Thursday, May 8, 2008

And a little rabbit shall lead them

My daughter has a pet rabbit, named Bob. Bob was a rescue, and he is pretty calm despite living in a house with three kids, three dogs, another rabbit, and a hamster, who incidentally is the least of anyone's worries.

Somehow, we ended up thinking Bob would be suitable for pet therapy. I am, of course, referring to him visiting with the sick or those in a nursing home, not that he needs to lie back on a couch and share his deepest feelings. I doubt Bob needs that, but he may differ with my opinion.

Anyway, we trained Bob to ride in a basket; or rather, he jumped in and stayed there, and he visited several preschool events. I would come home and lie down with a cold cloth over my eyes, but Bob was fine. Eventually, Bob started visiting in the nursing home, where he has become quite popular. If I walk down the hall, people will call out, "Where's Bob?" from their rooms. Sometimes the nursing home will call and request that Bob come for pet week or antoher special event. I joke that I have become the rabbit's driver. I just ask for him to be invited into a room and let him do his stuff. What I have been amazed about was how Bob somehow has a sense about what each person needs. Last month Bob was officially certified by Delta Society to do therapy work.

One night, I was on the internet, and something told me to go to the website of the local hospice organization. When I got there, I discovered a link asking people to volunteer. I sent an email, asking if hospice would be interested in a therapy bunny, and I got an enthusiastic response.

So, Bob's driver is in training for hospice.

What is interesting is that this whole process is filled with "somehow" and "something told me," and "eventually," and I am unable to say exactly how I ended up in training for hospice, but I strongly suspect that Bob had a lot to do with it. So now Bob and I will be taking his presence, and mine, to visit those who are living the end of their lives. While I am curious how I am going to react to the visits, I have a feeling that Bob will be just fine. He doesn't think about death--just the moment he is living right now. And what better thing for any of us to do?

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