Bebe - The Story of "Beauteous Spirit"
Some animal lovers rescue dogs, others cats - our family rescues rabbits. We take in rescues from the Friends of Rabbits - a wonderful organization that rescues, cares for and finds homes for neglected, mistreated and abandoned house rabbits in the DC/MD/VA area.
In March of 2015, our family took in Bebe from FOR. At the time, Bebe was eight or nine years old, had spent most of her life in shelters and had survived ovarian cancer. She was considered a sanctuary rabbit - no one wanted her due to her medical issues, her uncertain age and her rather large dewlap. We decided to take her in and try to make her remaining time comfortable and happy.
Bebe quickly became a part of our family and bonded with our oldest rabbit at the time, a Netherland Dwarf named Ollie. She followed family members around much like a dog, enjoyed sitting outside on our deck (and hanging over the deck to grab rose bush leaves), watching TV, listening to us practice our instruments, and, of course, trying to get into the produce drawer of our refrigerator. She enjoyed listening to music - so much so that my daughter nicknamed her B.B. Queen!
What struck our family (and visitors to our home) is that you could tell that Bebe was grateful. She would express this to us in many ways - most overtly by tapping her nose on our feet or ankles. After only 13 months with us, Bebe began showing signs that her cancer had returned and she passed away on April 27, 2016.
Earlier in April, a bird had made a home in a tree on our property and began serenading us daily with a five note/two pitch pattern. A day or so before Bebe's passing, I was contacted by Alfred string editor Bob Phillips asking me to write a lyrical work for young orchestra. A day or so after Bebe's passing, it was obvious to me that this bird call would be the basis of this lyrical piece inspired by the life of Bebe. The opening five notes of the main theme of Beauteous Spirit is the bird call and the inversion of this motif becomes opening of the secondary theme.
While our time with her was limited and it was very difficult to lose her so soon, Bebe showed our family how important it is to be grateful - for each other, family, friends, good health, shelter, food - things we may take for granted at times.
If you are an animal lover, I would hope that your would consider taking in a foster rabbit (or cat or dog).
If you live in the Mid Atlantic region, please consider reaching out to Friends of Rabbits to adopt, volunteer or donate.
A comprehensive list of rabbit rescues by state can be found at