No.

In Rescue life, I find myself saying no very often.  And it’s not a struggle for me.  I attribute that to my logical, black-and-white, organized nature.  We don’t have a shelter facility; all of our rabbits are fostered in private homes.  Thus, we can’t do anything unless someone can offer a space in their own home.  Once we find a space, then things spring into motion, but before that, it’s just no.  No, we can’t help until someone steps up to foster.  No, we can’t take your rabbit that you’ve grown tired of.  No, you can’t house a domestic rabbit in an outdoor hutch.  No, we can’t give you hundreds of donated dollars to pay for the spay/neuter of a rabbit whom you decided to purchase from a breeder.

Do I sound cold?  Sorry.  But to me, these are just facts.  There’s a logical procedure to making all of this happen, to saving as many lives as we can and then providing a high quality of life for those we save.  If we just said yes to everyone, everybun, every request, we would be financially broke (we run solely on your donations, 100% of which go directly to the rabbits and are tax-deductible) and the rabbits we have in our care wouldn’t have exercise time, food and supplies, and the love they deserve.  So, no is my answer often.  Even when dealing with the cutest of cotton bottoms, you have to harden the F up sometimes… a lot of the time…

So take this sense into the rest of real life.  With some minor exception, I’ve never been a people-pleaser.  I’m loyal.  I’m honest.  I’m dependable.  But be damn sure that I won’t do anything I don’t want to do and I’ll never commit to something that I don’t plan on fulfilling.

In many cases, saying no is a gift to yourself, a gift you deserve.  No, I don’t want to _______ because I really need to rest, handle my own business, do something that fulfills my spirit.  Put yourself first.  I always do.  Always.  I don’t care if that sounds selfish or crass.  Putting myself first, saying no to some people and things along the way has enabled me to create the life of my dreams.  I’ve written here before that the life of my dreams is probably far from the one of your dreams—how great that we can all have it all, in whatever way we want it?!  Anyway, saying no in Rescue life and in real life is really just a yes to something else, something that we choose to give priority.

So when I say no to having lunch on a Sunday with you, I’m really saying yes to myself, my family and my home—I need that day to get shit together!  When I say no to an abandoned rabbit, I’m really saying let’s get the best possible scenario arranged first to truly save this life, all while saying yes to keeping the safe and loved quality of life for our foster and sanctuary rabbits.  No keeps me grounded.  No keeps the quality of yeses super high and wonderful.

grounding
Stay grounded.
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What Wouldn’t You Do?

2016 is nothing but consistent.  It has been tough for many people in many realms.  The loses of loved ones, furry and non, world-famous and family-famous, continue.  The heartbreak is palpable.

Last December, a colleague of mine from the elusive day job adopted a rabbit from us.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure how this would all go down; I didn’t know her well and didn’t know her family at all.  I stayed out of her adoption process in my continual quest to keep day job and rescue life separate.  From the day she took our Andy home, she and her family became the perfect bunny family.  I was overjoyed.  I guess from the number of abandoned, abused and neglected rabbits we deal with, I’m apt to expect the worst from people.  Andy’s new family immediately poured on the love.  They renamed him Buddy.

Every day at work, Buddy’s mom would show me pictures and videos and regale me with stories of Buddy’s adorable mischief.  My favorite story, which came with pictures as well, was when Buddy’s human sister was packing to go off to college—Buddy let himself into her room and unpacked her bag of shoes, tossing each boot, shoe and slipper across the room.  He clearly wanted her to stay home with him!

Yesterday, I was in a class when I noticed a missed call and voicemail from Buddy’s mom.  I didn’t need to check the message; I knew something was wrong.  Since I couldn’t talk, I tapped my mentor and rescue director M to contact Buddy’s mom.  Buddy didn’t jump for his breakfast or treat (he’s normally a food monster!) that morning so his mom had already brought him to Catnip and Carrots (yet another reason I love having a vet that is open 7 days a week and takes emergencies 24/7 for clients).  They were keeping Buddy and suspected something was up with his liver.  Something just like sweet Sylvia faced a few months ago.

By the time I got out of class, it was determined that Buddy was facing liver torsion, usually fatal, only possibly fixed by a very risky and VERY expensive surgery.  If you know me, you know I always come from a mind state of abundance.  When the cost of this surgery was being discussed, I paused.  Money would not be a deciding factor here.  Money can always be made or raised or scraped together.  If there was a chance to save Buddy, I would figure out the finances.  His family was not looking for someone else to pay the bill—but I totally understand how someone may hesitate to plunk down thousands of dollars for a surgery with such a low success rate.  For me, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my boys.  So I told M to tell Buddy’s mom to forget the price tag, if that was something she was considering, and to follow her instinct and the advice of the doctors to make this decision.  They went ahead with emergency liver surgery late last night at another rabbit-savvy veterinary hospital, due to the day, time and nature of the surgery.

I awoke in the middle of the night to a text saying Buddy made it through surgery—a miracle for sure.  Another text soon followed.  Buddy had a stroke after surgery and passed away.  Buddy’s family is devastated.  A rabbit we rescued from a residential backyard just 15 months ago, fostered and loved, found a loving home then hopped over the bridge way too soon.  But I’m damn happy they tried the surgery.  Yes, it’s horrible that his family has a huge bill to pay and an empty litter box in their living room right now.  But what wouldn’t you do to potentially save your family member?

Binky free, Buddy. xo

andyadoption

Your Way, My Way

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You took the words out of my mouth…

That’s a weird metaphor, when you think about it.  But that’s exactly what came to mind when I tore yesterday off of my Dr. Wayne Dyer calendar and landed on today.  Today reads: “Do what you want, as long as you’re not interfering with anyone else’s right to do the same—this is the definition of morality.”  This seems so right and so simple and so obvious to me.  And yes, I’m baffled when other people don’t feel this way.

I think we can take a lesson from our furry friends here.  They don’t judge each other.  We have a plethora of birds, squirrels and even some wild rabbits who hang in our yard (we serve some delicious selections in the bird feeder and leave some goodies out for the other species as well).  I can pretty much guarantee that one squirrel isn’t telling the other that he isn’t allowed to climb our apple tree a certain way.  And the birds aren’t banning birds of different feathers from nibbling some of the seed.  And the bunnies aren’t preventing others from dining on our dandelions and clover.

So why does it matter to (some of) us if others want to make different choices? Yes, we have the gift (or curse) of rational and logical thinking—why does it seem that those gifts are used for irrational and illogical thinking so damn often?  If we can reason, use logic, make judgements, why use those skills against others?  If I choose to sit during a song or pledge, as long as I’m not preventing you from standing, why does that matter?  If I want to believe in 12 gods, no god, worship a plant or a pasta strainer, all while allowing you to worship your own way, how is that a problem?

I eat a plant-based diet.  The bunny-daddy sustains himself on mostly processed meats, beer and energy drinks.  I don’t begrudge him that.  I might tease sometimes… but that should cease, too, if I’m truly hopping the hop, not just talking the talk.  I don’t roll with any organized religions.  That might change as time goes on—who knows?  But I’ll never tell you that you can’t, thus I appreciate you respecting my ways.

Try not judging… if for no other reason than it’s easy!  I can pretty much guarantee that judging and wanting to change the beliefs, ways and choices of others is far more frustrating, upsetting and energy-consuming than just staying in your own metaphorical lane.  Be more like those cuties in our yard… they seem like they have it figured out.

What it takes… and gives.

Two more wake-ups until I return to the day job so you’d think my mind would be there… but in my endless quest to be present and be mindful, I’m just here now.  In deciding what to share with you all today, I was searching for some sort of “Summer’s over…” moment, but I don’t actually feel like anything is ending.  I’m not feeling a loss, per se, and that’s probably because I gained a lot this summer.  Everything I gained came from Rescue life.

Yes, I had something like nine weeks of vacation (I didn’t count the days) but there was not one day where I did nothing.  It’s not in my DNA to do nothing, as much as I’ve tried to force it.  Don’t get me wrong—I can relax with the best of them.  I took a juicy 3 hour nap today.  I’ve felt tortured in my past, without an outlet for the energies swirling.  So freakin’ lucky that Rescue has given me purpose, with tangible tasks as well as spiritual fulfillment.

To run this show, it takes patience, compassion and determination.  It takes a strong memory and compulsive organization.  It takes some moments of shutting off the emotions (otherwise, some of the cases would crush—Rescue is not for the faint of heart).  It takes an absurd amount of time—communicating, transporting, cleaning, and the list goes on.  But above all that, it takes a stellar team.  The moments that Rescue feels insurmountable are only the moments when I feel team-less.  When the Squad is present, we make magic happen.  Jack Welch in his best-seller Winning states, “Leaders relentlessly upgrade their teams,” and sometimes it feels like a full-time job to manage this team.  It takes a lot, but it sure does give a lot.

Rescue gives… and not just to the rabbits we save.  Rescue has given me a support system of like-minded angels.  Rescue has given me some of the strongest relationships in my life right now.  Rescue gives me a platform to use my talents and powers.  Rescue gives me heartwarming moments of awe, like when adopters and supporters donate their hard-earned money and devote their treasured time to helping clean or fundraise or spread the good word about what we do.  This summer, Rescue took me into the offices of powerful local politicians as an advocate for abandoned, abused and neglected domestic rabbits—some groundbreaking stuff coming in that arena!  None of this would be possible without that aforementioned glorious team.

So, it takes a lot… for me, it’s mostly time and spiritual effort.  But it gives so much value.  My heart is warm just thinking about it.  Who would have ever thought that cleaning litter boxes would be a part of my life’s purpose?!  I have gained so much through this work, far more than I feel I could ever give.  Here’s to boundless hoppiness.

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