This past week has been a somber one at CMEE. Sadly, Henry the Bunny has passed away. It’s strange to walk into the Museum and not see him relaxing in his hutch or munching on a snack that a family had brought in especially for him to eat. While we all really miss him, the CMEE staff is grateful to everyone who sent condolences and posted remembrances of Henry on our Facebook page. It was wonderful to see how much Henry was adored by the CMEE community.
Henry joined the CMEE family in 2009. Since he didn’t have a name when he first arrived, we asked children to suggest names that we collected on slips of paper and kept in a fishbowl. The name “Henry” was picked among dozens of others at a monthly Pizza and Pajama Night after he had the opportunity to settle in. Looking back, it’s amazing we didn’t end up calling him “Bunny” because that was the name that received the most suggestions.
If you are a frequent Museum visitor, you know that Henry had the run of the place. People who were new to CMEE however, often flagged down staff members and asked whether we knew that there was a bunny loose in the Museum. If we hadn’t seen him for a while, we never worried. 9 times out of 10, he could be found enjoying a little “me” time underneath the tractor or in the art studio. It wasn’t too hard to keep track of him.
Every now and then, though, it was a little more difficult to track figure whereabouts. On one such occasion, he managed to escape from his hutch – earning the name “Henry Houdini” – and we just couldn’t figure out to where he had disappeared. After hours of searching, we finally discovered he had hidden himself behind the vending machines. Maybe he was making friends with the Cheddar Bunnies.
On nice days, Henry would spend much of his time in the CMEE Garden, making a shallow burrow in the dirt. While he liked to sample all of the vegetables that grew in our garden, his absolute favorite was broccoli. We could barely grow it past the seedling stage before he found and devoured it. Unlike Peter Rabbit, whose herb of choice was parsley (to ail his upset stomach), Henry always had a fondness for fresh mint.
As the years went by and Henry aged, he was a much less active explorer of the Museum. He preferred to greet visitors from the comfort of his hutch. Last week, he was being treated for an extremely serious stomach ailment by Sag Harbor’s Dr. Browning. To make sure Henry continued receiving his medication during the blizzard, CMEE staffer, Doug Borge took him home. Unfortunately, Henry passed away around 6am on Tuesday morning.
We realize it’s often difficult to speak to children about death, so we’ve added resources for discussing the loss of a pet on CMEE’s website. Because we feel it’s important to be open and honest with children, when asked where Henry is, staff will explain that he is no longer at the Museum because he came to the end of his long life and passed away. We’re grateful to him for all of the joy and laughter he brought to our lives at CMEE.