Chance meetings lead to best bunny buddies

Profile of Sasquatch the rabbit
Unexpected encounters in the streets of Salt Lake City and a backcountry trail in Colorado bring Sasquatch together with his new family.
By Sarah Thornton

Sometimes, the best things in life happen by chance. You meet someone or learn something that turns your life around in the greatest way, and there’s no looking back. That was certainly the case for Sasquatch, a little lionhead bunny who’d somehow wound up wandering the streets of Salt Lake City all on his own.

The first life-changing random encounter for the fluffy fellow was when he was spotted snuffling around the sidewalk by staff members of a nearby business. Though Sasquatch’s brown fur might’ve looked a lot like a wild rabbit’s, his short, round face and spiky hairdo gave him away as a stray pet. And when he was approached by the people who’d noticed him, he was more than happy to be the center of attention.

Unfortunately, despite searching, no one was able to find the stray bunny’s family. But once Sasquatch arrived at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, he gained a new — albeit temporary — family in the staff, volunteers, and visitors who immediately fell in love with him. He didn’t want a rabbit roommate, but he adored people. So he became the official breakroom bunny. Anytime a caregiver, visitor, or volunteer came into the Bunny House, it was Sasquatch’s job to greet them, and he took his duties very seriously.

And then another chance meeting, hundreds of miles away, changed his life again.

Photo courtesy of Diana Bristol

On the right bunny trail

Diana Bristol had always been a bunny person. She loved other animals, too, and had grown up with beloved dogs, cats, and even horses in her life. But there was just something about a fluffy little tail and big ole ears that set her heart aflutter. Her mom had been against getting a pet bunny when she was a child, though, so it wasn’t until Diana was an adult that she finally welcomed a rabbit into her home. It was everything she’d ever wanted.

Her bunnies, like her childhood pets, were her best friends. They went everywhere with her and provided the kind of soft, snuggly support everyone needs in their lives — especially when life was tough. “I’ve had lots of medical challenges, dealing with two different types of cancer,” says Diana. “And you go, ‘What do you want to do with this situation? How do you want to handle this?’ But it can’t consume your whole life. You get involved with (your pets). … They have always been kind of emotional support for me.”

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It had been some time since she and her husband last had a little roaming fluffball in their home, and they’d begun talking about adopting a pair of bunnies to fill the role. Diana casually checked out some local (and some not-so-local) bunny rescue organizations, but no one stood out to her.

Then, Diana learned about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. “I actually had never heard of Best Friends,” she explains. “But we met this woman who had just been there and had volunteered at the Bunny House while we were out hiking on the Colorado Trail near our home.”

The idea of a place full of so many fluffy bunnies caught Diana’s attention immediately. What did care for nearly 100 bunnies look like? What was the setup and routine like? Her curiosity led her right to the Best Friends website when she got home, and as she searched, she realized how easy it would be to go and see it for herself by volunteering.

So she and her husband signed up for three days of volunteering and drove over five hours out to the Sanctuary. They weren’t planning to adopt — just to see for themselves what it was like. But you might already see where this story is going. “Sasquatch was the office rabbit, so he met us at the door every day,” Diana recalls. “And when you pet him and you talk to him every day…” Well, like everyone else who had met him, Diana fell a bit more in love with each greeting.

She cleaned bunny runs and freshened up their laundry, meeting many, many snuffly-nosed little faces. But her mind kept going back to Sasquatch as she and her husband spent their afternoons exploring the nearby hiking trails and national parks.

She learned that he’d been born with a chronically dislocated wrist and elbow on his right front leg, and though it didn’t affect him much now, he might develop arthritis later in his life. “But we all get that,” she says, “and it doesn’t stop us.”

And so, when they returned for their third and final morning of volunteering, the decision had been made: Sasquatch was coming home with them.

Photo courtesy of Diana Bristol

The best bunny buddies

Diana says having Sasquatch in their home lit the place right back up again. Every time Sasquatch hops over to flop down next to her, or she looks down to see him at her feet, she can’t help but smile. And if ever Diana is feeling stressed or overwhelmed, Sasquatch is never far away. He’s always ready for her to lie down on the floor with him for some calm time.

And as much as Sasquatch helps her, Diana does the same for him. Even if he doesn’t want to hang out with another bunny, he still needs a friend. “When you have one rabbit, you’re their rabbit, too,” Diana explains. “You’re their support.”

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The pair hang out every day, and Diana says she and her husband spend much of their time just watching Sasquatch and being delighted at his antics. He’s learned to hop up on the couch and bounce between chairs as he pleases. He’s even leapt clear over his pen, as well as the gate that was meant to keep him in the front rooms when he’s out wandering.

But Sasquatch keeps himself out of trouble; he doesn’t chew on the old piano or other wooden bits of furniture that his predecessors left gnaw marks on. He does sometimes pull up little bits of an old carpet, but Diana says he ignores the nice rugs, so that can be forgiven. He’s fastidious about keeping his space clean as well, never having a single accident outside his litter box.

“He sleeps in the morning, he’s up about noon, he goes back to sleep, and then he’s up with us in the afternoon,” says Diana, and you can hear the smile in her voice as she talks about him. “He’s so calm. He’s totally a calm rabbit. I think the world could almost explode around him, and he would just hang out. It’s a good fit. I’m happy to have him.”

And we’re sure if Sasquatch could talk, he’d agree. He has the best bunny buddy he could ask for — and she has him.

Photo courtesy of Diana Bristol

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