Meet Barley, WVU’s unofficial remedy rabbit | Tradition


West Virginia College’s latest superstar weighs simply 11 kilos and 23 inches from nostril to tail. Barley, a Flemish Big rabbit, has been bringing pleasure to college students on his walks round campus along with his father, Alex Smith.

Smith, a senior double main in wildlife and fisheries and horticulture, stated he fell in love with Barley “nearly instantly” once they met at an animal shelter simply over a yr in the past.

“I walked by his cage, and he got here proper as much as the bars, caught his nostril out and needed pet,” Smith stated. “So it actually was love at first sight. It was nearly like he selected me.”

Smith and Barley often go on walks round campus, visiting Woodburn Circle, Towers and the Core Arboretum.

WVU scholar Alex Smith poses with Barley, his 11 pound Flemish Big rabbit.

Smith is usually requested how he is ready to get a rabbit to tolerate being on a leash.

“Most of it simply has to do with temperament. So if he is snug being performed with and touched, it’s extra possible he is prepared to be put right into a harness,”

Smith stated Barley loves to put on the steps of Martin Corridor, eat the grass and dried leaves, and hop round within the filth.


Barley, an 11 pound Flemish Big rabbit, owned by WVU scholar Alex Smith.

But, Smith and Barley aren’t the one ones who take pleasure in these walks. College students typically method the pair for the chance to fulfill Barley.

“Folks typically remark that Barley provides them that additional serotonin they should get by way of the day or they’ve had an examination that was robust they usually get to come back and play with Barley and pet him and it helps them chill out,” Smith stated.

For some college students, Barley can also be a reminder of their very own pets.

“Lots of people who’ve pets at dwelling see Barley and tear up. They’re like, ‘Oh my god, it jogs my memory of my dog or my cat,’ or a few of them have bunnies,” Smith stated.


A scholar stops between lessons to pet Barley, an 11 pound Flemish Big rabbit, owned by WVU scholar Alex Smith.

Smith recommends anybody who’s concerned with adopting a rabbit to look into native animal rehabilitators and shelters. Whereas shelters usually have dogs and cats on show, many may also have rabbits in a backroom, he defined.

“There are a variety of actually candy bunnies which are searching for good properties and so if in case you have the assets to care and love for a rabbit endlessly, positively adopting, I’d say, is the way in which to go,” he stated.

Smith additionally suggested potential adopters to not anticipate each rabbit to be similar to Barley.

“Rabbits have a character that most individuals do not understand,” Smith stated, including that not all rabbits prefer to be touched, held or taken on walks.

“When you work with and acquire the belief of your bunny, it may be an extremely rewarding relationship,”

Smith’s touching relationship with Barley and the rabbit’s love of individuals has resonated with many college students.

“He is an unofficial remedy animal for the folks that come and play with him,” Smith stated.

Smith even joked that WVU President E. Gordon Gee ought to give Barley an “honorary doctorate,” for his laborious work.

To maintain up with Smith and Barley you’ll be able to observe Smith on Instagram or TikTok @plant.bastard.


WVU scholar Alex Smith poses with Barley, his 11 pound Flemish Big rabbit.


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