"Hey buddy! Room for one more?"
"I only have room in my heart for one pet, and that’s my dog." So said Best Friends computer staffer Victor Gutschalk once upon a time. For all who aren’t yet aware, there’s a certain force of nature - ancient Egyptian magic, perhaps? - that kicks into gear whenever anyone utters words such as those. Just so you know. Victor was visiting the Nevada SPCA with other Best Friends staff. The SPCA was overcrowded with bunnies at the time, and he was helping to pick out some rabbits to come live at Best Friends. They needed some elbow room! Of course, Victor had no intention of actually falling for a rabbit. Because, you know, his heart was already occupied with one...certain...And then there was Joey. Victor had no sooner set foot into the bunny area when a certain adorable rabbit laid claim on him. Rabbits can do this, you know. They use a little technique called "chinning" -- pointing their lower chin at somebody over and over. It’s like saying, "Hey, you! Let’s be pals!" The next day when he returned, the connection was as strong as ever and Victor had to amend his rule. In addition to the 10 rabbits the Best Friends staff brought back to the sanctuary, Victor adopted Joey. Apparently, there was space in his heart for more than one animal after all. The 10 Best Friends bunnies are now all settled in, meeting new friends and happy to have a little wiggle room.And Victor and Joey? They’re having a blast together! Victor brings Joey Bishop (named after the Rat Pack comedian, since Victor found Joey in Vegas) to work with him several times a week. They play together, hang out together, go on walks together, and Victor even lets Joey take some of the more challenging computer-support phone calls at work. His dog Zoë is still very much part of the family; Victor simply realized that more friends only means more love to spread around. For anybody who is able to visit the sanctuary for the annual Best Friends talent show, be sure to come next year when Victor plans to show off Joey Bishop with clicker-training agility tricks. Gee. Think Victor found enough room in his heart for the little guy?Written by David Dickson. Photos by Molly Wald.