When ICG member Kathryn Coles of White Rabbit Research — motto: descensus in cuniculi cavum (Google it!) — named her business, she perhaps should have expected some slightly offbeat enquiries. Even so, a recent enquiry took her and other ICG members into unexpected territory.
It began with an email from Jacob Wu, an 8th grade student at the Daystar Academy in Beijing, which explained that he was 'doing a project about abandoned bunnies … because I love bunnies and I want to help bunnies not getting thrown out of the house when they grow up … I would like to know reasons for why people abandon grown bunnies and what a person should consider before buying a bunny'.
Although ‘White Rabbit Research’ might suggest deep knowledge of bunnies, Kathryn initially thought she should fess up to Jacob that this was far from the case. But then her thoughts turned to the ICG: surely amongst this network of intelligent, diverse adults there would be some who could offer Jacob some deep insights on rabbit ownership? She put Jacob’s queries to the ICG e-group and got an enthusiastic response. Tips on how to care for bunnies, and the pitfalls of ownership, flooded in. Further possible avenues for Jacob to research were suggested and rabbit anecdotes (from taking a sick one to a wedding to the – apparently common – trauma of eating pet rabbit pies) recounted. Another ICG member Danny Sheahan even added a question to an omnibus survey he was running in Ireland which elicited the information that 43% of rabbit owners had given up ownership because they hadn’t realised how much care was involved, while another 35% had found ownership to be a 'child’s pet and the novelty wore off'.
Kath duly fed back a summary of the ICG members responses to Jacob, who has used them to produce the leaflet at the side of this article.
Kath hasn’t heard yet from Jacob what marks his project received, but we will update members if she does. We all think his brochure – including its polite thank-you for the help received – looks great.
The moral of this curious tale: if you find yourself with an enquiry that has you flummoxed, it’s worth run-rabbit-running it past the ICG!