This is the time of year when rabbits begin hopping across suburban and urban lawns, twitching their noses and flashing their tails as they search for food.
One made it to the Taste of Arlington festival May 20, but probably didn’t consume anything because, after all, it is just a stuffed toy bunny — although probably a well-loved one, made of soft material, with dark eyes and stars on the undersides of its ears.
The cuddly 12-inch object ended up in a recycling bin that day, where it was retrieved by the county’s Department of Environmental Services workers. Since then, county officials have embarked on an extensive effort to reunite the toy with its owner — so far, without success.
The department quickly sent out a tweet, which was retweeted 75 times.
Subsequent tweets reported by DES communications official Peter Golkin showed the bunny purportedly searching for its owner all over Arlington and inspired numerous responses, complete with #HopeForBunny hashtags.
The bunny — “I’ve refrained from applying gender labels,” Golkin said — has turned up on a street sweeper, “sweeping the county in search of home”; on a snowplow “plowing through all possible leads”; and at a paper shredding site, where the bunny will “avoid the shredder.”
In response, a Twitter user with handle @nickz drafted a missing-bunny poster.
As of Friday afternoon, the toy’s most recent appearance was at the Washington Capitals’ practice arena in Ballston where his “goal is get home — car-free if possible. (Skates could qualify).”
Golkin said he hopes to reunite bunny and owner soon, so the county won’t have to consider a milk-carton notice, or billboards, or even the Arlington Alert phone notifications, usually reserved for weather and traffic alerts.
“The bunny is a rolling stone right now, without a home,” Golkin said. “Nobody has stepped forward and that’s really sad because anybody, especially a child, would be apoplectic about losing this bunny.”