The enthusiastic workers at Children’s Fairyland were hit hard by sicknesses of all varieties this winter, but we covered for each other and made sure our ailments didn’t get in the way of delighting the many thousands of kids, parents, and grandparents who visited us over the holiday season.

Last week, as our weekly staff meeting approached, my sick and tired team respectfully requested that we cancel the weekly check-in. Soon after, a message squawked on the walkie-talkies throughout the park: “Come see the bunnies in Jamie’s office!”

And so it came to pass that I discovered the curative and restorative powers of holding six- week old baby bunnies. I recommend the activity wholeheartedly.

Jamie Hammer is Fairyland’s experienced animal caretaker, but even she underestimated the ability of rabbits to do what rabbits are best known for. Maybe she hadn’t thought that a 10-pound female rabbit (Thumper) could successfully mate with a two-pound male (appropriately named Runt) of a different breed. And she definitely hadn’t realized that male rabbits could mate before they were six months old, a lesson she learned when she discovered the nest of babies three days after Runt had been neutered.

But love will find a way. Thumper, a rescue of the Californian breed (typically raised for their fur and meat) and Runt, a registered Lionhead, a breed that’s often shown, had defied the odds by creating eight bunnies of exceptional cuteness and softness.

The rabbits are Jamie’s personal menagerie. She grew up on a cattle ranch and has lived with chinchillas, horses, dogs, cats and even bearded dragons, but her current living situation allows for rabbits only. That’s why she jumped (pun intended) at the chance to care for our miniature donkeys, alpaca, pony, miniature goats and sheep, and the rest of Fairyland’s animal friends.

She—and all of us—were curious to see what the offspring of the two seemingly mismatched rabbits would look like. Big? Little? White? Brown? Answer: six are black, two are white, and their sizes vary. The biggest bunny (named Goliath) is already as big as his dad Runt, an attentive father who will not leave Thumper’s side.

When the word went out about the bunnyfest, there was a staff stampede to Jamie’s office. “I just wanted to share the bunny love,” Jamie said, adding that she was glad she had enough bunnies to accommodate all of us.

After being handed the little balls of soft, everything got quiet as staffers silently rocked their charges. “They’re so gentle and tender, and they love to cuddle on your neck,” Jamie says. “It’s absolutely therapeutic.”

Jamie has already found homes for all of the babies, but being something of a softie, she has just agreed to adopt another Lionhead rescue. She blames her boyfriend for this “bunny madness,” since he was the one who brought the first rabbit home from a garage sale.

When Fairyland’s board members came to the park for a meeting the next day, they noticed unfamiliar traces of wood shavings on the carpeting; bits of nesting material that had drifted down from the rabbits’ dense fur. “Staff meeting,” I said, with no further explanation.

 

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