I don’t know how to write this blogpost.
I feel as if it’s not truly relevant to my work as an author – even though it is the biggest inspiration thus far to write a book.
And not just any book.
It’s not just a children’s book but a book about fate, love, dreams, and following your heart.
It’s for all ages.
Something that I hope grants light and luck to whoever reads it.
But this blog isn’t about selling a book (a book that doesn’t even have a confirmed title yet but is currently called The Magical Tale of Pippin and Mo). I’m probably not ready to speak about what happened and I’m sure there are things I shouldn’t say. But I need to honour a little soul that has made such a massive impact on our lives in such a short amount of time.
It’s in times of loss that the question WHAT IF becomes rather loud.
What if – we’d made a different choice.
What if – we hadn’t been so slow to act.
What if – we stopped overthinking and over worrying and just went for it?
I hate those two little words.
They have a tendency of talking people out of following their dreams. They kill faith. They halt you ever taking a leap of chance. Caution can be valuable. Research and pondering have their place in making the right decision. However, WHAT IF has the power to take caution and pondering and fill it with fear. Fear that stops you from taking a chance that might end up changing your life.
I’ve been there.
Almost ten years ago, when I put aside the book I was writing and allowed Q and Tess to pop into my head was the biggest leap of faith of my life, yet there was a little push inside me to do it. Don’t think. Don’t wait. Don’t even pause until I’d done more diligence. I started writing, posted my very first teaser an hour later, and the rest…took care of itself.
Which leads me to now.
Three months ago, we were adopted by a wild rabbit called Pippin. She was orphaned and didn’t seem to have another fluffle (family) and became very bonded to us all. She inspired my first ever children’s book and has touched our hearts so deeply in such a short amount of time.
We had the privilege of watching Pippin grow from a teeny tiny fuzzball into a sleek incredibly smart teen. She trusted us enough to take her to the vet (twice) for medical care and permitted us to keep her in the house for two nights. Our little house rabbit, Mo, accepted her presence and was happy to have a friend but is extremely bonded to my hubby and I so he didn’t need that romantic companionship.
But Pippin did.
As she grew, her needs grew, and as much as she loved us and Mo, her hormones started kicking in and she recognized that her new needs weren’t going to be met. For three glorious months, we had the honour of hanging out with Pippin upward of four hours a day (My hubby and I live outside with Mo, so she was constantly around). (To be honest, some days it was a lot more—we started to camp on the driveway with her). On our last walk, Pippin seemed a little agitated that Mo wasn’t picking up on her fairly large hints (Mo is neutered and oblivious) and looked toward the distance where other wild bunnies were.
Up to this point, she had shown no interest whatsoever in other bunnies. They weren’t needed. She had her chosen family, even if one was a one-eyed house bunny with no balls and the others were two-legged weirdoes. However, a new interest bloomed and when we woke up the next morning, she was gone.
It’s been three days now and she hasn’t returned.
To say it’s been hard is an understatement.
Hubby and I have scouted our entire farm, looked in all the bushes, traipsed all the paddocks, and no sign of her, which makes us think she’s gone elsewhere to find a mate. There is no sign of a fight, a predator, or any other clues that she’s hurt. She was an extremely healthy, incredibly smart rabbit who would’ve run Mother Nature if she could.
We believe she’s out there, living her chosen and happiest life.
However, it doesn’t stop the doubt and guilt from creeping in.
We should’ve kept her inside even though when we had her inside for two days, she never truly settled. She paced the windows and doors, never relaxing, even with Mo there. She’d look out the window longingly at the grass and openness and told us rather loudly that as much as she loved us, she loved being wild just as much.
We should’ve built a run outside to keep her safe from predators if we’d dared to put a pen around Pippin, she would’ve chewed those bars until her gums bled. Yes, a cage would’ve protected her, but at the same time it would’ve stolen her freedom and no way would we ever do that.
We should’ve just brought her inside anyway to us, we are firm believers that each creature has a soul. Each creature has their own life, their own path, and for a time, that path included us. However, we are vehemently against making an animal do something they don’t want to do. And sure, we could’ve brought Pippin inside and put her through the stress of being an indoor bunny—keeping the doors closed when they’re usually open, and leashing her when we went outside. Not to mention undergo a risky operation to spay her and take away her old life.
We could’ve done that. For us. For our peace of mind because we’d fallen in love with this little rabbit, and we were selfish enough to want to keep her.
I’m sure, in time, she would’ve settled. She would’ve enjoyed her new indoor life and had all her needs met. But wild rabbits are evolutionally different to domestic. Their brains are different, their rectors more pronounced. They have adapted far more than domestic bunnies for a life of outdoors and freedom. Yes, some have very happy lives in people’s homes and yes, we have immense guilt that we didn’t try harder to see if she’d be happy with us, but…just like she spoke to us and said ‘I choose you as my family’ she also said ‘but on my terms thanks.’)
I suppose we were her chosen protectors. She needed us to keep watch, give love, and provide care while she grew. But…just like all children, she outgrew her need for us.
It’s insanely hard not to see her in the bush outside our front door. It breaks my heart each time I go outside and call her and she doesn’t come running. We’ve lost our appetite and had our hearts broken, and I’ve cried a river of tears at the thought that something awful happened to her.
The guilt…it’s crushing.
I wish I’d done things differently.
I wish I’d put aside my selfishness and worry about her stress and just forced her to be an indoor bunny anyway.
I wish she’d chosen to be an indoor bunny on her own terms.
Those two little words are as dangerous as what if.
And when I’m spiralling in grief and guilt, I have to remind myself that we gave her so many choices. She had access to our house and jumped in the door whenever she pleased. She was independent and some nights was happy grazing elsewhere even though Mo and I were outside. She was cheeky and stubborn and brave and wonderful and I choose to believe that she’s gone off to find a mate. And who knows, once her hormones have settled down and the honeymoon is over, she might return.
And if she does, then I might turn into the biggest hypocrite and force her to accept the indoor bunny life because having her gone has taught us that we’d be selfish enough to trap her.
I suppose this blog post is just a healing for me to say I was lucky enough to be adopted by a wild rabbit. To have yet another incident in my life that prove animals are more worthy in so many ways and has added water to a kernel of an idea I’ve had for many years.
I’ve often dreamed of opening a charity or a sanctuary. When I retire, my aim is to volunteer at as many animal rescues as possible. Even my lawyer has strict instructions to donate most of our estate to animal charities around the world. However, a small selfish part of myself wasn’t prepared to do anything right now because I work long hours, my life is busy enough, and, if I’m honest, I give so much of my heart to animals that if I have too many, I run myself dry. I find it very stressful to have so many creatures in my care because unless I’m giving them 110% all the time then I feel like I’m failing.
But…that’s another What If in disguise.
What if I open a charity and it takes up too much time?
What if it makes me stressed?
What if I can’t do it?
But…thanks to Pippin, I’m no longer going to let what if’s scare me.
With the blessing of my long-suffering husband, and in Pippin’s name and legacy, I am opening a wildlife sanctuary with a heavy preference on rabbits. Wild rabbits are considered a pest and vermin. To be killed without care. Yet they are the most incredible creatures: trusting, wise, kind, and true, and if I can give them a second chance – if they’re found at worksites or cats grab them or some kind-hearted stranger comes across a bunny who needs care, then the organizations who are equipped to aid cats and dogs but struggle to help rabbits will have somewhere to send them.
Who knows if any will come.
Who knows if I’ll succeed.
But what I do know is I can’t allow Pippin to teach us something so special without paying that gift back.
This is my gift in her name.
I am still writing her story and falling all the more in love with it. And the proceeds will go to rabbits. To the underdogs, the silent herbivores, the creatures with magical souls.
I hope to have the book out very soon.
Even though it hurts to lose her, I will treasure every day that she chose us.
And…as Pippin would say:
I dreamed a dream and it come true.
I wanted a family and I found you.
I was happy and safe while I grew to be me.
And now that I’m big, I’m ready to be free.
She’s off on another adventure, chasing another dream. And, if the day comes when she’s vanquished all her dreams and wants a quieter life, our doors, arms, and hearts are forever open.
In the meantime, I’ll write her story with the incredible Mo, so the world can know just how special she is.
If you want an email letting you know when the book is released, please fill in this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfyDQk8utWjT67U6ueXA0QOTWzkLKY46RXwsDCpgWULAFgVug/viewform