Believe In Bunnies

Believe Coaching

50 Things

Before sitting down to write today, I grabbed this “Wordsmith Deck” that my dear friend Cassy-Anne bought me for my birthday last year… or maybe it was for Christmas… inconsequential. Cass and I were wrapping up a phone call as I turned on the laptop. I told her I was going to pick a card to write from today.

I pulled a card and kind of pouted at the prompt. I said, “Well that’s crazy. I’m not doing that.” In retort, Cassy-Anne said, “I bet you could.” I’m not one to walk away from a bet. So, my dear readers, here are 50 things that make me smile.

  1. Coffee
  2. Watching Peanut do anything (yes, even chew the couch)
  3. French fries
  4. Talking to my parents
  5. Reading
  6. Writing (particularly with a pencil)
  7. Sunshine
  8. Super-hot days
  9. The Office
  10. Alf
  11. Schitt’s Creek
  12. “The Jason Ellis Show” on SiriusXM
  13. The Golden Girls
  14. Pretzels
  15. Spending time with my uncles
  16. Public speaking (put a mic in my hand and I shine)
  17. Halo room spray (recipe in The Chemical-Free Home for House Keeping by Melissa Poepping)
  18. Giving and getting gifts
  19. Shoes (the higher the better)
  20. Fresh-clean sheets
  21. Organized cabinets
  22. Clear surfaces (like counter tops and the dining room table)
  23. The feeling of bunny paws resting on me (very treasured feeling)
  24. Carefully curated music… especially when I can sing along
  25. Planning classes and workshops for my wellness team
  26. Naps (bonus points for bed-naps)
  27. Fresh flowers
  28. Watching squirrels play on the lawn
  29. Bethenny Frankel’s Instagram stories
  30. Gabby Bernstein’s voice
  31. Yoga with Adriene
  32. Talking with my friend Adrienne (the OG from junior high!)
  33. Any time spent with or any memory conjured of my Megan
  34. Our incredible Rabbit Rescue team
  35. Making plans and changing lives with the aforementioned Cassy-Anne
  36. Cozy sweatshirts
  37. Studying with my Mastermind squad
  38. Tattoos (once they are healed… I don’t often smile while getting tattooed)
  39. The color purple (as in things that are that color, not necessarily the book… but the book is important, too)
  40. Challenging myself
  41. The morning
  42. Quiet
  43. Being in the company of confident people
  44. Fuzzy slippers
  45. The aromas of jasmine, geranium, rose… I can go on and on with these…
  46. Watching someone skateboard
  47. Connecting with people… having authentic dialogue
  48. Games
  49. When people say thank you and give recognition
  50. My readers, the dedicated and the newly-arrived

There you have it… and I think it’s time for you to write your list of 50 things that make you smile! Bonus points if you write it with someone who makes you smile.

Much love.

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Bunnies Purpose Rescue

Throwback: Found but Still Lost

Around this time every year, I publish a story that I wrote in 2016… a reminder to some, new knowledge to others, about why Rescue exists.

We won’t stop until they are all safe and loved.

Found but Still Lost

I am the initial point of contact when someone emails information@longislandrabbitrescue.org.  This month, the number of “finder” emails we have received is more than double the number we receive in a typical month. We define a “finder” as someone who has either spotted a stray domestic rabbit or has rescued an abandoned domestic rabbit and is reaching out to our group for resources and recourses.  I have typed the following sentences an alarming number of times this month: “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 foster home, we can…”  And it’s not even Easter yet.

We get at least a hundred emails to the aforementioned address per month—only three times in my almost three years of being at the email helm has someone reached out because their rabbit had actually gone missing. So I can safely conclude that these “found” rabbits are abandoned, dumped, neglected.

Abandonment happens one of two ways, from my perspective.  There are the scarily misinformed, who think their rabbit, who no longer serves a purpose in their family, will survive in the woods or in a park because other rabbits live in the wild.  Yeah… those are wild rabbits.  Not domestic rabbits.  Domestic rabbits will not survive and will face the harsh elements of the seasons and starvation, and predators.  A horrible fate.

Then, there are the heartless, who just don’t care, who need this “thing” out of their house.  Sometimes these people try to seek help before abandoning their rabbit, but most town shelters aren’t equipped to handle rabbits and most rescue groups are overloaded, no matter the animal on which they focus.  For these, about whom “careless” is the nicest word I can muster, the living being they once chose to care for has passed his/her expiration date and must be tossed out.  Just a note—if caught abandoning an animal, one faces $1,000 fine and other legal consequences.  If you see something, take pictures. Send them to me.  I’ll turn them in for you.  I’m not shy.

We need:

  • Stores and breeders to stop selling rabbits.
  • People to make more informed decisions before adding any living being into their families.
  • Foster homes, donations and volunteers to save the abandoned animals.
  • You to speak up, if you know someone has dumped an animal.
  • Compassion for all things living.

As a rescue group, our resources are limited but trust that we use them to their maximum potential!  Thank you for being one of our resources.  Spread the reality about rabbits as pets—10-12 year commitment, specialized veterinary care, bunny-proofing (As I hear my chief destruction worker bunny Tater Tot tearing in to what I hope is his cardboard tunnel in the next room…).  As awareness is heightened, I hope there are far fewer rabbits out there to save.  But for now, many rabbits are found but still lost, as the number abandoned far surpasses the number of foster homes and adopters.

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Believe Coaching Energy Teacher Life

Resources for Peace

As for the news… Get the facts from your trusted source then shut. it. off. And stay home, if you can, please.

Behold the possibility of the days. Here are some of my favorite resources for breaks and self-care while working from home:

The incredibly relatable and generous Adriene Mischler, star of Yoga with Adriene, will help you find what feels good with Yoga for Uncertain Times, a curated playlist of 34 yoga practices of varying lengths and intentions.

Find that here: Yoga for Uncertain Times

 

Binge watch The Bold Type. While it’s nothing like The Office, Melora Hardin is one of the principal actors in the show. I like to pretend that her character Jacqueline Carlyle is everything Jan Levinson imagined herself to be.

Find that here: The Bold Type

 

My teacher Gabby Bernstein is hosting a free online Anxiety Relief Workshop on Sunday, March 29th at 1 pm & 8 pm ET, with free replay through April 5th.

Get registered: Anxiety Relief Workshop

 

Craving an intense workout? Look no further than Kelsie’s Barre. Kelsie is offering free classes via Zoom… trust, her workouts are like no other!

Find that here: Kelsie’s Barre

 

Revisit that one video that makes you laugh without fail… mine is a clip of a local newscaster who didn’t realize she was still on the air and said something she did not intend for the world to hear. I’m not linking it here because of the language… but I’m playing it now and laughing… not at her but at the circumstance!

 

Scroll through Cameo and brighten someone’s day with a video from a celebrity. I had William Hung, of American Idol fame, send a message to my best friend last week… it was worth WAY MORE than I paid for it! He even sang a custom version of “She Bangs.” Seriously.

Find that here: Cameo

 

And, as always, I’m here for you. Whether you just want to vent, to chat or if you’re ready to set some goals and hatch a plan, I’m available to you.

Book a free call with me: Connect with Denise

 

Much love, always.

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Believe Coaching Purpose Teacher Life

An Interesting Time

The idiom “worried sick” has been around since the 1800s. Worry, stress, anxiety, and fear can lower your immune system. It’s reasonable to concerned as there are so many unknowns right now… but worrying yourself sick over the current situation (or over anything) does not serve you or serve the world!

As schedules and settings change for the upcoming weeks, it’s easy to feel displaced, uneasy, or even distressed. I’m sending lots of love and strength to those who have to make big decisions, like closing schools and canceling events or seasons. I had to decide to postpone a school event last week and it was not an easy choice—and I’m typically the most decisive person in the room!

I, like many of you dear readers, have a change to my regularly scheduled programming for at least the next week. The school where I teach will be closed. I’ll still have some work to do (those research papers aren’t going to grade themselves!) but my days will look and feel vastly different from the typical work week. Peanut will be happy to have me home… at least I tell myself that.

Now… to find the balance between “wasting” the whole week and pressuring myself to do all the things while I’m homebound. And if I feel this way, I’m sure someone out there feels this way, too.

You’ve heard me say it before: You can’t manage time but you can manage activity. So, let’s capitalize on this time of different routines by maximizing our self-care and productivity.

Daily Must-Dos

  • Rest and good nutrition
  • Personal development and study
  • Move! Go for a walk, hop on the yoga mat, whatever works for you
  • Laugh, have fun, dance (if you want to… and you know you do)

 

One a Day for the Next 8 Days (in no particular sequence)

1. Clean off your desk or your coffee table or your dining room table… whatever that one area is that collects everything. Nature’s first law is order.

2. Make 2 phone calls you’ve been putting off. Mine: Grandma and rescheduling the dentist. I’m telling you to keep myself accountable.

3. Clean out the freezer or that one cabinet that needs order in the kitchen.

4. Time for a dream-walk. Tap into your wildest imagination, grab a piece of paper or a journal and plan the ultimate, most over-the-top dream vacation. Nothing is off limits, as long as it doesn’t hurt any other beings! Visualize and write about every little detail… who is there, what do the towels at the resorts feel like, what does the air smell like… take this luxurious exercise in visioneering. The more clearly you see the vision, the more likely it will be that you’ll be sending me pictures from this trip at some point, thanking me for inspiring you. #humble

5. Read. For 10 minutes, 10 pages, 10 magazines… just read, please.

6. Open the closet, the drawers, and wherever else you stash the clothing and accessories. Find 2 pieces you can donate, sell, or repurpose.

7. Curate a playlist of the songs that fire you up. If you already have a playlist like this, take a moment to edit it or add some new jams.

8. Unplug. Especially as the days go on, we’ll be checking obsessively to see what happens next… Will my job close for another week? Are we back to hugging freely again? Take some conscious time away from tech, an amount of time that feels right for you. Unplug from the screens; connect to you. Just get quiet… no phone, no tasks, just you. Bonus points if you can do this first thing in the morning.

 

We are living in an interesting time… cheers to using this time to grow, to heal, to catch up and to shine! Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy

News Flash: Your Mentor is Human

I have several people I think of as mentors in different areas of my life, some I actually know and work closely with and others who are Friends/Mentors in My Head. A few who started out as In My Head are real life mentors/friends now… which is just manifesting at it’s finest… but that’s a how-to for another day, dear readers.

The other day, I heard one of my mentors say something that snapped me out of alignment… did she really just say that? Is that what she really believes?

In this time of Cancel Culture, where many are inclined to grab their things, storm away, unfollow and lambast on Yelp and any other platform they can access at the slightest unpleasant interaction, I took a moment to pause and ponder:

Do I completely write off everything this mentor has done for me and for my community because of one difference in beliefs?

A resounding no. She is not my guru or my goddess. She’s a person. One of my favorite things about being human is that we have the option of choice. I’m not trying to be her and she needn’t be a replica of me. Sure, it’s cool, affirming, even fun, when beliefs align… but I don’t think complete synchronicity is necessary in any relationship, particularly one of this nature.

We don’t have to agree on every single drop of life. I am fiercely socially liberal. I know it’s not always “recommended” to announce beliefs like that in my line of work but I am unafraid to say that I think every single one of you has the right to be who you are and live this life on your terms, including the right to make the choices that are best for you and your family.

If I relish that right and I work to empower others to embrace that freedom, why would I even consider writing off anyone who thinks differently* than I do?

(*unless they are doing harm… then, we can part ways)

In all of my work on myself, I’ve learned to snap back into alignment, to not let (most) things derail my spirit. Within two minutes of hearing her opinion, I was able to reframe it as just that, something she believes to be true. I believe differently. It’s that simple.

I completely acknowledge that not every situation, relationship, or belief is this simply reconciled, but I do think you can find understanding in even those more complicated or triggering issues through these steps:

  • Know your values. Right them down. Acknowledge what’s important to you.
  • Understand your belief system and convictions. When you truly believe, you have the power to stand confidently, without that frantic or combative nature to convince others to be “on your side.”
  • Take a breath. Cutting someone or something off radically can leave wounds. When you cut a piece of ribbon in half, both sides can get frayed… even if you reattach the pieces, the ribbon doesn’t look or feel the same.
  • Allow others the same grace and acceptance that you deserve in return. You remember that Golden Rule.
  • If you do react in a way that you wish you didn’t, own it. If you’ve been on the receiving side of a harsh reaction, forgive and delete. Mute, unfollow, snooze, take a break, block… tools that exist for a reason!

 

As I write this to you, I celebrate my mentor’s opinions and beliefs… all while still holding onto my own opinions and beliefs. This feeling is far more freeing and happiness-inducing than my (thankfully temporary) anger and dismay a few days ago.

After all… I’m not Judy, thus I cannot judge anyone. Embrace the humanness of your mentors, role models, colleagues, family… Much love.

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Believe Energy Healing

Salty

I was terrified… but intrigued. The terror made me book the appointment.

On the quest to live this life in the most feel-good, spread joy, enjoy more moments type of way, I’m open to trying to all the things. I haven’t floated yet… but that’s on the list.

Last Sunday, sitting at this very desk, my phone dinged. The ding was a text from a local wellness spa that I’d yet to visit, sharing a special for halotherapy, also known as a salt cave. Feeling brave in that moment, I said, “Let’s go!” in my head and called for an appointment.

Now, let’s be clear—there’s nothing to fear about a salt cave. It doesn’t shake or flip upside-down. There aren’t costumed characters waiting to jump out at you during the session. In fact, I’m sitting next to a Himalayan salt lamp as I type this and it’s not trying to harm me in any kind of way.

In fact, there are many reputed benefits of this fancy salt, whether you get it from a lamp or spend time in a cave. Halotherapy is said to have positive effects on those dealing with respiratory conditions, allergies, and dermatological problems. Halotherapy has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also immune-boosting (Disclaimer: I haven’t done any actual research—I’m just reporting from the pamphlet I was given).

I booked the appointment for relaxation… but if those other benefits are legit, I’ll take those, too.

Back to the terrifying part… the daunting thought of sitting still for 45 minutes. If you’ve seen me teach, you know I move around a lot. I’m someone who struggles to sit still through breakfast. My mind kicks right in as soon as I wake up in the morning, with all of the things to do, to accomplish, to go-go-go… it’s no wonder I can sleep 12-14 hours uninterrupted on the regular! My brain has a lot of restoring to do in shut-down time.

Despite this inclination to move at the speed of light, I know darn well that slowing down is necessary, beneficial, and even produces better results. Both of my coaches teach just that, in different wording. And I know it’s true… but I continue to emotionalize, to connect with the constant doing and going. Hence, the necessity for me to try things like the salt cave. The “better” me I become, I better I can serve you. Sat nam.

Friday afternoon, I drove east to Opulence Spa in Babylon (you had me at the name Opulence!). I was greeted by Natalie, who answered my many questions and got me settled in the cave with a blanket and some spa music. I got comfy in a zero-gravity chair… and I did it! I sat down, without my phone, without a book, without a thing to clean, grade, do… I did it.

Trust, my mind was all over the place. There was little Zen in my head… but there was no terror, as I anticipated. When I caught my mind racing, I gently escorted it back to the present moment, the softly-lit cave, the serenity. My goal was to make it through the session and I did it. I’m sure the Zen will come with practice, just like in meditation, yoga, and the other modalities I practice or teach.

I know it seems silly to some that this is what was terrifying me… so I thank you for allowing me to share honestly. Hey, I’m getting up on stage at a freakin’ convention center next weekend to speak and I’m not terrified of that! But this was rocking me… and I’m proud of myself for going for it, for carving out the time to just be. Those moments, as they happen more often and with more intention, will help me be the best version of myself… and I’m smiling as that sentence appears on the screen… because, dear readers, I’m so ready to soar with you.

And salt cave… I’ll be back. Much love.

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Guest Blogger Purpose Teacher Life

Words & Intention

I know Emika Smith through my Rescue work… but I’ve gotten to know her, the brave, introspective her who is unafraid to tell her truth and is empowered to step out and speak up, through her social media posts.

She posted something several weeks ago about her weight loss journey that just struck me. In the post, Emika shared, with candor and with strength, about the impact of people’s verbal feedback… how, even when their intentions aren’t harmful, their word choice can be hurtful.

Emika’s message struck me so profoundly that I asked her to write a guest post for my beloved blog… and I am honored that she said yes.

Emika Smith, the floor is yours…

Something they don’t tell you in college, specifically if you studying to become a teacher, is that most days you will not always teach the content of your specific degree.  I currently have my Bachelors Degree in Music Education and right now I’m hustling for my Masters of Science in Music Education.  I’m halfway through my 6th professional year.  Not a brand new teacher, but also not a veteran teacher.  Right smack in the middle.  Maybe once I hit 10 years in the classroom I’ll deem myself a “veteran” but who knows.  Every September feels like day 1, year 1 and I immediately forget everything I know about music.

What they don’t tell you in college is that you will be a parent, a friend, a psychologist, a nurse, a counselor, and a cheerleader.  You will teach kindness, social skills, coping skills, emotional processing, and then, maybe a couple of rounds of Hot Cross Buns.

I recently had a situation in my classroom with a 4th grade class where I had to stop the music-making and switch gears.  The kids were talking about who knows what.  Frankly, my “teacher ears” were on.  Meaning I’m not listening to everything the kids are saying, just keeping an ear open to anything inappropriate.  And lo and behold one child goes “Oh Emily (not her real name) is so annoying!” Literally shouted the statement.  And then there’s me, rolling my eyes in my head, Alright, here we go…“John (also not his real name) that may be your opinion but keep it to yourself, it’s unkind.”

We go back and forth a little and John goes “But Mrs. Smith, words don’t hurt.”

Stop.  Music-making done for the day.  Objective: Students will be able to be a good human being.  I respond, “Words do hurt, John.”

I’m not going to give you a dialog of our discussion, but ultimately I (hopefully) gave the children a lesson in how although we are entitled to our opinions, it’s best to keep those that may be hurtful to ourselves.

What I’ve learned over the past 6 years is that it is literally my job, to pick and choose the words I say out loud to children with such caution, not only to make it clear what I’m trying to teach, but to make sure that every child leaves my lesson with knowledge and understanding.  What I have recently learned (if you need a time line, maybe say the last 2 years) is that this skill, if you want to call it that, applies to every aspect of my life when it comes to communicating with others.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder back in 2016.  Through trying to express and articulate my symptoms, feelings, emotions, reactions, and needs to various medical professionals and family members, I learned how important choosing words truly is.  If I were to substitute one word for something else, it can mean a whole different thing.  And in a case where my physical and mental health depend on my ability to communicate what I am feeling, it can mean a huge difference in care and progress.  Thus, not only affecting me, but my family and those I interact with on a daily basis.

In February 2019 I made the decision to go ahead and get weight loss surgery.  Multiple factors led me to this decision and I had the support of my husband and my family to gather up all of my courage to proceed with one of the biggest decisions of my life.  In the months leading up to my surgery, scheduled for July 1, 2019, I slowly and discreetly let my administration, coworkers, and other family members know about my decision.  I’m a relatively private person, but if someone asks me a question about something personal I usually let them know.  Most of what I post on social media is pictures of my family or pets, and a funny meme. If I post something personal it’s usually for a good reason, I’m not out there advertising every little thing I do.

Summer came and went and I returned to work in August about 35 pounds lighter.  There was a visible difference and it was noticed by everyone.  We are a small school and we are all relatively close to each other.  I enjoyed the compliments and enjoyed informing people of what I had done.  I answered questions that were personal, but not invasive.  Everyone was genuinely happy for me and it was extremely uplifting.

It’s now January 26, 2020 and I’ve dropped down to 71 pounds gone forever.  I am in the single digits for pant sizes, no longer labeled as “obese” according to my BMI, and my overall health has improved drastically.  I still get compliments from coworkers which is lovely and I like to think I accept them gracefully.  Recently a school worker commented, “Oh Emika, you are just wasting away!”  The week before she had used the word “disappearing.”  Both statements were with a huge smile on her face and I didn’t detect any negativity behind her…*clears throat*…“compliment.”

Flashback to my 4th grade class and that statement from my student echoes in my head, “words don’t hurt.”

Today, those words did hurt.  Wasting away?  Do I look sick? Do I look unhealthy?  Am I really “disappearing?”

I go home and look at my print out of my results from my last weigh-in at my surgeon’s office.  My BMI is down, my cholesterol is normal, my muscle mass increased, my fat percentage has dropped significantly.  No, I am not “wasting away” I am HEALTHY!  And it occurred to me—I was wasting away when I was heavier and morbidly obese.  I was wasting away when I was huffing and puffing going up and down the stairs at 28 years old.  I was wasting away when my belly was too big for me to buckle my shoes for my best friend’s wedding and needed my husband’s help.  I was wasting away when I couldn’t get up from sitting on the floor in my classroom.  No one was concerned about my health back then…

In a time where we constantly write and post words online, and we establish electronic paper trails between us, our peers, and colleagues, our words and the language we use are permanently attached to us.  They follow us forever.  There is no more “he said, she said” because most of what we say is shared out online for the world to see; for people to screenshot and “share” before you get the chance to hit the “delete” button.

Every day I am amazed at what my students do, say, and accomplish.  Many of them show the grace and maturity of an adult, when actual adults lack awareness and mindfulness.  People are so quick to just say what they think without actually thinking about how their words may come across.  I understand and appreciate the intent behind that woman’s words, however they still stung.  I know she is genuinely happy for me and my success.

If we are friends, you know that I will say something if you say something that comes across a certain way, or that I will question your intended meaning.  I had a moment like that with a friend earlier this week.  If I love and care about you, I love and care about you hard.  And that means I am also going to challenge you and make you think because the last thing I want for you is to be misunderstood and have negative consequences.

You can’t take words back.  You can explain your words, but you can’t take them back.  So before you say anything, just think about your intent. And as the old saying goes, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

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Believe Coaching

Yes, You Can.

If you’ve scrolled social media at all today, it’s likely that you’ve seen a motivational quote or 2 or 200. Maybe you have a cute wooden sign hanging in your living room with a positive affirmation on it.

Perhaps you have sticky notes hanging around your workspace with your goals, your mantra, your ways of being written boldly in marker. I look up from my keyboard and see a hot pink Post-it that says, “I don’t allow any interferences.”

Those who scoff at affirmations, at power phrases, at positive quotes just haven’t experienced the magic… yet. Remember, dear readers, that a belief is simply a thought you’ve had on repeat so much that it embedded itself into your subconscious.

The same way you can tell a lie so much that you believe it yourself, you can make a truth come to life. You think, then you believe, then you live whatever you choose to plant into your subconscious mind. It’s time to consciously harness that power and choose the thoughts you truly want. Those thoughts flow into beliefs and those beliefs shape your existence.

You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Please keep in mind that achieving your goals is not like buying a snack from a vending machine; you don’t press the button and what you want flies straight down to you. Ah… maybe I can play with this simile… maybe this is like a vending machine but sometimes the machine won’t take your dollar right away. Sometimes you have to find a crisper bill or some coins. Sometimes the item gets stuck and you have to shake the machine carefully because you’ve heard that 2 people, on average, are killed vending machines yearly (Disclaimer: Believe In Bunnies does not advocate for shaking vending machines or any large machinery). Sometimes you press the wrong button. Sometimes you find change left over from the person before… jackpot!

Marie Forleo writes, “The clearer you are about what you want to figure out, the better chance you have of actually doing it. Clarity equals power.” So, grab that journal and take yourself on a dream walk. As succinctly as you would press B6 to get a bag of pretzels, write the exact thing(s) that you want. Envision it. Write it multiple times a day. Create affirmations and stick those up on the wall or paint them on a pretty sign. Take those moments of downtime to scroll less and visualize with intention more. Marie Forleo goes on to say, “Once you clarify and commit to a dream, mysterious forces begin to stir that would otherwise remain inert.” From those two quotes alone, you know you want to grab Marie’s book Everything is Figureoutable, because it is a solid guide to putting your great ideas into action.

Whose dream are you living? And even if you don’t crave change, are you feeling your best today? If you’re not, well, why not? And what can you do to feel just one notch better? Or get one step closer to a life that feels right for you? Yes, you can. Yes, you can. Yes, you can.

I believe in you… and it’s time that you believe in you too. Let’s do this together.

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Bunnies Rescue

Theodora

It’s about time that you meet Theodora.

We started by taking the overflow when the usual bunny-sitters were booked. Then, the bunny-sitters moved to Florida so there was more need for our services. We have a finished basement and we always have a bale of hay in the garage, so bunny-sitting on occasion fits in well for us. When we were watching Spice and Harley a few years ago, their mom coined the name Camp Bee… and it stuck.

Theodora came to Camp Bee just before Halloween 2019. Her mom was moving and wanted Theodora safely out of the standard chaos of a move so she booked a long-weekend stay at Camp Bee. Unexpected hurdle after hurdle, some bordering disaster, came flying at Theodora’s mom in what was supposed to be a standard move from one home to another. I reassured her that her little lop was fine here for as long as she needs to be. That’s part of the magic of our Rescue family.

Theodora, being the longest running camper at Camp Bee, deserves a little shout out here today.

When she was with our Rescue group, her name was Faith. She came into our care with an almost-identical twin sister, whose name was originally Hope but changed to Joy since we already had a Hope on our roster. These sisters were purchased from a pet store or breeder; the exact detail eludes me. They came into our care because Hope-turned-Joy had chronic digestive issues that the owners could not manage. Joy required daily medication, special diet, and frequent hospitalization. She suffered from a condition called megacolon. Despite our interventions, Joy did not survive.

Faith got lots of foster family and volunteer love as she mourned the loss of her sister. Not long after Joy’s passing, a former adopter of ours texted me. She saw Faith’s picture on our website. Having lost her lop Matilda several months before, she was ready to open her heart again. We arranged a meeting at my house, in the finished basement now known as Camp Bee.

She was adopted that night. Love at first hop… renamed Theodora shortly after adoption.

During her extended stay here at Camp Bee, Theodora has been an absolute dream. Where our own Peanut will bite your face off if you try to snuggle him, Theodora is gentle, tolerant of all sorts of snuggles, and even takes grooming without so much as a grunt! She runs around her penned area, lop ears flopping in the breeze, the occasional binky-kick-turn. We’ve nicknamed her Breadstick, Sticky, and Lil’ Beanie. She adores the Bunny-Daddy and runs to greet him with the most adorable fervor, even when he doesn’t have a bowl of salad in his hands.

She might go home today, as her mom’s living situation has course-corrected, or she might stay longer. I’m in no rush to see her go. She’s a perfect little camper and we are glad to have been able to help when she needed a place to rest her little paws.

Much love.

Theodora

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Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue

Throwback: Lessons Learned

Enjoy this throwback post from February 2016 titled Lessons Learned

Have I learned and worked the lessons? Something to reflect on today!

I’ve learned so much about rabbits in my nearly four years as a volunteer for the Long Island Rabbit Rescue… but I’ve learned even more about people.

I’ve observed volunteers of all ages and walks of life care for rabbits that we’ve saved from brutal neglect situations with inspiring love, yet neglect their own selves—“burning out” from taking on too much or simply not feeding and caring for themselves the way they do our foster and sanctuary rabbits.  These women and men would never let a rabbit go hungry or feed a rabbit a less than balanced, nutritious diet, but they don’t take the time to nurture themselves.  They make sure every foster and sanctuary rabbit gets daily exercise time to run, hop and play—but they don’t seem to prioritize themselves.  As dedicated volunteers, we recognize how much these gentle creatures need us.  If only we remembered that we are gentle creatures too.  Sometimes we need a little treat or a softer rug to rest our paws too.  For my fellow volunteers, I wish you would “cover a shift” in caring for yourself.  I am so blessed to work with each of you.  Please take care of you, too.

I’ve talked with hundreds of people, almost always parents of young children, who are looking to rehome their rabbit, in whom their children lost interest or for whom the family feels they can’t (or don’t want to) care anymore. These people are often ashamed to ask for help.  They perceive a failure in what they were wrongly told was a simple task—to care for a prey animal like a rabbit.  So many times, if people are open to our support, we are able to make life better for the rabbit and manageable for the family.  It’s important to see our commitments through, for our own strength and for our pet’s existence.  For these people, I wish them faith in themselves and the strength to ask for support.  Making positive changes in the current home or finding a new home will take work, for sure, but these innocent rabbits deserve the dedication!

And for all considering bringing an animal in their lives, do your research.  If you want something that’s easy to care for and something that won’t suffer when your children move on to the next interest, please buy a stuffed toy.  Please don’t use a living thing to teach a lesson, unless you are completely committed yourself to seeing that lesson through.

That said, I’ve learned so much in these four years of giving to the abandoned and neglected rabbits of Long Island.  From these fragile creatures, I’ve learned that I need space, too.  Sometimes there’s nothing more blissful than tossing the task at hand to this side (for me, returning some emails, for the bunnies, a woven grass toy or cardboard tube) and flopping out for a nap.

Sometimes it’s scary to hop somewhere new, but you might just find your favorite spot that way.  You also might find danger there, so sniff a lot first.  And use your whiskers as your guide.

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