A Closer Look at Peacebunny Island’s Comfort Bunnies
In an interview with People and TODAY, Caleb Smith, the 16-year-old CEO of Peacebunny Island talked about rescuing bunnies and training them as comfort animals. Currently, Smith is a Grade 10 distance learning student at a public high school, whilst running a business of training rescued rabbits for various events in his bunny sanctuary at Peacebunny Island Inc.
Smith said that desire to rescue rabbits all began when he was an 8-years old, after he lost his first bunny Snickers, an older Dutch rabbit he got from Craigslist. At the age of 10, Smith founded a nonprofit business project called STEM Bunnies, which educates other children about science while allowing them to play with the rabbits.
After he found out that there are a lot of rabbits inn Craigslist during and after Easter, he made it his next goal to find homes for the Craiglist rabbits. In order to get funds in taking care of almost 200 rabbits, Smith brings them for egg hunts, birthday parties, lets them appear on commercials, and also for sending “bunny telegrams”.
The idea of training rabbits comfort animals started when he volunteered with his parents who were former disaster relief volunteers who help trauma survivors. The idea of training his bunnies was inspired by the comfort dogs brought to help the trauma survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
While Caleb admits that supporting trauma survivors can be emotionally tiring, he says his family feels it’s all worth the effort. To date, the Smiths family have brought rabbits to help community members of four towns that experienced recent mass shootings.
Training Rescued Rabbits at Peacebunny Island
Today now has his own bunny sanctuary at the place he calls Peacebunny Island, where there is enough space to train the rabbits with the help of volunteers. Once rabbits arrive on the island, their first main goal is to make the animals feel relaxed and comfortable with human touch. According to Caleb, training bunnies needs a lot of patience, time, and also cuddles. The young entrepreneur added that rabbits can also be trained in ways similar to a cat, as well as do obstacle courses.
Smith describes the herbivores as God’s bunnies and their business is just there to take care of them. The rabbits spend a slow and unhurried time with people, and he said that nothing could heal a broken heart, but being with the rabbits can help them express their feelings.