, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The Hare Dryer Urban Legends 4289

The Hare Dryer Urban Legends

Also known as “The Blow-Dried Bunny,” “The Resurrected Rabbit,” or “Bunny Bounces Back,” this story swept the United States and then went international in 1988 and 1989. It was rampant in oral tradition, and everyone from local newspaper columnists to Johnny Carson and his on-air guests were reprinting or retelling it. Some vestiges of this vigorous tradition lingered on for several more years. Here is a concise version as written out in 1995 by a man in Virginia:

I heard this “true” story recently. A woman in Fairfax owned a dog that was heartily disliked by her neighbors. One day while the woman was doing her wash, the dog appeared with a neighbor’s beloved pet rabbit in its mouth. The rabbit was dead, and it was covered with dirt. So the dog owner, wanting to cover up her pet’s crime, washed off the dirt, fluffed up the fur with a hair dryer, and carefully returned the rabbit to its cage. Hours later, the dog owner heard piercing screams from the vicinity of the neighbor’s yard. Assuming a look of innocence, she rushed to the scene and asked what had happened. “Our rabbit died this morning, and we buried it,” the shaken neighbor replied, “And now it’s back in its cage!”

In another version, a babysitter who finds the dead rabbit washes it in Woolite, then hangs it by its ears in the shower to dry. There are prototypes for the central plot element of this legend in an older story about a “dead” pet that seemingly revives when it is airshipped home for burial. An even older rural tale describes someone putting a dead pig back in its sty, arranging it in a lifelike posture. Cowboy poet and country musician Leo Eilts of Kansas City, Missouri, performs his versified version of the legend titled “Annie’s Rabbit.” One verse describes how the cowboys disposed of the dog-chewed body:

First we shampooed Fluffy’s body of the dirt and gunk and grime. Then we blew him dry and brushed him till his fur did fairly shine. On September 21, 2004, the “Dear Abby” column, then being written by Jeanne Phillips, published a long first-person report from a reader who claimed that her husband’s pet rabbit “Blossom” had died, been dug up by a neighbor’s dog and . . . all the rest of the familiar story. After carrying the plot to some ridiculous extremes, the writer concluded, “I really don’t know where it will end.” But “Dear Abby” replied, sensibly, “You may not but I do. It’s going to end here and now.” She identified the story as “an urban legend . . . so old it has whiskers,” and cited and several media re-tellings of “The Hare Dryer” as proof, concluding “Thank you for sharing it with me. It’s still a thigh-slapper.” With an advice columnist doing the job for me so expertly, maybe I can take some breaks from researching urban legends and go fishing or skiing more often.

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