What’s so wonderful about helping bunnies?

Retired couple visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary a couple of times a year to volunteer with rabbits. They do everything, from cleaning to snuggling
By Christelle L. Del Prete

Every time they visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Barbara Adams and Larry Schettel bring T-shirts for their (human) friends at the Bunny House. Designed by Larry, a graphic artist, they have cartoon bunnies on them along with cute and clever sayings like “Team Energizer Bunny.” That description couldn’t be any more fitting for this motivated, hard-working and fun couple.

Becoming rabbit volunteers

Twice a year, the retired couple travel to the Sanctuary from their home in the Chicago area and spend nearly two weeks working at the Bunny House. Those visits are highlights in their year and they make them a priority. Barbara and Larry started the tradition 13 years ago after having donated to Best Friends for about six years. Between the two of them, they’ve put in approximately 2,000 volunteer hours since that first visit.

During the first trip, they worked at Dogtown, Cat World, Marshall’s Piggy Paradise and the Bunny House; however, once they landed among their rabbit friends, there was no going back. They were bunny volunteers through and through.

Volunteer at the Sanctuary

Barbara and Larry are experienced with bunny rabbit care. They have fostered and adopted rabbits from the House Rabbit Society (a rabbit rescue organization that also provides lots of bunny care info to the public). They’ve loved the rabbits they’ve had as pets over the years and they love their furry friends at the Sanctuary.

Snuggle time with rescued bunnies

Bunny House volunteers Barbara and Larry holding Cinnabun the rabbitBarbara and Larry are still doing the kinds of tasks that would fall to the very bottom of the wish list for most. There’s endless laundry that they eagerly tackle. They also mop floors, clean windows and clear stopped-up drains as needed. Do they mind? Not at all. They like to make themselves useful and they have fun doing it. “We come here to work and make things easier for the caregivers so they can spend more time with the bunnies,” Larry says.

That’s not to say they don’t get any snuggle time with the bunnies to themselves. “Usually when you’re cleaning inside, you’re making noise, so the bunnies go outside,” Barbara says. ‘But some of them do stay indoors, and I’ve been known to sit in a bunny room and cuddle with them.”

A first-class bunny paradise

Through the years, Barbara and Larry have proudly watched the Bunny House grow into the first-class bunny paradise it is today. They love the folks who work there and like to bring them gifts, because they are always welcomed with open arms, trusted to work as part of the team and appreciated for their time, effort and dedication.

Although they return to their hotel room tired at the end of every volunteer shift, it’s a truly energizing and rewarding experience for them. “We always have a wonderful time here, and we always go home feeling refreshed,” Barbara says.

Looking for ways to support animal rescue?

Barbara the Bunny House volunteer sitting in a chair holding Cinnabun the rabbit while her husband kneels next to them and pets the bunny

Photos by Molly Wald