Tessier Bull, Lynnwood Rabbit Farmer
by Luke Putvin
Before Lynnwood, this area was called Alderwood Manor, and Alderwood Manor was known for its farms. Specifically, the area was home to many poultry farms, and the Puget Mill Company even opened a 30-acre Demonstration Farm to show how people could make a living raising chickens and farming.
Approximately 100 years later, on historic land that used to hold these farms, Tessier Bull owns a one-acre property where she raises uncaged rabbits.
“Unknowingly, I was going along with some kind of farming community intentions,” Bull said. “I have a huge interest in history, so when I did start to learn about it more, it provided a bit of encouragement.”
Bull was born in Oregon, raised in Olympia and moved to Lynnwood about five years ago. She had lived in Shoreline and Edmonds for about 15 years before Lynnwood, but the increasing housing prices in the areas brought her to Lynnwood. Additionally, with her younger children, there was a fair amount to do in the area with the mall, movie theaters, ice skating and more.
Bull did not intend to start a rabbit farm from the beginning, but it was the wild rabbits that lived around the area that spurred it on.
She originally built a 14 x 14 foot area in which to put the rabbits she bought, but they would try to get out all the time. One day, she was sitting on the porch and thought, since part of the yard was already fenced, “I could just fence in this part of the yard with chicken wire.” She did that one day, and then she just let the rabbits roam freely in the yard.
Bull also experienced a death in the family, and when she was having a hard time, she found herself hanging out with the rabbits regularly. Spending time with the rabbits helped her tremendously.
“Rabbits are really nervous animals, so for people that have anxiety… because rabbits are small and fragile, you can feel their heart rate really easily. It’s very apparent when they’re nervous, and they’re very nervous creatures. It helps with self-soothing; helping them control their heart rate, among other things, helps you too.”
This led Bull to decide to cold-call all of the retirement centers in the area and offer rabbit therapy.
“I had clients for about six months after that,” Bull said.
Working at retirement centers and memory care centers, Bull will often just bring the calmest rabbits, the ones that enjoy being held, so people can just sit and relax. Bull recalled people at the memory care centers remembering their own childhood pets while petting a rabbit. “And since a lot of the older generation I talk with often had a connection to farming when they were younger, they will talk about their own farming experience.”
Bull also brings rabbits to some schools and offers an educational component; for older children, she teaches them about the rabbits’ anatomy and information about their breeds. For younger children, she teaches empathy for animals and how to be calm and gentle.
“I really love the rabbits, so when I do rabbit therapy, I always just think that this couldn’t get better than working with animals,” Bull said.
Bull’s family also works with her; her children help with hosting groups and come with her to therapy sessions. “It’s a good commonality to have with all of the family,” she said.
Her advice to anyone thinking of owning rabbits included mentioning that they are social and emotional animals, so it’s better when they’re not alone. She advised to at least have two. Also, Bull advised not to cage them. “You can potty-train rabbits really easily,” she said. “They like to keep their spaces clean; get a good hutch, or if they’re outside, get a ring pen and move it around your yard.”
To learn more about Tessier Bull and her rabbit experience, visit her Airbnb page at www.airbnb.com/experiences/398736.