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Last Post by Cuddles_Momma at 1/03/2007 3:24 PM (3 Replies)
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User is Offline skunklionshow
City of Brotherly "Shove"
1247 posts Send Private Message
12/28/2006 5:51 AM

I read the follow ups and article link on pet therapy w/ bunnies.  As the program director for my behavioral health pet therapy program..."Bunny Luv", I have a few ideas.

1.  Our therapy bunnies free roam throughout our classrooms during the day.  Some classrooms only keep them out during certain classes, activity times or group therapy sessions.  Initially we were concerned that the bunnies might be a distraction, but, behavioral outbursts in 2 of our classrooms have decreased about 80-90%!!!! 

2.  For future planning (i.e. post-dissertation hell), I'd love to study the potential effects of a therapy bunny during individual therapy.  My idea is to set up a control w/ no bunny, a bunny located in a cage or confined area, and a bunny that free ranges w/in the therapy office.  I have a feeling that the bunnies may increase client disclosure and attention.

3.  When we have students that our acting out or really need a therapeutic time out...we allow the student to work on an animal project.  For example, clean out the cage, brush the bunny, prepare a veggie treat, set up blankies or something.  Its an awesome distraction technique.

I'm returning to individual therapy sessions in the new year, in addition to my teaching job.  We have discussed including one of the bunnies w/in some therapy sessions.  I'll keep everyone posted.  I really feel that mere bunny presence is therapeutic in itself.  I have read about pet therapy programs where kids are allowed to "rent out" a pet when reading silently.  Basically when taking out a book at the library they also get a pet.  Participating students increased reading skills.

 

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Ghandi


User is Offline Lucy
Chicago, IL
379 posts Send Private Message
12/28/2006 8:45 AM
I think that's amazing.. I just reilized something...

I babysit kids in hotel rooms- I know it's an odd part time job. The thing that is a bit difficult is that I am thrown into this little space with a child for hours... and then that's it- there is very little time to make a comforting bond (though I have a theory that it's actually a little easier with some children when then parents are in town for conferences and that the child is negleted... but that's something else). I use Fujoe a lot though... I have a picture of him on my phone and a few videos of him- one of him "dancing" for raisions and another picking up and throwing his keys.

What I do is first ask the child if they have a pet.. if they do, then I'll let them explain their pet to me. If they don't I say that I have a pet, but the child has to guess it (they never do). Once they give up (and by now they are crazy with anticipation and usally in my lap), I show them my phone. Every single child I've done this to (from ages 2-13) cannot believe that I have a pet bunny. Their eyes get all big and they say I'm lying or just start laughing. It's really great because then I create a dialogue with them that they are really into as I start explaining all of the things I feed him, or that he runs around like a cat.

If I have a child who is crying or misses their parents- out comes the picture of fujoe and the videos and they calm down. It's really crazy how well it works. I have a feeling if it was a dog or a cat it just wouldn't be the same...

I have a family that I babysit in Chicago (still through the agency I work for), they live in chicago but use this agency- we are all licensed, drug tested and throughly background checked. They have twin 8-yr old boys who LOVE Fujoe and have never met Fujoe. I babysat them before Christmas and made me record them on my phone wishing Fujoe a Merry Christmas. It was so cute. They really want me to bring him over..

skunklionshow... I am very intrested in where this is going. good luck with it.. I mean, the rabbit pictures and talking about it has sparked an intrest in every single child I've babysat (probably over 100) expect for two girls... but they were really spoiled and into themselves and eachother..it's still a good probability.

User is Offline LillyBear
Chicago, IL
231 posts Send Private Message
12/31/2006 3:57 PM
wow that sounds like such an awesome idea... let us know how the bunny luv program grows and continues, i am very eager to hear it!
Lilly - 3.5 y/o french lop mix
Harry - 2.5 month old mini lop
Henry (RIP)- 3 y/o holland lop

User is Offline Cuddles_Momma
59 posts Send Private Message
1/03/2007 3:24 PM
That's so great! Like I mentioned in an earlier post my bun Cuddles was actually bought to be a therapy pet for my son who is handicapped (cerebral palsy, and some brain damage), I have seen a great improvement in him and she is the sweetest to him, I think what you are doing is wonderful! Kudos!!!
*~*Mandy*~*
Mom to 7 month old Dutch bun Cuddles
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