Rabbit Earns an “A” from Her Grad Student Adopter

Grad school was stressful until a rabbit hopped into her heart.

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Gabriella + Phoebe

The minute I made the decision to attend graduate school, I knew I wanted to adopt a pet. I have always been an animal person. The five, pet-less years following my high school graduation had left a void in a heart. A month after moving into my Boston apartment, I was on the search for my next furry friend.

"At Boston College, I am known as the “bunny girl.”"

That rainy day, I walked through the doors of the House Rabbit Network (HRN), a Massachusetts organization that not only rescues homeless rabbits and finds them good indoor homes, but also educates the public about rabbits and their care. As I looked around, my eye went straight to the corner of the room. I hadn’t seen this bun on the website. Her name was Mopsy and she was beautiful: a smoky grey-black Lionhead with a white stripe down her face, and one white little paw.

When I sat down and the volunteer brought Mopsy over to me, she was nervous but curious. I reached over, gently picked her up, and placed her on my lap. She sat there quietly for a while, accepting my pets. I smiled through teary eyes. I knew she was the one.

It has been a year since I signed the adoption papers for Mopsy—now named Phoebe—and what an amazing journey it has been so far. At Boston College, I am known as the “bunny girl.” Phoebe and I spend our time together. We share oatmeal and bananas for breakfast in the morning. She sits with me when I do my homework, and “helps” by stepping on my keyboard and picking up my pens. She is who I say goodnight to. Her presence has been invaluable to me.

As amazing as graduate school is, it has also be a stressful and trying time. Phoebe has been with me through countless anxiety spells, two breakups, and loneliness. She is always there when I get home to accept some ear scratches and treats. She is my one constant.

Phoebe and I have also grown together. When I first brought her home, she was extremely skittish and nervous. Today, she is social and intrigued by her surroundings. She understands countless human words, and is the queen of our apartment. As Phoebe grew in her security and confidence, I did as well. I have taken agency in my academics, branched out more, and learned what it means to be resilient.

Phoebe is a diva: things are only ever done on HER terms. Though I get the occasional nose-bumps, she often does not instigate cuddling. The other day, we were at the park. After looking around for a while, she faced me, climbed into my lap, and placed her paws on my shoulders. I pulled her close to me, and she nestled her head under my chin. SHE wanted to snuggle ME. It seems like such an insignificant moment, but it meant everything. Phoebe has made me feel wanted, connected, and loved.

And isn’t that all we really want?

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Gabriella Carroll won House Rabbit Network in Massachusetts a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.