Rabbit rescue gives hope to county’s pets and people

River Road Rabbit Rescue has aided hundreds of unwanted at-risk bunnies. Founder Suzanne Greif says she needs the community’s help to continue her work.

ATHENS, Ohio — Tucked away among the winding back roads of Athens County sits a local nonprofit called River Road Rabbit Rescue. Suzanne Greif, the rescue’s director, manages the nonprofit and shelters the rabbits within her own home.

A Volunteer is sits on a couch holding a rabbit to her chest.

Longtime RRR volunteer Jazzlyn holds bunny Izzy for a nail trim.

When Greif moved the rescue to her home, many believed it had been closed. However, this rescue is still very much open and looking for support. 

Greif has housed hundreds of rabbits through her rescue since she launched it in 2016. She has witnessed a lot as an animal rescuer, from baskets of bunnies in front of police stations to bunnies abandoned at her door. 


What makes Greif’s rescue stand out is her ability to rescue beyond state lines. 

“Somebody calls in from another state, I post the rabbit on our group, and somebody else wants it,” Greif said. “We have transport networks.” 

Volunteers assist in the transportation process along with veterinary specialists from other states who help with “medical buns that have special needs.” 

For Greif, running a nonprofit with the need for niche veterinary care requires a lot of strength, especially in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

“When COVID started, we could get fosters, we could get adopters, and get help. People had the time to do that… Fosters are more valuable to us adopters,” Greif said. “We need fosters more than anything.” 

Support our work to deliver independent local news for Athens County

Like what you are reading?

But lack of funds means that the rescue cannot support fosters to the extent it once did, she explained. 

“If they get a sick rabbit — having to feed the rabbit, getting all the things it needs — we just can’t do that anymore because of the funds,” Greif said.

Nevertheless, Greif wants fosters and adopters to know that “If they have problems, they can talk to us. I want people to feel comfortable calling me and saying ‘I need help’ or ‘I have this bill I can’t afford.” 

Greif’s helping hand goes beyond abandoned and unwanted animals. Greif cared for rabbits while their owners were in rehab or jail, supporting both humans and bunnies in the process. “We took care of their rabbit, gave it shelter while they were away until they got back,” Greif said. 

More than anything, Greif wishes to help others. A longtime practice of the rescue is using their rabbits as therapy animals. 

An amputee rabbit named Miss Rose holds a special place in Greif’s heart for being one of the “best therapy rabbits” that came through her care. 

“He was really outgoing, and I just kind of noticed that even with some of them, with like temperaments, they kind of know when we’re going into those settings for therapy,” Greif said. “Like even my most hyper rabbits that don’t like being petted or held, when I would bring them in for therapy, they would just relax.”

Although River Road Rabbit Rescue has an active and supportive community here in Athens, the nonprofit needs more donations. When resources like River Road Rabbit Rescue go underappreciated, what they do for the community does as well.

Rescues like Greif’s prevent overpopulation, animal neglect, and abuse. Rabbits rescued from hoarding situations are now therapy rabbits for those in need thanks to Grief.

“We used to be able to do a fundraiser and make $1,900 overnight for a rabbit who needed his leg amputated,” she said. “Now we can’t. We can’t help like we used to.” 

Animal rescues need access to affordable veterinary care, Grief said, especially for less typical pets like those she works with. “Typically, a spay-neuter can be $450+ for rabbits,” she said. “You’ll never pay that for dogs and cats.” 

Those interested can help the rescue in numerous ways, including volunteering, donations, adoption, and fostering. To start, contact Greif through the River Road Rabbit’s Facebook page. 

Greif is grateful for those who have given to the rescue in any way they can, from volunteers to family. 

“My husband really helped me out a lot with this stuff,” Greif said. ”He was a really good bunny person and without him around to help me with some of that stuff or at least take care of things around here, if I had to run off and do something, it just got really difficult.” 

Although challenges arise, Greif loves too much to give up. By running River Road Rabbit Rescue, all Suzanne Greif hopes to do is return the favor to those who helped her when she needed it most. 

“Ever since I was a kid all I did was draw and play with animals. My life wasn’t so great, so that’s what I knew. Go off and dance and draw. They save my life every day.” Animals save us only as much as we save them, she added.

We are interested about hearing news in our community! Let us know what's happening!

Get in touch and share a story!


This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top