Strays No More

The last two strays our team has caught look a lot alike.  Both large, both Californians.  One female, now named Monica Mae.  One male, rescued yesterday, now named Boo (paying homage to both Halloween weekend and to literary legend Boo Radley—props to Jill for this perfect name choice).  Monica Mae and Boo were rescued in different counties so it’s unlikely that their histories are related… but they were both abandoned for several weeks before their rescue.  They were both easy catches.  They both had serious cases of ear mites when they were brought to safety (easily treated with a kitten dose of Revolution).  They were both caught on days that I was spending with my mom, so I spent too much time with my head buried in the phone rather than being fully present with mommy (I must fix that!  But maybe she’s good luck by proxy…).

Monica Mae and Boo will be safe for the rest of their lives.  They have roots now.  They have a foster home and a loving team of volunteers who will care for them until a forever family is found for each.  They will never be homeless strays again.  Ever.

The bunny-daddy and I are moving soon so the concepts of home, roots and forever (or at least fixed-rate for 30 years) have been in the forefront of my mind for the past year or so.  Home can be simple.  Home can be turbulent.  Even those of us who have been fortunate to always have a physical house may experience moments (or longer) of feeling like a stray, like a sense of belonging is lacking, like roots do not exist.  Fortunately, I’ve never had to feel the physical state of being completely alone, in danger, cold, wet, hungry like Monica Mae and Boo surely felt over their weeks between abandonment and rescue.  But I’ve felt those things emotionally, sometimes in ripples, other times in waves and the occasional tsunami…

Even yesterday, my waves were crashing, right as the team was out saving Boo’s life, just some stuff causing rough seas in my head.  Nothing unmanageable.  Boo’s day yesterday helped me to calm my own seas.  Knowing that he survived in an environment that is designed for his peril reminded me that I can make it through whatever material nonsense was trying to drag me under.  Knowing that the same team who was saving his life are people I call colleagues and friends reminded me that I have people I can count on when I need a life preserver.  Knowing how easily Boo was rescued reminded me that it’s ok to ask for help and to reach for the tools I have to feel safe and composed, whether it’s a hug or a small brown bottle with a colored label in my purse.

I’m sure Monica Mae and Boo will have moments when it’s hard to trust and moments when they struggle to recognize their current blessed situation.  I know I do.  But they are safe forever—strays no more.  And they are my inspiration today as I continue to tackle just one task, just one wave at a time as I work a full-time job, manage a non-profit organization, run two small businesses and one small family that’s large on love.  No matter the challenge, I know I’m safe.  And I know sometimes I need to stop my hop and let someone scoop me into a carrier for safety, comfort and rest.  All is well, my friends.

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Together

People show you who they are.  Time after time.  If you pay attention, their truth is there.  If you choose to ignore it, that’s on you.

Yesterday, we took part in an education event at a local public library.  Two summers ago, our team, a fledging version of the current incarnation, rescued three rabbits in the dirt and grass behind this library so it’s especially important to me to take part in this event, to give back to the place who helped us save Bambi, Mickey and Storm.  We don’t bring a spokesbunny to events like these where many other groups are present, as there are often dogs and many children.  We did bring lots of smiles and positive energy.  And it paid off.

I poured on my Abundance oil before leaving the house and tossed the bottle into my bag.  As we were setting up, one of our parrot rescue colleagues remarked on how lovely I smelled—the oil was already bringing an abundance of happiness to those around us!  I anointed our donation box with the oil as well and our total at the end of the event was triple what we raised last year!  Beside monetary donations, yesterday yielded an abundance of something even more valuable for our mission and purpose.  That invaluable abundance came in the form of people.

I treasure my Rescue family, as I’ve written about here many times before.  Yesterday was a reaffirmation of that and perhaps an amplification of that.  A young woman came to the event specifically to meet us, to tell us about her dear rabbit who recently crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and to inquire about adopting a rabbit through our group, as advised by her veterinarian (the very same veterinarian whom we recommend to any and all small animal families!).  She answered every screening question with earnest, with knowledge and with a refreshing openness to learning even more about rabbit care (not every experienced owner is open to new or different ideas!).  By the grace of the Universe (and some technological assistance) we did a home visit and she will come to adopt this afternoon.  She said her home feels empty without four paws and a cotton tail.  In a few hours, it won’t feel empty any longer.

As magical as meeting and screening our newest adopter was, it was even more magical to sit amongst the dedicated team members who came out to support and to educate.  We sat, we laughed, and we ate a lot of candy.  We networked with other rescue groups and traded stories of our own furry family members.  There’s just something so affirming about spending time with like-minded, like-purposed people, people who are kind to each other, people who give without expecting anything in return.  Every single angel with whom I sat or stood yesterday reminds me that together, we are unstoppable.  Together, we hop the hop of compassion for ourselves and for others, all species and breeds.  Together, we show up, we can be counted on and we can count on each other.  That’s the kind of abundance I treasure.

Hoppy Family

I never took a business class in high school or college.  Ironically, I taught college-level business classes at a small college a few years ago.  With teaching, when you have “it,” you have “it.”  Just give me a few moments with the book and I can get the content out.  But anyway… last January, I read Jack Welch’s book Winning.  No, it’s not a tome dedicated to Charlie Sheen; it’s a business-oriented success story.  While it was somewhat out of my realm, I’m often reminded of this one line that I copied into my journal: “Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team…”  I spent the afternoon with our team yesterday.  I’m the one who feels upgraded today.

Every few months (and hopefully every month moving forward), we have a Hoppy Hour, a purely social event where we bunny-minded people get together and hang, without hay and litter boxes (although I did get two bags of pellets yesterday. Thank you, R).  With about 20 people in the core group of volunteers and over 200 people in our Friends of LIRRG group (supporters, adopters, volunteers, foster families), it’s terribly difficult to find a date, time and location that works for everyone but we try to keep it varied and open.  And let’s be honest, not everyone wants to be Hoppy with us anyway…

Bunny-daddy and I joined the squad at Amity Ale’s yesterday, a spot I picked self-servingly—amazing portabella burger!  The usual LIRRG fam showed up and a few faces who don’t always make it to the Hoppy festivities.  It was just bunderful (as we say in the biz) to be amongst those with similar life purpose, those who dedicate hours every week, some, every day, to saving and caring for Long Island’s abandoned, neglected and abused domestic rabbits.  We didn’t even talk much rescue business, just enjoyed the company of other’s who probably had some fur on their clothes and maybe some hay fragments in the bottom of their purses (Or is that just me? And how does it get in there?).

A few years ago, a group of friends drifted from my life, somewhat inexplicably.  I was sad, sometimes mad and a bit baffled—weren’t these supposed to be my friends for life?  But now I understand: the Universe was making room in my life for my boys, for Rescue and for my LIRRG family, the team that I spend my “free” hours relentlessly upgrading but whom, just by existing, upgrade me and my spirit so very greatly.  First Welch was Winning, then Sheen was “Winning” (pardon my anachronism in the first paragraph) and now, with my team surrounding me, I am forever winning.  See you at the next Hoppy gathering.  Much love.

 

Why Rabbits?

I’ve been asked the question “Why rabbits?” in a variety of contexts over the five years that I’ve been a bunny-mom and subsequently a rescuer.  I typically blink thrice and answer something along the lines of “uh, because… they are awesome.”  I’m sure I’ve given some more constructive answers when the asker is deserving of a quality response.  You, my darling readers, are deserving of a response, although many of you have your own “why” when it comes to our cotton-bottom babies.

Why rabbits…

  • Because the bunny-daddy and I live for our boys. They are the light of our lives.  Even when they are posing as bunstruction workers, Peanut and Tater Tot are the center of our world.    They turn 5 years old this month!
  • Because rabbits are the third most popular pet in America.
  • Because rabbits are the third most abandoned, neglected and abused animal in America.
  • Because, whether the day is sunshiny or downright dreadful, rabbits can always make you smile.
  • Because I can be their voice. As much as they understand us, they still can’t speak back with words.  With nose bonks, snuggles and sometimes grunts, they can though!
  • Because, and this “why” is highly personal, I’ve never felt more alive doing anything in my personal or professional life as I do when I’m giving a rabbit Reiki session, tending to chores at one of our foster homes or just lying on the floor with one of our boys.
  • Because it’s empowering to make a difference… and we are making a beautiful difference in the lives of these bunnies.

That’s how Rescue and Reiki have come together so gloriously for me.  There are tangible tasks, like catching a stray or cleaning a litter box, and there is energy work that heals, comforts and connects.  Put it all together and that’s why.  Why rabbits?  I can’t give you a point of peripety.  There wasn’t just one moment where time stopped and I was showered in golden light (well, now that I write that, there have been a number of moments like that… but we’ll save that topic for another day).  But it is rabbits.  Unequivocally.  I work for them, on the front lines, in the back office and in my energetic field all day, every day.  This hop cannot be stopped.  And I’d love to hear “Why rabbits” for you—please share in the comments!  Much love.

Progress

I’m living parallel story lines in my personal life and my Rescue life.  Both of these story lines are unfolding at their own pace, despite how much I might try to control them.  Patience was never my strong suit.  Some people like to brag about how few effs they give or how unfiltered they are; I was always quick to tout my quick fuse.  That trait was of little value, other than some entertainment of course, so I’ve been working my self-improvement make-shift program to channel those energies into something more positive.  I spent much of the summer patting myself on the back for just how patient I was with this personal life story line.  I know that I show up and I do my part immediately as it is warranted.  Expecting the same from others (individuals, businesses, and municipalities) has resulted in a range from disappointment to frustration, with the occasional pleasant surprise sprinkled in the mix.  Just send good vibes and you’ll be alerted when all of my patience has paid off… sorry for the vagueness.  Just know that, even as I type this, things are progressing.

In Rescue life, some of the team has reached out to their legislators, proposing that Long Island follow suit with NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA, etc. and ban the sale of domestic rabbits.  Yes, there are volunteers who disagree with this idea.  And they are allowed to feel that way.  But for me, I am a data collector.  I reflect on that data.  I do some, albeit informal, analysis of that data.  In 2016 alone, we’ve been contacted via email about over 400 unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused rabbits in our two counties.  Whenever possible, I ask the source of these unwanted buns.  The answer is always a pet store or a breeder.  Always.  Add to this 400, the rabbits about whom we are contacted on social media, via phone, contacts to individual volunteers and, of course, the ones we plain just don’t hear about… the number will surely reach 1,000 by the close of 2016, if it hasn’t already.  You don’t have to be alarmed by this… but I am.  And I’m doing something about it.

Amazingly, we’ve already made progress!  I received a phone call from the aide of a local legislator last week.  Because of our efforts, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters were added to a proposed bill in Suffolk County that will regulate the sale of cats, dogs and the aforementioned animals.  This isn’t a ban, but it is progress.  This progress will protect those who are sold in pet stores.  This progress will put an end to the harsh, neglectful situations that some animals face while waiting to be purchased.  This progress holds those who do sell animals accountable for the treatment of what they deem as product, what I deem as living, loving beings.  To me, animals are not a commodity.  I fully acknowledge that they are to some people and I’m not looking to argue that.  I’m just here to dance in the metaphorical confetti raining down on me and the squad who are advocating for the safety of domestic rabbits across this island and around this world.

So, it’s about progress, steps.  The personal life situation will work itself out, as long as the bunny-daddy and I keep doing our part… and staying on top of those other parties who need to do their parts as well!  And the Rescue life situation… I am overjoyed to be a part of a step in the right direction.  I just got off of the phone with the Legislator who is helping us advocate.  I’m proud to know her and proud to be a part of the progress she’s making.  Just do the next right thing, my friends.  Much love.

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Grab your party hats and celebrate progress!