" A Fascinating and heartwarming story that will resonate with people who suffer from chronic pain and who love animals...I am inspired by Laracy's emotional depth in relating to Bunny Boy and his perception and response to her needs."
- Jan Chambers, President of the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association.
From my personal experience, there is nothing quite like an adorable, soft luscious bunny to take you away from your pain. Rabbits can wiggle their way into most people’s hearts like any dog or cat would, and they can live harmoniously among your family. Bunnies will joyfully binky onto your lap and give you a soft lick, purr or curl up on your chest and cuddle until their heart and yours is content.
As a chronic pain sufferer, the additional work of a pet can seem like an extra lot of work and energy that you don’t have. But you are actually on the receiving end of pet therapy when you have to get up to feed them, change their litter pan or play with them. What better therapy than movement for fibromyalgia? Bunnies are on the radar and bunny therapy is making a big splash. Just ask Bunnies in Baskets about the therapeutic benefits of bunny therapy.
Pet therapy has long been known to provide lasting emotional and physical benefits for people suffering from many different forms of disease or simply old age. Interactions with our animal friends are beneficial, with cats having the most calming effect on humans than any other species. Studies have shown that biochemical changes occur in both people and their pets.
Neuro-chemical changes include:
Increased levels of beta-endorphin, a hormone that
decrease pain, boosts the immune system, and
promotes a feeling of well being and relaxation.
Increased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter
that modifies mood, sleep and pain.
Increased levels of oxytocin, the bonding chemical
that is found in mothers and babies.
Decreased levels of cortisol, resulting in
Other Benefits of Human & Pet Interactions include:
- Decreased blood pressure, particularly in the elderly.
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Lower cholesterol.
- Fewer strokes.
Some dogs are trained to detect oncoming seizures
in epilepsy patients.
Animal assisted therapy in hospitals and nursing homes
can improve mood and decrease anxiety and depression.
Bunny Boy consoles Nancy after her IV
gamma globulin treatment
Bunny Boy was a therapy rabbit known to bring joy and a sense of calm to hundreds of patients. My current rabbit Muffin is involved with pet therapy at rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. She will soon start visiting two separate children’s hospitals. The positive response from the patients is both amazing and inspiring for me.
Animal Assisted Therapy has made great strides with regard to chronic pain. A Study published in Science Daily, November 2009 showed that patients recovering from total hip replacements or other major orthopedic surgeries needed 50 percent less pain medication when they were visited by therapy dogs post surgery. These results were presented at the 18th Annual Conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology and the First Human Animal Interaction Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
In Pain Med, January 2012 a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh reported that “Animal Assisted Therapy At An Outpatient Clinic for Adults” resulted in a dramatic reduction in pain and stress level of the patients and an overwhelming positive sense of well being for their caretakers and providers as well.
A remarkable study in Pain Med Jan, 2013 entitled "Impact of Animal Assisted therapy for outpatients with fibromyalgia," shows the positive impact therapy dogs had on fibromyalgia with regard to their pain and mood. Read the article here.
For further information on animal therapy organizations go to:
Formal Pet Therapy
For further information on animal assisted therapy studies go to:
I have been in contact with Bill Keuser Bill Kueser from Pet Partners/The Delta Society. Pet Partners is the largest pet therapy organization in the United States with over 11,000 volunteers. Their devoted employees visit 1.1 million people in over 5,000 facilities throughout the US and around the world. Our inspiring story that was featured in Rabbits USA in January of 2012 may be seen on the facebook site for Pet Partners.
As the first NJ branch of Bunnies in Baskets, a national pet therapy organization based out of Oregon, Muffin and I are an extremely active therapy pair. We work with the elderly at various rehabilitation and long term facilities and do extensive work with children with cancer. As part of the Valley Hospital of Ridgewood NJ Butterflies Hospice program, we are trained to do home visits to children with cancer as well as participate in large not for profit events for children with cancer and their siblings. We also work with children through Cancer Care, a national organization and Camp Dream street of Tenafly as well as the children of Sandy Hook, Newtown Ct. I have also just been asked to join the board of Bunnies in Baskets.