STAFF at a dogs home are sadly familiar with puppies arriving at their rehoming centres over Christmas.

But they were surprised to find a rather more unusual animal left at their gates.

Staff spotted a box at the entrance to the Merseyside Dogs Trust rehoming centre in Huyton and rushed over assuming a puppy or small dog would hop out – only to find a rabbit!

The Christmas bunny was left with food and a note written on the box which said they were sorry to give him up but couldn’t care for him any longer.

The Dogs Trust team called the Christmas arrival Noel and immediately had him checked over by their vet.

Dogs Trust Merseyside assistant manager Catherine Stulberg said: “We were surprised to say the least.

“He is obviously a very much loved pet as he had lots of hay and food and we think he had only been there a matter of minutes.

“It’s a very sad situation. Rabbits do take a lot of looking after and someone obviously feels they can’t give him everything he needs.”

People are urged not to abandon pets like this as it is extremely stressful for the animal.

Catherine added: “If you find that you are no longer able to care for them, your vet will be able to provide you with a list of appropriate rehoming charities to call.

“It is important that charities meet with owners who are handing their pets in for rehoming so we can learn as much as we can about the type of home they will need and to discover any important medical details.

“Although lots of us at the centre are rabbit lovers none of our staff are in a position to adopt him so we’re going to look after him temporarily and Noel will be cared for by Freshfields Animal Rescue over Christmas and until he is ready to find a new forever home.”

For more details about dogs waiting for their forever homes visit