Why Bunnies?

Did you ever have a security blanket? Or maybe a favorite childhood toy you could turn to for comfort no matter how lousy you felt? Was there somewhere you could go to feel completely safe?

As a child, I always had something soft to hold or hug and feel comforted. For a while, it was a favorite blanket. After that, it was stuffed animals. And then, whenever I could, I turned to bunnies.

When I held or watched a bunny, even the most miserable day would fade away until all that existed in the world was that bunny. I imagine the feeling I got was akin to what many people experience when taking in the grandeur of nature – a beautiful, sweeping calm. For some reason, nature and I don’t always get along. So, for me – it’s bunnies.

For many years, my little sister had a bunny named Jazzy (a.k.a. Jazzy Bunny). Often, I would find myself feeling crowded or ignored in a house full of family members who all had similar interests that were worlds away from my own. I knew they loved me and meant well – it’s just that the majority opinion always won, and I was the minority. So, I would turn to Jazzy for like-minded company.

Jazzy Bunny, Photo courtesy of Lori L.
Jazzy Bunny, Photo courtesy of Lori L.

At the time, I thought of it as an escape. I would find a quiet space and hold Jazzy until I felt myself becoming calmer. Spending time with Jazzy was more fulfilling than dealing with crowds of people and listening to conversations that didn’t involve me. Whether I was holding and petting him or just watching him hop and twitch his little nose, something about those moments just felt right.

When I met the man who is now my husband, it didn’t take him long to see how important bunnies were to me. For our first Valentine’s Day, he took me to a local animal shelter and let me pick out my bunny Valentine gift. This, I believe, was the first moment I felt certain this was a man who understood me, cared deeply for me and wanted me to be happy.

For a while, I had a beautiful, fuzzy little blood pressure-reducing companion named Lloyd. I spent hours and hours watching him flop, hop and binky. I delighted in holding him, watching him explore, feeling him nudge my hand to demand more pets and listening to the munching noises he made while he ate.

Years later, I realized something about all those wonderful bunny-watching moments. I felt calm in those moments not because I had escaped from the world but because I had experienced each moment mindfully. I was living in the present, taking in every blink, sniff and ear twitch of the bunny life – satisfied to be exactly where I was.

Most of the time, it is difficult for me to become absorbed in the present moment. But when it comes to bunnies, it’s the most natural thing in the world.

There’s a familiar Zen proverb that says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I have found this to be true for me on many occasions and in many ways. And, on at least two of those occasions, my teacher was a bunny.


Has a bunny touched your life? Has a teacher come into your life in unexpected form? I would love to hear your story!

6 thoughts on “Why Bunnies?

  1. My bunny Snowdrop changed my life. I have had bunnies in my home since 1990 and I have loved them all. But Snowdrop was somehow different. He reached me on a deeper level. He is at the Rainbow Bridge now but continues to be my spiritual advisor. I’ve attached a little story my husband wrote after he left us.

    Bunnyboy, Jetty and Benny are playing in the back yard of their Phoenix home on a cold, cloudy winter afternoon. Suddenly, both brothers race over to Bunnyboy.

    Jetty: Bunnyboy, Auntie Tasha used to answer questions for us.
    Bunnyboy: Yes, she was a smart bunny and knew lots of things.
    Jetty: We have a question, but we don’t know how to ask her.
    Bunnyboy: Maybe I can help. What is it?
    Benny: What are those white flecks coming from the sky?
    Bunnyboy: Where do you see that? Oh! That’s snow! I’ve only seen it once before. It doesn’t happen here very often.
    Benny: We’ve never seen it. Where is it coming from?
    Jetty: Silly Benny, I know where it’s coming from. It’s coming from that cloud.
    Benny: I know that, and you are silly too. But why does it come from the cloud?
    Bunnyboy: Well, it’s kind of a long story.
    Benny: Please tell us!
    Bunnyboy: Ok, come here. Lie down and pay attention.
    Bunnyboy: Do you remember Auntie Tasha telling you about bunnies becoming stars in the sky?
    Jetty: We sure do! When bunnies don’t live here anymore, they become stars in the sky. If we go out at night, we look up to see them and they see us!
    Bunnyboy: That’s right and its true for almost all bunnies, but not for some.
    Benny: Oh no! You mean some bunnies don’t get to be stars!
    Bunnyboy: No, but don’t worry. A few bunnies have special names. Their names come from the natural world, where you and I live.
    Jetty: Auntie Tasha didn’t tell us that.
    Bunnyboy: You were very young then. She didn’t tell you everything.
    Bunnyboy: Do you remember when we would play outside with Snowdrop and he was on one side of the fence and we were on the other?
    Benny: Yes! He was like a bright white light and the fastest bunny we ever saw!
    Jetty: He would race around like a streak!!
    Benny: He would race this way and that way and everywhere!
    Jetty: I loved it when he played outside with us.
    Bunnyboy: So did I, except he wasn’t just playing.
    Jetty: But he was having so much fun!
    Bunnyboy: Yes, he was having fun but he was also practicing.
    Benny and Jetty fall silent while they try to figure out what Snowdrop was practicing for. Jetty hates to admit he doesn’t know something, so Benny finally asks. . . .
    Benny: Practicing for what?
    Bunnyboy: Remember what I said about bunnies with special names from the natural world?
    Bunnyboy: Well, Snowdrop had one of those names.
    Jetty: Like the snow you just told us about?
    Bunnyboy: Yes, the word “snow” was in his name. You see, Snowdrop does not live as a star in the night sky. He now lives with other bunnies who have snow in their name.
    Jetty: But where do they live?
    Bunnyboy: They live and play in winter clouds.
    Jetty: But I don’t see bunnies in clouds! And I don’t see a bunny in that cloud now.
    Bunnyboy: When you look at a cloud, you cannot see what’s in it – you can only see its outside.
    Jetty: Whoa! I didn’t think about that. But I still don’t know why the snow is coming from the cloud.
    Bunnyboy: Well, when it’s time for Snowdrop to do what he was practicing for, the first thing he does is a binky in his cloud. Then he does another one and another. Then he just takes off like crazy and runs and races and runs like you remember – like no other bunny can. He races there and back again, then suddenly he turns and rips and banks so fast all you see is a blur of white. His poor cloud freezes up in a panic and can’t get out of his way. Every cloud swirl he touches bursts into a thousand white crystals. A long tail of crystals starts billowing behind him. It gets bigger and bigger until some crystals start to fall and . . .
    Jetty: Stop! I know! I know! They drop all the way out of the cloud and we see them!
    Bunnyboy: Jetty! You are as smart as Snowdrop is fast. Does his name make sense now? Yes, Snowdrop has done his job well. His snow falls all around and everything starts to look beautiful and shiny and white. Just like him.
    Benny: I guess I know what he was practicing for.
    Bunnyboy: That’s right, Benny. Snowdrop was practicing for a very important job because when it was time, he wanted to do his best.
    Bunnyboy: Ok guys, it’s getting late. Benny, it’s time to turn in. Jetty, you too.
    Jetty starts to leave but he notices Benny hasn’t moved, and is still facing Bunnyboy.
    Bunnyboy: Benny, what is it?
    Benny: I want to tell a story.
    Jetty: Oh come on, Benny! Let’s go to bed. We already heard a story and you don’t know how to tell stories anyway.
    Benny doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t move. Bunnyboy pauses and watches Benny for a moment.
    Bunnyboy: Hold on Jetty. If Benny wants to tell a story, we can listen.

    Jetty looks annoyed, but Bunnyboy waits patiently.

    Benny: I don’t know how to start.
    Jetty: See what I mean.
    Bunnyboy: Jetty, then you go to bed and I’ll listen to Benny’s story. Benny, start by saying “My story is about” and go from there.
    Benny: OK. My story is about the first time I met Snowdrop and some stuff that happened after that.
    Jetty: Oh cool! I want to hear!
    Benny: The first time I met Snowdrop I was really scared. We were suddenly in a small place together and there was no fence between us and he wasn’t happy.
    Jetty: Oh wow! What did he do?
    Benny: He fussed and was upset and I thought he was mad at me. But he didn’t do anything bad and all of a sudden it was over and I was back with you guys. But the next day we went outside to a bigger place and there was no fence between us again. After a few minutes he came up behind me really fast.
    Jetty: Oh wow! What did you do?
    Benny: I ran away! But after a while he came up again, and I ran away again and he kept coming up and I kept running away because I was scared and well, what was I supposed to do?
    Jetty: Oh wow! What did . . .
    Bunnyboy: Jetty, enough with the “Oh wows”. Let Benny tell his story.
    Benny: I came back with you guys and then the next day I went outside with Snowdrop again. He started coming up to me again and I just ran away again. Then he left me alone for a while, and then he came up again but I was against a fence and couldn’t run away and I didn’t know what to do and he was right there. I closed my eyes really tight and hunched up and . . .
    Jetty: Did he start giving you nips?
    Benny: No, he started giving me kisses.
    Bunnyboy and Jetty are stunned. They stare silently at Benny.
    Benny: And he kept giving me kisses and he hopped away and he came back and gave me more kisses. And then every time we were together after that we had fun and sometimes we laid down together and he gave me more kisses. We became like, well, like real friends.
    Bunnyboy: Benny, that is the coolest story I ever heard! I know you guys were together some times, but I didn’t know you and Snowdrop became friends!
    Bunnyboy notices Benny is looking at the ground and being very quiet.
    Bunnyboy: Benny. What’s the matter?
    Benny: I really miss him.
    Bunnyboy: Benny, I think I understand about the snow today. It’s hard for snow to come all the way to the desert. I think Snowdrop must have tried really, really hard to make that snow for all of us, but especially for you.
    The three boys sit quietly as white crystals continue to drift down from Snowdrop’s cloud. The crystals land on the ground and on the boys. They think about Benny’s story and snow and Snowdrop.
    Bunnyboy: Ok, guys it’s really late now. Let’s go.
    Benny: Bunnyboy?
    Bunnyboy: Yes?
    Benny: Can I stay out a little longer? I think Snowdrop is giving me more kisses.
    Bunnyboy is surprised. Benny, the best bunny ever, isn’t one to ask for special favors. Bunnyboy notices the snow falling on Benny and that Benny has lowered his head and closed his eyes.
    Bunnyboy: C’mon Jetty, let’s go.
    Jetty: How come I . . .
    Bunnyboy: Jetty, follow me. Now.

    I read Bunny Buddhism everyday and record one of the passages in my journal and meditate on it for a time. Thanks you so much for this precious little book.

    Theresa Withrow

  2. Hi, Theresa. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story about Snowdrop. It is truly amazing how these little guys can touch our lives, isn’t it? I appreciate the lovely comments about the book, too – so glad to hear you are enjoying it!

  3. I remember my first bunny, Nutter. He changed my whole life as well as my family. He brought me closer to my brother and was my one best friend that didn’t care what I said because he knew that I needed him. Nutter was an amazing teacher who has now made my house a bunny haven.
    ( ) ( )

    1. Thanks for sharing this lovely story about Nutter. Bunnies do have a way of making things better, don’t they? It’s so nice to hear that he brought you closer to your brother. They can be such amazing little creatures!

  4. I had a bunny named Mr. Sparkle. He was crazy and affectionate and silly. We had a very special bond. Sometimes I would lay on the floor for hours with him, I would talk to him and he would snuggle with me. We would sit nose to nose. He taught me to live every day to the fullest because you never know when it will be your last. He left this world a little earlier than he should’ve. But I’ve always thought of him like this…”the light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly.” He will always have a piece of my heart.

    Now 8 years later, I have finally been able to open my heart to 2 new bunnies, Hazel and Fiver. They are sweet and funny and I’m enjoying every moment of getting to know them!

    1. Thank you, Donna, for sharing your story of bunniness. What a loving bunny Mr. Sparkle must have been. I am so very sorry for your loss. It is a wonderful thing that you were able to open your heart to bunnies again. I would love to see pics of Hazel and Fiver if you are willing to share them!

Leave a Reply