Brenda +Crawford

Rabbit becomes much-needed companion for cancer patient

Brenda + Crawford

I can’t tell you why I suddenly started thinking about adopting a rabbit. My husband and I had been happily pet-free for several years. But we found Crawford at the Ohio House Rabbit Rescue, and he joined our family just before Christmas in 2014. From the very first day, he hopped into our household, we couldn’t imagine life without him. He was a perfect fit for our family.

Crawford became my constant companion in my home office. He made it clear from the start that he was housebroken, perfectly well-behaved and deserved to roam free. Who were we to disagree with that?

He sat under my chair in my office as I worked, always ready for a treat or a pat on the head. He knows his name and comes when I call him. He prefers to hang out wherever we are in the house.

I have taught him tricks, like jumping through a hoop, dropping his toys into a bowl and ringing a tiny bell. I even taught him his right from his left. We’re bowled over by how much plain English this rabbit understands. He was the perfect pet, and life seemed perfect.

"Then I got cancer."

Crawford was always there for me while I was going through the first medical tests. I was worried, but Crawford was always waiting for me when I got home and was happy to sit beside me and listen. Rabbits are great listeners. Crawford always knows when I’m scared or upset. He’ll hop over and nudge my hand, urging me to stroke his forehead. Whenever I feel sick, Crawford plants himself by my bed where he knows I can see him. And on good days when I feel better, he amuses me with games of fetch or following his target stick around.

There is anxiety, fear, depression and uncertainty that comes from living with cancer, but Crawford has been such a positive force in my life. He is, hands down, the most amazing rabbit that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He came into my life right when I needed him the most, even though I didn’t know I needed him. Knowing that he depends on me gives me a reason to keep fighting this terrible disease. And I depend on him, too. He provides a much-needed distraction from the full-time grind of my illness.

I don’t know what prompted Crawford’s previous owner to surrender him to the rescue group, but I’m very thankful that someone loved him enough to take him to a rescue group instead of abandoning him.

It gave me the opportunity to meet and adopt a funny, sassy, fuzzy little buddy with a weakness for apple slices. He knows exactly when it’s time to take a break from the stress and for me to get up, stretch and pet the bunny.

Each year, the Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Brenda Bennett won Ohio House Rabbit Rescue in Columbus, Ohio a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.