Rescuing a bunny

Rescuing a bunny

A few weeks ago I got in touch with my local rabbit rescue about fostering a bunny in need. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but with being away for traveling and working like crazy, it was just never the right time. But then the time is never right, is it?

There are always valid reasons not to do something, but none so valid as the reason for doing the thing… if that makes sense. I was sitting in my tiny apartment thinking about how little room there was for a rabbit (there already isn’t much room for the stuff that’s in there now), and imagining a bunny on top of it all seemed a little cramped. But then it dawned on me…. So what? Who cares if the area becomes cramped if it means that I can rescue a rabbit. I was sure the rabbit wouldn’t mind. So I made my mind up to go ahead and fill out my application to become a foster.

A little history on the topic of Heather and bunnies: When I was a teenager I very much wanted a rabbit. Specifically I wanted a little holland lop rabbit which is more or less the most adorable type of bunny you can get (in my opinion). I remember getting really close to adopting this little lop named Bambi who looked something like this:

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If your insides are screaming from the cuteness, you are not alone. I was obsessed with the idea of bringing Bambi home until I finally voiced the idea to my mother who kindly reminded me that our dogs would give him a heart attack if he was lucky enough not to be eaten by them first.

Ohhhh yeah… okay probably not the best idea after all. So little Bambi hopped out his life with someone else and the idea faded away, although never completely. Fast forward to present day and getting a bunny still seems like a bad idea. BUT, a foster bunny, that’s totally doable.

So I filled out the application, waited around a few days, did a phone interview, waited a bit more, and then at last I got approved! It was time to get a bunny. I wanted to request a lop, like the one I always wanted as a teenager, thus fulfilling a long standing childhood dream. The rescue worker I was in touch with said she did have some lops available, but that there was another bunny who they were trying to place more quickly, she sent me some photos…

It was this guy…

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This is the photo originally sent by his owner who was surrendering him. His name was Hubble, and he’d spent most of his life living in his tiny rabbit cage. He wasn’t being given attention, nor treats, nor vegetables, nor time outside his cage. Hubble’s owner knew that he wasn’t giving Hubble the life he deserved. It was a sad story, the man’s wife had died a few years ago, and Hubble was her rabbit. I think in Hubble’s early life he must have been well loved and cared for, but after the wife’s passing there just wasn’t time for him anymore.  His owner was not a bad person, it was just a really unfortunate circumstance. He took Hubble out of his cage for a few more photos:

The night I received that email I just stared at these photos of Hubble. He was not the adorable tiny lop rabbit of my childhood dreams, and yet none of that mattered because he was the bunny who needed me. Bunnies are just like us, born how they are born. People generally want the most obviously cute rabbit (as I said, I’m no exception), but perspective was slapping me in the face: fostering was about helping a rabbit, not about helping the cutest rabbit. DUH. That was that. I started to fall in love with Hubble. I wanted to bring him home as soon as possible and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about him. Knowing that he was out there somewhere, in his cage, all alone… no treats, no play, no fun. It killed me. I told the rescue I didn’t need to see any other bunnies, Hubble was the foster for me.

A couple days passed by with me just wondering when they would bring him to me. In the meantime I was learning everything I could about rabbit care, watching rabbit youtube videos, and just generally obsessing. Then I got a phone call- Hubble lived quite far away. Like a 2 1/2 hr drive… they wouldn’t be able to get him to me for quite a while.

I thought about having to wait that long, actually mostly I thought about Hubble having to wait that long, and decided that was totally unacceptable. They said if I wanted and was willing to drive then I could go get him myself, and so that’s exactly what I did. His owner and I got in touch and agreed to meet halfway. So on Saturday morning my boyfriend and I woke up, got in the car, and got on the highway. An hour or so of driving later, there he was: scared little Hubble with no idea what was happening or how much his life was about to change. His owner said goodbye and we transferred him to my car and then drove him home where his life was about to be turned upside down.

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When we finally got him into the apartment he was too terrified to even move. We went very easy on him. I just opened the door to his cage expecting that he would hop out. He didn’t. I sat on the floor opposite him, just waiting. I offered him some banana and a carrot and a bowl of greens and he didn’t so much as sneak out to sniff them or anything. He just stayed perfectly still, pretending to be invisible.

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After about an hour and a half I wanted to show him that he could hop around, that he wasn’t confined to his cage anymore, and so I took the top off. Now he was sitting there like this…

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“Okay they can’t see me if I just stay still. They can’t see me if I just stay still.”

I read that rabbits need a lot of patience and that if you want to earn their trust you need to get on their level. I spent hours on Saturday just lying on the kitchen floor across from his cage. A couple times he poked his head out but he didn’t dare to actually hop out. That night we left him and went to bed hoping that without interference he would feel bold enough to venture out. When I woke up the next day he was in the exact same position and there were no shavings whatsoever on the floor to indicate that he had traveled at all. I spent another long while just waiting patiently, but to no avail.

I thought it was time to make a move. I wanted to clean out his box and get him sorted in his new space and so we decided to make the big decision for him. We picked him up out of his box and put him on the floor. I took his box away and got to work scrubbing it clean and replacing his hay and litter. This seemed to be the impetus he needed to start adjusting to his new life. With no choice in the matter, Hubble started hopping around and exploring the strange new area which was his new home. I left him a cardboard box to have some shelter in, and a bunch of toys (which he couldn’t make heads or tails of) and I prepared his area.

And to my supreme happiness and joy, Hubble has quickly been coming out of his shell and showing us his personality. He’s a really cool little bunny! I think he’s a bit overwhelmed with all the attention he’s getting, so I’m trying to leave him to his bunny time… but it’s amazing to see how quickly he’s adjusting and how brave he really is. He’s very sweet and friendly and loves to hop right up to my face and give me a sniff. He’s already become used to my pats and seems to love being scratched between the ears and having his fur stroked.

It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done and such a joy to see him hopping around, playing, and discovering. I’m completely in love with this little bunny and it feels so good to be able to give this kind of life to him.

Do any of you guys have experience with rabbits? Or rescue animals in general? What was it like for you?

I’ll end this with a few photos of him curled up in his favourite spot.

And of course, because I’m a huge nerd, I also started an instagram page for him. If any of you guys are interested (I don’t know why you wouldn’t be) you can follow him @hubblethebunny!

Okay that’s it for today. Hoppy Tuesday everyone!

(don’t mind the bunny pun)

xo

Dreamy short film

I’m very late to this party, but last night I was watching a few short films when I stumbled across this captivating little animation “Out of Sight”. It was published on YouTube in 2010 and has been viewed more than 5 million times so I’m sure some of you have already seen it, but if you somehow missed this one like I did, you should take 5 minutes to watch it because it is completely charming and lovely.

I always hear from artists the importance of absorbing and seeking out all types of creative work for inspiration. Writers must read, film makers must watch, musicians must listen, artists must observe… I definitely drew some inspiration from this short film. I love its dreamlike quality and imagination. I hope you all love it, too.

Highlining… sort of

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The first time I tried highlining I became a butterfly.

When I say that I don’t mean I bloomed into this beautiful creature that went soaring to new and wondrous heights. No, no.

I mean my belly was full of butterflies… in the “I’m so nervous I could pee” kind of way. As I was shimmying my way out onto the line, butterflies stacked on top of butterflies in the pit of my stomach until eventually my whole body was taken over and I was just a rigid sack of human nerves. An overwrought human butterfly, but without the wings or grace.

What I’m trying to say is that I was terrified. So, so nervous. And scared. And wondering what I was doing and why I was doing it. I’m afraid of heights, despite having a skydive under my belt, but that’s not even the number one reason to be anxious. The biggest reason is failing to be able to pull myself up to the line and thus being stranded and in need of rescue. You see, when you suck at highlining as much as I do, you fall a lot. And that means spending a lot of time dangling under the line. The transition from line to dangle is the fall, aka the fun part. I don’t mind falling. Honestly it’s pretty fun. The height doesn’t bother me too much, either.

The anxiety inducing/worrying/scary bit is the idea that after I fall, I’ll be trapped under the line because I won’t be strong enough to get back up. See, when you’re dangling from your leash you have no choice but to muscle your way back up over that line. Let me tell you… that shit ain’t easy. Climbing that leash like I didn’t almost fail gym semester after semester in school was not something I was looking forward to. So now you understand the butterfly reference.

The first time I sat on the line my breath was frozen in my throat, my legs dangling in the open air like two planks of wood, my eyes fixated on the impossible task in front of me: stand up. That’s it. That’s the only goal. Sounds SO easy, right? On land, when I’m just slacklining in the park, I can manage alright. I’m not walking monstrously long lines yet, but I can walk a decent one. Forwards and backwards. With much focus and effort, of course, but I can do it. Up that high in the air it’s harder. A lot harder. The line itself is heavier, it moves more, it’s a lot longer and takes a lot more skill to master. Did I do it? Not a chance.

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I couldn’t stand up. I could hardly even get into position to try to stand up. I just fell and hung dangling in the air over and over. But miraculously, to my total and utter surprise, I could pull myself back up to the line. Muscles that I didn’t even know were there banded together to help me and I managed the whole day without needing a rescue.

It was exhilarating, something wholly new and different. It was challenging and exciting and it was filling me with energy. So I went back a second time. I still couldn’t stand up. But slowly I was making progress. Fine tuning my body position and reading the line a bit better with each attempt.

The third time I went back, magic happened.

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I stood on the line. For like, a couple full seconds. It was bewildering. I remember as soon as I was up I thought oh my god it’s happening. I’m up! I’m up! I can’t believe it! This is amazing! Look at me everyone, I’m standing!! A miracle has happened, the most amazing thi- and then before I knew it I was down again. But let me tell you, that moment, though so painfully brief, was glorious. One of my shiniest moments to date.

If you want to see the moment in all it’s real time glory, I invite you over to my instagram where I posted the video that my beautiful wondrous friend somehow managed to capture for me.

Now I’m hooked. I am busting with excitement at the idea of actually taking a few steps on that thing. Highlining is going to be more and more a part of my life, I know.

So that’s it. An account of my first highlining adventures.

As always, much love to you all! Happy hump day!

And thank you for reading 🙂

xo

Rogue camping adventure

Rogue camping adventure

On Saturday my boyfriend and I along with two of our best friends drove 2 hours out of Toronto to go camping. Recently my bf and I invested in a compact two person tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, miniature burner, and a few other camping things to prepare for a more extended backpacking trip we have planned. This was our opportunity to see how our gear fares in action for the first time.

Fun fact of the day…

I haven’t been tent camping since I was… say.. 8 or 9? years old. My family quickly moved onto trailers/campervans so camping for me has always involved a cozy home on wheels. I was excited, but also kind of nervous, about some real deal roughen it style camping… I’m a girl who really enjoys her shower. What can I say?

The campsite we decided on was situated along the beach on Lake Erie. It was a beautiful spot with the good kind of sand that’s powdery and fun to squeeze between your toes… the kind that’s fun to be buried in, you know? Sadly, when we arrived at the campground we discovered that all the sites were booked. We were out of luck, but after driving for 2 1/2 hours we weren’t exactly willing to give up on our fun weekend plans. We paid the entrance fee to be able to park there for the day. They allow you use of the beach and the picnic tables until about 10 pm and then the warden comes along and shoos everyone out.

If you’ve ever seen my instagram feed you’ll know that I’m getting fairly involved in slacklining of late. One of the first things we did, naturally, was set up a good long line to walk in between an afternoon of swimming in the lake and napping in a clump under the afternoon sun.

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As the sun began to wane we had to decide what to do… drive home 2 1/2 hours defeated and disappointed? Or try our hand at rogue camping and risk being fined and kicked out of the park in the middle of the night by the warden?

In the cover of night we grabbed our packs, bolted stealthily up a sand dune and started pitching our tents in a sliver of a spot disguised by some trees along the beach. We only had the moonlight to help us see what we were doing, and we were hyper aware that the warden would be coming by any moment to makes sure no one was left in the park. It’s not like it was dangerous or anything, and it’s not like the consequences would be disastrous by any proporton, but…

…it was exciting. It was a little thrill that made me go, okay, here! This is FUN. This is life.   

After pitching the tents we had to leave them behind and saunter our way back to move the car, driving a couple kms down the beach to an overnight parking lot where we could leave the car.

We walked back to the tents under the full moon, listening to the waves and the water, bare feet in the sand and the stars over our heads… it was beautiful.

We slept through the night without incident. No wardens came knocking, no tickets left on our tents. We woke up with the sun, the waves, the fresh air and packed everything up. We made our way back along the beach, this time in the morning sun.

The final treat was seeing this rainbow on the horizon. Like a little reward for doing the weekend right.

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Life is like a kind of choose-your-own-adventure game. I’ve had a few tough blows as of late, but after a weekend like that I can’t help but feel invigorated and optimistic about everything that’s to come.

I hope you all had a great weekend, too! Do you guys have any fun camping stories? Or any camping horror stories even? I’m really keen for any tips and tricks from the seasoned campers out there. Feel free to share in the comments 🙂 🙂

As always, thank you for reading!

xo

Conversations with strangers: Adam

You know when you have an experience and it feels somehow like the universe conspired to put you in that specific place at that specific time? That’s happened to me often in life. Maybe it’s just because I like the idea that somehow and for some reason the universe is attempting to show me some sort of direction. Maybe it’s because there have been times where I’ve felt so lost that the second anything aligns in any sort of interesting way I’m ready to pounce like a starving cat about to sink its teeth into its prey. Or I’m just a bit of a hippy. Who knows.

I often find myself having some very interesting conversations with strangers. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes a little strange, sometimes funny. Last week I had one of the more impactful of these conversations.

I was out and about on my bike in the downtown core, casually pedalling my way through the usual hustle and bustle of Toronto: the impatient cars attempting to run me off the road, the incessant construction, the death-defying pigeons. I arrived at my destination just in time to witness the fpotd, or freakout-person-of-the-day. I may have just made that up. But I usually see at least one person having a bit of a freak out on the daily around here. I mean there are a lot of us crammed into Toronto’s downtown core so it’s only natural that at least one of us is going to snap…

This time he was a man in his late 30s, yelling brusquely about how much everyone sucks and challenging every man walking by him to a fight. Quite aggressively, too. He was getting right up in their faces demanding a punch. The hobble in his step gave away his drunkenness if the slurred yelling hadn’t already. He was quite close to me as I was locking up my bike and it was then that our eyes met for the first time. I knew in that moment that he and I were going to have an interaction. I could feel it. I stood there with some mild nerves, trivially attempting to avert my gaze from all the ruckus he was causing. I watched him try once more to provoke a fight from a passerby, and when that failed he staggered his way over to me, looking me in the eyes, and yelling:

What’s the point? What’s the point?” 

I just stood dumbly at my bike as he came closer to me…

Why am I waking up every morning?

I could have wrapped my arms around him our proximity was so uncomfortably close. With our eyes locked intimately he admitted, almost at a whisper,

“I don’t want to wake up anymore.”

My heart pounded in my chest as we stood there together with that knowledge. It was just raw, honest, and painful. The way he said it was so matter-of-fact it broke my heart. And this from stranger whose name I didn’t even know.

What do I do? How can I help? I’m not qualified to deal with this raving man on the street and my own life is out-of-sorts at the best of times. I don’t have anything to offer him. 

Such were my thoughts as I stood there. But for some odd reason I felt like I had been given this great responsibility from the universe to offer something to this man, however small or feeble or unhelpful it may appear to be. So instead of shying away from him, I started talking to him. I asked him for his name.

Adam.

Adam and I ended up spending the afternoon together in the park. We talked about life, people, ambitions, and the “point”. Here are a few things I learned about Adam in our afternoon together.

He’s homeless.
He’s spent most of the last 7 years living as a hermit trying to deal with a kind of PTSD I never found out about.
He loves dogs.
He has a mother nearby who he loves, but doesn’t see much. And he credits her for his plugging along this far in life.
He hates materialism, but he has a thing for motorcycles.
He’s very articulate.
He finds the park very peaceful and likes to spend his afternoons under the trees.
He’s given up on people and tends to dwell on the bad nature of others.
He’s possibly dealing with some mental health issues.
He’s a bit of an alcoholic.
He has very beautiful eyes and wild curly hair.
Most importantly, he has the capacity to be very kind, generous, and outgoing.

He’s a real person with a complicated backstory. Along for this ride with the rest of us.

As we walked around together we got quite a few dubious looks from strangers. Adam was pretty drunk if you recall and so good at drawing attention to us, but it didn’t bother me. I tried to get to the bottom of why he was picking fights with people on the street. Apparently dealing with physical pain is a good distraction from dealing with mental pain, hence the provocations. He wanted bruises. He invited physical pain. I guess I can understand the immediate logic in that. It’s somehow simpler, isn’t it? Our minds are a difficult thing to master or even understand minutely. But even acknowledging that I still had to argue how unfair it was to the poor random people he was challenging. Nobody wants to be provoked into a fight on a sunny afternoon, or even a rainy afternoon for that matter. I just told him what he already knew, that it wouldn’t solve anything going on inside him, and that he’d have to make up his mind to deal with it another way.

But mostly, I just listened. I listened to whatever he wanted to tell me and offered whatever I could. I opened up to him about some of my own struggles which I thought he might relate to. It was a very mutual exchange. We were just two humans in a park talking about life.

For a man who had admittedly “given up on people”, he was certainly very kind to me. Which, to my mind, just shows he needs a helping hand to remind him that he can still become the best version of himself. Maybe with a little encouragement from a stranger. A little acknowledgement. A smile. Eye contact. An ear or two to hear what he has to say and take it seriously. Did I really help him? I don’t know. But I think he was grateful for the interaction just as I was.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be homeless, it makes me sad to see so many people struggling without a roof over their head on the daily. It’s a bit hard to admit, but when I was younger I used to walk by homeless people and pretend not to see them. You always hear how giving money doesn’t help them/increases the problem/whatever. But whatever the truth is to that doesn’t excuse the purposeful act of looking away from another person who is reaching out for help. A smile, or a brief glance, or a hello… these things can go a long way. People feel invisible because others treat them so.

Let’s always treat each other kindly, please.

Just rambling… thanks for reading.

xo

 

A life not to be

A little heartbreak this morning.

There was a slight chill, fog hanging in the air, and some rain drizzling down as I left my apartment to dawdle my way over to the local coffee shop for a latte. One minute after leaving my apartment I stumbled upon this precious baby bird….

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The poor little thing was lying in the middle of the sidewalk belly up. The rain was coming down on him, the cold surrounding him. It was a strange place to find him, there weren’t many trees in the area and I saw no sign of a nest. You would think his nest was blown over by a strong gust of wind, and maybe it was, but I didn’t find any evidence of that. It’s a mystery how he ended up there. He must’ve just hatched.

On the grass to the side I saw another baby bird just like him, but he was already dead. This little one, however, had some life in him. His beak was opening and closing as if waiting for his mother to give him some food. It was so heart wrenching to see him lying there, so helpless. I didn’t really know what to do. I very carefully scooped him up into the palm of my hand. He was so delicate and tiny and precious. The thought of leaving him there was completely impossible. It seemed unlikely that any mother bird was coming back, and his situation was desperate. I called my boyfriend and asked him to start googling what to do in this kind of situation and made my way back to the apartment with this tiny life in the palm of my hand.

And that’s where he took his last breath. By the time I got back to the apartment, all his movement had ceased and he was just a little body that couldn’t hold onto life anymore. For whatever reason, his life was not meant to be. He was created, he developed into that tiny bird within his egg, only to hatch and end up belly up on the sidewalk in the cold rain. He should have hatched into a cozy nest with his mama at the ready and with his brothers and sisters around keeping each other warm. He should have been able to open his eyes and discover his surroundings. To grow his feathers, to fly, to live the life he was given… so awful to see that torn away from something so young and new.

We ended up burying him in a garden outside the building along with his brother.

It was very sad.

I’m so sorry your life was cut short, little bird. I’m sorry that I found you too late to help you. I’m glad I could be there to hold you for your last few breaths, though. I’m glad that you didn’t die cold and forgotten on the sidewalk.  I hope you had a little comfort in the palm of my hand. Your life was short, but someone cared about you and loved you for the little while you were here.

RIP, little bird.

Lucky or not quite so lucky?

Recently I’ve been paying more attention to the Daily Prompts that wordpress provides. The prompt today was ‘luck’. Seconds later I went to youtube and saw that a channel I follow posted this video:

I thought it was pretty strange that the subject of luck came up twice like that in the span of just a few seconds, but then I remembered that it was St Patrick’s day and suddenly it made sense. I hadn’t remembered that today was St. Patrick’s day, yet amazingly, I still managed to wear green underwear and order a green tea latte. Very lucky, indeed. Or perhaps my subconscious cares a lot more about this day than I do. In any case, the video is pretty interesting and you should take the 6 minutes to watch it if you can.

He talks about how luck can be looked at as a meeting of the conscious mind with chance. Or rather, that our own reactions to the curve balls and opportunities that life throws our way can actually empower us to, in a sense, create our own luck.

For example, today I really wanted to write a blog post here, but I also wanted to practice yoga, and I only had time for one or the other. I chose to go to yoga because I’m trying to make it a daily habit and I’ve been going every other day until now at around 5pm. So I got myself organised, grabbed my mat, walked to the subway, paid for the subway, rode the subway, and walked all the way to the studio only to discover that it’s closed on Friday afternoons.

Was I unlucky because I wasted all that time going there to not be able to practice yoga? Or was I actually lucky because the fact that the studio was closed meant that I had time to write this blog post?

I definitely felt the latter, but in general when I think of luck I tend not to put a lot of weight on it. Luck is such an intangible concept… you can’t really pin anything concrete on it. It’s just a word in our speech that we use to describe how we feel about random situations. When things work out surprisingly well for us we call it lucky and when they don’t we call it unlucky.

On the other hand when I look at my life I do feel very lucky. Or I guess I just feel grateful, but it can’t hurt to try and cultivate that elusive “luck” that may or may not be floating around out there. To me it all comes back to what you put into the universe you get back from the universe. The law of attraction. All that jazz.

 

Did anything happen today to make you feel lucky or unlucky? Let me know in the comments what you thought about the video if you ended up watching it.

Happy St Patrick’s day, everyone!

Thanks for reading xo