Despite the dirt, the rips and the wear and tear, Erin Sorensen knew that somebody out there had to love the battered stuffed bunny she rescued from a Dundee neighborhood street.
“It’s the whole reason I picked it up,” she said. “It had the look of ‘Someone is missing this rabbit.’”
Her dog, Scout, spotted the bunny on a March 3 walk. Sorensen waited for the traffic to clear near 52nd and Burt Streets and then raced out and grabbed the grimy animal.
She got a few looks as she carried it home, but as she posted pictures of it on various social media platforms, she just knew she’d have it home, safe in the arms of its owner, by dinner.
But it didn’t happen. What happened instead is kind of cool, too.
On her posts, people told her about their favorite stuffed animals and how it still hurts that they were lost. Others shared stories of the “loveys” of their childhoods that they cherish today as an adult.
People are also reading…
Sorensen is a deputy editor for Hail Varsity, and others suggested she share her bunny tale with Husker Nation via its social media channels.
“I don’t know how many Husker fans want to know about a pale violet bunny,” she said, joking.
A few wanted to know why she was wasting her time, rescuing a stuffed bunny that looked like it had been run over once too often. Didn’t she have better things to do?
Those were easy to answer.
“I’m somebody who notoriously lives on the internet. I’m very consumed by the internet,” Sorensen said. “The world stinks right now. It can be overwhelming some days, especially when there is a war on the other side of the world. When you find a little piece of good, it’s worth fighting for.”
One of her posts caught the eye of Danielle Allore-Taylor of Spring Arbor, Michigan, who has 1 million followers of her TikTok channel, “A_tall_glass_of_anxiety.“
It just so happens that she restores stuffed animals to their former selves, and her followers love the stories of transformation.
She liked Sorensen’s lost rabbit tale as well.
“It pulled on my heart strings. This bunny is in really rough shape,” Allore-Taylor said. “Since it’s my specialty, I wanted to help out in some way.”
So away went bunny to Michigan, where it has been given new life. Allore-Taylor gave it a wash, new stuffing and a makeover, which revealed its true colors.
As with many of the hundreds of restorations that she has done, she put a little heart memory envelope inside its body with a piece of its old stuffing and some pink and purple thread that had been ripped off.
“I really, really hope we find the owner of that little bunny,” she said. “You know someone was walking with their kid and it fell out of the stroller. I thought it was super heartwarming that Erin went out of her way to rescue it, and I got to be part of the story.”
Sorensen, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, is sharing new posts of the transformed bunny in hopes that it will be more easily recognizable to its owner.
She knows it could still be a long shot. But she takes heart from someone who told her how they found a ring, tried to find its owner and failed and then miraculously connected with them by accident 23 years later.
“I hope it doesn’t take 23 years,” she said.
If no one steps forward, she’s still mulling ways to make a difference with her rabbit, which has reminded many people of the “Knuffle Bunny” book series. Maybe, she said, she can bring bunny along and read one of those books to some elementary school students.
And rest assured that bunny will have a home with her, and will be well loved.
“I still feel hopeful we can find the true owner,” she said. “What is driving me, even though it’s small, in this corner of the world in Omaha, Nebraska, is it could just bring some joy. I want to see that joy through, and I’m really hopeful that we do.”
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“It pulled on my heart strings. This bunny is in really rough shape. Since it’s my specialty, I wanted to help out in some way.”
-- Danielle Allore-Taylor of Spring Arbor, Michigan, who restores stuffed animals