Belinda Says Hay: “Creative Differences”

Belinda the Spokesrabbit for Small Pet Select


Hello. It’s Belinda.

I do not know what to say about this week. I am at my wit’s end, if you want to know the truth. Eating so much hay my face hurts. Which I suppose is taboo for a spokesrabbit to say but regardless.

In fact, figuring out what I’m supposed to do and not do in this job is the point. It’s the reason I’m in a mood.

From the first day on the job, I’ve been “playing it by ear.” No job description so I just do whatever feels natural. Testing all the products. Posing for photos. Answering questions on Facebook. You name it.

My one-year anniversary is Labor Day weekend so I must be doing something right. I made it this far plus I even got promoted.

So this week I thought I would stretch myself a bit. Show some initiative with a project without being asked.

And the whole thing backfired.

It all started when I asked my agent if I could work at her house for a few days. To get away from my roommate and my boyfriend’s companion and the talking.

My agent set me up in her office. She gave me three kinds of timothy hay, a digging box and a stack of reports to review.

“There you go, Belinda. If you need anything, just thump.”

She closed the door behind her and I got to work.

A few hours later, she knocked and came in carrying a little plate.

“Here’s some of that top-secret herb and flower mix. I noticed how much you liked it at your Hay Moon party.”

She placed it on the floor and walked out.

I dug into it immediately. Not sure when this new blend is “going live” but I predict it will be a huge hit.

All the blends are good—Zen Tranquility, Vita-licious, Flower Power Berry Boost. But this one has chamomile, clover blossom, rose petals and buds, hibiscus, lavender, elder flowers and I don’t know what else.

When I finished eating and I turned back to my papers, I couldn’t stop thinking about the way all those flowers tasted. Hard to focus on spreadsheets when you have a craving for elder flowers.

That’s when it hit me. I’m a spokesrabbit. My job is to spread the word about Small Pet Select to rabbits and vice versa.

So I spent the next three hours working on the marketing plan for the new herbal flower mix.

To be honest, I spent the entire time coming up with a name. I found a thesaurus on the bookshelf, which helped when I ran out of new words for “blend” and “mixture.”

I submitted about 25 names to my agent.

They were all good, but my favorites were:

  • Floral Flakes
  • Shredded Petals Mix
  • Flower not Flour Blend
  • Posy Fusion
  • Hush Hush Roommate Mix
  • Mélange de Fleurs Biologiques

You might be wondering about the last one. It means “organic flower mix.” Which is fine but the French words are fancier.

A fancy name needs a sophisticated label. Like something from a museum.

So I messed around on the laptop and I came up with this:

Belinda Says Hay Proposed Product Bag


As you can imagine, I was very excited to show all of the above to my agent.

She read the list of names. Then she looked at the design for the label. She didn’t say a word for a few minutes. Instead she stood at the bookcase, moving things around.

Finally she said she “appreciated all of my time and effort” and that my ideas were “creative.” She regretted that the company would not be able to use them as a name was already chosen for the new blend.

So there you go. I should have learned my lesson back in January, when I developed all the new products for 2018. Same thing happened then. “We like your ideas but actually we don’t like them.”

I won’t be eating that mix anymore, by the way.

This whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Sincerely,

Belinda,

Spokesrabbit, Small Pet Select

WE'VE GOT EVERY LITTLE ANIMAL'S FAVORITE THINGS.

Not just HAY...we've got

TOYS

TREATS

BEDDING

GREAT HOUSES AND OTHER HABITATS

GROOMING ACCESSORIES

Belinda Says Hay: “I Can’t Think Straight”

Beliinda Says Hay Masthead


Hello. It’s Belinda.

I’m sorry if this blog post runs every which way but I can’t think straight. And considering what’s coming up in a few weeks this is not the time to be “off my game.”

It’s my roommate. She interrupts me every five minutes even though I’m trying to work.

The thing is she’s been sick all week. Coughing and sneezing and staggering through the house in her pajamas. Still wearing them at three o’clock in the afternoon.

“What are you working on, Belinda?” Looking over my shoulder at my confidential papers. So I have to shuffle them around in a panic like I lost something.

And then instead of resting in bed she stands in front of the refrigerator with the door wide open. Which is a problem for two reasons. One, the romaine and parsley, etc., is supposed to stay cold. I’m sorry but I like my greens crisp.

Two, when I hear the refrigerator door I expect to hear bags. And then no matter what I’m working on I’m up the steps. It’s a distraction.

So the entire time she’s hanging onto the door handles, looking in the fridge like she’s watching a TV show, I’m on the bottom floor listening instead of working.

Then there’s the other wrinkle. My boyfriend’s companion has moved back to the bottom floor. “Part-time.”

It all started when I invited her to my Hay Moon party and she said no thank you. Because she wanted to spend the evening with The English. Even though after four weeks of “dates” he keeps stealing her food and chasing her through the kitchen. None of my business but I can hear it.

My roommate said it was time to try a new tactic. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

So she set up a big pen in the bottom floor with new throw rugs, a large manger stuffed with three types of hay, a ceramic water bowl and a bed. There’s even a plate just for herbal blends.

She carried my boyfriend’s companion downstairs on Monday around 9 p.m.

“Here’s your new bedroom. You can have slumber parties down here with Belinda. Then back upstairs during the day.”

That’s how it was supposed to work.

But suddenly my boyfriend’s companion has insomnia. She says she hears noises in the back yard all night. And crickets in the walls.

All I know is when I wake up for a midnight chew or to use the litterbox, I glance over at her pen. Just out of habit. And every single time she’s sitting there, wide awake. Staring at me.

“Do you still have those snackers from the party?”

I pretend I don’t hear. Don’t want to get into it at 2 a.m.

After I’m settled and almost back to sleep she’ll start up again.

“I could go for a snacker. Help me sleep.”

All I can say is I’m glad the lights are off.

“Pear blueberry. One pear blueberry healthy snacker.”

Eventually I nod off despite the chatter. But it’s a nervous sleep and I’m not well-rested for work.

And with my roommate playing with the refrigerator door and asking me the same questions all day long, it’s a wonder I can get this blog “put to bed.”

Here’s the bottom line. On Labor Day weekend, I will mark one year as a spokesrabbit.

It snuck up on me.

And I don’t want to throw that in anyone’s face here at home. But all my housemates seem to think about is “kitchen dates” and pajamas and snackers.

I don’t know what it means to hit the one-year anniversary at work. What they expect from me. How could I know?

But I need to be ready. And I can’t work under these conditions.

Sincerely,

Belinda,

Spokesrabbit, Small Pet Select

WE'VE GOT EVERY LITTLE ANIMAL'S FAVORITE THINGS.

Not just HAY...we've got

TOYS

TREATS

BEDDING

GREAT HOUSES AND OTHER HABITATS

GROOMING ACCESSORIES

Belinda Says Hay: “Hay Moon Party”

Belinda Plans a Party


Hello. It’s Belinda.

A few weeks ago, I found out the July full moon was called the “Hay Moon.” Because farmers start bringing in the crop right about now.

Seemed like a good reason to throw a party.  Especially when I saw the Hay Moon date was July 27, a Friday. Bingo.

Ever since my surprise birthday bash I’ve wanted to have another “shin-dig.” But wasn’t sure I could pull it off, if you want to know the truth. Worried about serving the wrong food. Or that nobody would come.

My roommate said don’t be silly.

So first I invited Josh from the warehouse. He wasn’t able to make it on such short notice but he promised to send “a little something” and did he ever.

Two days later it’s at the door. A big box full of special party snacks, including gourmet hay in the silver bag and two top-secret items.

I can’t say anything about them except one rhymes with bapple cabana bookies. The other is a new herbal mix with a twist. There will be a lot of “buzz” around it once it hits the website. I’m probably in trouble for writing this much.

Food was done so I moved on to decorations. First I spread hay on the floor at the bottom of the steps. To set the theme at the entrance. Then I dragged a broom from the corner to a spot beneath the window. “To draw the eye.”

Only thing left to do was invite my boyfriend’s companion. This is where things got weird.

She said she “already had plans.”

Now I have been paying attention but not in a rude way and my boyfriend’s companion does not go out much. The biggest excitement in her week is sneaking into the room beside the kitchen, which is “off limits” to rabbits.

So I figured she misunderstood.

“I’ll be serving some special hay. I hope you can join me at 9 p.m. Friday on the bottom floor.”

She said no thank you but maybe some other time.

The thing about the Hay Moon is this: Miss it and you have to wait a year for another chance.

The next afternoon I tried again. I walked up to the kitchen and stood at the fence. My boyfriend’s companion was sleeping in the shadows beside the refrigerator.

“Psst.”

No response.

“I have snackers. For the party.”

Nothing.

“Pear blueberry. Half a bag.”

She opened her eyes.

She looked at me for a long time. And then, without a word, she went back to sleep.

That’s when it hit me. She had a date with the English. That’s why she didn’t want to come to my party.

And I was right. On Friday at 9:05 p.m. I was sitting by myself on the bottom level, trying to work up a festive mood. The night light was on instead of the overhead light. So there was no glare on the window.

I could hear my boyfriend’s companion and the English running across the ceiling. And my roommate saying, “Stop that. Be nice. There’s plenty for everyone.”

Plenty of what?

Then I heard her on the steps. Walking carefully because she was carrying a big box.

“Belinda, I love your decorations! How fun.”

She sat down beside me and unpacked the box.

First she pulled out two platters—one for me and one for her.

Then she reached in and lifted out an enormous bowl. It was overflowing with salad—romaine, escarole, dandelion, chard, parsley, cilantro.

She put half on my plate and half on hers. Then she helped me to open the bags of gourmet hay and the top-secret treats.

With that, the party was on. And that’s how it went. My roommate and I relaxing, sitting on the floor, eating our special party food and enjoying the view through the window.

“Happy Hay Moon, Belinda,” she said.

And it was.

Sincerely,

Belinda,

Spokesrabbit, Small Pet Select

WE'VE GOT EVERY LITTLE ANIMAL'S FAVORITE THINGS.

Not just HAY...we've got

TOYS

TREATS

BEDDING

GREAT HOUSES AND OTHER HABITATS

GROOMING ACCESSORIES

Belinda Says Hay: “Abigail Update”

Belinda Says Hay


Hello. It’s Belinda.

Wednesday was Abigail’s two-month anniversary on the job.

I hope you have been getting the latest chapters of her novel every Wednesday. If not, be sure to sign up for her emails. She is a super storyteller.

And also a “five-star” employee. She makes it easy to be a manager.

Which is good news because if you remember how this all went down, I never planned to supervise anyone. While my coworkers were sneaking around arranging my surprise birthday party, I thought I was getting fired. So I hired Abigail to replace me.

Everyone got a big surprise, if you know what I mean.

It’s two months later and not much has changed at work. Every few weeks, Abigail sends me drafts to review. I settle next to the hay manger and start reading. Next thing you know I’ve “plowed through” three chapters and I’m itching to know what happens next.

You might wonder if I add comments or edit Abigail’s work. Not my job. Plus they are perfect as is.

My roommate says I shouldn’t micro-manage. She also tells me not to start “turf wars” and she’s right. It’s hard enough to work as a team, especially when our offices are all over the country.

Mr. Gordon and his family are in Washington state. “Home of the best hay in the world.” That’s a slogan I came up with and I don’t see it on the boxes yet. Anyway, Washington is headquarters and the main warehouse.

Josh works with the Kentucky warehouse team. My agent and I are in Pittsburgh. The customer service folks and others are in Colorado, Florida and California.  

Abigail’s also in California, which is six hours by plane and three hours by clock. Which makes scheduling our “Zoom” video meetings hit or miss.

Sometimes I log in and I expect to see her looking back at me through her webcam.

Instead all I see is this:

Belinda Head Shot

Not sure if I have the time zone wrong. Or if something is hinky in the video meeting software.

Sometimes I sit there for 45 minutes before I log off.

When we do connect I always start by asking Abigail about her family. Dale Carnegie said it and it’s still true. Show them you care. She always has a few stories that are “off the record.”

Then I tell a few about my boyfriend’s companion and the others. She always remembers to ask about my elbow and that eats up another 10 minutes if not more.

By the time we’re ready to talk business one of us is usually nodding off. So to be polite the other will say “Well I have a hard stop at 3:30” and that’s the end of the meeting.

I can’t blame Abigail for getting off track. I think it’s me.

I wake up in the morning with a big to-do list and next thing you know it’s five o’clock and I have nothing done.

Turns out that managing myself is the hardest job of all.

Sincerely,

Belinda

Spokesrabbit, Small Pet Select

WE'VE GOT EVERY LITTLE ANIMAL'S FAVORITE THINGS.

Not just HAY...we've got

TOYS

TREATS

BEDDING

GREAT HOUSES AND OTHER HABITATS

GROOMING ACCESSORIES

Belinda Says Hay: “What I Do All Day”

Belinda's typical day


Hello. It’s Belinda.

It’s kind of a risk for me to write about this but here goes.

Rabbits keep asking me about my daily schedule. I guess they’re just curious about what a spokesrabbit does at work.

I have nothing to hide. But I don’t want to mess up a good thing with my agent or Mr. Gordon.

The thing is, when I took this job, I assumed I would spend most of the day eating. Instead I spend hours on the computer or in meetings.

That’s fine with me. I like my job a lot, especially since I get to work from home. Every day is different, which keeps it interesting.

But it makes it hard to say “what I do all day.” Because it depends on my deadlines and projects. Some days are non-stop.

So, I decided to keep a log so I would remember where the time went. Also, so my managers could see why I miss meetings. It isn’t just the time zone confusion—it’s having too much on my plate.

Here’s my log from Tuesday:

6 a.m.

Wake up. Get myself together. Look for leftovers to tide me over until my roommate wakes up. Poke through yesterday’s hay.

7 a.m.

Breakfast with roommate, boyfriend’s companion and the English in the kitchen (behind fence).

7:30 a.m.

First hay. Second- and third-cut timothy.

8 a.m.

Check Small Pet Select Facebook page. Write back to friends who left nice messages.

9 a.m.

Take a look at some other Facebook pages (for research). See what Dusty Bunneh is up to. Visit Lennon the Bunny, Alice's Adventures In Bunderland, Wally and Molly and Ludwik Guinea Pig.

10:30 a.m.

Half-nap.

11 a.m.

Conference call with agent and team. Topic: Product development. Some big things are coming. That’s all I’m allowed to say.

Noon

Second hay. Plate of Flower Power Berry Boost.

1 p.m.

Under steps. Read reports from the technology team about the email situation. Worry that my friends aren’t getting my Sunday blogs.

1:30 p.m.

Try out samples from new healthy snacker “test batch.”  Order more samples. Facebook.

2 to 4:30 p.m.

Half-nap in kitchen.

4:30 p.m.

Back under steps for a chew and to review drafts from Abigail. One cliff-hanger after the next and I’ll leave it at that. “No spoilers.”

5 p.m.

More Facebook meetings and research.

5:30 p.m.

New hay. Orchard medley with a pinch of alfalfa from my stash.

6 to 8 p.m.

Relax with roommate. Watch my shows (Vegas, Antiques Road Show, The Office).

8 p.m.

Dinner in the kitchen. Romaine, parsley, red leaf lettuce. Side of pellets. Pear blueberry healthy snacker for dessert.

9:30 p.m.

Hay refresh. Roommate tucks me in.

Now I know you might be wondering, “Where is the work-life balance?”

Most days are not as hectic as Tuesday. But I work hard every day.

I might not have time logs to prove that. I do have stacks of reports and other business papers in my office under the steps.

I also have alfalfa hay stashed in my office but I’m not saying where. Even though I like working for such a great company, some parts of my day are nobody’s “business” but mine.

Sincerely,

Belinda

Spokesrabbit, Small Pet Select

WE'VE GOT EVERY LITTLE ANIMAL'S FAVORITE THINGS.

Not just HAY...we've got

TOYS

TREATS

BEDDING

GREAT HOUSES AND OTHER HABITATS

GROOMING ACCESSORIES