By Tiffany Tsai

The first time I met Artemis was at an adoption shelter for rabbits. She was a black, lop-eared rabbit, who had been abandoned by a family who gave her up for a dog. She was approximately 2 years old and had suffered some trauma from her previous home—part of her right ear had been bitten off. The owner of the shelter also informed me that Artemis was not a typical rabbit. Rabbits are known for being very independent creatures. But if Artemis were left alone for too long, she would often stop eating.

As I was growing up, I had raised a dog, turtles, and countless fish. I had never owned a rabbit before. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I didn’t want to leave her behind, either. I had come to the shelter for the purpose of adopting a companion.

A few months earlier, I had suffered the loss of a friend that left me utterly broken. I had been in college at the time, and nothing could console me. I was fortunate enough to have family members who would make a nearly two hour drive to visit me on weekends and attempt to help me move on, but I don’t think anyone truly moves on from the passing of a loved one. Over time, you grow to live with the memories, to value the time that you were able to spend together, but grief doesn’t disappear.

At the time, I couldn’t see past the loss, and I began to isolate myself more and more. Both family and friends began to worry that I wouldn’t make it through the school year. My sisters also feared that my seclusion would drive me into a darker place, so they suggested getting me a dog for companionship. Unfortunately, having a dog on campus was against the rules. However, the school would allow me to own a rabbit.

Death brought Artemis into my life by chance, but little did I know, that Artemis would also help bring me back to life.

Artemis was extremely shy at first because of the abuse she had suffered, but with care and patience, I eventually gained her trust. And in the process of healing her, I began to open up and gain the courage to let others back into my life.