Archive for March, 2009

Grooming Little Joe – Part 1

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

SaveABunny volunteer Maitreya shared this story – enjoy!

I thought I was doing them a favor. Rob and my husband Mark were looking for a Shop-Vac with which we could vacuum up the pellets in the big pen where Little Joe, the svelte and handsome black bunny who, unfortunately, had to have one hind leg removed, lived with his compatriots. I wanted to get started on my work of massaging Little Joe’s sides and muscles, which were developing unevenly because of the lack of his leg. So I hunted around Marcy’s art room and found a Shop-Vac in the little laundry room right next door. I lugged it out to the bunny area and vacuumed up the pellets and hay in Little Joe’s x-pen, and then I put the Shop-Vac to the side, stepped into the pen, and started petting bunnies. It was heaven – everywhere I put my hand, there was a bunny under it. Nothing is more enchanting than being surrounded by bunnies: their little paws on my legs; their twitchy, whiskery noses bumping into my hands and sides and thighs asking politely, as bunnies do, for pets and attention; their soothing little honking sounds that tell me they’re happy; even their little nips when they want me to move or when they have, as Little Joe did, an amusing obsession for my shoelaces.

Little Joe and his pen-mate, Scooter.

Little Joe and his pen-mate, Scooter.

Nothing, I thought, could spoil this delight. How wrong I was. Rob and Mark came back into the room, bringing the giant Shop-Vac from downstairs when Rob noticed the little one I’d brought in from the laundry room. He asked, “What’s this? Where did –?” and I told him that I’d gone to the laundry room to get it. Alarm immediately flashed across his handsome, careworn face.
“No, no, that’s wrong; that can’t – no,” he said, and he leaped across the room to the little Shop-Vac, which was innocently squatting in the corner, blissfully ignorant of its complicity in my guilt.
“What’s wrong? What…?” I stammered. Today seemed like a day for incomplete sentences.
“That’s the vacuum for the toxic materials from Marcy’s kiln,” he said intensely. He was trying to grab the venomous vacuum cleaner and get it out of the bunnies’ room as quickly as possible, but he was struggling; it was still plugged in. I, still penned in Little Joe’s area, sat back on my knees, too aghast to unplug it for him or help him. In that small area, if I had stepped out of the pen, I would be standing on Rob’s back, and at that moment, more dead weight was the last thing he needed.
He got the Shop-Vac unplugged and raced out of the room with it. I had no idea what he was doing; presumably, he was emptying out the contaminated materials. I, however, was crying with humiliation and shame. When Rob came back in, calm as ever, I couldn’t even look at him. What an idiot I was, I thought. They’ll never let me come and groom bunnies again.
But Rob was unflappable. He bent over and showed me the proper way to massage Little Joe, who had taken cover – as any smart bunny would – during the chaos. He made his way back over to me and gave me a strength-restoring bitie, as I call bunny bites, to make me focus my attention on Rob’s ministrations. Rob told me how to massage Little Joe, and, once I had the hang of it, told me that Scooter, one of Little Joe’s pen-mates, could use some Maitreya-therapy as well. And then he left me to my mêlée of emotions: chagrin, embarrassment, cramped self-esteem, and calming bunny support.
And support was the right word. Poor Little Joe had only a stump where his left hind paw had been, so it was part of my job as deputized physical therapist to support his left side, allowing him to stand upright and hop that way. I had some trouble with that; Little Joe is a fast and active bunny, and I could barely keep up with him as he hopped/scrambled his way around the pen, through the water dish, into a cardboard tube, and then finally to the safety of the litterbox. I let him be and turned my back so that he could have some privacy, and petted the other bunnies until he came back to me of his own accord. It was not long before he did, and he announced his presence by giving me a double dose of bities. He had made it clear: he was the alpha bunny, and I was there to attend to his needs, feed him bits of carrots, and amuse him with my shrieks of pain when he bestowed on me his mighty bities.

Part 2 of “Grooming Little Joe” coming soon… stay tuned!

You can sponsor special needs rabbits like Little Joe or Scooter through SaveABunny. It’s easy, and makes a big difference!

SaveABunny founder Marcy Schaaf to speak at Humane Society Conference 4/8

Friday, March 20th, 2009

April 8
Las Vegas Bally’s Hotel
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm


Humane Society of the United States National Conference Features SaveABunny As A Speaker!

Award winning rescue efforts and persistence has garnered SaveABunny the groundbreaking invitation to speak about rabbit rescue, care and adoptions at the largest animal care conference in the world. The Humane Society of the United States Expo in Las Vegas is the largest animal care conference in the world. The Expo attracts several thousand national and international attendees.

SaveABunny Founder, Marcy Schaaf successfully created a joint presentation with key shelter staff from Oakland Animal Services and Marin Humane Society. They will each discuss the successes and challenges of caring for and adopting rabbits in their shelters, as well as how to best work in partnership with rescue groups to save more lives.

This workshop on rabbits is believed to be the first of its kind at such a large, national venue. This collaborative effort between a rescue group and multiple shelters is both progressive and very unusual in the animal welfare field.

Below is the workshop write up as written by the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States)

>Rabbits Rule! Turning Problem Animals into Shelter Benefits

Rabbits can be a challenge for shelters: few staff members are knowledgeable about their care, and most potential adopters head to pet stores when looking for a new bunny. This workshop will show you how to overcome these hurdles within your shelter and your community by covering rabbit care basics and profiling two very different shelters with groundbreaking programs for their rabbits.

Suzanne Gollin, Administrative Assistant, Behavior and Training & Department, Marin Humane Society, Novato, Calif.; Marcy Schaaf, Founder & Executive Director, SaveABunny, Mill Valley, Calif.; Megan Webb, Community Outreach Programs Director, Oakland Animal Services, Oakland, Calif.

On another note….On March 3, 2009 SaveABunny Founder, Marcy Schaaf, was a featured speaker at the California Animal Care Conference sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Association, The State Humane Association of California and The California Animal Control Directors Association.
Persistence, promotion and passion will hopefully raise the level of interest and awareness everywhere.

501c3. It’s more than just a number. Er, more than just a number with a letter in it.

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Last week SaveABunny was approved for 501c3 nonprofit status.  What this means for you is that any donation you make is now tax-deductible! Just in case you don’t know (I didn’t!), here’s how it works:

You donate something. Let’s say, for example, $30 to help sponsor Dulciana, an adorable special-needs bunny with a head-tilt:

Of course we would all be perfectly content just knowing that our $30 is going to a good cause. We don’t need anything back! It’s called giving for a reason! But thanks to those four little numbers (and one letter!), the kindness of our hearts has a little extra incentive.

Come tax season, you can subtract that $30 from your taxable income. Let’s say you made $29,687 last year – thanks to your donation, the government will now only tax you on $29,657. Of course $30 won’t exactly save you bridge fare, but a large enough donation can drop you right into a lower tax bracket. And if you can donate a few times a year, it really adds up.

So not only do you save money, but Dulciana gets the funds she needs to live a better life!

And it’s not just cash that’s tax-deductible. Gifts are, too! Any item from our Wishlist is a great place to start.

We’re all super excited about our new status here at SaveABunny, and we hope you are too! Come by and celebrate with us at the SaveABunny Bake Sale next month:

Saturday, April 11, 2009
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

In Front of Bank Of America on 18th & Castro Street, San Francisco

- Bring your appetites!
- Bring your baked goods!
- Bring your generous donations!

Your wonderful support will help rescued rabbits find caring guardians and loving homes. Please note, baked goods and donations can be dropped off prior to the event.

Mosaic at Oakland Animal Services

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

A note from Marcy, SaveABunny Founder:
Hi Everyone,
A few months ago I posted about a special mosaic project that I was looking for community artists to help create at Oakland Animal Services. I am thrilled to share with you an exquisite mosaic created by Jingletown artist, Kim Larson.
A mosaic project at an animal shelter has been a dream goal of mine for a long time. Animal shelters are rarely considered places where beauty is found. The animals, volunteers and staff at animal shelters—especially at a public, urban shelter like Oakland Animal Services, typically are subjected to a lot of stress and have few resources. The same is true for a volunteer run, nonprofit rescue group like ours that specializes in helping rescue, rehabilitate and rehome abandoned, abused and neglected pet bunnies—the nation’s third most frequently euthanized animals.
The Oakland Animal Services mosaic project needed to be created out of the willingness to help and a love for animals. We just couldn’t afford to pay someone to do the work. Since I am a fellow mosaicist I have an extensive selection of glass, ceramic and all kinds of tiles I’ve collected over the years and Kim and I had a great time sorting through all my tiles for just the right ones.
Kim, designed, created and executed this mosaic by herself. Truly incredible and what a generosity of spirit!
One of our volunteers is in the process of painting a mural in the room, which can be seen to some extent from the photos on Kim’s blog. The volunteers and shelter staff feel a renewed sense of hope and pride for the room. That will also translate the well-being  of the animals.
This collaborative “beautification” volunteer effort between a rescue group, a shelter and a community artist is both progressive and very unusual in the animal welfare field. As such, this project will be part of two very important presentations I am giving in the next few months. In April 2009, I’ll be speaking at the Humane Society of the United States Expo in Las Vegas —the largest animal care conference in the world. The Expo attracts several thousand national and international attendees. March 3, 2009 I am speaking at the California Animal Care Conference sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Association, The State Humane Association of California and The California Animal Control Directors Association.
I am deeply grateful to Kim for her creative vision and the time and energy she donated to this project!
Kim has also been the source for my cut out mosaic substrates in the shape of rabbits that I have mosaiced and sold as a fundraiser to help the animals via my etsy site.
Phase two of the Oakland Animal Services may include an opportunity for fellow mosaic artists to contribute a mosaic to this project using Kim’s custom cut substrates. Stayed tuned for more…..!