Week 44: The week I almost made a huge life mistake…. (Or Bunnies, Kitties, and Kids, oh my!)

Project (s): Ohio Rabbit Rescue, Colony Cats, and an Elementary School visit

Time Taken: 4.5 hours

I went for the Volunteering in Columbus trifecta this week by hitting three non-profits in seven days.

2014-10-29 13.04.09

I really had my hands full this week. (See what I did there?)

I started the week off volunteering at the Ohio House Rabbit Rescue again by  socializing the bunnies, but this time I had backup. A couple of girls from the cast expressed interest in volunteering at the rabbit rescue with me, so I brought them along this week.

2014-10-28 16.01.57

Volunteering is a serious business. Clearly.

2014-10-28 15.04.30

Deidrea getting in some quality time with Snowball.

A total of four of us descended upon the Ohio Rabbit Rescue house that afternoon (trust me, it’s easy to round up people to pet bunnies for an hour) and spent a few hours petting, cooing, and giggling with the buns as they hopped around their pens happily. It was a win-win situation, for sure.

2014-10-28 20.43.34

Our PT Dionne doing some good!

2014-10-30 11.08.59

Cuddle time for Friar!

A few days later, I went to an elementary school where my friend teaches a special needs class. She has numerous assistants, but the more the merrier, so I came in for an hour at the end of a school day. I brought some Lion King coloring pages and we showed them the YouTube preview of the show, so they would understand why a strange lady showed up one day with coloring pages from an ‘ancient’ movie, as far as their five-year-old lives were concerned.

2014-10-28 13.58.18

A preview on YouTube of our show, projected on their awesome SmartBoard.

(It’s a white board that you can interact with computer programs on! We live in the future!)

I had so much fun playing with the kids, helping them move from station to station around their classroom. Each student had their own schedule to follow each day, which kept them on task for this free hour at the end of the school day. My coloring pages became a station unto itself and the watercolors were broken out, which is a rare treat for them. When they were done, they got to tape up their works of art on the wall for all to see, and it was so great to see them add their creations one by one.

2014-10-28 13.58.43

A few of their pieces of art.

To round out my week, I hit up the Colony Cats again. I started off this week cleaning the kitten room, which is exactly as heaven-like as it sounds- a room full of kittens, all clamoring for your love and attention.

2014-10-29 11.11.39

Kittens, kittens everywhere!

These kittens were very determined to not have me work. One kitten thought the brush was a toy and dueled with me the entire time I was brushing his cat tree.

2014-10-29 10.56.35

Hey. You. Human. Stop working and play with me.

After shooing away the first meddlesome kitten, I bent down for a hairball and I felt four paws land on my back. I looked up to find Rascal, an 8 month old orange tabby, who felt like going for a ride.

2014-10-29 11.37.01

Giddy up human!

While I was de-velcrowing Rascal from my sweater, another kitten had decided that the paper towel roll was the perfect size to be his sparring partner, and I turned around to find him wrapped around the roll, chewing up the towels with abandon.

2014-10-29 11.57.20

Not. Helpful.

Some kittys aren’t as meddlesome, but more lonely than anything. Certain cats just need some extra love, and they’re not afraid to ask for it.

2014-10-29 12.08.57

Kitty climbing up my leg for loves.

Most of these persistent kitties go away after a few pets, but one kitten did something I’ve never seen before. I bent down to clean the base a cat tree when a tiny 7 month old black kitten named Mario walked straight up to me and literally climbed up my chest. He wrapped his two little paw on either side of my neck, nestled his face into mine, and I melted. I let him have a little snuggle time, but when I tried to put him down to finish cleaning, he proceeded to climb right back into hugging-position.

2014-10-29 11.44.50

Hugz. I needs them.

“What are you doing??” I asked, slightly surprised. He was so in need of love and attention, he could not be deterred. I must have tried to put this kitten down about five times and five times he climbed me like a tree. At one point he realized that he could perch on my back as I cleaned, and decided that my back was where he wanted to stay for the rest of the time I was there.

2014-10-29 11.47.40

 2014-10-29 12.46.54

Mario taking a snuggle ride.

I was fully in love. Phillip came by to pick me up and I showed him this tiny ball of love. He picked Mario up to see what all the fuss was about and the kitten promptly fell asleep in his arms.

2014-10-29 12.56.40

Phillip is a popular napping spot for our furry kids too.

“We are taking him home.” Phillip declared with absolute finality.

We were so close to just throwing him in a box and walking out the door, but we forced ourselves to walk out of the Colony to clear our heads. But for a good hour or so, we were determined to get this cat.

2014-10-29 11.59.57

Mario loved the aquarium and would take breaks from my shoulders to paw at the glass.

As the day wore on, however, our senses returned. We absolutely cannot adopt another soul at this point in our lives. We just got an RV that we aren’t totally settled in yet, we have a dog who was away for training and hadn’t even seen his new house yet, and we have a cat who absolutely abhors the sight of other members of his own species. I mean DESPISES them. It’s to the point where Copeland literally goes straight for the jugular of the offending cat upon sight.

Yeah. No way. Can’t do it.

2014-10-29 11.55.19

I already have my hands full at home… we can’t adopt another one right now.

So I decided that we couldn’t get him.

(Unless he was still at the Colony next week….)

2014-10-29 11.12.12

Love bug.

All pictures taken by me!

If you want to help out at these amazing charities, visit their websites here:

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 8.00.23 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 8.03.47 PM

Week 43: Does petting bunnies count as volunteering?

Project: Ohio House Rabbit Rescue

Actual Time Taken: 1.5 hours

This weeks’ project was once again supplied by the wonderful site VolunteerMatch.org. If you ever, ever need help finding a volunteering project, I highly recommend this site. You can search by city or by the issue you’re interested in helping out. I punched in “Columbus, Ohio” and “Animals,” and had a bunch of great projects to choose from. Last week I helped out with kitties, so this week I moved over to bunnies.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.15.23 PM

Apparently, since rabbits are historically (and biologically) prey animals, they are generally scared of huge hulking beings hovering over them. We gigantic humans resemble bears, cats, wolves, bobcats, dogs and other predatory animals at first glance, so the rabbits’ first instinct is to turn tail and hide.

2014-10-21 16.12.14

Trying to lure a shy gal out her hut.

So to counteract millennia of evolution, the Ohio House Rabbit Rescue asks volunteers to come in to socialize these little guys and teach them that not all humans are all that bad. Most of these rabbits have been rescued by staff or volunteers of the non-profit, and a very select few have been given up by their owners. After such a traumatic experience, I would be afraid of us humans too.

2014-10-21 16.37.41

Bribing a bun with a wicker chew.

This is one volunteer opportunity that my friends at work were eager to help out with, (really? No takers to scoop poop? Ok then…) so one of my dear friends Dionne (our physical therapist on the road) and I showed up at 3:30 for our quick orientation which consisted of being told to talk softly to the rabbits, step into the open enclosure, sit down, and wait for the bunny to approach.

2014-10-21 16.58.01

This little girl has already found a forever home! Yippie!

Once the rabbit is near you, keep talking in low tones and pet them. Apparently, these two things are all the bunny wants from you. They’re quite social animals and want a significant amount of interaction from their human friends.

The first bunny I interacted with was Clover, a sweet and extremely soft-furred-rabbit of the Rex species.

2014-10-21 16.00.20   2014-10-21 16.01.50 At first, she was a little shy, but eventually she warmed up to me

2014-10-21 16.03.56

I kid you not when I say that this species of rabbit have the SOFTEST fur I’ve ever felt. It was like petting a stuffed animal for 15 minutes, and she even almost fell asleep while I was sitting with her!

2014-10-21 16.27.22 2014-10-21 16.32.30

I moved around the room and made lots of new friends, including this big guy, who goes by the name of Snowy. This hulking Norwegian rabbit was as big as a house cat and really needed some love and attention- I managed to groom off another bunny’s worth of fur from this sweet guy!

2014-10-21 16.48.442014-10-21 16.57.18

I absolutely fell in love with a few of these buns, including Zia (On the left) and Frasier (On the right) Zia had the most beautiful blue eyes and loved all the attention she was getting, and Frasier was the cutest Lion Head rabbit with tufts of hair that were like a little mane behind his ears.

2014-10-21 16.58.222014-10-21 16.58.27

Some buns really wanted (and needed) lots of attention and love, like Jasper here. He would hop over to the side of the enclosure when I came near and stand up on his hind legs or try to jam his face through the bars, hoping to get a pat or two.

Once again, I found that I had lost track of time (turning into a trend with these animal-centric volunteering gigs- I’m having so much fun I don’t want to leave!) and we had to run to work, so we said goodbye to our soft, sweet new friends and headed out. We will be going back next week and I know it’s going to take everything in my power not to come home with a new furry friend… (danger, DANGER Seena Robinson!)

All photos taken by me!

If you are interested in welcoming a sweet bunny into your home, or just want to help support this non-profit organization that relies entirely on donation (amazing!) visit their website here!

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 8.00.23 PM