Written by Chris Boyle, firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:00
Massapequa Public Library’s Bar Harbour branch was hopping with excitement (not to mention an overload of cuteness) recently when they held their Bunnies, Bunnies, Bunnies event; a chance for kids of all ages to meet and learn all about — what else? — baby bunnies.
Judy Wilson, a Miller Place resident, is an independent contractor for Nassau and Suffolk County Library system; she normally heads many different arts and crafts programs throughout the year, but in late March every year she takes on a special responsibility that is sure to always pack the youngsters in.
“The last three weeks of March, I bring around baby bunnies, used as a welcome to the spring season...when the bunnies are here, the warm weather can’t be far behind,” she said. “We teach the children about the baby bunnies, both in the wild and as pets...how they grow up, how to hold and handle them and how to get them ready for when the bunnies are eventually old enough to leave their mothers.”
Wilson was armed with a picnic basket filled to the brim with the supreme adorableness that furry little rabbits all too easily command; the babies, numbered at 11 and all about a mere three weeks of age, were compliments of a breeder named Sue located in Ronkonkoma who loans out bunnies for educational purposes very year, Wilson said.
“I keep them at my house during that time with their mother,” she said. “And then I bring them around to the libraries to meet the children.”
A large gaggle of youngsters attended the event to meet the cuddly critters. Wilson arranged the kids in a circle around her and started off with lessons about how the bunnies are conceived and raised, as well as how their mother cares for them and proper handling procedures. And once all that was out of the way, it was time for the main event — meeting the bunnies in-person.
Each child in attendance got to take turns holding an actual baby bunny on their lap, making sure to treat and pet it in a gentle and non-threatening manner; once each kid’s turn was over they delicately handed the bunny to the child next to them. Later, once the little fuzzballs had gotten used to their new human pals, Wilson allowed them to roam freely while the kids formed a human corral with their legs.
Mike Ciffarelli was one of the many Massapequa parents that took their children to the event that ended up hanging around to meet some of the enchanting bunnies themselves; Ciffarelli noted that his daughter, Danielle, age 6, has been a long-time fan of the adorable fuzzy creatures.
“We thought that the program was excellent,” he said. “Danielle has a stuffed bunny that she sleeps with every night since she was born, and we had one incident where we went to Florida and left it on the plane, and JetBlue luckily found it and mailed it back to us. But she didn’t sleep that one night.”
Alex, age 11, was clearly a rabbit expert, offering his expertise to Wilson often; however, he still came away with a great deal of enlightenment on all things fuzzy and hoppy, and was hoping that his mother would possibly allow just one more pet into a household that already has its fair share.
“It was great...we learned all about the bunnies, held a few, let them play...it was really nice,” he said. “If you ask me, there was way too much cuteness going on...but I don’t mind. Even though we have cats and fish, it made me want to run out and get a bunny of my own...but that’s my mother’s decision.”
Alani, age 6, had the luck of being positioned near Wilson’s basket, the one place in the room that the bunnies considered home; thus, she found the rabbits spending the majority of their time well within petting distance of her. Needless to say, she wasn’t complaining.
“They were really cute,” she said. “We learned a lot today, about how to care for them and feed them properly. I really like bunnies, and I want to get one of my own.”
Connie Smith, Children’s Librarian and a bunny aficionado herself, felt that the event was a huge success, and one that she is more than eager to repeat come next March.
“I think that it was a wonderful program, and it’s something that obviously just wasn’t for the children...the adults seemed to have a very good time as well,” she said. “Judy does such a great job...she only does this once a year, and I have to book a year in advance just to be sure to get her to come because the three weeks that she has the bunnies are so hectic. So, hopefully, we will have bunnies here at the library again next year.”