An unusual friendship keeps volleyball players busy


By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

Two SIU volleyball players have an additional roommate, but his name is not on their lease.  

Charlie doesn’t help with the bills either, as he is black and white Rex Rabbit. 

Junior setter Hannah Kaminsky heard about a woman selling rabbits for $10 in Carbondale last fall and the story of Charlie began. 


“We really wanted a pet, but we knew we couldn’t take care of a dog,” Kaminsky said. 

The SIU volleyball team is busy during the season. The team lifts weights at 6:45 a.m on Mondays and Wednesdays and leave Carbondale behind for days at a time when playing away matches, which makes being a responsible pet owner difficult without help.

Kaminsky and her roommate, former SIU libero and defensive specialist junior Leah Edgerton, went to meet the rabbit and soon Charlie had a new home. 

It was a happy year for the three — but long weekends of traveling by the volleyball team forced Kaminsky to give Charlie away.

Charlie’s current home is with two Saluki sophomores: defensive specialist Gabriella Shepherd, middle hitter Alex Rosignol, and junior McKenzie Dorris.

The three are able to leave Charlie in the care of their non-athlete roommate when they travel — a luxury Kaminsky and Edgerton did not have.

“I want people to know I was a loving mother to Charlie,” Kaminsky said.


Shepherd has waited a while to be an owner of a pet rabbit. When she was toddler she begged her parents for a bunny of her own. Finally giving in to their daughter’s wish, Shepherd’s parents gave her an automated toy rabbit for her fifth birthday.

But the robotic rabbit is long forgotten and Charlie has won her heart.

Charlie’s warm and fuzzy exterior is step-up to his robot counterpart. The rabbit helped Shepherd with her sickness last week by keeping her company.

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Rosignol said Shepherd, who has brought Charlie to a SIU baseball game and coach Justin Ingram’s office, is the motherly figure. 

“She takes care of him and babies him,” Rosignol said. 

Rosignol is not as close with Charlie because of his chewing habit, which has taken a toll on her door and internet cables. She has also found rabbit droppings underneath her bed. 

Even though Charlie seems to pick favorites, Rosignol doesn’t hold a grudge.

Charlie requires special rabbit food because of a weight issue. The roommates, including Rosignol, split his food costs. In addition to his specific dietary needs, Charlie is a fan of carrot-flavored yogurt balls.

But for the next two weeks Charlie will have company, as the volleyball team will stay in Carbondale for a four-match home stretch. 

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @EvanJones_DE