Saturday, October 22, 2011

Binkying at Sweet Binks.

Today I have the honor of sharing an interview with Pam from Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, who I became familiar with through a great listserv back in my early rabbit slave days a little over ten years ago.  Pam was a constant poster on the listserv and has courteously answered questions about all types of concerns to panicky rabbit owners (or do they own us?) on the list.  Pam is knowledgeable and also was/very caring towards the slaves and the buns.

I have heard many wonderful stories about rabbit adoptions from Sweet Binks as well.  In fact, Sweet Binks will be celebrating its ten year anniversary soon!  In the near future, I will be doing an interview with a rabbit that was adopted from Sweet Binks and to be inspired by her wonderful story and her mate.

I, personally, have rescued some rabbits over the years, but nothing in the capacity of what goes on at Sweet Binks.  Having always wondered what it would be like to do something like running a Rescue, I especially have wondered about Sweet Binks because it appears to go to a higher level than many and has consistently displayed a high standard that led me to ask her for an interview. Pam does most of the rescue operations herself and has volunteers for special events as you will see. Please read on as Pam shares with us:

RS:    What inspired you to start Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue and how long
ago was it?

SB:   It was my first bun as an adult.  I was just incredibly attached to her and wanted to help other buns.  I started doing private rescue in 2000 and started Sweet Binks in 2002.  There was such a great need for a rabbit rescue in Rhode Island.

RS:   Where does the name "Sweet Binks" come from?

 SB:   Our home/farm was established in 1790 and is listed as the Sweet-Wheaton Farm.  It was in the Binks family for years, and because binky is such a special term for rabbits, I named it Sweet Binks Farm and later Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, Inc.

RS:    How do you find out about rabbits that need to be rescued?   Do
people drop them off to you or do they come from another organization?

 SB:   We only work with shelters and strays.  We do not accept owner surrenders unless the circumstances are extreme.  We prefer to help rabbits in the worst of situations.

RS:  Do you have any campaigns, organizations, philosophies that you
work with or support?

SB:  We are the Rhode Island chapter of the House Rabbit Society and share the same philosophies as the HRS.  We started the white campaign many years ago around the holidays (I'm Dreaming of a White Bunny) to promote adoptions of big, white ruby eyed buns.  We hold several Rabbit Education Seminars for the public and attend many events such as the RI Pet Expo, dog walks and other pet related events.  We work closely with the RISPCA and most of the RI shelters.

RS:    Have you seen any changes or trends in the time that you have been operating as a rabbit rescue?

SB:   Yes, the breeds of rabbits that come through. Sometimes it was lots of Hotots, sometimes lops, then Lionheads.  The economy has certainly changed how many rabbits are getting placed but also how many are coming into Sweet Binks.  We are also now seeing much older rabbits coming into the shelter than we used to.

RS:    What does a rabbit go through when he or she first comes in?

SB:   Every rabbit is examined upon arriving.  If it is felt the rabbit needs to be quarantined, then the rabbit is.  Most incoming rabbits are kept separate from the general rabbit population in our shelter for a couple days to monitor and then moved to the appropriate room in our shelter.  In large scale cases, this is not easily done but we manage.  Every rabbit is logged into a register with information (breed, where from, health data, color, sex, weight, spay/neuter date, etc.)

RS:    Do you have any stories to share about your rescue and/or the rabbits that come in?

SB:    I have so many stories that I could write a book! And I just may someday..  You will have to wait for the book!  Every rabbit has a story and some of their stories are just amazing.  The will to live is great and there is a huge feeling of reward and satisfaction bringing a rabbit back from death's door to see him or her, recover, blossom and get adopted.

RS:    Do you have any points of view on purchasing a rabbit from a breeder or a pet store?

SB:   Very much so.  Purchasing a rabbit from a pet shop just supports the pet shop and the backyard breeder that purposely breeds and sells rabbits to pet shops, only for them to usually end up in a shelter but often they die prematurely because of the bad products and wrong care provided by the pet shop and their lack of knowledgable employees. Reputable breeders usually do not sell to pet shops and often many breeders are sadly, very ignorant.

RS:   What is your favorite thing about being surrounded by rabbits?

SB:   Binkies, the sound of munching hay and genuine happiness to see you.

RS:    What is one of the most difficult things you have had to deal with or that you experienced at Sweet Binks?

SB:   Cruelty cases.  Going into places (usually with the RISPCA) and removing rabbits from absolutely deplorable conditions.  Seeing the ones that didn't survive until we came to help.  And angoras, I see too much severe neglect in angora rabbits.  And the never ending dump calls, they just never stop...

RS:    What does being a state licensed rabbit rescue mean?  What is the
difference between that and someone who just sets up shop (if you will)?

SB:   Sweet Binks is a state licensed shelter meaning that we are inspected and issued an annual license to operate an animal shelter with the State of Rhode Island.  We follow the Animal Health laws of the state.  Rhode Island is pretty strict on who can "just set up shop" and for good reason.  A shelter operating without a license here will likely be quickly shut down, esp. if they are operating under code and without state inspection.

RS:    Do you have any messages you would like to pass on to readers?

SB:   Sweet Binks has become more than I ever thought it would.  I didn't know ten years ago when I started if it would be successful, if we would even get any buns adopted.  Ten years later, we have a great group of volunteers, supporters and a large presence in Rhode Island.  We have placed over 1300 rabbits and have helped a whole lot of buns..  A huge thank you to everyone out there that has supported Sweet Binks, even in the smallest way and especially to those that have supported Sweet Binks in the biggest ways!

RS:    Why do you feel it is important to neuter or spay a rabbit?

SB:   We have enough homeless buns in our shelter, we do not need more!  Spaying/neutering is key to a happy, well-behaved, healthy companion rabbit.  Bottom line.

RS:    Is there anything else you recommend along with neutering?

SB:   I do recommend having your rabbit as a client with a rabbit savvy vet (very savvy vet!)  When an emergency happens, it is much easier to get your rabbit into a savvy vet if you are already a client.  Also, hay, hay, hay!!!  Can't feed to much hay and brush (Furminate) those buns when in a shed!  Dental exams are important too.

RS:     Am I correct in understanding that you also have a rabbit
bonding service?   If you do can you explain what that is?
SB:   We do a LOT of bondings.  Because we do not utilize a foster home network but have all adoptable rabbits in one location, this makes it much easier for bondings. We normally do bondings (adoptions) on Sat. afternoons and a typical bonding here can take a few hours.

RS:    How many hours and days a week do you put in doing this?

SB:   It is my full time (unpaid!) job.  It is 365 days a year, no sick days or vacation... It consumes my life.

RS:    Can people volunteer with you? How would one go about it?

SB:   We have volunteers for fundraising and events.  We do not have volunteer opportunites at the shelter but we always need volunteers willing to learn, get savvy and help with outside events.  If interested, they just need to e-mail and I put them in contact with our volunteer manager, Jen.

RS:    If someone wanted to make a donation to you, how would they do it?

SB:   Donations are greatly appreciated and very much needed.  It is how Sweet Binks operates.  Donations can be made on our website through Network for Good or PayPal, on Facebook Causes or the best, the old fashioned mail in a check way.   Check can be mailed to:
Sweet Binks Rabbit Rescue, Inc.
P.O. Box 415
Foster, RI 02825

RS:    Do you have any favorite success stories?

SB:   Dave..  He is shown on our Cruelty Page (warning: some graphic material) on our web site.  Dave recovered completely and you would never know.  Dave is bonded and a happy bun.  Many, many success stories.  Seeing the cruelty case rabbits get adopted and absolutely blossom and become so loved and cherished in their adoptive homes, it is so rewarding.  Every adoption is a success story.

RS:   Thank you for joining us. This has been a wonderful and interesting time for me. Thank you for taking the time and sharing about your work. I know I certainly couldn't do what you do and am thankful that you are there for the bunnies! And congratulations on your ten year anniversary!

Sweet Binks runs mainly on outside help and greatly appreciates any donations which can given through the website or as mentioned in one her answers in this interview. Coming up soon there will be two fundraisers for the rabbit rescue, a bowl-a-thon and a party. You can get all the current information and details at Sweet Bink's Face Book page.  Sweet Binks also has a Cafe Press store from which the proceeds go to help the rescue's operations. I personally bought their bunny calendar which has many of their "client" bunnies in it. Very cute and nice quality.

Sweet Binks Website
Adoptable Bunnies in Rhode Island Link
Sweet Binks Petfinder Page
Sweet Binks on Face Book
Sweet Binks Cafe Press Store

Thank you readers for taking the time to read Rabbit Slippers. It means a lot to have you visit and share your comments. Please feel free to share your thoughts, questions and suggestions in the comments.
Have a Bunderful Day and hope to see you soon!
Mary Ellen

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Please visit the Rabbit Hop Shop at the following link (Rabbit Hop Shoppe link) for rabbit themed items and gifts!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just in time for Halloween...Movies with Scary Rabbits

Hello, With Halloween not too far away, it's time to think of Halloween type movies for rabbit lovers. Here are some classics...

The Night of the Lepus...A so-called horror movie from 1972 with 5 feet tall 100 pound rabbits that attack people. This movie was meant to be a serious horror movie, but its quality is so bad that it is more like a comedy. I love this movie just for the laughs.  It stars DeForest Kelly and Janet Leigh, big names that unfortunately were probably desperate for work.  I did like when they attacked a vegetable truck. Night of the Lepus IMDB

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit...This is one of my all-time favorite rabbit movies.  The Halloween "scary" rabbit type stuff is hard to be afraid of, but is fun.  This movie is Claymation and took several years to create.  This movie is definitely worth a watch or even to see it again!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail...The Cute Little Rabbit with the sharp and pointy teeth. Cutest little bunny. Hehehe!

Now, one that I wish I could put here has only been a rumor that I have seen mentioned in various places, but I don't know if it's made or even being made. It is one of my favorite bunnies in the world of books.
For now, it is still a great Halloween read for adults and kids.
The one and only classic.....Bunnicula the vampire bunny. The Vampire bunny who likes to drain vegetables of their juice til they are transparent. If anyone has any ideas or news if the rumor is true-please share it.

If you know of any movies with "scary rabbits" for Halloween that I may have missed, please share in the comments below.  If you are a bunny addict like me,  it would be most appreciated!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Mary Ellen
Please "like" Rabbit Slippers Blog on Face Book to keep up with the latest postings and events.
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Thank You!
Please visit the Rabbit Hop Shop at the following link (Rabbit Hop Shoppe link) for rabbit themed items and gifts!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Reluctant Rabbits...

Hi there,

Unbelievably, I won a beautiful prize through a giveaway at another blog Lavender Rabbit Studios.  
The blog creator has a great Etsy shop with many wonderful bunny items and other things as well (like the beautiful owl necklace I won!). Check out it out at the links below!

During the drawing for the prize, several rabbits were given a chance to draw a name from a basket of folded papers. In the blog post there is a series of photos of  several rabbits being assigned the task and each one doesn't pull through giving various funny responses. My words don't give it justice. It is funny. Please check it out.

Lavender Rabbit makes unique and beautiful items at her Etsy store. Please check it out. I think it would be a great place to buy yourself something (at reasonable prices!), as well as giving links to someone to drop a few hints - especially with the holidays coming up!

A great way to keep track of  new items and the blog is to" like" their Face Book page.

I am not getting paid for any of this post. I am just that enthusiastic!

Let me know what you think!
Have a Bunderful Day!
Mary Ellen

Please "like" Rabbit Slippers Blog on Face Book to keep up with the latest postings and events.
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Thank You!
Please visit the Rabbit Hop Shop at the following link (Rabbit Hop Shoppe link) for rabbit themed items and gifts!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Dad and My Rabbits

My Dad and My Rabbits. I couldn't have written this post a few months ago.  It would have been too difficult in many ways. You see, my dad passed away in May-about 5 months ago.  I wouldn't have been able to finish it.  It would hurt too much.  Not that it doesn't hurt now, but I have some of my feelings sorted out a bit now.  Writing this now has a therapeutic value. I think this will help me.

Our relationship was always unusual. When I was a kid, I hardly saw him. He worked late hours on many different shifts and he would be sleeping when I was home or I would be in school.  He was kind of grouchy (probably tired and stressed) and not a very expressive or affectionate man.  He came from that old school of men where you don't show affection much. His values were also old-fashioned for his day and age. He was raised by a mother who had him in her forties. She was born in 1888. She had those strict Victorian values, which he had much of also. He was a loyal and matter-of-fact person who was there for those he loved. He did what was necessary to keep family going. He passed on the values, loyalty and being there to me. He learned more about affection later on in life, but was still awkward and uncomfortable with it.

My dad grew up in the Depression, having been born the year before it officially started.  He knew how rough life could be in many ways. He did tell stories of moving around a lot where his father could get work.  They had a cow and chickens, as well as the occasional bunny.  His descriptions of his rabbits seemed to describe what I think might be Californians. The big white bunnies with the ruby eyes.  Large in size. No matter what breed they actually were, that's what I picture and that's what he pointed out in rabbit books I showed him.

I won't go in to what the rabbits were possibly meant for. I didn't like to think about that.  People viewed rabbits different then compared to now and I accept that. He told me stories about how he had different animals that would disappear and a big meal would appear on the table.  He then would state that he and his sister would lose their appetite and wouldn't eat them.

My dad loved animals. He was especially partial to dogs, so we had a few growing up.  It is through one, a chihuahua named Penny, that I learned how to approach and be comfortable with animals. I saw a magic my dad had with other animals. They would approach him and be very friendly to him, when the owners said they never saw that with others. Later in my life, I had people say that to me as dogs and other animals approached me.  I am hardly saying that all animals took to me, but some did and it surprised their owners. Perhaps I inadvertently learned something from my dad or picked up a bit of his magic genetically which showed up at times.

My dad liked to tease me about my bunnies. He made the typical rabbit stew jokes which I didn't like, but then at times he was actually friendly and curious about the rabbits. I had to look at him as seeing rabbits as livestock, which some elderly people do. Some are surprised at them being housepets and change their point of view and some don't. I saw that a lot in the nursing homes I worked and volunteered at with rabbits.  My dad would vary depending on his mood.  He would also want to find something to tease me about, it was an easy target. In some regards I think it was his safe way of showing a type of affection for me. He would tease about other things, but the rabbits became a major target in later years.

In his last decade, after my mom died, my dad's dementia showed more-perhaps because my mom covered for him and he was on his own. He had vascular dementia, as a result of stroke and bad circulation. It affected his judgment and emotional lability (less control over his emotions and expression of them). His comments about the rabbits were sometimes kinder and gentler to the other spectrum being ruder and meaner.  I had difficulty with that among other things because the rabbits mean so much to me.  It was easy to deal professionally with people like that, but it's different when its your own family.

On one of my last visits to see my dad (he was out of state) , he was in a nursing home because a couple of months before he lost a good deal of his vision to stroke in the middle of the night.  My brothers, my husband and I went to see him on Easter weekend.  We brought bunnies with us. We did visits in the nursing home with the bunnies in addition to visiting him.

Now I want to know your opinion on the pictures below this. My dad could see through the "bottom" of his field of vision. He could see where he was stepping for example. He could see his dinner in front of him if close to him.  He acted cranky in regards to the rabbits accompanying us there, but you check out his reactions as he was looking in this cardboard bunny carrier. What do you think?

I miss my dad, the cranky guy.  I know he loved me, although it was not easy for him to show it.  I am feeling more of the pain now, as the numbness is subsiding, but I am finding some healing and some peace with some things that troubled me before.

Perhaps this post is a bit more selfish...I am writing it as a part of my healing process and in it's own way as a tribute to my dad.  He did have a soft spot inside his crusty exterior, kind of like a toasted marshmallow-a bit crusty on the outside, but warm, soft and melted inside. Most people would describe him as very kind and caring, but stubborn as well.  I think this kind of sums up his nature.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. It would mean the world if you shared any of your thoughts in the comments box.

May your day be peaceful and warm hearted,
Mary Ellen

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Thank You!
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