Hoppy Hour: A "happy hour" with bunnies

Categories: OMG Cute!!!
Amanda Suchorski
Why yes, this is a post with bunnies in Halloween costumes
Hoppy Hour is about the closest you can get to witnessing real magic in this world. The event is so surreal that it feels as though it was concocted by the same people who created those rainbow unicorn binders and notebooks you had in grade school.

The biweekly event put on by MN Companion Rabbit Society provides rabbit owners with a chance to network and consult with experienced bunny enthusiasts while the animals themselves play and socialize in a neutral environment, effectively avoiding the stress that comes with being a tiny, territorial beast.

Last Sunday's fanfare yielded a turnout of over 80 rabbits, each hopping and flopping around in the mid-sized gymnasium room. Yes, that's right: over 80 rabbits. One volunteer estimated that with the staff's animals, that number could have been over 100.

Adam DeGross
The bun-tastic scene
The rabbits aren't sitting in cages or sectioned off in individual areas behind panes of glass. They are right in front of your face, prancing, jumping through miniature makeshift tire swings, or just standing still. If you're watching closely, you may even see a bunny perform a "binky," an acrobatic display of happiness that's just begging to be turned into a meme involving photoshopped skateboards, BMX bikes, and rollerblades.
Adam DeGross

Even when in an environment suited for playing, bunnies are still prey animals. Loud noises and fast movements spook them. This is something the coordinators of Hoppy Hour are well aware of. At one point during the event, a particularly rambunctious rabbit (costumed with a knight on its back) begins hurriedly darting back and forth across an eight-foot space. The antics incite a natural reaction of jubilant cheering and chatter before Barb, one of the gifted volunteers who runs the training sessions, addresses the crowd. "Folks, he's not happy; he's running scared," she says.

In perfect sync, the voices quiet and an air of calmness washes over the room, deescalating the furry panic attack.

Adam DeGross
This little bunny got a little scared. Then he made a friend.

While Barb, a former horse trainer, has a keen insight into the behaviors of the bunnies, Hoppy Hour still maintains its own police force. As the long-eared pals rarely forget a bad first impression, volunteers responsibly defuse altercations, wearing shirts that boldly display the word "BOUNCER" (just one of many irresistible puns that come up during the event).

Adam DeGross
One man (in costume for Halloween) helps manage the bunny chaos

Luckily, a guide was available to help me navigate the plethora of rabbit-specific terms and lessons. Volunteering as the public relations manager for the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society (MCRS), Shelley boasts comprehensive biological facts and random trivia. Did you know that there are Danish Agility Championship competitions? Did you know that La Quinta Inn is the best place hang out with your rabbit in a hotel like some sort of baller super-villain?

Amanda Suchorski
People like Shelley and the other volunteers demonstrate the most incredible part about the Hoppy Hour experience. At an event like this, you might think that you'll meet a few oddballs and snap some pictures of dumb little animals in capes, but you'll leave realizing there's a scene surrounding these animals commonly thought of as garden nuisances. There are so many things to learn about rabbits: how to hold them properly without injuring their spines, dietary tips (it's important to not feed rabbits carrots regularly because of the sugar content), that they're extremely empathic and can detect anxiety or anger, that they form bonds with each other for purposes outside of mating, that you can train them to use a litter box.

Anyway, enjoy some photos of bunnies in costumes by photographer Adam Degross and Amanda Suchorski after the jump.

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