Inspiring Forward at Western New York Chapter of EARS

At Activus Connect, we believe in creating an impact on our communities. Because of this, we offer our Ambassadors eight (8) paid hours a year for Community Service Time which we like to call: Day of Giving. We met with Donna DiSilvestro – Young (DDY) to learn more about her experience during her Day of Giving volunteering for Western New York Chapter of EARS.

AC: Tell us a bit about the organization that you volunteered for

DDY – The Western New York Chapter of EARS was founded in Erie, PA. I worked with one of their Board Members, Michelle Kooperman during my Day of Giving. The organization takes in domestic rabbits that have been dumped or that people just don’t want anymore. They rehabilitate them as necessary and spay/neuter as needed and then get them ready for rescue/adoption.

AC: What made you choose this organization in specific? What got you motivated to lend a hand aside from the amazing cause they do?

DDY – I chose this because I belong to a companion rabbit chat on Facebook and saw a bunny I wanted to adopt – who is now my bunny named Ophelia. The short story – I had just had to put my first bunny down because she had cancer and I was looking for another companion for my other bunny. Bunnies can actually die of a broken heart and he was really showing signs of missing her. So, my first bunny was originally named Kahlua, and it just so happens that this rescue is also named Ophelia Kahlua. I saw it as a sign and fell in love with her when I met her in person at an adoption event. This organization realizes that bunnies are beautiful loving souls that deserve our care and love. Bunnies are friends, not food and bunnies are the third most adopted animal in the US!

“The joy that Ophelia has given me, my husband and my other bunny Riley is what motivated me to give back.”

– Donna DiSilvestro-Young

AC: How was your experience while volunteering? What did you do? Did you get to play with other bunnies?

DDY – During my Day of Giving at Western New York Chapter of EARS, I got to help groom a new intake bunny, and hold her and snuggle. Also, I got to play with all the other bunnies – there was a black and white one named pickles. I assisted with their bi-annual cleanout – lots of sweeping, cleaning of cages, and sorting blankets and towels.  Getting everything ready for more intakes.

AC: Could you tell us more about what an intake bunny is?

DDY – An intake bunny is what we call a rescue. So, a new bunny they have either had dropped off or they found. The one bunny I helped groom was brand new to them, they had her dropped off the day before. Thus, she needed to be groomed which involved nail trim and trimming of fur where it had been scorched from sitting in her own urine too long. After we groomed her, then medicines where administered for preventative care.

AC: If you could say a few words to encourage others to help the cause, what would those be?

DDY – House Rabbits are just that – they are domesticated and cannot be released ‘back into the wild’. In other words, when you adopt a rabbit you are committing to at least 8+ years of love and care. They should be spayed/neutered and treated as you would a member of the family.  They are a lot of work and should not be given as a gift for Easter. Bunnies are fragile as well – both physically and emotionally – and love unconditionally.

AC: Any final words you’d like to add or say?

DDY –  I love bunnies and am thrilled I was able to give back to something so near and dear to my heart and feel very fortunate to have been able to do that while taking it as a day of giving compliments of my awesome employer!