Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Compassion of Animals

The first thing you need to know about my rabbit Cocoa is that, like most rabbits, he only tolerates being held--they really don't like it at all. We have worked out a system in how he indicates he wants to be put down (actually he worked it out, what choice did this poor human have but to acquiese??). When he is ready to be free, he nibbles on your shirt. You must be quick on the uptake in his signals, otherwise your shirt will go instantly from the outdoor clothing category to the "I-will-just-wear-this-around-the-house" pile. Only if you are lucky will he sit still for you for five minutes.

The other night I was having an extremely bad hare day (sorry, can't resist a good pun). It was so bad that I had the need to hold and cry on a rabbit. Cocoa, always so amenable to cuddles on the floor, allowed me to pick him up. I sat on my living room steps with him in my arms and wept all over his back, sobbing apologies all the while as his fur got wet. I knew any minute he would stir and move to take a bite out of my shirt. Weep, weep, weep. Still he didn't stir; he sat patiently as I stroked his sides and kissed his head and poured out all my frustrations to his long loppy ears. Minutes ticked by. Still, he made no indications he wanted to leave. And then, as I leaned my cheek against his back, he began to softly purr! I was astounded. He certainly wasn't responding to my lame little finger strokes or my holding him to my chest. His purring seemed more like a conversation with me, as if he were somehow communicating to me that all would be okay, just as I have told him so many times in the past, when I have held him when he was sick. You'll be okay, I remember whispering to him back in 2004, as we rushed across town in the middle of the night to an emergency vet. Cocoa in my arms then was chattering his teeth, his body temperature was not good, and we of course were bracing ourselves for the worst.

Here we are, six years later, and this time Cocoa in his way was doing the same thing, reassuring, comforting, consoling me in the only way he knew how. Do you know, he let me hold him for fifteen minutes? He NEVER fidgeted. He waited till I was calm again and ready to release him. And I did feel so much better because I had felt to the very core of my being that special connection, our BOND. Cocoa has always been a sweet, good-natured rabbit, but on this night, a new profound appreciation for his compassion stirred my soul. I wish every person could truly know an animal, be they rabbit, cat, dog, guinea pig, etc. and they could experience as I have the compassion that lies within them. I have said it again and again--humans can learn so much from their fellow species--if they could just stop long enough and pay attention enough to get to know them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just let us be

It seems that's all my Ghirardelli and Willow want these days. Until today, they have stayed camped inside their huge bunny condo, refusing to come out to play in the rest of the third floor of my townhouse. Willow, the one-eyed fawn colored girl, is extremely jealous and doesn't appreciate it when I approach her handsome mate, Ghiri. She has been rather nippy of late, especially at me--my husband, on the other hand, can do no wrong with her. Mmmm...what could THAT mean? : )

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Everyone should go to an animal rights conference

You don't need to be a card-carrying vegan or activist to come to an animal rights conference. In fact, I love seeing NEW people, the "mainstream" folk, as it were, coming in to stop at the tables and exhibits and ask lots of questions. Knowledge is power and I love seeing people willing to seek it out, however painful it may be.
No one ever wants to just preach to the choir--animal rights activists want what we already know to get out to more and more people because once you learn what we know, the only place to go is up toward enlightenment and action. I learn new things at each conference I go to, even when I think I have seen it all. Every conference is a precious, emotional and inspiring experience.

At the 2010 Animal Rights Conference sponsored by FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement- last weekend, a young woman came up to the RabbitWise table which I helped man. As she looked at the photos of white rabbits being skinned alive for their fur, her eyes welled with tears. I asked her already knowing the answer if this was her first conference--she said yes. She further indicated that she knew alot already about the gruesome exploitation of animals, that she had done so much research ahead of time and yet to see the images of animals being tortured for commercial purposes brought a whole new dimension to her experience. The important part is, she looked ANYWAY even with all her knowledge gathered beforehand. It is one thing to read about animals in pain--quite another to stare it in the face.

This is what we all must do, dare to look. Get out of your comfort zone--wake up to what is going on around you. See the suffering that most of us have at one time contributed to either by eating and wearing animals or buying products by companies who have used animals in their testing. Seeing is the first step to change, to make a real difference in alleviating the suffering so many of our fellow earthlings endure. There are many of us out there who will stand by you as you look, help you through the angst of realizing what you have participated in all these years and lead you to better happier choices. Please join those of us already in the know to make the world a happier healthier place for ALL the earth's inhabitants. You can only feel BETTER about yourself by doing so.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

For better or for worse

My oldest couple, Ruby the white Rex, and her mate Cocoa, who recently underwent surgery for a lump on his face. While she seems to perceive the antiinfection cream in the "hole" in his face as Twinkie filling and laps at it accordingly, she has also been seen kissing his face and grooming his ears, when she thinks we aren't looking. They are truly in this relationship for better or for worse. Human beings should be as loving in their relationships as well, but so often we forget, and we take our mates for granted. Just one more lesson we can learn from our beloved lagomorphs.

The Hoppy Vegan

Friday, July 2, 2010

Report: Japan hot-dog king hungry for July 4 win

What is it about the Fourth of July that inspires such ridiculous traditions like hot dog or hamburger-eating contests? Am I not the only one that is repulsed by the gluttony of it all in a world where even people in this country don't get enough to eat? What a concept--ingest as much cancer-causing, artery-closing, bad cholesterol-breeding meat as you can in as little time as you can. You want a challenge, America? Try tofu. Eat as many blocks of extra firm tofu in three minutes. (Marinated, of course.) Better that than to imagine some poor cow or pig had his life cut short so some schmuck can shove animal flesh down his gullet in record time. People do some stupid things--and these contests are a prime example of it.

On that note, happy Independence Day, everyone!

The Hoppy Vegan