Pets on Campus: Greg the Bunny

Name: Greg! He’s from the bunny bunch rabbit rescue in Montclair. I volunteered with them during sophomore year after I adopted him. They do amazing work with small mammals!

Owner/dorm: My name is Helen, and I’m a junior physics major living in Drinkward! I have lived with animals my entire life, so I only lasted about a month into freshman year until it became impossible for me to get by without being an animal caregiver. That responsibility is part of my identity, and it doesn’t feel correct to come home without having a litterbox to clean or a creature to comfort.

Age: He will be 4 years old around January! We don’t know for certain since he’s a rehomed rescue. Rabbits live about 10 years!

Habits: He sits next to my feet when I’m working at my desk and nudges my shoes when I’m not petting him enough!

Fun fact: He is litterbox trained and clicker-trained, meaning I can train him using simple food rewards when I have the time to do that consistently lol. Right now he can touch his nose to the end of a rod, which is the precursor to agility training! His favorite foods are dandelion greens, fresh hay, and dried sugarcane!

FAQ:

Why doesn’t he go outside?

A couple reasons. First, a lot of people walk their dogs around campus off-leash. People think that the wild rabbits are free game for their dogs to chase, and don’t control them. Also, rabbits are not comfortable around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so our hot climate is not acceptable for domesticated rabbits. Finally, RHDV2 has proliferated among wild rabbit populations in California. This is a highly contagious virus that will cause internal bleeding if a bunny comes into contact with places where infected wild bunnies have been.

Can I see him?

YES! I hold office hours (groffice hours) intermittently when I have time. I love when people come by because I love talking about Greg, animals in general, and my various projects working with animals! We live in Drinkward 116. Please don’t knock if my door is closed — it’ll scare Greg! To get a feed of my schedule, please join the “Greg Enjoyers” Discord server, where I post office hours as well as fun funky fresh “animal of the day” facts about some fun funky fresh animals (https://discord.gg/zXcmzpCC2C). If you want to schedule a time to see him, please get in touch with me in Discord DMs. He’s also on Instagram: @hyste_with_buns

What do you do with animals, anyway?

I’m a big nerd about exotic animal keeping, zookeeping, zoology, and all the philosophies therein. I like to have frank conversations with people about humane euthanasia, spaying/neutering, colonial undertones in conservation, and the misnomer of “animal rights.” I find that a lot of people haven’t been exposed to animal welfare philosophy outside of PETA or veganism advocates, who usually don’t work with animals themselves. I highly recommend the herpetology class taught periodically by Dr. Preest at CMC! I have been a care volunteer at three different cat rescues, as well as the rabbit shelter nearby! I did a 12-week wildlife rehab stint back home over the summer and I’m trying to get involved with it in our area! If you see sick or injured wildlife, feel free to get in touch with me on Discord!

What’s the hardest part about owning your animal?

Travel. Don’t get a pet at Mudd unless you have a way to bring it back home with you. You don’t realize how much you travel until you have a fluffy monster you need to schlep along with you, who hates being in the car and might go into organ failure if you spend too long on one continuous trip. Veterinarians are also a big cost, so I have a budget that includes about $1000 every year for all of his expenses. I had to plan really carefully to find a petsitter to take care of him when I study abroad next semester! It also helps a lot to have your own car so that veterinary emergencies are less logistically challenging. Also, fitting in with the community is harder than most people realize! Greg is not an ESA (emotional support animal), so I have to be careful how much I impose upon the community. I live on a quiet, pet-friendly floor, so that Greg is not causing allergies or enforcing noise rules that are not already a part of the Drinkward dorm culture.

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