Posted: December 16, 2014, 2:20 p.m. EST
© Courtesy of Amy Mott
Amy Mott is one of the founders of Clover Patch Sanctuary, and Vlad is one of the bunnies it has helped.
South of Nashville, Tennessee, is the beautiful, historic city of Franklin. It is not just home to a unique city that centers around an active town square or showcases gorgeous homes and lush farms. It is also home to a much-needed animal shelter that caters to rabbit and guinea pig rescue — the Clover Patch Sanctuary.
The president and residing sanctuary operator is Amy Mott. Ironically she went from rescuing dogs, one of the loudest of pets, to championing the quietest of pets. Or did she?
"I've learned primarily that even the silent can have the biggest voices,” Mott said.
The first thing that strikes you about Mott is her Southern charm. She can be described as a charismatic young gal, but even more pronounced than her charisma is her warm demeanor that immediately puts you at ease. Interestingly, it is all of these traits that are key to her being a successful bunny rehabber.
© Courtesy of Greg Smith
Members of the Clover Patch Sanctuary team have a feeling of family and the animals at the sanctuary are included.
A Pet Rescue With Good Cheer
Clover Patch Sanctuary was founded by Mott and her two best friends, Erin Hall and Darrell Northcutt, in 2010. The team consists of close friends and volunteers who share a deep love of not just bunnies but of each other. "We have a family vibe and often travel and share meals together,” Mott said. "We hug each other and always remind each other that we're there and always will be for each other.”
The resident rescue animals thrive on the cheery and family-like atmosphere, and it is reflected in the shelter building itself. "CPS is set up in a large, converted garage that's been completely refurbished and heated and cooled,” Mott said. "Our walls are bright green and covered in eclectic artwork made by us and our bunny friends. The shelter houses our art studio as well so it's colorful — full of laughter and bunny snuggles with classical or swing music playing at all times.”
The only thing a bouncing bunny and a popcorning guinea pig could love more than Clover Patch Sanctuary … is a real clover patch.
© Left image courtesy of Marley Richardson/right image courtesy of Aimee Dotson
Rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing rabbits like Tank (left) and Alfred is the main mission of Clover Patch Sanctuary.
Life At The Clover Patch Sanctuary
Although rescuing bunnies and guinea pigs offers the benefits of bunny snuggles and plenty of shared salad’s, it’s also a lot of work.
"I awaken very early in the morning. I spend close to 12 hours a day in the shelter cleaning, loving bunnies and making art,” Mott said. "I spend a great deal of time in our shelter yard as well caring for our shelter ducks.” It’s a seven-day-a-week job for Mott — one that requires boundless devotion.
Many types of bunnies and guinea pigs come through the sanctuary doors for a variety of reasons. They are not always cute, little babies free of issues. Mott and her staff care for them all. There are 30 rabbits and six to 10 guinea pigs living at the sanctuary at any given time. Members of the staff have different skill sets they employ for different special needs that some rabbits and guinea pigs have.
When asked if she had any preference in types of rescued pets she cares for, Mott said she has a particular passion for discarded Easter pets. Unfortunately, there are far too many of those every year. But, all in all, she said, "I adore my bunnies, guinea pigs and ducks to the moon and back.”
© Courtesy of Aimee Dotson
The Clover Patch Sanctuary team uses its artistic talents to create and sell wonderful items to support the work of the rescue.
Funding The Passion Of Pet Rescue
Rescues are very costly to run and often rely on donations. And Mott and her friends use their second favorite passion to fund CPS — art.
"I enjoy art — making jewelry and all forms of art from recycled and discarded material,” Mott said. "I love to hike and seek out discarded metal pieces for crafting. I embrace the art of ‘locking’ otherwise known as dreadlocks. I collect vintage FireKing and adore kitsch.”
The people of CPS create unique works that they sell, including lampshades, jewelry and more. They also sell other items, including T-shirts, bumper stickers, phone cases, tote bags, etc. All of these sales help support the sanctuary, but the most important contribution people make is volunteering, fostering or — best yet — adopting. You can bet CPS will have your back along the entire way in accomplishing their mission.
"We practice the three R's — rescue, rehabilitate and re-home,” Mott said. "We are there for our adopters, even being by their sides when their bunny family leaves for the Rainbow Bridge.”
You can meet some of the wonderful people of CPS at various events, including the Midwest Bunfest, Southeast Bunfest, the Nashville Pet Expo and Nashville Pride. You might even be lucky enough to come across their vending tables that display and sell their bunny art. For now, you can admire their wares or even shop online at the Bunny Boutique on their website, their store at Zazzle as well as their store at Etsy. If you can’t make one of the events or stop by the shelter, you can always feel free to say hello on their Facebook page.
Mott’s dreams for the future are big. "My ultimate wish is to retire in my 50s leaving CPS to our young volunteers, secure in the knowledge that they'll carry on in our rescue traditions. Upon retirement, I hope to travel all over the country assisting other rescues.”
And that’s not all. "My greatest wish is that one day there is no need for Clover Patch or any rabbit rescue,” Mott said, "that people will cherish their pets and recognize their beauty and value. I want peace between rescues and kindness. We're all working together ultimately.”
Like this article? Please share it, and check out:
The Rabbit Who Will Never Be Forgotten
Rabbits Help Children With Reading
See all small animal exclusives
See all small animal news
See all Small Animal Champions articles
Are you or your pet a small animal champion? Contact us to be considered for a future article, click here>>