Caleb Smith, 16-year old entrepreneur, author, & comfort rabbit guy

by | Apr 28, 2021

Caleb Smith—who, at 16 years old, is already an accomplished entrepreneur and the author of a memoir of sorts, “Peacebunny Island: the Extraordinary Journey of A Boy And His Comfort Rabbits and How They’re Teaching Us about Hope & Kindness—shares what it’s like to be a 16-year-old who has published a book, the response “Peacebunny” has generated thus far generally, as well as amidst friends, neighbors and others in his circle. Smith recounts how this whole bunny business began, when he and his family adopted a rabbit named Snickers, having decided a rabbit might work best in that house, given that his Dad was avowedly “not a pet person,” and his Mom had a pet rabbit when she was a child. Lots of people have rabbits as pets, but even in the earliest days, as a (younger) kid, Smith saw the situation differently, through a broader perspective—this becomes a running theme of the Caleb Smith saga—seeing an opportunity to do something, beyond just hang out with a bunny. He describes the presentation he made to his parents about this opportunity, recognizing his pitch would carry more weight if he was wearing his church suit. (“Shark Tank” is big in their household.) Smith explains what makes a rabbit such an ideal animal to comfort people (that they’re quiet is key), and draws the distinction between comfort rabbits and therapy rabbits. He also addresses his parents’ commitment to serving those who’ve experienced disaster and/or tragic loss, going back to 9/11, and how on one such mission, he accompanied his folks to what turned out to be the location of the Sandy Hook shooting. This was, of course, a profoundly sad scene, and Smith recalls seeing the Lutheran Church Charities’ K-9 Comfort Dogs Ministry tending to some victims’ family members and others, and having a light-bulb moment that his rabbits could provide the same kind of solace. Smith speaks to the vital role that Faith plays in his now-sprawling bunny enterprise. He also outlines the impetus for wanting an island for his rabbits, and how he went about buying the 22-acre Peacebunny Island, located on the Mississippi River, noting the rarity of being a 16-year-old holding a mortgage. (,,

ALSO: I spoke briefly with LaWanda Byrd, Volunteer Services Director at Moffitt Cancer Center, where after a yearlong hiatus—owing to Covid-19 restrictions—the facility has resumed its Pet Therapy program. Byrd addressed the 20-plus history of the program, its myriad benefits not only for Moffitt patients, but also for many of the staff members, and the concerns about the pandemic that prompted them a year ago to suspend the program. She explains some of the ways she sought to fill the gap left by the pause, including fashioning cardboard cut-out replicas of the therapy dogs. Byrd describes the almost facility-wide jubilance when the dogs recently returned. (

COMEDY CORNER:  Sean Patton’s “Emotional Peacock” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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