoma Humane Society
One doesn’t have to share a home with a rabbit to enjoy this absolutely captivating collection of stories about the joys and tribulations of life with bunny. But I warn you: this book may make the idea of a rabbit companion rather tempting! Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits is above all about love, respect, compassion, and acceptance. It persuasively reinforces the depth of the animal-human bond while at the same time gently reminding us that, as guardians, we must be forever vigilant because caring for a pet is a lifelong commitment.
— SUSAN TAYLOR, executive director of Actors and Others for Animals
These heartwarming stories about rescued rabbits and the people whose lives they touched are sure to provide, as Cleveland Amory was fond of saying, “hope for the hopless.” Rabbits are sometimes described as the animals God has forgotten, but Marie Mead remembers them with such warmth and passion that this book will teach us something about the merciful treatment we owe to rabbits and, indeed, to all creatures.
— MICHAEL MARKARIAN, chief operating officer of The Humane Society of the United States, president of The Fund for Animals, and president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund
When I read the eloquent Foreword by Dr. Michael W. Fox, I wondered if the rest of this book could possibly measure up. It did. Beautifully written stories focus on the positive outcomes of animal rescue, celebrating individual lives saved. All participants in this book deserve congratulations — the people who were able to recognize and appreciate the intrinsic worthiness of their bunnies and the marvelous rabbits who brought out the best in their humans. Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits will strike a chord in everyone who cares about animals.
— MARINELL HARRIMAN, founder of the House Rabbit Society, author of House Rabbit Handbook and editor-in-chief of House Rabbit Journal
Marie Mead has done for rabbits what Jane Goodall has done for chimpanzees and Jeffrey Masson for farm animals. Pairing heartwarming true stories with clear, accurate, and concise information about rabbits’ physical and emotional needs, this book shines a spotlight on their unique personalities. In story after story, rabbits reveal to their human companions their complex, always individual, temperaments. Rebounding from an often dire beginning, each rabbit demonstrates resilience, determination, and a tremendous capacity for giving and receiving love. This book will forever change the way we look at these remarkable creatures.
— JOANNE LAUCK (HOBBS) , author of The Voice of the Infinite in the Small and founder and executive director of Catalyst for Youth, Inc. and Heart of Chaos
Marie Mead’s collection of inspiring stories is truly enriching. I found myself experiencing a vast range of emotions as I read tales of amazing acts of acceptance and compassion. The stories prove that rabbits can be valuable teachers of life lessons and that there is no greater gift than unconditional love. Readers of Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits will gain a new respect for the strength of one of nature’s most fragile creatures.
— ERIKA SMITH ROYAL, founder and president of Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue
Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits is a most appropriate title for an engaging book that I couldn’t put down! Each story is a learning experience, educating while tugging at our heartstrings. Marie Mead has captured the essence of these gentle and highly intelligent creatures, revealing their virtues as loving and wonderful companions. Animal lovers, teachers, and parents should surely read this book to understand the plight of one of the most misunderstood and overlooked of pets — the domestic rabbit.
— BARI MEARS, founder and president of the Phoenix Animal Care Coalition and coauthor of Love Stories of Pets and Their People
Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits educates, inspires, and charms us. But most importantly, it is a call to action. This important book helps us appreciate the special qualities of rabbits and motivates us to take responsibility, ensuring they are given the respect and care they deserve.
— MARY LOU RANDOUR, PhD, author of Animal Grace and director of the Department of Human-Animal Relations: Education and Outreach for The Humane Society of the United States
Here is a book that will be loved by friends of animals everywhere. In this splendid work, Marie Mead reveals the full complexity of rabbits — from their individual idiosyncrasies to their common needs. The heart and spirit of these gentle creatures have found their voice.
— TOM REGAN, author of Empty Cages and co-founder with wife, Nancy, of the Culture and Animals Foundation
Keeping a rabbit in a hutch — like keeping a dog tethered — is, unfortunately, too often a socially acceptable practice. Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits challenges the conditions in which many rabbits exist and presents both facts and true stories to encourage a more vital, interactive life with these intelligent animals. This book will change the way rabbits are viewed by many in our culture, moving us closer to a just, compassionate, and peaceful society.
— KENNETH SHAPIRO, PhD, editor of Society and Animals and co-executive director of Animals and Society Institute
With great respect and appreciation I bow to author Marie Mead. Through her compassion, dedication, and clarity of intent, she brings to light the magical and very real ‘Beingness’ of rabbits as sentient, courageous, and highly intelligent citizens of this planet. Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits adds a powerful boost to the emerging ethos that honors all life. Please read this book and give it to everyone you know.
— RITA REYNOLDS, author of Blessing the Bridge and Ask the Cow; editor of the quarterly journal, laJoie
It’s been a long, long time since I picked up a book I simply couldn’t put down, but Marie Mead’s collection of stories absolutely captivated me! This book is not just for people who love rabbits. It is a celebration of the important role animals can play in our lives, and this marvelous work transformed my opinion of rabbits forever.
— AMELIA KINKADE, interspecies communicator and author of The Language of Miracles
As a busy exotic animal practice, our staff has witnessed both good and bad animal treatment — not unlike the accounts in Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits. I value this exceptional book both for the heartwarming stories and for the lessons it provides on how to create the best life possible with (and for) a house rabbit.
— ANGELA M. LENNOX, DVM Dipl ABVP-Avian, past president of the Association for Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
One of the first steps towards developing care and compassion for animals is providing people with a better understanding of their behavior and their needs. Marie Mead’s Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits takes this step through a series of heartwarming stories about individual rabbits who survive deplorable situations and the human companions who commit to helping them. Each page brings us closer to understanding the world of domesticated rabbits and increases our desire to ensure their well-being, now and in the future.
— JEANNE MCCARTY, executive director of REAL School Gardens
This book is a blessing for all rabbits and for all who love them. It offers a touching blend of heartwarming stories and practical guidance for proper care of our kindred spirits.
— ALLEN M. SCHOEN, DVM, MS, author of Kindred Spirits
Pairing heartwarming true stories with clear, accurate, and concise information about rabbits’ physical and emotional needs, this book shines a spotlight on their unique personalities.
— JOANNE LAUCK (HOBBS) , author of ‘The Voice of the Infinite in the Small’ and founder and executive director of Catalyst for Youth, Inc. and Heart of Chaos