A look at the bunnies that helped us get through 2020

Isabel Lamb introduces us to the fluffy friends that kept us sane through a rollercoaster of a year

Isabel Lamb
17th March 2021
Image Credit: Chan Swan on Unsplash
If I asked you to picture an emotional support animal (ESA), most people would probably picture a cat or a dog. But these are not the only animals chosen by those who require emotional support, as increasingly people are opting for bunnies.

ESAs provide their owners with companionship and affection which helps to promote wellbeing and alleviates symptoms of mental and emotional distress. Although not yet recognised as certified assistance animals in the UK, they are certified in the USA and can be found more and more often in American homes.

Image Credit: Waranya Mooldee on Unsplash

Bunnies can provide relief for those suffering with major depressive disorder and anxiety

Owners of bunnies acting as ESAs say that their bunnies have helped them with many mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder and Anxiety, as well as with the emotional distress that accompanies Parkinson’s disease. Owners claim that the rabbits provide them with a sense of purpose and note specific behaviours performed by the rabbits that have a positive impact.

A ‘chin’ occurs when a rabbit will bump something or someone to claim it, making owners feel wanted and cared for. A ‘binky’ is when a rabbit will run, jump, and twist in the air which provides amusement. The rabbits are also said to be able to recognise when someone is feeling especially sad and will interact with them differently, such as ‘kissing’ their owner’s face when they are crying.

Image Credit: Corey O'Connell on Unsplash

Whilst bunnies are becoming more popular and clearly provide some with great benefit, people are advised against choosing a rabbit only to be an ESA and not also a pet, as rabbits are said to have a wide range of personalities, not all of which are suited to the role of ESA.

Image Credit: Phoebe Young
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