When Finn hopped into the life of Erin Scannell ’21 in February 2019, she found herself taking a lot of photos of the lovable Holland Lop bunny. With floppy ears, long whiskers and distinctive orange fur, Finn quickly captured the hearts of Scannell’s friends and classmates, too — inspiring Scannell to create the Big Red Bun Instagram account. Two years later, Finn’s account has surpassed 10,000 followers and has become a source for Cornellians worldwide to follow his adventures on campus and find messages in support of COVID-19 safety and mental health and well-being.
Scannell got Finn to boost her mental health and cope with loneliness she experienced after transferring to Cornell in fall 2018. An animal science major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Scannell lived alone during her first semester, and she says the toll of schoolwork and not knowing many others on campus weighed on her. But having Finn as a companion, she discovered, helped to ground her and gave her something to look forward to upon returning home after classes and study sessions.
“He didn’t know anything bad was happening,” Scannell says. “He knows when I don’t feel well and he kind of just sits with me. Sophomore year, he helped me focus on myself and prioritize my mental health.”