Veggie Bunny has a new home address!

Hi all!

Happy March! We’re glad to be back in the US with new stories to post.

I’m excited to announce here that I’ve moved all of Veggie Bunny to a new web address, at VeggieBunny.com.

I very much hope you come by and continue to read our posts. We have a lot of fun stuff planned for March. Thank you so much!

-Allyson & Bonnie

Recipe (Revisited): Peanut Butter Cups

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When I announced this blog would be going vegan, I mentioned I would go back and try and re-create some of my previous non-vegan recipes. With Valentine’s Day a week away, I thought it’d be best to revisit a great one: peanut butter  cups! Everyone loves peanut butter cups, and these make great gifts. I recently veganized the recipe as a gift for my boss, and they were a hit.

Sadly I took no new photos of the vegan version, but they are extremely similar to the ones posted above. Plus, they’re already thematic!

I really love chocolate, especially vegan dark chocolate bars. I’ve found a few brands I like at the store, but I recently found out that I love chocolate from the company Rescue Chocolate. After trying them one time, they’ve become my go-to for chocolate all the time! Rescue Chocolate is amazing for a  number of reasons, the first being that 100% of their profits go towards organizations which help animals. Each month they also choose another organization to include in their donations.

Each chocolate flavor benefits a specific animal organization, ranging from shelters to educational programs. I highly recommend the Peanut Butter Pitbull (which goes towards helping  change the world’s perceptions of pit bulls), and Foster-ific Mint (which goes towards foster programs for shelters), and Forever Mocha (which goes towards behavioral training programs). Each bar  has some of the most unique chocolate flavors I’ve ever tried. The Foster-ific Mint is especially delicious, it tastes like a Thin Min cookie. They have other highly creative flavors as well, including a spicy pepper one, a ‘bacon’ one, and a fig one, as well as truffles and bonbons. For Valentine’s, they have adorable heart shaped truffles filled with raspberry cream. Overall, I think its a great way to receive some extremely well made chocolate while also helping out amazing organizations and a really wonderful company.

For the recipe for the peanut butter cups, click below. Next Recipe Revisited will most likely be my Soda Bread recipe!

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The Importance of Spaying Female Rabbits


Last Thursday, Steve and I took Bonnie to the animal hospital to be spayed. While we only take care of one female rabbit, it is incredibly important that she be spayed. Female rabbits run an  extremely high risk of getting cancer in their uterus and ovaries.

Someone with a rabbit or common sense may read this post and wonder why I am updating this blog to specifically talk about Bonnie’s operation. The truth of the matter is, there are a lot of people who just don’t know. I can’t blame them, I didn’t know either when we found Bonnie. However, for future owners, I think it’s imperative to remind them of how important it really is, as I’ve spoken to a lot of people who said to me, “Oh I had a rabbit when I was a kid, and she got a tumor…” in response to this information.

Some important reasons to spay your rabbit:

  • For a female, the number one reason is to prevent cancer in her ovaries or uterus. They can get cancer by as early as 5 years old, despite having expected life spans of 7-10 years or more. 
  • Unspayed rabbits are harder to train,  and manage. Often they can unlearn some habits over time when they hit maturity.
  • Spayed rabbits can live safely together. Bunny companions are a great idea, and down the road we may want Bonnie to have a friend to keep close by her side. Spayed rabbits are most likely to be friendly to one another.

Being already around 3, we knew we needed her to be spayed as soon as possible. With a lot of research, we found an animal hospital in Monroe, NJ, that not only had stellar reviews, but featured a doctor who specialized in “exotic” animals such as rabbits and other small companions.  Another tip we heard from a co-worker with two small boy rabbits told us that with a membership to the House Rabbit Society, you could get a steep discount on what is normally a costly surgery. We ended up saving well over 100 dollars. I believe this was specific to this hospital, so check with your own local animal hospital for the opportunity.

So we took Bonnie in the morning, and we were immediately greeted by Dr. Hornstein, who was beyond kind to Bonnie and helped us feel reassured that she was in good hands. He explained that the surgery would involved a laser incision, where he would then removed her ovaries and uterus and check for any signs of beginning stages of cancer, and seal up with sutures from the inside. We left her around 9 am, and picked her up in the evening.

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American Gothic: Bonnie with her buddy balloon

Taking care of Bonnie was both easy and hard post-surgery. We were given anti pain medication to give to her orally, which was fine at first, but by day 3, she was very hesitant to take her medicine and we struggled to give the medicine to her. A coworker recommended smearing the medicine on food your bunny may enjoy.

Some things to expect with a female bunny post surgery:

  • Rabbits cannot throw up, so they do not need to eat before taking anti-pain medication. 
  • However its extremely important that your rabbit does eat. If it doesn’t eat, that is a sign that something may be wrong.
  • A female bunny will heal by resting in the corner of her pen. She will probably not want to move much (nor should she), so be patient with her.

Bonnie is just starting to get back into her child-like groove in our apartment. The only problem is we miss some of her pre-spaying quirks, like her little honks. She also used to be obsessed with these red balloons, but she has been ignoring them since the surgery. She is still as bubbly and funny as ever, though. I’m just happy to know we will have the little lady for as long as  possible.

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Vegan in New Jersey: Rutherford

Courtesy on NJ State Site

Gosh it’s been a while! Things have been a little hectic in my life since Christmas, so I haven’t had time to really sit and update the blog. Between all of the events which have happened over the past few weeks, I spontaneously planned a trip in February to Paris, to see my favorite singer of all time, Bjork, perform one of her Biophilia shows. Her next residency will be in Paris, and for this show, she’ll be performing in a circus tent on the river Seine, on I’le Seguin. Steve  & I decided to also fit in a small stop in London. So I look forward to updating this blog with any relevant vegan finds in both of these cities!

Today is the first post in a new feature series on being vegan in New Jersey.  The little state that you could easily travel across in half a day. You can go from the city like landscape of North Jersey to the shopping mall spree of Central Jersey in an hour, followed by a quick trip to the shore, and if you’re not tired, even cut across to the Philadelphia area.

In these features, I’d like to focus on areas of the state where you may find stand out resources as a vegan. I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve talked to who had no idea what kinds of options they had, or that something so good was actually so close to their home. Some places just pop up, or you have no idea besides word of mouth. There are always vegan friendly places opening up in NJ, and the best part is, they are typically small businesses owned by passionate people.  These places will range from restaurants to quick service/deli type places, to clothes and small gifts and  body care, juice bars and  chocolates, the list goes on.

The good news I should add to this feature is that I will also be writing an article on New Jersey for the indepedent magazine Chickpea. This feature with also include photos by Steve, and will appear in the Spring Issue. So keep an eye on this!

I’d like to begin in North Jersey and work my way throughout the state until we are all the way to Cape May! Today’s first town is the town of Rutherford. Rutherford is a peculiar little town that is very suburban, yet is so close to New York City that it feels like a missing borough. The area is very hilly, so much so that at certain points on high roads you can clearly see the skyline of New York. Most people associate the town with nearby Giants stadium, the Izod center, that crazy Xanadu mall, and Medieval Times. At least, I used to.

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Help Restore A Veg-Friendly Restaurant On The Shore

Photo courtesy of Living on the Veg Facebook

During Hurricane Sandy, many businesses along the Jersey coast were destroyed, and with that many people’s sole incomes and their shops which they worked so hard to obtain and maintain. A local vegan restaurant located in LBI, Living On The Veg, was one of these businesses.

Living On The Veg is run by Lauren and Rob Ramos. Their restaurant was hit with over five feet of water, causing damage that has left them closed since.  Not only was their restaurant hit, but their apartment and only home as well. Living On The Veg was not covered by hurricane insurance, and so Lauren and Rob are left with the unfortunate situation of having to rebuild everything in their lives.

A donation site was set up to help recover the costs needed to renovate and rebuild Living On The Veg. You can find the donation site here.

Many, many wonderful businesses were wrecked by Hurricane Sandy. Just driving down the barrier island, through Sea Brite, is a very emotionally taxing drive. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have something like your business taken from you in such a helpless way. If you want to help, it’s hard to just choose one place and know there are hundreds more.

However, even small donations to various places goes and reaches far and beyond. Helping a business like Living On The Veg with just twenty dollars will add up to the donations of others. You can see it as a potential dinner you may have had there anyway!

Thank you for taking a look. Living On The Veg is one of countless affected businesses, but it is itself  unique place, that cannot be replaced. In New Jersey, it’s important to help keep the vegan community standing as well, so that we can encourage a wonderful place like this to thrive. Hopefully by the summer they will be at a place where they can start anew.

Happy New Year! Veggie Bunny will resume regular posts this week. We look forward to 2013 with you!

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Recipe: Chocolate Candy Cane Cake Ball Truffles

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Holiday baking mode is fully on this week. I wanted to try and make something with peppermint/candy cane because whenever I walk into the store, I see all kinds of candy cane season stuff: peppermint bark, peppermint chocolate kettle corn, peppermint chocolate pretzels. It’s madness! This recipe for cane cane cake ball truffles can and will solve your craving if you are like me and in desperate need for some seasonal peppermint. Plus, the colors are just so lush and pretty. Everyone loves cake balls!

Before the cut, and my recipe, I wanted to give a quick shout out to an old friend (from the days of IRC and the existence of Toonami) who needs some holiday-time help. Elizabeth’s cat, Molly, has pancreatitis but the sudden hospital and vet bills are a hardship for Liz and her husband. You can read the full story on her tumblr, and find a link to donate to help them get Molly the best care possible. Any leftover money they will donate to a local SPCA. It’s rough for many people this time of year, but any little bit helps, especially for a companion animal who is in need and brings joy into their home.

With that said, you can find the recipe below!

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The 2012 New Jersey Bear Hunt: Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2012 New Jersey Bear Hunt, an event that will occur for the third year in  a row as part of The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s five year population control plan. For the past decade, black bears caused apparent, isolated incidents which have led residents of Northern New Jersey towns to feel threatened. Due to the upsurge in bear sightings in residential areas, the hunt has been a popular choice for population control by northern New Jersey residents, but the hunt has also not been met without controversy from protest groups.

Photo Courtesy of NJ State Site

Photo Courtesy of NJ State Site

The history of the black bear in New Jersey is quite an old one. Around the turn of the 1900s, there were little to no hunting regulations, such as how many bears could be hunted by a single person or per year. By 1971, black bears had been so overhunted that they were close to being depleted entirely. In fact, less than a hundred bears were living in the state, and so a hunting ban was placed.  Over time, black bears began to replenish, and by 2010, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife documented around 3,200 bears, an extremely healthy number considering the population growth of residents in northern New Jersey. A documented 3,025 calls were placed by residents in 2010 to the Division of Fish and Wildlife in order to place a complaint or threat of a black bear in their area.

Of course, lack of space between 3,200 bears and newly developed residential areas leads to a struggle for food. Food, for a bear, is the most important aspect of their day to day living. They are commonly thought of as omnivores with a penchant for meat, but throughout the year, they mostly sway towards a plant based diet. In the wild, black bears eat lush vegetation, such as leafy forbs, tubers, bulbs and plants along the ground, berries, hickory nuts and beechnuts and acorns, various seeds, insects and larvae from their nests, blueberries, raspberries and cherries, and, occasionally, carrion, fish or the carcass of a found white-tailed doe. In order for their bodies to maintain through the winter as they sleep, they may consume up to 20,000 calories a day in the autumn, gaining thirty to forty percent of their spring-time weight and storing that fat for their hibernation. A mother stays with its cubs for a year and a half, teaching it out how eat, the best ways to find food, and how to climb trees to find limitless leaves to fill up its stomach. From the moment a black bear wakes in the spring, it is wired to consume and eat under any and all circumstances.

Garbage is an easy, desirable food source for black bears. A normal sized can of garbage fulfill enough calories in a day for a bear, and the kinds of foods typically found in a garbage are fatty, filling and quick satisfaction for an ailing bear competing with other bears for food. Black bears are also easily conditioned. Once they figure out a constant food source, they are likely to return. They can also easily open typical garbage cans, dumpsters, and knock down bird seed feeders. A bear-resistant garbage can was designed, one which can only be opened or closed by twisting the top like a screw. The cost of a bear-resistant can ranges from $100-$500 dollars. The cost discourages many residents from buying the can, and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife offers no program to make the garbage cans affordable.

The term “nuisance bear” refers to a bear that repeatedly causes trouble by returning to residential areas, usually in search of food. These situations make bears sneakier, desperate to assure themselves enough to eat by winter. The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife uses category levels to gauge the amount of offenses a bear commits, depending on how many complaint calls the Division receives.

A category three bear is one which the Division finds to exhibit normal bear behaviors, and is dispersed accordingly in the forest. A category two bear is seen as not a threat to life and property, although it has returned in search of food, and is treated with averse conditioning. Averse conditioning is an attempt to teach the returning bear, through negative stimuli, that the area is not a safe food source. However, experts have seen that averse conditioning does not entirely dissuade bears, but only make them sneakier to get what they want. A category one bear, a bear that has returned time and again to the same spots and has stirred many complaints, is considered a threat to life and property, and is euthanized.

Quite a lot of misconceptions are placed not only on the fact that black bears are on the constant hunt for meat, but that they will eat any meat source they can find.  When bears are approached by humans, or find themselves in the company of humans, they become stoic. They are curious, but shy, and loud noises easily scare them away. A lot of the sounds they create, and their body language, can be very easily misinterpreted. Most aggressive noises they make are not aggressive, but of nervousness and fear. When they stand on their hind legs, they are attempting to get a better look at whats nearby, not to be predatory. Black bears would rather be away from you, as they perceive you to be a threat to their own individual actions, and so would rather be anywhere else. Activists, such as the B.E.A.R. Group , feel that these easy misunderstandings between bears and people are what perpetuate a cycle of fear against black bears. They see the solution to the bear population through education of how to deal with bear issues.

Photo courtesy of Philly.com

Photo courtesy of Philly.com

However the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has given very little focus on the concept of teaching the affected NJ communities about Bear Smart safety tips. Towns across the US who have bear problems have started Bear Smart groups to help residents learn how to co-exist with bears. The lack of emphasis the group plays on these Bear Smart groups, and no way to help residents obtain bear-safe garbage cans, has put a spotlight on the now yearly hunt. While hunting registrations bring in money for the state, the Division is also boasting that the the hunt of the past two years has brought bear populations down to around 2,800.  But how sustainable are hunts in the long run?  The only sure way to protect actual residents from the presence of black bears is to promote education of how black bears behave and interact with humans.

The hunt itself is also one that is on the term of humans. Although some hunters who register, in their six days of hunting, never even come across a wild bear, some hunters do by using such tactics as baiting. Baiting is a way of luring bears to exact spots by using attractive fatty items such as meats, garbage, donuts and other snacks. It is an unfair means to kill an animal that can be easily managed through other outlets, such as education. Not to mention deliberately feeding black bears in New Jersey is illegal, so why do hunters think they are an exception?

You can consult the B.E.A.R. Group website if you wish to partake in any protests, occurring either tomorrow December 3rd or Saturday December 8th. Or you can call Chris Christie’s office in order to ask for him to use his authority to cancel the hunt: 609-292-6000. It’s a long shot, but its definitely worth a try.

Finally, as a last point, you need just look at the numbers here. The total number of bears killed in just the last three years ranged around 1,000. The number of people actually killed by a bear in the state of New Jersey? Zero. Fatalities from bear attacks around the country have occurred, but not at the level many may think. This is why it is important to remember that the stigma of black bears as violent is an old, out-dated one. They want to live their lives as they are naturally inclined to do, and it is only by accident that they find themselves in residential areas. There are ways to coexist, and to see these animals are ends in themselves, finding a way to live, just as we do every day of our own lives.

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Recipe: (Homewarming) Carrot Cake

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Hello and welcome, to Veggie Bunny Blog! As you can see, not only have I shifted focus on this blog entirely, but I’ve decided to give it a fresh name and logo. The logo was drawn by my boyfriend Steve, the original lover of rabbits. Now that I’ve fallen in love with our rabbit, Bonnie. So we conspired and decided to team up and do this blog together. It’s me, and Bonnie.

After settling back down in our home post-Hurricane, Steve and I planned a small get together with friends, or a “home-warming,” to welcome her into not just our lives but everyone else as well. And what better dessert to plan than a carrot cake? (Note: while we had carrot cake, Bonnie enjoyed her favorite, lettuce!)

Even before becoming vegan I made this version, from adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, because the fresh grated carrot makes for a great texture that is anything but dry! In this recipe, I also opted to use a vanilla buttercream because vegan cream cheese was not readily available for me.

Some items to be aware you’ll be needing:

-Two 9 inch cake pans

-A method to grate carrots

-Soy yogurt

-A mixing bowl for frosting

-A side of lettuce for a  happy bunny:

Yum yum yum!

Yum yum yum!

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Give Thanks(giving) To The Turkeys

Herschel, a resident of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

Thanksgiving, despite its title and the purpose behind its occurrence, is just like Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas  a commercial holiday. And like all holidays, it occurs every year, creating a need and demand for product. The difference is that the product Thanksgiving demands a need for is turkey, a typically kind hearted creature who, when given the space, can exude an extremely beautiful personality and character.

Most do not consider that a large number of turkeys need to be bred and raised to meet the demand of the millions of homes in the US who celebrate Thanksgiving. That one single day can produce a lot of turkey: numbers from 2011 show that at least 48 million turkeys were bred just for Thanksgiving. 48 million, a little less than the entire population of the country of England. That is a lot of little lives to exist for a single American holiday. And when you consider how much is possibly wasted, since most people believe that a Thanksgiving table is not complete without an entire 30 pound turkey, the numbers seem to seem that much more dramatic.

A lot has been said about the modern day farmed turkey, as well, but it constantly bears repeating.  From birth, turkeys, despite being social creatures, are kept in separate small metal cages. Young turkeys, although they prefer to be close to their mother for the first five months of their life, are immediately taken and put in one of those separate cages.  From that point, they also endure two acts called “de-snoodling” (cutting off the decorative red flesh that hangs from a turkey’s chin) and “de-beaking” (a hot blade cuts off the tip of a turkey’s beak, in order to prevent pecking in tight knit cages). These acts are always performed without anesthesia, despite the fact that these body parts contain sensitive nerves. An estimated 300 million turkeys go through this system in the US yearly.

In 1970, only around 100 million turkeys (with an average weight of 17 pounds) were raised by farms for US consumption. But turkey “products” became more in demand (especially as a “healthy” alternative to red meat), and the number of turkeys being bred and raised became higher. Worse, their average weight grew as well, from 17 pounds to a now average 28 pounds (this immediate obesity, so soon in their life, leads to a short life of lameness, skeletal problems, and heart problems. This weight also makes it impossible for the turkeys to naturally breed with one another). Producers expect these animals to have more weight (meat) on their bones in a shorter amount of time, for quicker profit and consumption: most turkeys gain this weight and are then slaughtered for product between the ages of 4 to 6 months. Short, breathless lives in small cages, with no sight of green grass or affection towards another of their kind.

Just recently, in October, Mercy For Animals, not a year after releasing a similar video, unleashed another undercover video illustrating the abusive behavior of Butterball employees towards turkeys. You can find more here (forewarning, the video, which is graphic, immediately starts).

What is most frustrating about the release of this news is how you may see it reported by other news outlets, but there is very little said about the country’s behavior as a whole. We are upset at these kinds of abuses that occur to such unassuming and caring animals, but we would never give up the symbol of turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. The demand seems to always remain the same, especially for the arbitrary sake of “tradition.” Even as people turn to “free range” or “organic” farms, the need and market begins to grow as well. Nothing changes the fact that turkeys are not throwing themselves to be the center of a holiday table.

Fortunately, there are options open for those who wish to disengage from the industry. There are meat free options like Tofurkey, Gardein, Field Roast, and, in general, home-made options that are probably just as meaningful as a turkey. Locally, in New Jersey, places like Good Karma Cafe, Sweet Avenue Bakeshop, Veggie Heaven, and The Cinnamon Snail offer meat free/vegan options and catering. New York City, of course, also has such options at Candle Cafe, Blossom and other locations.

But why not do more than just merely consume?

Beatrice and Boone enjoying their own personal Thanksgiving at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in October

Within this post, if there is one thing I’d most like to stress, is that we should look towards giving thanks not by just consuming food, or products, or things that have been marketed to be desirable around this time a year. Following Hurricane Sandy, you can certainly help out your community by donating to a food bank so others may have a meal at all, or volunteer (you can find opportunities at the most basic level by checking out InterOccupy).

I also want to stress the need to help those turkeys who were able to escape their conditions. You can help by sponsoring or “adopting” a turkey through a local farm animal sanctuary. All farm animal sanctuaries run on donations and fund raising. You can help, and make it personal by helping a specific animal in need. It’s a wonderful way to help out a specific animal, and that way, when you visit, you can interact with them and even maybe bond!

Here are some animal sanctuaries within the New Jersey and New York area where you may choose to adopt:

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary (Woodstock, NY): Pictured above is Beatrice and Boone, from the Thanksliving event in October. I sponsor Beatrice, who was rescued from a factory farm. She has very obvious scarring, including a clipped beak. You can learn about the farm’s turkeys here. You can sponsor a turkey for as  little as $15 a month.

Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary (Poughquag, New York): Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary is a smaller scale sanctuary tucked neatly away in a small mountain in Poughquaq, New York, on the eastern side of the Hudson River. Here is a list of their residents. Sadie, Roslyn, Ducky and Emma are the resident turkeys, and they are all beautiful. When I first met Emma, I had a special connection with her. To sponsor an animal, you can e-mail them (safehavenfarmsanctuary@gmail.com) with your choice and arrange a payment option.

Here is Emma, the first turkey to ever steal my heart!

 Catskill Animal Sanctuary (Saugerties, New York): You can sponsor one of the resident turkeys here for only $18 a month. You can help make their good life on this 100-acre land even better! Learn more here. May I add Saugerties is a lovely little town? You can visit your turkey, then do some holiday shopping at a local, non-chain store, to help a local business, as well!

Farm Sanctuary (Watkins Glen, NY): The OG animal sanctuary, Farm Sanctuary now also has locations on the West Coast, so you can choose to help sponsor no matter your location! They currently have an Adopt-A-Turkey project, so you can help make their program a success, and raise awareness about how much you really do care about turkeys.

For The Animals Sanctuary (Blairstown, NJ):  For The Animals Sanctuary is a lovely little sanctuary in northwest New Jersey. They do not currently have any residents turkeys, but they are in dire need of emergency funds to help replenish funds used for sudden medical situations. Please visit their site here and see what you can do to help!

You can also check out the website Pardon A Turkey, by Mercy For Animals, which informs the general public about turkeys, and why it is meaningful to let them be, rather than use them for a meal.

Once you meet a turkey in peaceful bliss at one of these farms, it is hard to think that any harm would ever deliberately be done to them, and about how they are just one lucky escapee out of 300 million. Turkeys are full of vibrant life, love and look to live their natural lives the way we do. Beyond my own thankfulness of where I am today, and the health and prosperity of my family and friends,  I see no other reason to take away happiness from any other thing. That is why we should give thanks to all living things, and give Thanksgiving to the turkeys, rather than take it from them.

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Our Bonnie Bunny: The Gift from Hurricane Sandy

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Two weeks ago, I would have never imagined myself sitting at my kitchen table writing an update as a small, gentle rabbit weaves around in playful circles around my feet. But then again, two weeks ago, the entire northeast coast was laughing in disbelief at the sudden announcement of a “Frankenstorm” hurricane that was to (again) make Halloween nonexistent.

I was busy preparing for a conference for my job, and so the high levels of stress from work plus life in general left me really unprepared for the storm, despite its warnings. When it hit ground, I figured I would be fine since my boyfriend and I live inland of New Jersey, yet we ended up losing power anyway, and my whole life was thrown into loops for about a week and a half. We were carrying bags of stuff (clothes and personal groceries) around Staten Island and New Jersey, sleeping in small beds, wearing many layers, getting bits of cell service and updates on TV, the office closed. It was a mini vacation I did not want but mentally I knew I needed which led to a lot of couch-potato moments. (I realize my situation was less severe compared to those on the shoreline, in Staten Island and Rockaways, and I reminded myself this every day).

In the middle of the week, not being in my home was trying my patience. But something wonderful happened: my good friend Tara called, saying one of her employers was looking to find a new home for a rabbit. This rabbit had been living in Bradley Beach when the owner’s landlord came to check if the apartment was “storm ready.” They found the rabbit, and he was forced to give it up. They called her “George.”

This moment fell right into our laps. Steve and I had been debating since the storm of seeking out a shelter in hopes of adopting a displaced animal, preferably a rabbit.

And so, we immediately grasped this opportunity. It seemed too good to be true. And it was:

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We were able to pick her up in time to get electricity back to our apartment this past Friday (again, perfect timing. Fate, isn’t it?)  We renamed her Bonnie, and she is three years old. We’ve already bought her a new, gigantic pen, and have stored enough wonderful pellets and fresh greens (her favorites) to melt her tiny little heart. She has free reign of our gigantic living room, where she loves to hop and skip and make “binkys” (jumps for joy).

At this time, the bunny has ceased circles, and is stretched out in relaxation in the middle of my carpet. She’s surely made herself at home. She looks like a tiny, regal queen, at home on her throne.

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I cannot say that I ever dreamed of taking care of a rabbit. I had always found myself dreaming of one day taking care of a sweet, rescued dog which we could pour all our love upon. We are limited by our living space, and Steve insisted we find a rabbit who needed a home. After the hurricane, information trickled through television and the internet (when found) of impacting results from the storm’s devastation, from what happened in Seaside Heights to Breezy Point, Queens.  I heard about shelters filling up with displaced companion animals. The ASPCA has stated that they have rescued a minimum of 6,000 animals following the storm. The NJSPCA is filling up with found companion animals and are also looking for donations. Beyond donating clothes and food to collection drives for various groups, and donating to the Red Cross (which you can very conveniently do through Amazon.com), what else could be done?

It seemed something so small could help, like helping Bonnie, who came to us by complete and utter happenstance. Though I do think it was more than that.

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Bonnie has a beautiful personality. Besides her gorgeous gray splattered spot right on her nose, and her one pure white paw, she has such an expressive, explosive character. She’s smart and daring, playful and curious, but also sweetly affection and very warm towards us already (and we haven’t even had her a full week!).

I never realized I would love rabbits this much. I have a love for all animals but I think we tend to favor some as our favorites. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that rabbits as companions (“pets”) is a relatively new fad from the 1980s, and like all domesticated animals, there is a commercial market for them. I would always recommend adopting a rabbit. I am unsure how she came about to her previous owner (who was a children’s magician!), but to us, she was a bunny in need of a home. They are self sufficient, in that they can be litter trained and groom themselves, but they also require a lot of knowledge and responsibility from their caretaker. Female rabbits like Bonnie should also be spayed because ovarian and uterus cancer are common in female rabbits, but being spayed cuts the risk severely. Rabbits are fragile, kind creatures. You know this from just holding them, when they allow you to – they are light like feathers, and feel like feathers. They hurt easily, both physically and mentally, and so its important to nurture them, as they nurture you.

They are also perfect for a vegan household! It’s wonderful to tell people that we are a nice little happy veg family. Bonnie loves to eat leafy green lettuce and kale, and some carrots, along with her usual pellets and hay. Do not feed them anything else, no matter how cute or tempting treats in the stores may seem to appear. Rabbits are also extremely curious and have a flexible mind – they love to be mentally stimulated and challenged! Watching her “binky” across the living room from the joy of skipping around curves and through small crevices makes my heart skip a beat. When she’s tired, she will lay by me or Steve, and let us gently pet her ears and back, while she stretches out in complete bliss. I highly recommend reading more from The House Rabbit Society, especially if you are now considering a rabbit. Often times people think rabbits are a low-maintenance “pet” when in fact they are the opposite.

So, what can I say? Events such as the hurricane tear people apart, illustrate moments of worst case scenarios come to life which both challenge the spirit and the heart. But as small bits of news here and there show, it also brings groups of people to the forefront of action, through groups such as Occupy Sandy, and the work of the ASPCA/Human Society, along with individual efforts to help bring things back to “normalcy,” whatever that may be. For us, it was this small gift that somehow, but quickly, came into our small home and made it a million suns brighter. I hope that for every sad or unfortunate event that has occurred in the last two weeks, each individual has had the chance to find their own small sun.

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