For The Love Of Sandy Rabbitry: Sorrowful Event Turned Passion Project

For The Love Of Sandy Rabbitry: Sorrowful Event Turned Passion Project

"Talking with Anna and watching her with the bunnies, you can see the passion in her eyes and hear the excitement in her voice."
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Imagine coming home from a tiring day of work to find your four children brokenhearted because they found their family pet had suddenly passed on. How does a parent even begin to help their children process and heal from a traumatic experience such as this? Anna Gonzalez-Smolski, Howell, New Jersey resident and owner of For The Love Of Sandy Rabbitry, would know a thing or two about healing.

Growing up, Anna was always a bunny lover and passed that love on to her four children. “[Before the rabbitry] Sandy and Sydney were the last family bunnies, both were lops. We didn’t know not to keep bunnies outside. In mid-October, we would bring them in, but Vinny built them a hutch [for outside]. Back then, it wasn’t about keeping them inside.”

Since the bunnies were in a hutch outside, they were exposed to various elements (weather conditions and unwanted animals). They were also known to be quite the Houdinis and notorious for getting out of their hutch. Gonzalez-Smolski recalls the life-changing afternoon for her family:

It was October 2011, and it was a hot month, so Sandy was still in her hutch. Before Vinnie went to work, he saw a neighbor’s dogs outside on top of our pool cover. He shooed them away but never thought to check the hutch. That afternoon the kids got off the bus, and Aidan found Sandy underneath a tree. He was only eight at the time. He said, ‘Sandy is sleeping under the tree.’ Sandy was domesticated. She would get out of her hutch, and go to the same tree and wait for us, but she was not sleeping. It was probably the neighbor’s dogs that did it; they were acting on instinct.

The Smolski family had a wake and funeral for their beloved family pet and buried her under the family tree. The family tried to heal, but the kids were very angry. It was hard for the children to see those dogs roaming the streets often; just another reminder their Sandy was gone. It also didn’t help that everyone kept saying, ‘Oh, it’s just a rabbit.’ As Anna argues, “but she was a member of the family.”

Sandy and Tyler

You can never replace a beloved pet; however, after the period of mourning, the family was ready to give their love to another bunny. This adoption sparked an idea for Anna. “We went to a local breeder. When I met the owner and saw the love and the setup she had, it inspired me to breed bunnies. I decided to start the rabbitry after Sandy. I wanted to give the kids something positive after negative.”

In 2012, For The Love Of Sandy Rabbitry (FLS) was started with three bunnies. Since that time, FLS has 10 (soon to be 12) girls and five boys. FLS specializes in purebred Holland Lops and Lionhead’s, with lines of chocolate, blue eyed whites, torts, broken patterns, and harlequins. Anna keeps a record of all the hundreds of bunnies and gets to keep in touch with some of the owners.

Talking with Anna and watching her with the bunnies, you can see the passion in her eyes and hear the excitement in her voice. Contrary to popular belief, her focus with FLS is not about the money; it is quite the opposite. “This is not to make money. All the money I make goes back to the rabbitry.” This is all for the love of bunnies--especially Sandy.

Diesel and Anna

Having lots of bunnies to love requires a lot of helping hands. The kids help feed the bunnies and clean the cages while spending quality time with the bunnies. Moreover, Anna’s husband, Vinnie, was a huge support system. “He thought I was crazy, but once he saw the personalities, he fell in love with the bunnies. I would come home, and he would be folding laundry with bunnies around.”

FLS not only helped the Smolski family move on after Sandy, but it was also a source of comfort to the family after their patriarch passed away. When asked how the bunnies helped in the healing process, Anna replies, “To answer your question. The bunnies have given us unconditional love and holding a baby bunny and knowing how much he was a part of their everyday care and love for them has helped me immensely in the grieving process.”

Life throws a lot of unexpected challenges, but it is what we do with those obstacles that define us. Anna turned a tragic event into a positive outcome for her and her family by bringing the furry joy of bunnies to other families, and she has no intention of slowing down. Anna one day hopes to have her own 4-H club to “teach people to understand how amazing rabbits are and what joy and comfort they bring.” She also hopes to one day be involved with pet therapy for seniors and children with developmental disabilities. For now, Anna is satisfied with her rabbitry, “I would love to do it as long as I can.”

For more information on For The Love of Sandy Rabbitry, please check out their website, Facebook page or Instagram.

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Cover Image Credit: Anna Gonzalez-Smolski

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30 Bee Puns To Get You Through The Day

These puns are as sweet as honey.
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There are few things in life that make me happier (and/or make me want to bury my face in my hands and groan loudly) than a well timed pun. This goes double if the pun involves some my favorite insects — bees. There's nothing quite as satisfying as uttering a bee pun when no one expects it, so here is a list of the top 30 bee puns around!

Use these puns to make your grandparents laugh, impress your date, spice up your Tinder profile, make friends with a beekeeper, break the ice at your new job or make everyone in the general vicinity wish they hadn't invited you to come hang out with them. You won't bee-lieve how many of these puns you'll be pollen for! You'll bee-come an instant hit at parties! You'll bee sure to thank me later.

1. "When a bee is in your hand, what's in your eye? Beauty. Because beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder."

2. "Bee puns really sting.

3. "Who's a bee's favorite singer? Bee-yoncé."

4. "What's a happy bumblebee's blood type? Bee positive!"


5. "Bee puns aren't that great. I don't get what all the buzz is about."

6. "Wasp are you talking about?"


7. "Naughty bee children really need to beehive."

8. "What kind of bees drop things? Fumble bees!"

9. "A bee's favorite haircut is a buzz cut!"

10. "What do you call a bee that's a sore loser? A cry bay-bee!"


11. "What's a bee's favorite flower? Bee-gonias!"

12. "Why do bees get married? Because they found their honey!"


13. "That bee is talking too quietly, it must be a mumble-bee!"

14. "Bee children take the school buzz to get to school."

15. "A bee's favorite sport is rug-bee."

16. "The bees went on strike because they wanted more honey and less working flowers."


17. "On the first day of class, bee students are given a sylla-buzz."

18. "What did one bee say to the other when they landed on the same flower? Buzz off."

19. "Who's a bee's favorite painter? Pablo Bee-casso!"

20. "A bee styles their hair with a honeycomb."

21. "When a bee writes a sonnet, they're waxing poetic."

22. "The worker bee decided to take a vacation to Stingapore last year."

23. "A bee that's been put under a spell has been bee-witched!"

24. "Say, these bee puns aren't too shab-bee."

25. "That pretentious wasp is just plain snob-bee!"

26. "Why did the bee want to use the phone? To say hi to their honey."

27. "A bee's favorite novel is the Great Gats-bee."


28. "What's a bee's favorite Spice Girls song? Wanna-bee!"

29. "What do bees like with their sushi? Wasa-bee!"

30. "Remember, bee puns are good for your health, they give you a dose of Vitamin Bee!"

Cover Image Credit: Fanaru

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5 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Plastic Waste

Beat the plastic pollution on this World Environment Day in five easy steps.

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Every year on 5th of June, United Nation's World Environment Day is celebrated to create awareness about and combat environmental issues. 143 countries participate annually in global campaigns with a new theme to focus on each year. This year's theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution." But why is reducing plastic pollution important?

Last month I sat writing a final paper for my university Language, Law and Ethics class about whether it is ethical to charge people 10 cents per plastic bag in groceries to decrease the negative environmental impact in the US. As I was researching, it appalled me that barely any steps are being taken towards sustainability in US, when UK charges 5 pence per plastic grocery bag. Flip-side being, that US uses over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps yearly, requiring 12 barrels of oil to create, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Plastic, in fact, personifies the threat to nature as it is made of non-biodegradable material — those that bacteria cannot break down, and is created from oil and natural gas, which are two non-renewable natural resources.

So how do we 'beat' the plastic pollution? Here are five ways you can make a difference by being mindful during this year's World Environment Day:

1. Take your own grocery bag

5 grocery bags per week equals 20 per month and 240 a year. That's a lot of plastic that goes waste in just buying food for yourself. Let alone the necessary festival gift-shopping and clothes- shopping that causes more plastic to go waste. Get in the habit of bringing your own bag with you whenever you shop to avoid plastic bags from grocery stores and shops.

2. Avoid plastic bottles

This one isn't as hard as it sounds, since there are so many alternative options available to us like Hydro Flasks and glass bottles. For every plastic bottle we use and discard, more plastic gets wasted.

3. BYOC - Bring Your Own Cup

This one's especially for the college students: every party you go to, so many plastic party-cups are used and thrown for each drink because there is no concept of refills. Bring your own cup to parties and picnics so that you can not only reduce the plastic usage, but also set as an example to others.

4. Refuse straws

There are so many times that you don't even realize that you sip your water or drink at the restaurant through a straw when you could directly drink from the glass. Not only that, nowadays brands are coming up with sustainable designs of reusable straws, which could be carried to anywhere and used at any time.

5. No more coffee cups

The one thing I have seen Americans drink every morning is coffee- without fail. A reusable flask or thermos instead of a disposable cup can go a long way in reducing plastic disposal considering how many Americans have coffee daily.

These are just a few of many steps you can take to become more mindful about sustainability. After all, what better day might there be to start than the World Environment Day itself?

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tonight- Alex Ruppenthal

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