Believe In Bunnies

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Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue

We Won’t Stop

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 Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Equivalent Advantage

Members of our Rescue team were on two missions today: one squad was out on a catch and another squad was conducting adoptions.

The catch was unsuccessful and the adoption didn’t happen. The abandoned rabbit was super scared and elusive. The environment in which he’s been abandoned is complicated. The adopter came to meet adoptable rabbits but decided to wait before making a decision. She left with an empty carrier. It would be easy to feel defeated, to feel like we lost today. We didn’t lose. We are experiencing temporary defeat.

The only way we lose is if we stop.

In Outwitting the Devil, Napoleon Hill asks and the “Devil” answers:

Q: Is failure ever a benefit to man?

A: Yes. Indeed, learning from adversity is the third of the seven principles. But few people know that every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. Still fewer people know the difference between temporary defeat and failure… If they knew the difference between temporary defeat and failure, they would not quit when they meet with opposition from life. If they knew that every form of defeat and all failures, bring with them the seed of unborn opportunity, they would keep on fighting and win. Success usually is but one short step beyond the point where one quits fighting.

My fellow volunteers are the most persistent people you’ll ever meet because they work with purpose. They experience emotional and physical hardships in our work. They push through heartbreak, through thorny bushes, through dismissive comments, through bitter winds.

They lean on each other, they regroup and they plant the seed of equivalent advantage acquired through each temporary defeat. Conversations tonight have not been ones of frustration. They’ve been about fresh approaches to catching this terrified little rabbit and about best practices for communicating with potential adopters.

When you need inspiration to persist against all odds, look to our team. I am honored to work with them, to organize and communicate while they are on the frontlines, impressing the stuff out of me seven days a week.

Our work is rarely easy, but always rewarding—the reward is saving and protecting animals and building character and community beyond expectations.

Local? Join us: Volunteer with LIRRG

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Believe Bunnies Energy Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

The Great Slow Down

Alternate title: How We are Crushing Our Goals

As I write this, the Rescue group with which I volunteer is processing its 40th adoption in 2018.  40. 4-0.  In 2016, we completed 51 adoptions.  For 2017, we set a goal of 52 adoptions; we completed 55.  For 2018, we set a goal of 56.  Here we are, less than 4 months into the year, and we are CRUSHING our goal.  Every adoption is another life saved.  Every adoption is another family made complete.  Here’s how we are making it happen, from my perspective.

We, the collective of volunteers, supporters, adopters and foster families, believe so deeply in our mission.  Just above my desk is my vision board.  At the center of my vision board: Domestic rabbits are safe and protected.  That is the center of all of the action that I take.  Our group is rich with like-minded people who will stop at nothing to carry out this mission.  Belief and inspiration in action.

On November 30, 2017, I went to hear my mentor Gabrielle Bernstein speak at her “SuperAttractor Workshop.”  In talking about her principle of taking spiritually-aligned action, Gabby said, “You speed up by slowing down.”  That struck me—and not just the juxtaposition of words.  Do you mean to tell me that I can accomplish even more if I just slow down?  Even me, who needs to go-go-go (and maybe go some more) so I don’t feel like time is precariously wasting away?  Ok… I’ll give it a shot.  I’ll breathe.  I’ll stop working with a sense of frenzy and choose a peaceful mood.  And I’ve made it part of my practice to work on one task at a time, to use my laser-sharp focus with more grace.

In early 2018, I started reading You2 by Price Pritchett.  I wrote to you about it.  Plain and simple: it works.  It was recommended to me by my business mentors and the Universe started showing me its power immediately through the Quantum Leaps in Rescue.  I even wrote on the bottom of page 1 of my copy: “Slow & steady is not necessary!  Rescue had a leap in January 2018 to show me the possibilities.”  Now, I am in no way taking full credit for 40 (any minute now!) adoptions in 107 days.  But I sit at the hub of this incredible group and we energize each other.  We made a committed decision to save as many lives as we possibly can.  Radical honesty: some of the team wanted to set the 2018 adoption goal much bigger than 56.  Fear-based, I thought, let’s just add one more to last year’s record.  I was playing small.  The Universe has shown me that we can add more than +1 in a year.  I may be going slower, but the Universe is not.

So, here’s to slowing down.  When I slow down, I get even more done.  When I slow down, I receive clarity about what needs to get done.  When I slow down, the Universe speeds up and brings my vision to me.  We are crushing our goals with ease, belief and inspired action.  I am beyond proud to be a part of this team.  Much love.

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angels Believe Bunnies Energy Healing Reiki Rescue Uncategorized

Jimmy

jimmy

When Jimmy came into the care of our Rescue group, his name was Bugs and he was sick.  I was glad that we were changing his name (we stick with people names, always) because I had a hard time calling a rabbit with an eye infection Bugs— like he had bugs and we were teasing him or something.  But it’s all semantics.  Here’s what I wrote about Jimmy for our recent fundraiser:

Jimmy and another rabbit were abandoned and brought to a local animal shelter that is mainly equipped to care for dogs and cats.  Staff noticed that Jimmy (who was known as Bugs there) was ill as soon as he was brought in and their veterinary staff cared for him the best they could.  The other rabbit was adopted rather quickly, but Jimmy was still sick and still without a home.  One of our dedicated volunteers visited the shelter, brought supplies and gave Jimmy some love.  As the days went on, Jimmy’s health kept getting worse.

As soon as we were able to secure a space, we took Jimmy into our foster care. We are grateful to the staff at the shelter for caring for Jimmy while he was with them.  Jimmy settled into his foster home with a voracious appetite and a loving spirit.  A vet visit was planned for the immediate future, as his eye looked infected.

Then one morning, Jimmy’s foster mom noticed that Jimmy’s eating had slowed down– a sign that something was wrong!  Our volunteer team sprung into action and rushed Jimmy to Catnip and Carrots Veterinary Hospital, where the caring doctors accepted Jimmy as an emergency patient.

Jimmy was hospitalized for almost a week with an eye infection, upper respiratory infection and gastrointestinal stasis.  He was released to his foster home yesterday to continue recuperating and we are turning to you, our amazing supporters, to help with Jimmy’s vet bills.

I volunteer at Jimmy’s foster home weekly and this Monday he wasn’t feeling well again.  His eating had slowed down, just a bit, but those who are rabbit-savvy know all too well that rabbits are NOT “wait and see how he’s feeling” creatures.  One must act immediately if any change in behavior or eating is observed.  Jimmy’s foster home gave him meds and some of his favorite foods to entice eating.  I arrived in the afternoon and made some time to share some Reiki energy with him before I started my chores.

I grabbed my Joy oil before our session.  That’s not one of my go-to Reiki oils but I was drawn to it so I follow my guides.  I rubbed 3 drops in my palms, anointed my third eye chakra and started our session.  Jimmy responded right away by turning his back to me and grooming himself, a message of “Yes, I’m here but I’m not sure what you’re doing, lady.”  While he’s a snuggler, he’s understandably cautious due to his history.

He “showed” me something about his back left leg, like it was caught or twisted or bent previously, so I sent energy there.  Of course, I didn’t touch his back leg—I only know one rabbit who tolerates that kind of behavior from his mom (the same rabbit who tried to bite my hand off a few months ago!).

The other message Jimmy shared with me is big counter-clockwise circles.  I forgot to tell his foster mom that so hopefully she reads this.  I don’t know what that message means quite yet but he’ll show us at some point.  As soon as I closed out our session, thanking Jimmy for his openness to receiving the energy, he started to nibble on his pellets—a joyful sign!

I thank my guides and angels and all of our rabbit-friends over the Rainbow Bridge for helping me share healing light with Jimmy.  Much Love.

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angels Believe Bunnies Rescue Uncategorized

Philomena & Boo

This past week was book-ended with loss for our Rescue group.

Philomena, long-time sanctuary bun and notorious feisty lady, made her journey over the Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday.  I volunteer time every week at our sanctuary and special needs foster home so teeny tiny Philomena and I had a relationship— not a close one, but that was her choice.  Because of medical concerns with her heart, she has never able to be spayed, thus earning her the title of a sanctuary rabbit, one who cannot be adopted out.  No matter my approach, fast or slow, quiet or with a verbal warning, Philomena would box her tiny paws at me, then hop away and hide.  She never allowed me to connect with her and I respected that.  She did have quite the affinity for our volunteer Robert.  Robert could handle her better than anyone else.  She would let Robert pat and cuddle her.

At the end of January, Philomena’s impairments caught up with her and she quickly fell ill.  She got immediate veterinary care but her age (estimated somewhere between 6 and 9 years old) and her physical struggles were just too much for our tiny little fighter to combat.  I’ll miss her bug-eyes and her attitude.  I’ll remember her fondly as an independent lady who liked her space and who made the tiniest “bunny buttons” in the largest quantities!

And then midweek, adoptable boy Boo fell ill.  He recently battled a case of head tilt and infection.  We hoped he was recovered… but the illness came back with vengeance.  He was “rolling,” which could look more like uncontrollable thrashing– scary for the animal and scary to witness.  The outpouring of love from our volunteer team was (as usual) inspiring.  While Boo struggled and his condition worsened from mid to end of the week, our team spent extra time at his foster home, making sure Boo could reach his water and food and ensuring he was safe and comfortable.  Boo crossed the Rainbow Bridge as we crossed into the weekend.  I’m sure Philomena met him there and they binkied off together.

There was a very large and surely very intense abandonment case out in Suffolk county this week and, despite the fact that two other rescue organizations were handling the case, our group received some criticism online for not being actively involved in this situation.  On top of the realities of our limited time and money resources… if those critics only knew the truth of what the week was like for our team…

Boundless love to all those who loved Philomena and Boo.

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Believe Bunnies Uncategorized

All Quiet on the Rescue Front

It’s amazing what freedom you can attain when you release things, habits (and people) who no longer serve you in a positive way from taking up space in your life or even just in your head.

Confession: I checked my email, on average, every 9 minutes from the time I took over the communications for our Rescue group up until just a few weeks ago.

Do you know how mentally crippling it is to check every 9 minutes?  Can you fathom how much time I wasted refreshing and clicking?  Guess what—we NEVER get emails every 9 minutes.  But there I was, for years now, ineffectively using my time, checking and checking for responses, for new communications.  A purely addictive behavior that served me, or Rescue, no positive purpose.

Compulsion is definitely in my nature but I think this particular compulsion started as a result of taking on such an important task, a task that I deemed highly time-sensitive.  Combine that with an aggressive overachiever and solutions maker and BOOM: you’re checking for emails 6+ times an hour.  Sometimes, I’m sure it was more frequently.

Sure, urgent issues in Rescue pop up (or should I say hop up?).  But thankfully, they don’t occur every day and they certainly don’t happen every fraction of the hour, daily.  Through consistent personal development, mindfulness and my precious oils, I am proud to say that I check my emails 2-4 times per day now.  Massive difference.  And when I check them at this frequency, I respond with more clarity and delegate more effectively.

In response to my energetic shift, “things” have quieted down on the Rescue front.  Our educational efforts are wide-reaching.  Our communication with perspective adopters or struggling owners who didn’t adopt from us still happens but, as I don’t feel the (although sometimes quiet) mania I used to, the intense situations just don’t show up any more.  And when urgency arises, my clear mind and focused intrapersonal and interpersonal skills enable me to handle the necessary steps with much more ease than ever before.

As easy as it sounds to check one’s phone less, it wasn’t easy for me to cease the compulsion.  But I did it.  All is peaceful on the Rescue front.pc-clarity

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Believe Bunnies Energy Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Never Too Far

Help can take myriad forms.  For labeling purposes, help in the Rescue world takes the following forms:

-Catches/Rescues: safely containing and bringing an abandoned rabbit to safety

-Adopting: committing to loving and caring for a rabbit indoors for his/her life span

-Fostering: caring for and loving an adoptable or sanctuary rabbit in your home until a forever home is found

-Networking: spreading the word about rabbit care, adoption and the bleak situation for domestic rabbits on Long Island via social media, in person or any form of communication

-Events: attending and/or helping coordinate education and fundraising events

-Transports: bringing supplies, donations or rabbits from one place to another (often “far” distances)

-Donations: in priority order of their need for our Group at the present time: time, money, supplies

-Bunny Chores: taking that aforementioned donated time and spending it cleaning, feeding and snuggling our foster and sanctuary rabbits

-Collecting Newspaper and Other Supplies: We’ve got to line our litter boxes somehow…

-Emails and Phone Calls: responding to the 100+ contacts we get per month

-Scheduling: adoptions, volunteer shifts, education sessions and events

-Positive Vibes: Energy exists and moves!  Although intangible to some, the positive vibes are amongst the most valuable forms of help you can give!

I think I covered all the major categories of help, but even if I glossed over one or some, you should get the idea of just how much it takes to make this all happen.  We are saving more lives than ever before; just because the team is great at doing so doesn’t mean the workload decreases ever or at all!  For every individual rabbit saved, we need many hours of volunteer time and hundreds or thousands of dollars (yes, per rabbit) in donations depending on length of time in foster care, medical needs, etc.

To those on the outside, it might seem “easy”—just go rescue that rabbit, pop her in a cage and a life is saved.  In truth, an efficient and effective Rescue Group takes way more than that.  We were involved in a rescue this week of two rabbits over the course of 4-5 days.  That rescue took place well over an hour east from the volunteers who were able to coordinate this particular case.  They didn’t balk at the distance or even at the cold weather on the day that Orion (black and white) was rescued.  When Luna (brown and white) was brought to safety, getting her transported west toward our most-frequented rabbit-savvy vets proved a bit more challenging and the ensuing conversation amongst volunteers and supporters inspired me to write this today.

No, I’m not bragging about how much we do.  No, I’m not flinging guilt at those who don’t offer frequent tangible help (PLEASE see the Positive Vibes lines above).  No, I’m not complaining about what this takes—it’s volunteer.  No one “makes” me do this.

When you feel inspired, scan the list above and know you’re never too far to help in some kind of way.  And every second of help, in any form, is treasured and appreciated, always.  Much love.

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Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

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.

 

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Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

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!

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Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

No.

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

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

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

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

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

grounding

Stay grounded.

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