Therapy rabbits offer comfort only a bunny can bring

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Reporter Pooja Lodhia shares a look at a therapy animal that's winning hearts with its hops (KTRK)

When we think about therapy animals, we usually think of dogs, not rabbits.But there's another type of four-legged creature healing people in the Milwaukee area.

"I would just lay on the couch and cry all day and Betsy would just hop up next to me and snuggle with me I figured if she could help me she was a good therapy candidate," said Jenn Eckert, Betsy's handler.

Betsy is a three-year-old Flemish Giant Rabbit and a certified pet therapy animal.

Eckert told WITI she adopted Betsy from the Wisconsin Humane Society in 2013. They got certified through "Pet Partners" which is the nation's largest pet therapy registration organization.
Eckert and Betsy work at hospitals, nursing homes, universities and at the Ronald McDonald House.

"Their temperament is very docile, very relaxed," said Eckert, who also adopted Walter, another giant rabbit.

"Walter tends to be more social - Betsy is more like, 'I'm going to lay here and get pet,'" Eckert said.

Some say rabbits are more approachable than dogs or cats.

"I personally think they're very inviting and not as intimidating," said Katie Krueger, whose son Tayten has been in and out of hospitals his whole life. Tayten suffers from a rare disease called biliary artresia, and he had a liver transplant in 2014.

According to Pet Partners, there are 94 rabbits certified as pet therapy animals nationwide.

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