MOON TOWNSHIP – Marcella Gruchalak was driving home from a charity event with her horse, Funny Bunny, who goes by Buns for short, and decided to stop and get him a treat. What she thought was just rewarding her horse for good behavior and knocking something off her bucket list turned into a social media viral video.
The two stopped at Wendy’s in Fox Chapel, and she rode Buns through the drive-thru to get him a frosty as her friend was recording the whole event on her cell phone. Marcella posted the video online, and since the posting it’s gathered hundreds of thousands of views.
“I have a bucket list where I have multiple things I want to do with my horses,” said Gruchalak. “On our way home, I was like, Buns was really good. I want to go through the drive-thru. So let’s mark it off my bucket list and get Buns a treat. I just thought it was just going to be another video of my goofing off on my horses. They took my order like it was no big deal and handed me the Frosty.”
After gathering attention from local media outlets in the Pittsburgh area, the story started to spread. Eventually, the story landed on Fox News as well as Daily Mail in the UK.
Buns is a three-year-old former racing horse from Lexington, Kentucky. Gruchalak has had Buns for about a year. According to Gruchalak, the Wendy’s trip is only the beginning of her adventure with the now famous horse.
“People want to see the Steelers get on him, they want to see the Pirates get on him, they want to see the Pens get on him. So, it’s added to the bucket list, we’ll see where it goes now,” explained Gruchalak.
Although Buns and Marcella spend a lot of time together, she does have a full-time job. Gruchalak works as a vascular access specialist at UPMC St. Margaret’s in Pittsburgh, where she is also a certified nurse. Gruchalak spends most of her time at work placing intravenous therapy lines in patients.
Junior and early childhood and special education major Julie Pflug has horses at home and was excited to see Buns running around on the front lawn of the Nicholson Center.
“I have horses, I’ve grown up on a farm my whole life,” said Pflug. “Being at school, it’s really weird not being around them. So I saw the horse cantering around this main lawn, so I came down to see it because I miss mine so much.”
Veronica Holzapfel had a different approach to the horse being on campus. The sophomore biology major saw the horse as a larger therapy that had more to offer than smiles.
“I just love animals so much that to me it was so exciting to see something new and so big and substantial,” said Holzapfel. “A lot of people don’t see animals like this as a therapy pet. They only see Westernized dogs and cats as therapy pets, but I honestly disagree. This animal probably has way more heart than your cat or dog.”
Gruchalak said goodbye to students here at campus on Valentine’s Day with a heartfelt message and another accomplishment on her bucket list.
“We just wanted to thank Robert Morris for letting us mark another thing off of our bucket list as today, Buns was on campus,” said Gruchalak.