Believe In Bunnies

Believe Coaching Energy Healing Teacher Life

It’s Working

This shouldn’t feel like such a revelation to me. All of my teachers, coaches, gurus, and role models have been saying it to me (directly or through their work) forever. It took some serious intention and work over the last few months, but it clicked in this past Tuesday night when I flung open the garage door and asked the Bunny-Daddy: Why don’t I feel like an anxious mess right now?

He said: Because you slowed down.

It was the evening after our first day back in the classroom. Teachers are sold the paradigm that we’re supposed to be exhausted, or worse, after the first day. But I didn’t feel tired.

I work at one of two high schools in our county that went back “all in,” with something like 91% of the student body opting to come to school in-person rather than attend virtually. Masks, barriers, distancing, staggered passing in the halls, teaching that handful of virtual learners simultaneously along with the in-person students. I was supposed to be in fear and doubt… but I was rolling with it.

I had my Rescue and business responsibilities to attend to, personal and professional preparations to manage, all the things I’ve been working towards and on for a few years now. But the pressure to get it all done right now I would normally feel, that pressure that would typically manifest as a lump in my throat and moving at a chaotic pace was missing. That’s why I went out to the garage to ask, to seek clarity, to ask What am I forgetting to do? Because I felt at peace, I felt in control, I felt genuinely good… and I couldn’t understand why or how in that moment.

A-ha… all the work is working. Call it surrender, call it letting go, or quote my teacher Gabby and say, “Slow down, sister.” I never thought I could slow down. I didn’t trust enough to delegate. I cared too much about the wrong things to even understand the concept of surrender. I used to say, to anyone who would listen, that I needed a retreat… and then I would follow up with a word-vomit of how I could never even take a half-day of a break, no less go on an actual retreat.

What I did, however, was capitalize on time at home over the past few months. I lived without the pressure of doing more and doing everything. I started digging deeper with my angel of a therapist. We worked (and are still working) on the causes, not just on the symptoms. One’s relationship with food is often a symptom. Overdoing it with substances, work, exercise, or distractions is often a symptom. Gotta find that cause, then honor, treat and heal it!

Once I saw and felt true progress, I hired a coach to keep me accountable and focused. It would have been so easy to slip back into the ways I’d always done things, the ways that didn’t feel great but felt familiar. I was not going to backslide. And, of course, along the way I oiled up, I opened up, and I committed to consuming only what made me feel good– that includes food, conversations, and media.

I needed to slow down, just a notch in some areas, completely in others, to feel better. My pace was crushing me. I’m happy to report that I’m embracing feeling good now. I’m still doing a lot… but it feels different. Ah, the feels…

I don’t say this to impress you. I say this to impress upon you that you can choose a better feeling thought, you can develop your mindset, and you can get real with just how darn powerful and magical you truly are. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some breath work to do. Much love.

Continue Reading
Believe Coaching Energy Healing Teacher Life Young Living

Grand Plans

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” -V. Woolf

Once a year since we’ve moved into our home, I’ve had our treasured housekeeper clean all of the windows. Feel free to cringe if once a year isn’t enough for you. Only Judy can judge me. When we transitioned to working from home in the spring I thought I’d clean the windows myself this year. Dalloway vibes… but little follow through. I’ve been home for five and a half months and I’ve cleaned five windows. 

They are regular suburban house windows, nothing ornate or oversized. I’ve spent probably less than an hour total on these five windows. Glancing around, there aren’t many windows left to clean; like I said, regular suburban house. So, why haven’t I cleaned them all? And… the five I cleaned in April… they aren’t looking so pristine anymore.

You know me by now, dear readers– this isn’t a cleaning story. There’s a lesson here. There’s always a symbol, a metaphor, a reading deeply into the basic. 

Flashback to the fall semester of my senior year in college. I remember waking up early one morning, grabbing the syllabi for each course in which I was enrolled and thinking to myself: I’m going to sit at this desk and write all of my papers today for the whole semester. Get it over with, marathon, be done, be free of looming tasks. I wrote three papers that day… but seven were left untouched. Seventeen years later, I can still recall the palpable feeling of failure. I didn’t give myself even a moment to celebrate writing three papers in a day– I only focused on what was left undone.

Back to present day… we return to school in a week. I did a lot in the five and a half months I’ve been home. A solid portion of what I accomplished was finally slowing down, taking on less, and shedding a layer of work/accomplishment addiction. Yet I sit here, feeling that familiar lump in the throat of the windows left uncleaned, like the papers left unwritten. All of the personal development I do (and teach!)… but the subconscious and the body… their programming runs deep! 

I don’t mean to conflate five wiped-down windows with three academic papers– but as different as the things are, the feelings, the habitual thinking, the paradigm is the same. And now I get to decide if I’ll beat myself up for the tasks left undone, the windows left unwashed… or if I’ll pick up the Thieves cleaner and a rag… or, even more radical, just let it be. You see, everything just is. We choose the direction, the feeling, whether positive or negative, whether roadblock or stepping stone.

This story is a parable of awareness and of growth. I promise, whatever I choose to do for the next week before Denise transitions back into Ms. B., I will not be sitting here in seventeen years from now thinking about the windows I didn’t clean in 2020. I choose. I surrender. I am enough.

Much love.  

Continue Reading
Believe Energy Healing Purpose

Happy? Happy.

Summer Denise is a voracious reader. September to June, I am consumed by reading essays, writing lesson plans and going to bed at 8 pm… sometimes 7:15 pm. Tightly wound, but efficient as all-get-out. It’s a trade-off.

My mother bought me a copy of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra several years ago. I put it on the bookshelf… and there it sat. During my July hiatus from, well a lot of things, the book jumped off the shelf at me. Sometimes… I think these shelves are spring-loaded. It was time to crack the spine and see what Deepak prescribes for Summer Denise. 

This slim-yet-deep read did not disappoint. Here are a few of my many take-aways:

“Animals do have memory. If you kick a dog it will remember the experience and may snarl at you if it encounters you ten years later. But unlike a human being, a kicked dog won’t plan for ten years how to get even” (20).

Of course this passage spoke to the animal rescuer in me… but even more so to the part of me that is learning to let go, release, and surrender. We’ve all had those moments, going about our day and then out of nowhere that mean comment that a random classmate said to us in the 6th grade flashes through our minds… like, where was that stored in the files? Why am I holding onto that? Granted, I’m not plotting revenge, but that hurt is stored in my body. Good thing I have tons of practices at my fingertips to help release those kinds of memories!

“Awareness heals, because awareness is truly whole, and healing is fundamentally a return to wholeness” (38).

No need to comment on that sentence. Just re-read it several times and feel that tingle in your heart-space.

“Once you know who you really are, being is enough” (53).

But… how do we know who we are? Are we who we see in the mirror? Are we who other people tell us to be? Have we spent years or even decades silencing the voice inside of us, our instincts, our true selves? Exhale, dear readers. I wasn’t kidding when I called this a slim-yet-deep read.

“Most people are trapped trying to impose their viewpoint on the world. They carry around beliefs about what is right and wrong, and they hold on to these beliefs for years. “I am right” brings comfort, but not true happiness… no one has ever been made happy by proving that they are right. The only result is conflict and confrontation, because the need to be right always makes someone else wrong” (75).

Every time I catch myself writing an impassioned reply to a social media post that I initially found offensive, annoying, or “wrong,” I bring myself back to this concept. Then, 97% of the time, I deleted what I was about to reply and move on with my day. Like Marianne and Gabby teach: would you rather be right or be happy? I pick happy… and when I pick happy, I am happy.

 

Dear readers, it was good for me to take a few weeks break, but I did miss you and it feels good, feels right to be back with you. Cheers to another month of Summer Denise and lots of great books! 

 

Continue Reading
Energy Young Living

My Summer Essentials

Summer Denise is officially here. Distance learning has wrapped (at least until September…) and my mantra is “I am on vacation.” I repeat that to myself as I start each day, reminding me to slow down and bring vacation vibes to all that I do for myself, for my family, for Rescue, and for my wellness business. I can still make it all happen and be on vacation… island vibes.

Armed with my mantra, I am committed to feeling good every day. I am spending less time on the phone and more time outside—less distraction, more appreciation. Allow me to share with you my five summer must-haves, the essential items that Summer Denise uses every glorious day.

  1. Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Do your research, dear readers, to find out what studies show Oxybenzone and Avobenzone, the active ingredients in conventional sunscreens, do to your body. When I say “do your research,” I don’t mean Google and believe the first blog that comes up—even if that blog is mine. Take some time. Gather some reliable research sources. Then, do some research on mineral sunscreens.

I opt for Young Living’s Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, because I know YL can backup their claims of being clean, reef-safe, and vegan-friendly.

  1. Lavaderm Cooling Mist

It’s hot out there. It’s humid. I mist Lavaderm all over myself when I’m reading in my deck chair and after a shower. A beautiful aroma… and it cools me down!

  1. Lavaderm After Sun Spray

This stuff works. Thankfully, I haven’t had a sunburn in years… but I’ve used this on bug bites, minor cuts and scrapes from my loving fur-children (Peanut does not like to be picked up), and minor skin irritations. Lavaderm After Sun works incredibly quickly, taking away itching and helping to restore my skin to a healthy-looking, smooth state! I use this all-year-round.

  1. Insect Repellent

Bugs love me. I’ve tried everything, even those sprays that are intended for camping trips in the deep woods… and I would still get eaten alive! A single mosquito bite would make my face swell up. I ran out of many summer BBQs with my head down, jetting to the car before anyone could see what one little bug could do to me. For real. Ask the Bunny-daddy. A few summers ago, Young Living came out with the plant-based Insect Repellent and that was the first summer I could truly enjoy outside! I am still in awe, and am incredibly grateful, that I can hang out outside without being swollen, itchy, and in pain. I have legit love for this product. It has given me freedom.

  1. Vitality Drops

Replenishing your electrolytes is essential for hydration and for feeling great! A new addition to my essentials, Vitality Drops + Electrolytes are delicious. I like “plain” water, but sometimes I can drink water nonstop and still feel thirsty. One squirt of Vitality Drops in a glass of water… and I feel the difference in my hydration. Feel great… accomplish great things, including great relaxation!

 

Yes, my summer essentials all come from one place. I love convenience. I love products whose labels aren’t flashy claims without substance. I love getting rewarded when I shop. And I love sharing the things that make my life high-performance and abundantly happy!

Much love from Summer Denise.

 

Hop over to this link to take charge of your wellness with easy, effective, and affordable solutions for your every need: Young Living Essential Oils & Wellness Products

I’m an email away if you have any questions: believeinbunnies@gmail.com

Continue Reading
Believe Teacher Life

Class of 2020

As we bid adieu to the Class of 2020 in unique ways, I’m reminded of the pressure to graduate in a numerically outstanding year. You see, dear readers, I am a member of the high school graduating Class of 2000. It almost felt like a burden, in a way, to make it count that much more because of the number itself (once we survived Y2K, of course).

Class of 2020, you outdid us for sure.

And hey, I get that it’s frustrating that you aren’t celebrating in all the ways you thought you would… but I know you and I know you never wanted to be just like everyone else. The Class of 2020, at least in the school where I teach, holds some of the most outstanding personalities, young people who are unafraid to speak their truth, to stand up and stand out. Accordingly, your send-offs are as unique as you are.

 

But back to me, before you straighten your cap and flip your tassels…

Milestone years… like 2000 was, like 2020 is… I sit back and marvel. From my experience:

2000, I graduated high school and went off to college.

2005, I started teaching.

2010, I moved into my first apartment (we don’t count college living on this timeline) and started seeing the man you now know as the Bunny-Daddy.

2015, I launched the first phase of my wellness business.

2020, I’ve done so much… and it’s only halfway over!

 

Those increments of 5, those half-decades, seem to mile-mark my life… but none of those accomplishments would have happened if I sat in a puddle and cried that my prom wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

2020 doesn’t look how anyone thought it would. I get it. Frustration is unmet expectations and, for graduates and for everyone, there are lots of unmet expectations in the world right now. This is the perfect time to remember that you don’t have to live your life or to commemorate your journey the way that everyone else does! If you’re graduating this year or you graduated 50 years ago, I call on you today to blaze your own trail. Just be kind to everyone, including yourself, along the way.

Much love.

Continue Reading
Believe Purpose Teacher Life

Speak.

I wasn’t going to write today. I haven’t been in the spirit of it. I haven’t felt like I have much to say. And, for the first time maybe ever in my life, I’m not forcing myself to do, to produce, to go-go-go. I’m allowing myself to just be.

That said, this is not the time to be silent.

Name a riot in our history that happened for no reason. I didn’t say to name one that happened for a reason you don’t agree with. I didn’t ask for your opinion on riots. I didn’t ask for facts on the consequences of riots. I’m just asking: has there ever been a riot for no reason at all?

I can’t think of one.

I also can’t think of one that didn’t explode from perceived injustice.

I don’t use the term “perceived” here to indicate that those injustices were not real; I just acknowledge that not everyone in the world saw or sees the injustice. But those who were compelled to speak up, to protest, or to riot certainly perceived the injustice.

And they fought back.

This is not the time to be silent.

And I’m no keyboard warrior. My work does not end here.

A former student wrote to me on Thursday. She wants to know what she can do in these intense times.

I simply reminded her to make sure that she treats herself and every single being she encounters in person and online with kindness, respect, and compassion. Her behavior, her choices are all she can control.

And if everyone made the commitment to treat themselves and others with dignity, what a different world we would live and breathe in.

Small right actions add up to lasting change.

This is not the time to be silent. Be safe. Much love.

Continue Reading
Believe Coaching Energy Healing

Lighten Up

I felt some relief when I saw a post from Glennon Doyle this morning about how she hasn’t written a word in a while. I know better than to seek validation from the outside but there was something comforting in seeing that the most-talked about writer right now is also a bit blocked.

I can take that post as permission to continue to stand still… or I can exhale and see things differently (which clearly I did because I’m writing to you today). Glennon’s words just took the pressure off… taking the pressure off has been a theme for me lately. Release that self-inflicted pressure valve.

Two weeks ago, a memory popped into my head of my mother telling me to “Lighten up” when I was younger. Mommy, if you’re reading this THIS IS NOT A BAD THING. You were absolutely right. You never said it as a put-down. You said it when I was being ridiculously hard on myself… but I didn’t really know what that meant, to lighten up. That’s exactly what I needed to do, and often still need to do. Just like RuPaul’s 10th grade teacher told him: “Don’t take life so f…ing seriously.” I find it no coincidence that I too teach 10th grade.

I just never knew how to lighten up. Sure, I could have fun… but I always craved, and often still do, this intense structure, control, a formula to know for sure what would happen next. I needed to choreograph, to conduct, to construct. Lighten up… I would love to! But how? This is how I felt programmed to be. This is what feels safe, or at least predictable.

Lighten up. Be the light. Love and light. “Slow down, sister”, as my teacher Gabby Bernstein says. Messaging all in the same vein… take the pressure off. Flow.

And I’ve done that, in spurts, in moments, as I’ve grown in my spiritual practice. Take today, as the perfect example. I could have sat at my desk and forced myself, self-inflicted pressure valve tightly closed, thinking: You haven’t written in weeks. it’s Sunday morning. Sit here and write! But instead…

I’m sitting on the steps of our backyard deck right now, laptop in my lap, as the name intends. I would be sitting in a chair but they are zip-tied to each other and to the table from our last crazy storm. I’ve never written out here. I was stuck in the pattern of writing at my desk because that’s just what you do. But, my goodness, lighten up, loosen up! There’s a whole world out there. Charge the battery and go somewhere else (safely of course). Sitting at the desk for the last 9 weeks, or is it 10 now, I’ve been all in my head. Grabbed a hoodie, walked a few feet outside, and bam… it’s all flowing onto the electronic page. Ah, sweet release.

In those moments, where you find yourself clenching, perhaps your shoulders are up to your ears, your tongue is mashed to the roof of your mouth, your jaw feels wired shut, your thoughts are nearly paralyzing, try lightening up with me. Now, we don’t want that to become the equivalent of telling someone to calm down when they are upset, so let’s craft a practice to Lighten Up (or am I controlling again? See how quickly self-judgment kicks in for me?! Lighten up, Denise).

And please, don’t confuse Lighten Up with making a joke of something or ignoring something. Let’s make Lighten Up our mantra for when we need to see more clearly into a situation, illuminating what’s really important and releasing the judgments and needs to control.

Our Lighten Up Practice

  • Gently close your beautiful eyes, if you feel comfortable. On an inhale, observe the clenching, gripping, grasping, whether in the physical body or in the mind.

Often, you’ll find it’s in both and you’ll notice patterns within yourself. Noticing the patterns is a good thing! It will help you feel better faster when you slip into the tough moments.

  • Exhale, sending your attention and breath to the physical tension. Envision those parts releasing, flood them with a soft purple light.

 

  • Observe your thoughts. Ask yourself: What’s at the core here? How can I “lighten up” the situation?

 

  • Inhale, seeing the situation in your mind’s eye. As you exhale, see the issue flooded with a soft, healing light. Put yourself in the center of this vision.

 

  • Sit in this light, in this vision for as long as you need to feel better, just one notch better, one turn of the pressure valve released. As little as 17 seconds in this vision can bring relief.

 

  • Return to your Lighten Up practice as your body and minds calls for it. YOU are the light.

 

Much love.

Continue Reading
Believe Coaching Guest Blogger

Fasting to Freedom

You know that person who’s just… kind, genuine, everybody’s buddy? I do. He’s Rob Cohn.

Rob radiates compassion. He’s an excellent listener and a scholar of wellness. He’s been on a journey of fasting, a topic that fascinates me because… frankly, it scares me. I, like many others, have an emotional and mental attachment to food, thankfully not in a debilitating way… but the idea of fasting is intimidating to me.

I asked Rob to tell his story here because I suspected there was more to all of this than, “Hey, let’s skip eating for a few hours!” My suspicions were correct. Take it away, Rob.

 

“YOU WILL NEVER SUCCEED”

Those words are never something you want to hear especially when you are visiting a neurosurgeon for a spine surgery consult.

Let me back up for a moment.  I have had back issues for many years. In part they were caused by a car accident I was in 32 years ago as a passenger. The car I was in was t-boned by another car making a left turn, going about 60 miles an hour, slamming into my door.  I shattered the top part of my femur and broke the ribs on my right side. I had a total of four surgeries over the next four years with three of them being within the first year.

That’s not the whole story.

The story actually goes back to less than two months before my 13th birthday. My mother passed away from a battle of breast cancer. It was soon after that my love affair (which turns out to be my addiction to food) began.  I grew up in Jewish family that was all about food. I recall having access to all of the food you could possibly imagine! a After my mother died nobody really knew how to help me, so I turned to the one friend I always had which was food.  Food became more than my friend. It quickly became my lover and the one thing that I could always find and feel safe with.  As you can probably imagine, this is also the time when my journey with weight struggles began as well.

I yo-yoed up and down for years and years. I probably have lost and gained hundreds of pounds of weight over the years.  I tried every single diet I could find and each and every time they worked. What didn’t work was me, because I was never healing what I was trying to stuff with food. I was not changing my behavior. In fact, looking back what I was doing was punishing myself for my mother dying. You see, secretly I never wanted to leave my mother. As I am writing my story, I am struck with awareness that deep down inside I was wanting to join my mom in heaven. It is a profound feeling coming into realization that I was subconsciously sabotaging my own life because I missed my mother so much. This is not the case any longer. My passion and vigor for life is back. My goal is to live the happiest and healthiest life possible.

In 2012, I was involved with a group of people who were practicing intermittent fasting. I thought they were crazy.  Who the hell would want to purposely not eat for hours at a time? Who ever heard of stopping to eat at 5 or 6 PM for the rest of the night? They must be crazy, really something wrong with them.  I totally rejected that idea.  I then found another way of eating and lost the weight again, then you guessed it, slowly came back on.

In 2015 I had back surgery which was very successful. I don’t know how much I weighed then, but it was more than it should be. Fast forward to 2019 and I started entertaining the idea of intermittent fasting.  After I began researching and listening to audio books and podcasts, it actually made sense. I learned that our bodies need a break from digesting food.  We are really not designed to have food so readily available.  It is ok to not eat for hours at a time.  I started with extending the hours past sleep a couple hours and then started adding more hours a little here and there until I made it to 16 hours fasting a day.

On February 18th, at my surgeon’s office he did me the biggest favor by telling me if he operated on me that day, I would not be successful because of my weight.  He gave me a goal to work on before my surgery.  That motivated me even more. Let me tell you being in constant pain, not being able to walk pain free for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time is not fun.  At 54 years old I get to a point where it is more important to take care of myself than to have that food that will make me sick and keep me obese. I dug in. I started extending my fasts even more. I went 18 hours, 23 hours, 26 hours. I have done a couple of 36-hour fasts, 40-hour fasts and my longest to date is 46 hours.  Let me tell you it is a mental game. I have never focused on something so much in my life to have that determination. I was never willing before to go through the discomfort of being hungry. I will tell you as a result I am beginning to feel the FREEDOM of not being tied to food 24/7 and it has freed up time to pursue other things. A side benefit is I am saving money on food too. More importantly I am creating a new relationship with food I have never had before. I am boosting my confidence and self-worth because I am creating that mental strength, which are outcomes I never imagined.

I am proud of myself and I am keeping my word to myself. If I can do this so can you!  Now I BELIEVE AND KNOW I CAN SUCCEED!

If you would like to learn more about fasting, there are many experts out there to learn. We all have to find what works for us as we are all different.

If you would like to follow me:

Facebook – @robcohn

Instagram – @rob_cohn

I have also created a group of friends where we support each other in our fasting goals, Fasting with Friends – https://www.facebook.com/groups/fastingwitfriends/

Continue Reading
Believe Coaching Energy Purpose

Ask.

Nearly 15 years ago I read Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. It was one of the first books on my personal and spiritual development path. If you’re a loyal reader of this blog, you know that I’m faithfully on that path and it’s a journey that never ends… in a good way! Growth doesn’t end until… well, the end.

In March, I taught an online class about emotions. In prepping for that class, my guides all but dragged me to the book shelf and ejected my copy of this book at me. Okay, guides… I’m listening. From the day after the class ran, I’ve been studying a chapter per day as part of my morning routine.

Today, I’m sharing with you some gems from those chapters I’ve studied:

“We write this book to reawaken within you your memory of the power and inevitable success that pulse through the core of that which you really are… to assist you in returning to your place of optimism, positive expectation, and expanding joy; and to remind you that there is nothing that you cannot be, do, or have” (8).

If you don’t get chills reading those sentences…

“Your motion forward is inevitable; it must be. You cannot help but move forward. But you are not here on a quest to move forward- you are here to experience outrageous joy” (14).

Now, I know there are some eye-rollers out there… but after those beautiful eyes make their 360*, go ahead and ask yourself: Do I feel worthy of joy? I know I didn’t for some time… but I’m in a place now where I know I deserve it, I know every other being deserves it, and I know for sure that there’s enough to go around. We just have to choose it, takes the steps to be joyful, and give ourselves grace when we fall a few steps astray.

“By paying attention to the signals of your emotions, you can understand, with absolute precision, everything you are now living or have ever lived. And, with a precision and ease that you may have never before experienced, you can use this new understanding of your emotions to orchestrate a future experience that will please you in every way” (23).

I love the use of the word “orchestrate” here. Where some people get tripped up then disappointed by the Law of Attraction-type work is that they think they just think about something once or twice and boom it appears… or the law is a hoax. Orchestrate… coordinate, arrange, organize, compose… believe, hatch a plan, take the steps. That’s how it works. Listening to your emotions, letting the vibes guide you along the way shows you the path… and that requires trust in yourself.

I believe in you, even when you don’t yet believe in you.

Time to get clear on what you’re asking for… because it can all be yours. And there’s more than enough to go around. Much love.

Continue Reading
Believe Bunnies Healing Rescue

Paisley

I catch myself saying the sentence, “We can’t save them all” often but I’m realizing as I sit to write this that I need to change up that mindset.

So, from now on I’ll say, “I’m looking for ways to save them all” or “I’m working toward a world where they are all safe.”

For the time being, I’m the one who prioritizes the cases, decides which rescues are the most pressing… and takes the backlash from people who don’t like my decisions. It’s okay. I’m built for this.

Toward the end of March, our Rescue group received an email about an abandoned rabbit in a south shore Nassau County town that is one of the highest dumping grounds for rabbits on Long Island. I was prepared with my standard response of:

We don’t have a shelter facility; all of our rabbits are fostered in private homes. If you or someone you know can provide an indoor, long-term foster home, we can help catch the rabbit, provide supplies and food, and help search for a more permanent placement.

…until I opened the video attachment to this email. I’ll spare you the visual… but it was bad. This rabbit was seriously injured. I knew we needed to rescue her.

She then disappeared for 4 days. The gentleman who spotted her in his yard promised to call me as soon as she showed up again. He did. I told him to keep eyes on her while volunteers headed over. Volunteers were on the scene within 25 minutes. They were able to scoop up this seriously injured rabbit and transport her immediately to a rabbit-savvy veterinary hospital.

Based on the initial video and volunteer reports from the scene, I was sure this rabbit had a broken back. I awaited the call from the vet with the bad news and anticipated having to make the toughest decision… but this story hops in a different direction.

X-rays and tests showed nothing broken. I was shocked. The team was shocked. I kept asking the doctor, “Are you sure we rescued the right rabbit?!? Is that the rabbit from the video?!?” She was terrified and hungry… but not broken. Her body was very wobbly and she couldn’t hop well… but there was far more hope than anyone anticipated. The daughter of the volunteer who rescued this rabbit named her Paisley.

A few days after her rescue, Paisley came to stay with us for a bit. The first few days, she cowered. Her appetite voracious, we kept her pellet bowl full, her litter box overflowing with hay and her salads appropriately plentiful. She started to relax a bit after a few days. We let her out to play and exercise in a puppy pen. She would pensively stretch forward, shake, wobble and fall over. She couldn’t turn to the right. Luckily, we earned her trust, keeping the room quiet and safe, and I was able to massage her hips and back gently, some makeshift rabbit physical therapy.

Her first night at our house

Fast-forward 16 days… today Paisley can hop without falling over! She can clean her beautiful face with her front paws. We’ve yet to see her run or binky… but it’s coming. Her wobble is all but gone. Her progress is remarkable.

On this day where traditionally (and unfortunately in my opinion!) rabbits are given as gifts for children, I look at Paisley and my heart breaks for the many like her who will be neglected and discarded days or weeks from today. While she’s doing great now, while she’ll be safe and loved forever, there are hundreds on Long Island, thousands (at least) in this country who will suffer… and for what?

I am… we are working toward a world where they are all safe.

Continue Reading