Pet Plus

Meet the pets: Jack Jack, Winston, George and Vivian

Our Pet Plus™ cycles project was born out of our team’s love of pets and the joy they bring to us each day. Over the next few months, we’ll be posting the stories of the pets who inspired the idea. Today, we’ll meet four furry friends who might be an unusual pet choice to some, but make perfect sense for Greg Schlichting and his family. Greg is a senior commercial analyst in Alliance Laundry System’s finace department.

It all started when Greg, his wife and his family realized they wanted to get a pet, but had to overcome one giant hurdle – one of Greg’s kiddos is allergic to cats and dogs. This led them to consider other pet options because the family really wanted some sort of companion. After lots of research and thought, they landed on bunnies.

Now, bunnies aren’t always a first choice for a family pet, but Greg said these little guys are the perfect addition to their family. “They’re just like dogs,” Greg reassures his friends. “They’re very social and friendly.” Friends and family don’t always the get the appeal right away, but after spending just a few minutes with the bunnies, they always come around, Greg said.

From the start, Greg knew he wanted a Harlequin breed bunny, inspired heavily by his love for  Batman and the character tie-in of Harley Quinn. He and his wife saw at a pair at a bunny show in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and immediately knew they were coming home with the Schlichting family. However, what he didn’t expect was his wife to fall in love with another bunny – a Lop breed bunny. This meant the family was coming home with three new pets and Greg’s five kids couldn’t be more excited.

“It was an adjustment,” Greg admitted about when they arrived home five months ago. “They’re a handful, but between all of us we split up the chores.”

Every morning, whoever gets up first is responsible for making sure the bunnies have food and water, and clean up any waste that didn’t make it into their litter. The bunnies are litter trained, which makes a difference, but there are still occasional accidents.

Family Matters

Originally, Jack Jack and Winston (the two Harlequins) were kept separate from George (the Lop) because George was initially thought to be a girl, and the family didn’t want to have any more bunnies hopping around than they already had. After a trip to the vet, however, they found out they actually had three boy bunnies and decided to slowly introduce George to Jack Jack and Winston in hopes that the three would be best buds. The bunnies had different plans, though.

Currently, Winston and Jack Jack are on one level of the Schlichting’s home and George is on another because they don’t quite get along. Brotherly love, you could say. Each has a 4’ x 8’ area to sleep at night, but they’re free to roam the house during the day.

It’s safe to say the family has their hands full. Between making sure they always have enough hay and water to making sure they are safe, there’s always something to be done. The best part about each of these furry friends, Greg said, is that they each have very distinct personalities.

“You can always tell who caused what mischief in the house,” Greg said. According to Greg, Jack Jack is the most loving and gives the most kisses, Winston is the most mischievous, and George is very particular and the least social of the bunch.

Three’s Company

Within the last few months, it became clear that George’s relationship with Jack Jack and Winston would be a bit troubled for awhile, and it was because of this that the family decided to add yet another bunny to their household – a giant 40-pound bunny named Vivian.

Between the four bunnies, five children and two adults, the Schlichting household is always buzzing with activity. Greg said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“When people first meet them, they’re not sure what to do, Greg said. “But we just tell them, they love getting petted; they’re just like dogs. We just have to remind them that if they leave something on the ground, it could be fair game.”

Bunnies are always chewing, and it’s more than just for fun. They have to continuously chew otherwise their teeth will grow too long (they don’t stop growing!) and a special vet trip is needed to file their teeth down. Through trial and error, Greg’s kids learned this the hard way after a few Nintendo Switch cords, “spicy hay” as Greg calls them, became casualties.

All in all, though, what Greg really wants everyone to know about bunnies is that they’re lots of fun, provide so much joy, give great kisses and can be the perfect addition to any family – big or small.