This is a true story recalling the way I started a bunny business as a little kid and how within a very short time it inspired my dream to acquire a private island where I could raise endangered breeds of rabbits and train them as comfort animals for people in need of hugs, hope, and hoppiness. There were lots of things that needed to happen before I first logged on to Google Earth and began searching for a place I could call Peacebunny Island.
Along the way, I became the guardian for a lot of rabbits (some of which became valued friends and mentors), conducted hundreds of classes, fostered rabbits to families wanting their own bunny experience, and shared rabbits with people who were dealing with loneliness, trauma, and grief. With a bunny snuggling up close, everything in the world can stop for a few moments and just be about love.
For me, rabbits have been a way to learn about people and how we relate to each other—and how we can do it better. Countless times, I have seen the way these furry creatures help people become more human. They change people's lives. They have changed mine.
Peacebunny Island is my special place to get away from everything with family, friends, and my rabbits. It's a place where we ask God to calm our hearts while we wait for answers to life's big questions.
Everyone has their own Peacebunny Island. It may only live in your head and your heart.
That's okay. I hope this book inspires you to journey there, just as I did.
So, the first thing you're going to want to know is what a kid from Minneapolis was doing onstage in a Philadelphia bar when I was still two years shy of becoming a teenager. Your next question will likely be where my parents were. And if you're interested in every little detail, you will want to know what song I sang.
To start, I was belting out the chorus of "Don't Stop Believin'" by the band Journey, which I learned at our hometown ice arena, where I grew up watching hockey games and singing all the songs they played to rev up the crowd.
Getting onstage wasn't my idea necessarily, but I was already entertaining those around me in a spirited sing-along with the band when the guitarist pointed his finger at me and invited me onstage. I gave him one of those You mean me? looks, and quicker than you can say "up and down the boulevard," I was in front of the microphone—and loving it.
As for being in a bar, it was part of a pub crawl, which makes the scene sound even worse, but I promise nothing sketchy was going on. I was in the second-largest city on the East Coast to attend a 'Forbes' magazine-sponsored conference for entrepreneurs under thirty years old. The organizers scheduled the pub crawl as a networking event without considering that one of the attendees would be in fifth grade. Before anyone gets worked up, I was with my mom and my very tall uncle Kris. My dad was back home, working and tending to my chores at the farm.
I had one other traveling companion, a pet named Whatchamacallit. An Angora rabbit with long, luxurious wool in various tones of gray and black, Whatchi was with me because we were, and still are, friends and business associates. My portfolio at the time included raising rare heritage breeds of rabbits, hosting Easter events and birthday parties, creating a STEM-based learning program for schools and libraries, and facilitating a foster program involving nearly three hundred families, many of which included children with autism, critical health conditions, or special needs who connected with my rabbits in a way they couldn't with us two-leggeds.
What had started as something of a whimsical quest for a pet years earlier had ballooned into a multi-layered business that my whole family had gotten involved with.
I'm not saying bunnies are smarter than people. It's just that emotionally they seem to be a little better at certain things, like listening and being patient.