Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Our Thanksgiving Rabbit

Don't choke!!! Of course it's not what you think and there's a story behind that title... but first, I want you to meet Shelley, our new adopted bunny from Farm Sanctuary:

Isn't she a cutie??! We adopted her just over a week ago, after Urban Vegan posted about adopting a chicken. I had heard about Farm Sanctuary, but never looked into an adoption until I read Urban Vegan's post. I thought that our daughters would love to know that they are helping an animal (in addition to not eating them)!

When we got the picture and this adoption certificate, our older daughter was thrilled. I explained to her that this bunny was rescued from someone that wasn't being good to her, and that now she is being loved and well cared for. At first she wondered why Shelley wasn't coming to live with us, and we have explained that if we ever visit California, we will go see Shelley!

Now, here's the Thanksgiving story. Initially I was going to adopt a turkey or chicken since it is very close to our Canadian Thanksgiving. I was talking to my mom that same day, and said "so, we are going to adopt a turkey for Thanksgiving". "Uh, what?", she replied. "Yeah, when everyone else is eating turkeys for Thanksgiving we are going to adopt one through a shelter for rescued animals", I explain. She said "oh, we aren't having turkey this year for Thanksgiving, hunny, we are having fish". I exclaim "Mom! Fish ARE animals - like turkeys they live, breathe, and have blood... you are still having an animal for Thanksgiving". She says, "I know hunny... oh my, you're funny, and I still love you".

My mom is very proud of my cookbooks and my work, but she will probably never change. When we said our goodbyes leaving St. John's, our older daughter shouted from the car "and Nanny, just get all those eggs and milk out of your fridge, Nanny... it's just not good for you, just get it all out"!

Moral of this story: Don't expect to 'change' the people you love. You can give information, give encouragement and even give food! After that it's their decision. My mom eats more healthy foods now than she used to, but she still eats dairy, eggs, chicken and fish. I love her, yet I cannot change how she eats.

Finally, to make this short story long... when we looked at the adoption information at Farm Sanctuary, we realized we could budget the adoption of a small animal like a turkey, goose, duck or rabbit and so we gave our daughter the choice. She really fell in love with adopting a rabbit. Even though we thought it would be most appropriate to adopt a turkey for Thanksgiving, we have ourselves a rabbit for Thanksgiving!

Thanks Urban Vegan for your post and inspiration to adopt. :)


bazu said...

Oh, cute! I have just decided to adopt a turkey, will keep everyone posted! I bet your daughter must be so happy and I hope she knows what a good thing she's doing by being so compassionate.

Harmonia said...

Adorable! :) Congrats on the adoption! What a wonderful thing!

Anonymous said...

LOL @ Mom! "you're funny but I still love you"

I'm giggling.

that bunny is cute.


kris said...

That's very sweet, Dreena! This will be our third year adopting a turkey from Farm Sanctuary. We always use the card they send us as a center piece for dinner that way any family that is with us can reflect on the fact that you can still have a turkey on the table but not eat it.

I feel for you in regards to your mother's attitude. It's hard to love someone and not have them understand something that is so important to you. My family for the most part is very understanding, or at least keeps their mouths shut. My hubby's family loves to lament over how they would love to do what we're doing, but they just can't drop the meat. What's worse, someone not getting it or someone pretending to get it, but not accepting it? Hmmm...

I love that your daughter is just taking charge, telling everyone how it is and making plans to "knock down" everything that's not in line with veganism. How cute!

laura jesser said...

Oh, how nice! Cute bunny! I was really inspired by Urban Vegan's post too... I'm glad your girls will get to share in doing something that's good and compassionate!

My parents still don't know I'm vegan... Talk of the holidays is starting to come up, so I think I'm going to have to come out with it pretty soon. My mom will probably never change either--I just hope she's as good natured about it as your mother!

Anonymous said...

Shelley is very cute! My husband gave me an adopted Farm Sanctuary rabbit a few weeks ago for my birthday. Also included is a trip to visit he or she (we haven't received our paperwork yet) in Orland. The trip is only about three hours and I can't wait to go in a few weeks. I would be happy to take some pictures of Ms. Shelley for you and your girls.

I am hoping when we go I can convince him to adopt a chicken too :)


raising_kahne said...

aww. Shelly is so cute! I think it's adorable that your little girl would try to help her grandmother like that! My best friend didnt really think my going vegetarian then vegan was a very good one. she didnt understand it at all. However, she did listen to me when I would explain that it's not all fun for the animals , then a painless slaughter. Yesterday she told me that she has been thinking about it quite a bit, and is really wanting to go vegetarian now! Im not sure if she is really going to do it, but I sure hope she does!

Danielle said...

Awww, what a cute bunny.

And I so understand your trials and tribulations with your family. My mom says she's proud of me and seems to think it's neat that I'm a vegan, at least until she is physically confronted with it and has to feed me or make sure there's a place where we can eat.

quagga said...

What a nice blog! I live not too far from the Orland Farm Sanctuary and have so far arranged for three local field trips there for my community (long story involving our local co-op). I'll definitely keep an eye out for Shelley and blow her a kiss. (Visitors aren't allowed to touch the rabbits or chickens.)

If anyone is planning to visit FS-West, I encourage them to make a short detour and check out Chico. Get more info and restaurant suggestions at

My mom still laughs at me. For all sorts of reasons. I know she'll never change, too.

Thanks for the great blogs and great books, Dreena.

EatPeacePlease said...

This is great. I can't get over how your daughter screamed from the car to Nanny! That is great, just imagine (or not) what she will say in years to come. I think it will be a good thing.

I have the Farm Sanctuary info here at home and I plan on adopting as well. I'm glad blogging can spread the word.

Emmy said...

Congrats on your bunny adoption :)

I enjoyed the moral of the story. It's the same thing with my parents. They will never be veg but at least they eat better now (less animal products).

Urban Vegan said...

Shelley is beautiful and so are you too for adopting her.

Maybe she and Agnes [my chicken] are buddies?

Gaia said...

What great news for Shelley !
And she's so cute ! We love bunnies. Our Weenie is 8y.o. and we love her so much...

Your daugther, I'm sure a lot of us want to give her a big virtual hug :))

And I can't wait until that issue of VegNews. I'm all over those nutrient-rich foods these days ;-)

Dreena said...

Awesome Bazu!... hey, maybe you will have the 'turkey for Thanksgiving' then?!

Thanks Harmonia. Oh, and I was feeling your frustration yesterday about the spinach. Have you listened to the Erik's Diner podcast from a few days ago - all about the spinach ordeal. Check it out at

Dayle, I know... you can just hear mom saying that, can't you?! Too funny!!

Kris, that is a FANTASTIC idea - putting the photo card of your turkey on your table during the holidays - love that! oh, and your question... I think it's worse when people 'get it', but don't accept it and change - at least to me it is.

Wow, Laura, I guess you'll be comin' out of the vegan closet during the holidays, huh? I say the best way to tell them is to cook them a yummy meal and a fabu dessert and say, 'oh, by the way this is all meat/dairy/egg-free'... 'and so am I now'! However you do it, let me know how it goes!!

Awww, Gretchen, that is so sweet! What a thoughtful gift. Please do send a 'hi' to Shelley for us when you visit Farm Sanctuary! :)

Savanna, I think that is a very 'normal' reaction for most people - because the meat/dairy/egg messages have been swamping us from childhood, so it is a natural reaction for our friends/family to be 'concerned' that we aren't eating healthy. Sounds like she is receptive to more information and change - that's excellent, and you are no doubt a terrific mentor for her if she does make the transition. :)

Hi Danielle, yeah, it's frustrating for all of us that have loved ones that we want to eat healthier, but they just don't do it for whatever reason - probably because they think it's too hard, which we know it isn't at all! At least it doesn't discourage you from doing the right thing and eating vegan!!

Thanks Quagga for that lovely comment and that extra info! Super of you to organize field trips to the Sanctuary... for older children, or adults - maybe both?

Leslie, she is a firecracker to say the least. Very independent and much too stubborn and strong-willed for us at times! :) Blogging is such a powerful too to spread a positive message and initiate change. I'm sure you'll tell us if you decide to adopt to... I will have to guess which animal you choose..?.. hmmmmm

Thanks Emmy, and yeah, even small changes are helpful but as we know, getting dairy/eggs/chicken, etc out of the diet has much more impact than just cutting out red meat - which people think is such a radical change. Baby steps towards more change I keep telling myself... (wishfully)

Oh, you're a sweetie, Urban Vegan, thank you. Really, though, it was all down to your post that got me to adopt. I don't think it would have occurred to me to do so if I hadn't read your post. So... thanks! :)

Thanks Gaia... and I just had to go check out Weenie's photo on your blog - cute!! 8 yrs - that's a good age for a bunny, isn't it?

Vicki said...

now you have a wonderful reason to visit California!! I'm thinking Easter time.... Favorite Food: Celery and Carrots! LOL! :o)

maybepigscanfly said...

Your daughter is so cute- and amazingly knowledgeable for her age. My family hasn't taken so well to the whole "vegan thing", but I hope that with time they'll be more comfortable with it and possibly explore vegetarianism. It's so hard when your family has trouble accepting a choice that you make based on strong personal morals. I don't think I'll ever change them, nor do I plan on trying to- simply getting them to accept my choice and understand why I've made this decision is my main goal. Ok no more ranting.

It's great that you've adopted the bunny- maybe it will encourage others to follow!

I hope the new cookbook is going well!

(ooh and I'm with Vicki- it's time to make a trip down to California!)

Harmonia said...

Dreena - thanks for the comments about the spinach...I will check out the podcast! Also thanks for commenting on my blog about my self improvement category and the soda! Like I said, I don't drink much but I want to make it so I don't drink it at all. Ihave tried various "good" or natural sodas such as that new Green Tea Soda and the Jamacian Brews or Ginger Brews...they are a nice change when you need that fizzy drink.

Thanks again! Have a great weekend!

DreamQueen said...

What a sweet bunn! I love her quizzical ears.

Ilana said...

This entry is why I hate reading your blog sometimes. Your entries about food are wonderful, but sometimes I feel like you spend too much time preoccupied with criticizing those who don't choose a vegan lifestyle for the sole reason that they didn't choose YOUR lifestyle. I mean, even your own mother? Come on, Dreena. You can be better than this. It makes your blog very negative. Instead of criticizing everyone who ISN'T vegan, spend more time on why YOU are vegan and why you enjoy being vegan as a part of your own lifestyle choice. It would make your blog much more pleasant. I just get disgusted sometimes and have to scroll right past these entries. You undermine the good work you do by criticizing those who aren't vegan. It alienates your non-vegan readers, as well.