This is a story of a well loved Lagomorph, a rabbit, black and white Dutch/Lion head. Buggs was his name. A rabbit who touched many children’s lives in his short five years of life. He was probably a domestic pet gone wild or released and then to retire as a classroom bunny. Born probably in the Spring of 2012. Buggs was legally adopted on October 3, 2012 after he was neutered. He was found on a golf course in Oregon City the summer of 2012.
Thus commences the life of a truly fortunate classroom bunny who made so many transformations to the school and the students who were lucky to have him in the classroom. The kids were super excited to have a pet bunny. Three of us, (myself, my daughter and teacher, Mr. Seleski) bunny proofed the room the weekend before his arrival. My daughter went in and gave them the 101 course on bunny knowledge: how to handle, feed, care, and watch for Buggs. But more importantly, they were to keep things in their desks and off the floor and be very quiet because rabbits can be sensitive to loud noises. They were not to pick him up and hold him without Mr. Seleski being present. So from then on, every September each new class was given the 101 course of how to deal with Buggs.
I can’t begin to tell you how Buggs changed the school kids. He started in his large cage but soon had the run of the classroom, then the hall and other classrooms on the lower level, and sometimes upstairs when hall doors were left open. Buggs seemed to always return to his classroom but was a distraction when he wandered into other rooms. Once everyone in the building knew there was a rabbit in the fifth grade I was worried that he would have to go, but instead he became a little celebrity. The intercom to Mr. Seleski’s room would ring and Buggs’ where about was made known. Often times the kids in the other classrooms did not want to send him back to his classroom. To limit distractions we bought a gate and that stopped him from leaving his room. The nights when Mr. Seleski would stay late, the gate would go down and Buggs roamed the whole school.
Having Buggs in the building was like finding Waldo in a book. The classroom was quiet and peaceful for the kids used “library voices”, the floor was neat and orderly at most times, coats and backpacks were hung neatly. Mr. Seleski and the principal enjoyed this very much. Since Buggs was a wanderer the hall doors were no longer being slammed open but opened very gingerly and a head would peak out to make sure Buggs wasn’t around. There was silence in the halls for kids would be looking for Buggs. The teachers were amazed that one little creature changed all this.
Buggs had five wonderful years at TLS. Each class awaited to get into the classroom that had the bunny. Every year he had three birthday cakes, one for each of the upper grades, for those that had Buggs moved on but wanted to celebrate. He had his own student body card and made it into the year book with many pictures. Kids wanted to change the school mascot from a tiger to Buggs. Buggs had his own Christmas card each year and would dress up for Halloween. Buggs touched many kids and had a blast as the “classroom” bunny. He was a favorite during silent reading time as the kids would spread out and read around the classroom, Buggs would snuggle up to them and enjoyed the quiet attention. But Buggs really helped one individual who had struggled with many changes in his life. This child had many surgeries, foster parents, and finally adoption, and was adjusting to all. But he loved coming to school because he got to see Buggs. The parents and Mr. S agreed on a bit more of one-on-one with Buggs and Buggs loved this time with the child.
Summer of 2017, Buggs’ eye was getting worse and he happened to be staying at the house while Mr. Seleski was on vacation and the school was being worked on for the new school year. We took him in a few times to Lombard Animal Hospital and we were running out of options. Buggs’ health was failing fast and it was one of two things and keeping him comfortable is all we could do. When Mr. Selski arrived back in town, we let Buggs romp around school one last time until his appointment at the hospital. My daughter was working and Buggs’ health failed just in the last few hours that we knew going to greener pastures was the right call. Letting him go was difficult, but we knew it was the right thing for him.
This year’s class and previous kids were saddened to hear of Buggs’ passing. I asked if Mr. S wanted to do this memorial for Buggs, he wasn’t sure what to say. But then continued with, “I think some of the kids really miss him a lot. Buggs helped to keep things tidier and quieter in the class. They didn’t want to spook him. They were careful to watch out for him. Many students really wanted to help him. Feed him. Make sure he had water and put in his eyedrops and even clean his cage. For the fifth and sixth graders there was a sense of pride in having him in our class. Lots of students would come down to see Buggs. The fifth and sixth graders liked to share Buggs with the little kids too. The class kept their desks, the floor, and the classroom cleaner for the sake of Buggs”.
What took me all this long is quickly said in the paragraph above. But thank you for reading the life of Buggs who was a wonderful champion to many children, staff, and Mr. Seleski. He is missed by many. But, both at home and at TLS there are reminders of his being. Teeth marks here and there.
A donation was made in Buggs's memory and the memorial was created on December 3, 2017.