Revisit

It has become tradition for me to re-post this story at this time of year.  It will remain tradition until all domestic rabbits are safe and protected.

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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Before

Before having two rabbits of my own, I did not consider myself an “animal person.”  You may have heard clippings from this yarn before.  Here’s some of my companion animal history…

When I was born, my parents had a rescue dog Bonzo, named after John Bonham.  I don’t remember her but I hear she was my big sister and protector.  She passed when I was maybe two or three years old.  I texted mom for a more precise date but she hasn’t answered me as of time of publication.

Shortly after Bonzo passed, Midnight, a female German Shepard puppy joined our family.  I remember her.  She knocked me over and, thankfully gently/playfully, bit my head.  I hesitate to say “bit” because she didn’t break skin or injure me physically but biting is technically what it was.  There started my fear of dogs that stayed with me for nearly three decades.  Midnight was rehomed for my safety with a colleague of my father.

My only cousin growing up was a cat named Sammy.  Sammy didn’t like me. Sammy belongs to my uncle who taught me the true responsibility of caring for an animal.  I credit this uncle for my perfect balance of compassion and no-nonsense.  His example is the foundation for what I do, for my life purpose and work.  Direct all complaints his way (pause for laughter).

Various fish, a turtle and a container of Sea Monkeys filled my younger years.  I can still see, like a short film playing in my head, when my uncle (not the same guy from the previous paragraph) was returning the Sea Monkeys to their spot on the table in the basement (I just had to bring them upstairs and show them off!) and accidentally dumped them over, the red lid of their container rocketing off and monkey-water cascading out.  Rest in Peace, Sea Monkeys.  And while we’re on the topic, what the heck are Sea Monkeys?  Pause for a Googling.

Ok then… Bonus was my longest-lived Beta Fish.  She went away to college with me and she accompanied me on many Connecticut to Long Island and back road trips. She was a cool chick.  When I met the Bunny-Daddy, I was sharing my apartment with a Beta Fish named Ham that my grandmother brought home for me from a bridal shower.  Ham was the centerpiece… really people?!

Shortly after moving in together, the Bunny-Daddy and I got Tater Tot and Peanut… the rest is history, chronicled here.

I’d say I’m an animal person now. Much Love.

 

Big Picture Master

A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a talk on organization to a group of entrepreneurs in the wellness lifestyle industry.  In pure irony, the notes I prepared for this talk look like a scrambled ramble of ideas.  The organizer appears messy but gets it all done.  Here are some gems from my notes for you, dear readers:

The key to my success: I know exactly what I want and I let NOTHING get in my way.

I’m a Big Picture Master, a Results-Driven Red (see The Four Color Personalities for MLM by “Big Al”).

I know nothing about running a non-profit organization, but I make a non-profit run.

Take an honest look at yourself and your habits or get a coach to assist you in doing that— it is from here that you get organized.

It’s really cute when people tell you to follow your dream or your vision if you don’t know yet what that is—it’s like telling kids in school to pay attention without ever teaching them to pay attention.  Check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic for more about this.

Play to your strengths.  Not mine.

I’m never going to be a runner but I run s…

You don’t get organized from a book or from anyone else’s system, if you want to lead.  I don’t know how to get your organized until you know your vision.

Once you have your vision, your dream, your goal, then (and not a moment before) you need:

-executable steps.

-consistency and routines.

-to stop doing stuff that doesn’t work.

For me, it’s committing one hour per day to my business, regardless of how active the day job and/or Rescue was that day, it’s keeping a consistent schedule and it’s TONS of personal development.  That’s how I stay organized.  That’s how I’m the Big Picture Master.  That’s how wellness, abundance and purpose continue to flow freely to me and my family.  Much love.

Vows

They say it’s hard to make friends in your 30s.  I say they’re not looking in the right places.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on a remarkably comfortable blue couch and an incredible friend that I made in my 30s sat on the matching loveseat to my right.  She’s getting married in July.  If you know me, you know that I’m not a marriage/traditions kind of person for myself, but I get it.  I’m along for the party.

After her fiancé came back from 7-11 (thanks for the seltzer!), at some point, the topic of wedding vows came up.  Spoiler alert:  They are not writing their own.  Intuitive secret alert: I think my friend wants to write her own.  But I’m not one to meddle…

I joked that I would write them some vows.  I joked that I would include specific video game playing and watching etiquette in said vows.  Jokes aside (are jokes ever aside for me?), I’m laying down some vows for love in general here.  Feel free to use them but always give me credit.  Plagiarism causes wrinkles.

…to be weird, silly or sad as the moment strikes and to feel supported in each striking moment.

…to recognize that it’s damn near impossible to get everything from one person.  There are over 7 billion people on the planet and probably billions more with us in spirit.  It’s ok to connect with others (see next vow).

…to communicate openly, clearly and reasonably about connecting with others.  Straight talk makes for straight understanding.  The trust is in the communication and the action.

…to balance needs, to support desires, to hold space for the dreams, goals, and projects of the other, even if said needs, goals, etc. seem weird.  As long as no one is harmed in the process, let him/her shine.

…to find strength in each other, to be even better together without abandoning everything you are as an individual, if that’s something you value (not that you asked me, but you should value yourself as an individual).

…to honor that growth, change and evolution are likely and should be celebrated.

 

This vow stuff is easier than I thought— perhaps because I have clearly-defined views on my sense of self and myself in a relationship.  Bunny-daddy and I just celebrated our 8th Valentine’s Day.  Our relationship certainly isn’t for everyone.  But it’s for me.  I’ve changed a lot over the course of 8 Valentine’s Day.  I feel 100% supported in each change… and that’s a vow I treasure.

On Loss, from a Special Guest

This week, I bring you a special treat!  This post was written by my dear friend, talented crystal healer and artist Dina, the MetaphysicalMom.  She recently lost two of her furry children and was generous with her time and with her soul to share with us today.

I’ve made the joke many times that our house was an assisted living facility for senior citizen animals; two fifteen- year old chihuahuas and one nineteen year old cat are certainly no spring chickens. Even though you know the life expectancy of an animal- it isn’t easy watching them age, watching their personalities change, and watching them slow down.

The past month has been ridiculously hard for our family- we lost one of the chihuahuas and the cat. Where once we had a robust home (feeding time was always a laugh) now there’s only one set of paws underfoot.

How to cope with the lost of a pet (or any other cherished loved one)? How do we go on without their love? In many cases, we even have to live with some guilt and shame. Did we pay enough attention? Did we show them enough love? If only we had another day.. another hour.. another chance for a hug or kiss.

It’s too easy to stay in that place of guilt, of shame, and of heartbreak. So, how can we transition through the stages of grief and what tools can we use to cope?

Emotions are absolutely necessary and important to feel. First- we must grieve and feel it all. The good memories, the bad ones, the shame, the guilt; whatever comes up. We don’t want any of these feelings to be stuffed into our body. Use must feel them, discuss them with a friend. We must go through them even when the natural reaction is to run away from them.

When we don’t resolve or give closure to an event in our life- like the loss of a loved one- we continue to hold onto the energies generated by the emotional response to it. These energies may stay stagnant- but they eventually will resurface. So, the best course of action is to feel and process immediately, no matter how painful.

Thankfully we have resources to turn to: meditation, exercise, crystals and essential oils. All of these can help move emotion through our bodies and aid their processing.

My favorite healing modality is crystals; wear them in jewelry, carry them in a pouch, or hold them in meditation. Allow them to open up those parts of you that are holding onto, and not fully processing, emotions.

Some recommendations for grief, shame, and heartbreak are:

Obsidian- a powerful emotional teacher. It allows one to understand shame and our shadow self- allowing it to evolve and be illuminated.

Danburite- soothes the heart and sends the message that all is well; it brings forth the frequency of comfort and angelic rescue.

Rainbow Moonstone- this beautiful stone aids in clearing the emotional body and eases emotional trauma and grief.

Pink Tourmaline- assists in releasing stress, worries, depression, and anxiety. It helps those that are “emotionally numb” recover their passion and zest for life.

Remember to not judge yourself. When processing loss and experiencing trauma we must lean into our feelings and not judge ourselves. Be kind and patient to yourself and those going through the grieving process.

Dina, you are a true treasure.  Thank you for sharing your story and knowledge with the Believe in Bunnies world.  Love you.

You can connect with Dina and her wonderful healing work at CrystaliciousNYC.

You… Squared.

My mentor in the essential oils and wellness world shares often from a little book called You2 by Price Pritchett.   When she first started sharing this book, I listened to the message but tuned out the idea of getting the book myself—I have 100s of books on the shelves downstairs waiting to be cradled in my hands and have their pages turned.  I wasn’t looking for another book.

Then, my mentor had an event in early January.  At that event, several speakers shared powerful messages about personal development (my passion, along with saving the bunnies!) and business development.  Through their messages, all signs pointed toward me ordering You2 for myself.  The next morning, I did.

My copy of the book sat on our dining room table for a while… but I swear it started working its magic before I even flipped open to the first vignette.  The book is about taking and making quantum leaps.  It’s about dropping the routine of playing small and not just going big with our dreams, goals and accomplishments but going HUGE.

Our rabbit rescue group typically completes 2-4 adoptions per month.  4 in one month has me dancing through my hay-strewn living room.  In January, our team completed 10 adoptions.  10. Unheard of.

I looked down at that silver-covered book on my table and thought: Okay, you’ve shown me what you can do just by being here.  It’s time to see what you can do when I put you to work!

I started studying You2  that day.  At the bottom of page one, I wrote, “Slow & steady is not necessary! Rescue had a leap in January 2018 to show me the possibilities!”

I feel it.  I know it.  I believe it.

See you at the top.  Much love.

Follow-Up

When I first started volunteering, I would often ask, “What happened to (fill in name of rabbit here)?”  I became obsessed with knowing the next chapter for the rabbits that I helped care for after they were adopted out.  While records were kept from the beginning of the group’s existence, there wasn’t much follow-up that happened, unless initiated by the adopter themselves.  It was not a matter of disinterest or indifference; it was simply impossible for the number of consistent volunteers to keep in touch with over a decade’s worth of adopters.

I took the database that was kept at the time and pieced together what I could, reaching out to past adopters to check in, see how rabbit-family life was going and make sure all were current on veterinary check-ups.  I heard back from many and said prayers for the rest.  Not long after, an adopter suggested we create a Facebook group where adopters, foster families and volunteers could connect.  I believe she was looking for a bunny-sitter at the time of her idea.  After some careful imploring, I got the go-ahead from the directors to create such a group.

In some ways, I think of the group selfishly.  I was once obsessed with finding a way to follow up with the lives of our former foster rabbits.  The group fills that need.  Just about every family who adopts joins.  I can get updates on just about any-bunny and smile so big when I see how great they are doing.  But even better than that, the group has become a beautiful place for encouragement and support.   It’s like 24/7 customer service swirled with the loving care of people who choose to spend their free time saving and caring for these abandoned buns who need us.

I’m glad this crossed my mind today because I’m sitting here smiling with pride—I belong to a group filled with outstanding support, like-minded people who’ve hopped together for the greater good of our hoppy little friends.  And while we’re on the subject, are your babies up-to-date on their check-ups?  Just following up!  Much love.