I have been a volunteer at our local hospital in the Animal Assisted Therapy program for around 10 years. There are certified dogs in the program but my husband and I bring rabbits to visit patients. We got started helping our our children who were junior volunteers in middle and high school. My kids went off to college and my husband and I stuck with it.
The rabbits have to go through a certification process and are re-evaluated every year. They have to go through a vet check and the vet has to evaluate the temperaments of the rabbits. Then the Animal Assisted Therapy program has a lady they bring in every year to evaluate the dogs and rabbits. She evaluates their temperament, health, skittishness, and any other trait that may affect visitation with patients. Once the rabbits pass their evaluation, they become "volunteers" of the hospital and even get their own hospital ID badge.
We go to Oncology, Pulmonology, and Pediatrics every week, and the next evening we go to the Rehab Center. It is amazing the effect a bunny will have on a patient. Those that miss their own pets, those that are terminal, and those that just want a visit from someone makes it a truly worthwhile activity!
I currently have several rabbits certified - a flemish giant, two holland lops, and several french lops. The french lops are the big teddy bears of this group!
My husband loves to take the flemish giants to the hospital, but he gets tired of carrying them in their baskets. By the end of the evening they feel very heavy. So he got an idea--he bought a used walker at the Hospice Thrift shop and built a tray on it for the rabbits to ride on. It works perfectly and I think even the rabbits like it better! There are a couple of pictures below of it.
Here are pictures of my certified bunnies!
** June 2012** We have a few newly certified rabbits! Pictures coming soon of Ernest, Prince Hopper, Ozzie, and Wilson!