Snowy the therapet rabbit welcomed at Murray Royal Hospital

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l-r student nurse Lianne Storey, Donna Robertson, service users Natalie and Donna, Dr Oana Maior and occupational therapist Charis Edward

Snowy the rabbit has been welcomed to her new home by patients and staff in Rannoch Ward at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth.

Evidence shows that therapy pets can be beneficial to patients as petting them can reduce stress levels, slow heartbeat and reduce blood pressure, as well as provide comfort to patients.

The full-time therapet, who lives in a hutch in the garden of the 10-bed ward, is being looked after by patients, who are responsible for cleaning and feeding the bunny.

Senior charge nurse Donna Robertson said Snowy has been a welcome addition to the ward environment.

She said, “The rehab team here has been keen to have a therapet within the unit for a long time. The benefits pets can have on people’s mental health are well recognised and we have already seen some positive benefits for patients since Snowy arrived.

“The patients within the ward have taken full responsibility for the care and upkeep of Snowy. This additional responsibility has given some of them a purpose that they have never experienced before.

“Other patients have experienced sensory benefits and in turn have reduced the amount of medication that they previously used.”

Rannoch Ward patient Natalie is delighted with the ward’s fluffy new arrival. Natalie said, “Since we got her Snowy, I feel a lot calmer and even when I’ve been struggling with my thoughts and emotions she’s helped me.

“Rather than taking extra medication, I’ve spent time cuddling her and watching her hop about as I find her very therapeutic.”

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