I’m Lauren, and I probably like rabbits more than you do. Don’t believe me? I have one tattooed on my left leg.
You can call that dedication. Wondering where my dedication came from? A rabbit that I named Bunny (creative, I know) who was my best friend for eleven and a half years. I got my tattoo in honor of him about a year and a half after he died. Bunny was a gray Mini Lop that would lick my face for fifteen minutes straight. I got him when I was seven years old and he passed away at the end of my freshman year of college.
Bunny was more than my first pet. When I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in the seventh grade, I didn’t tell anyone. My anxiety caused me to frequently miss school and my classmates never knew the real reason why. I would tell people that I had bad stomach aches because it was true. My anxiety manifested as stomach aches for most of my younger life.
When no one around me understood how I was feeling, I had Bunny. He would always find a way to cheer me up — either by licking my face, running around my feet or sprinting around my room. I could sit there and talk to him for hours without any judgment. He didn’t understand my anxiety, I mean, he was a rabbit. But he didn’t not understand my anxiety like most of the people at school. That was good enough for me.
I was way too young to know it, but Bunny was basically an Emotional Support Animal. He would lick away my tears during a panic attack and provide me with immense comfort. He wouldn’t let me hold him, but that was his only flaw.
Bunny dying devastated me. I was away at school when it happened, so the last time I saw him was over my spring break. It felt like my whole world was crumbling. I didn’t want to return home to my room without him. When I eventually did, I hysterically cried. My house didn’t feel the same without him hopping to my door to greet me.
My parents and I knew we wanted to continue owning rabbits. About a month after Bunny’s death, we got Ollie and Stan.
Ollie is a Mini Lop (like Bunny) and Stan is a Netherland Dwarf. The pair began fighting soon after their hormones kicked in and we had to separate them. Although we wanted them to be best friends, this worked out for the best. I was able to take Stan to school with me without him being sad to leave Ollie.
Last semester, I chose to take Stan to UMass and register him as an Emotional Support Animal. Having him at school changed my entire experience. I got to come back to my dorm and have a rabbit to cuddle. It was like I was back in middle school again, coming home to an animal to cry to. Stan was there for me throughout my hardest semester of college.
This summer, I adopted a Mini Lop and Lionhead mix from a local shelter. I named her Aspen and luckily she and Stan have become the best of friends. Having Aspen and Stan with me has been one of the most beneficial treatments for my anxiety and depression. Although I am open about my mental illnesses now (clearly, I write a blog about it), sometimes I don’t want to talk when I am upset. I always have my rabbits to support me when I just want to sit and cry.
I’m Lauren, the self-proclaimed rabbit girl. I am a proud mom to Aspen and Stan, the dynamic duo. I even made them their own Instagram to share their cuteness with the world (shameless self-promo). Emotional Support Animals, namely rabbits, are the best things that ever happened to me. Without Bunny, I don’t know how I would have survived my childhood. Without Stan and Aspen, I don’t know how I would survive in college. Ollie is another story, he is definitely the rambunctious one of the group. Without him, I definitely would not be as entertained when I’m at home in New Jersey. Bunny, Ollie, Stan, and Aspen are the true loves of my life.
I’m the rabbit girl, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
PS – Happy Halloween! Enjoy Aspen and Stan in their costumes!