Bunnies retiring this year

A long time ago in Washoe Valley, two special rabbits were born.

They were raised by children and a nice library in Carson City decided it wanted the rabbits to come live in the children's library.

"They don't have library cards, but when they were little they nibbled on books," Assistant Children's Librarian Carol Harding said.

"And piano legs, and walls," Library Director Sally Edwards added.

For eight years, Hazel and Fiver, named for characters in the classic bunny book, Watership Down by Richard Adams, have been friends of children who visited the library. The Red Satin rabbits have been the Carson City Library pets since their mother died giving birth to them.

"The first kids who ever petted them are in high school now," Edwards said.

Hazel and Fiver have been petted and played with a lot and are now easing into retirement. They were joined at their retirement party Wednesday by about 60 people and a carrot cake with their photos on it. Eight is a bit old in rabbit years and Edwards said the bunnies would be relocating to "a wonderful location for their old age."

The rabbits will move to Reno with former children's librarian Brenda Baxter and the rabbits will join a menagerie which includes four dogs and two cats.

"It always was the plan that they would retire when they got too old for public service," Baxter said.

The brother and sister had little to say of their retirement. They spent most of their party hopping around a circle of about 30 rabbit ear-clad children. The children petted the rabbits and sang songs such as "Little Bunny Foo Foo" and "Happy Bunny Trails to You."

Karli Dodge, 8, can't remember the library without the rabbits.

"When we go to the library, we like to pet the rabbits because they're really fuzzy and I really love animals," she said. "They've been here for a long time and now when I come here they won't be here anymore."

April Heath brought her daughter Olivia, 2, to the library partially because the toddler loves rabbits.

"All the kids make a bee line to the bunnies because they're allowed to touch them and play with them," Heath said. "We'll still come, but I hope they might get another pet."

The bunnies followed Morris the cat and Hops-a-lot the Gros Beak bird as library pets.

"We're just really pleased they could be here," Edwards said. "They're the best pets we've ever had."

Edwards said the library probably won't get another pet because of space issues.

"I'm sad because I like seeing the bunnies and they're my friends," Garrett Bowden, 7, said. "They're very kind and nice and we get to pet them. I'm sad that I won't ever be able to see them again."

Garrett's mother, Karen, and many other mothers brought their children over the years to see the bunnies, but Karen Bowden looked at the retirement in a different light.

"It's better that they're going to live someplace else when they decide to got to bunny heaven," she said.


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