Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 

        Excursions:  Animal Rehabilitation on the East End

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 15 years I've produced my share of live tv cooking segments, but never had much time to devote to cooking myself.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the east end of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Cooking, living, exploring and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.

Had a great time at the benefit for The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center.  Located in Hampton Bays, the EA Wildlife Rescue Center rehabilitates wildlife injured or affected by humans in their habitat. It's a not-for-profit organization, so they depend almost entirely on donations.  

I admire what they do, having accidentally happened upon them a few years back, when I found an animal in need.

I was walking out in the big empty field behind our property with Lexie, my golden retriever. The field is so large and undeveloped that deer bed down there on a regular basis. No one walks back there for fear of ticks, of which there are plenty. I've gone through my fair share of bug spray just to walk back there.

We've worn down a circular path from our daily (sometimes twice a day) walks back there. We always follow that path and stay out of the brush, not just because of ticks, but out of respect for the animals that live there or pass through; I've seen deer, rabbits, fox, hawks, groundhogs and wild turkey.

Strolling one summer afternoon I noticed a small brown thing lying on the path ahead of me. Lexie had literally stepped right over it, not even noticing the small form. When I bent down for a closer look I saw a small, somewhat undeveloped animal, still very pink and hairless. It had longish ears, no tail and its eyes were still shut close. It looked like a baby rabbit, but I wasn't sure because it was still so tiny.

I examined the area it lay in, kind of sprawled on the dirt path amongst the weeds. Was this a place a mother rabbit would leave her young, I wondered, it didn't seem safe. I could have stepped on it, Lexie or some other animal could have stumbled across it, because it wasn't hidden. I had read that mother rabbits leave their young in a hidden place all day, while she forages, visiting them only once or twice a day.  So I left it lying there and walked away, even though every bone in my body wanted to scoop it up and take it home.

It was late in the day now, the hot sun was lower in the sky and the shadows were getting longer. I had to give the mother rabbit or whatever it was a chance to come back and reclaim her baby.

I headed back to the house to make dinner, but I wondered what I should do. Should I go back and check on it? What about when it got dark? The thought of a feral cat or raccoon grabbing the little animal tore me up inside, even though I knew that was part of nature. If I had never seen it, that's probably what would happen and I'd never be the wiser.

By the time we finished with dinner, it was dusk. I walked back to the field by myself, carrying a flashlight. It had been about two hours since I'd left the little animal alone. I couldn't think of anything else, it was driving me crazy. When I got to the spot, I flashed the light onto the ground. It was still there, nothing had changed. I knew I would never sleep that night leaving it there, so I scooped it up and took it home.

The animal's eyes were still shut tight, but it moved quite a bit, squirming in my hands. I tucked the flashlight under my arm and headed back to the house.

The little thing didn't seem hurt, so I put it in a small box with some tissue paper to lie on. I tried to touch it as little as possible, leaving it alone.

Now what? I didn't know how to care for a wild baby animal, whatever it was. I immediately went online to see where I could take it, to a veterinarian? A petting zoo? That's how I came up The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Center. I called them first thing the next morning and they told me to bring the animal in.

It was still alive, having made it through the night. When they saw it they immediately identified it as a baby rabbit and peppered me with questions. Where had I found it? Had I waited long enough to give the mother time to reclaim it?

When I explained it had been lying on a dirt path in the open and I had narrowly avoided stepping on it, they seemed comfortable with accepting it.

They nursed my little rabbit for several weeks, until it was a healthy looking baby rabbit, before letting it loose in the wild. They even let me come back to see how it was doing before setting it free. I never learned if the rabbit was a male or female, I didn't want to get attached. But everytime I see a wild rabbit dart past me outside I wonder. I've become a huge fan of EAWRC and what they do ever since.

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