芬恩, who rose to college celebrity status over the past year, and Budgie, who has helped one woman live through Parkinson’s for more than a decade, have supported their owners through some of life’s biggest challenges.
Finn the big red bun
Erin Scannell said Finn, her 2-year-old Holland Lop, was her perfect match.
“He’s quite the character actually,” 她说. “He’s also probably the most loving animal I’ve ever owned. … He’s just obsessed with me.”
Often his curiosity will get Finn into predicaments — like jumping into a box that is too big for him to get out of. When Scannell comes home, Finn loves running up to the door to “chin” her — which is the term describing the bump bunnies will give to something, or someone, they want to “claim.”
Finn has been an integral part of Scannell’s mental health journey, which began her freshman year of high school, when she was first diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
“I was super shy, like extremely shy, I didn’t talk to anyone,” 她说. “And it was hard — really, really hard for a while.”
现在, Scannell has been in therapy for at least five years, and during that time she was able to work toward a point where she was able to open up more, especially during her first year at the University of Delaware.
Then she was given the opportunity to transfer to Cornell University in upstate New York
. As an animal science student
, she was thrilled to participate in its program
, 其中有 ranked in the top three in the nation
“It’s a program that I couldn’t say no to, and it was always my dream,” 她说. “And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I thought it was going to be an easy transition, but the classwork here was insane.”
The transition brought on some intense symptoms of anxiety for Scannell, including panic attacks during the night.
Her therapist offered a possible solution: Adopt a furry friend. Scannell got Finn in February 2019 and her doctor helped her certify him as an emotional support animal — that allows him to live with her in places he might not otherwise be welcome.
“Finn was the perfect reason, I remember her saying, for me to always come home at night and not spend all day at the library, working myself crazy,” 她说. “I was able to go home because there was someone who needed me at home.”
Finn hasn’t only helped her mental health
; Scannell said he has become a support for the whole community through his Instagram page
. At nearly
7,000 追随者, his handle
, was a play on a slogan for Cornell’s sports teams
Finn’s social media has created a way for students to connect with the campus and see it through his perspective while they are away and unable to socialize in person due to the pandemic
, Scannell said
And by starring in her Valentine’s Day cards
, Finn helped Scannell raise
$ 2,252 for a good cause
. She sold
500 of the bunny-grams to students and their parents at the university
. The funds are going to Cornell EARS
, the campus peer-counseling program — a community and mission Scannell said Finn has supported since day one
Taking care of each other — through Parkinson’s and arthritis
Jean Mellano of Greenport
, 纽约, and her life partner
, 史蒂夫, loved their rabbits Snoopy and Budgie very much
. After her husband’s passing in March
2015 和 Snoopy’s death three years later
, she spends most of her time with Budgie now
Seven months after the loss of Steve
, Mellano was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease
. Mellano said Budgie has been invaluable in allowing her to live with Parkinson’s
, a brain disorder that affects the central nervous system and limits movement
“Because I’ve got Parkinson’s disease, sometimes I’ll get into these pity parties, and I’ll just get on the floor and start crying and he’ll come over and kiss my face,” 她说.
When Budgie was younger, he would often do what rabbit owners call a “binky” — when rabbits run, jump and twist in the air — what Mellano calls an expression of “纯粹的喜悦。” With this move, Budgie has always been able to bring a smile to her face.
现在, Budgie, recently diagnosed with arthritis, is nearing the later years of his life at age 11. The binkies of his youth are expressed with a much more subtle movement — a head nod — as he is limited in mobility like his owner.
“I wake up in the morning to him and it is great, because I’m not alone,” 她说.
Moved to tears, she reflected on the value Budgie has brought to her life. “He took care of me and now I’m taking care of him.”
Rabbits have something special to teach humans that other pets might not
, Mellano said
. While they can become extremely affectionate
, it takes time to bond with them and earn their trust
. In a world where instant gratification is constantly sought after
, Mellano said Budgie taught her
“patience is a virtue