Bunny Besties Spreads Joy

by | Apr 2024

Bunny Besties

Photo: Chris Emeott

After living in a nursing home while recuperating from an illness, Jennifer Smith wanted to improve the experience for others. In 2012, Smith officially founded Bunny Besties, a Minnetonka-based nonprofit dedicated to providing impactful animal-assisted interactions (by way of rescue rabbits) to support emotional wellness. “Our rescued rabbits have a unique ability to lower stress of the humans around them and bring joyfulness to those in challenging life transitions,” Smith says.

The nonprofit has 18 rescue rabbits, which undergo hundreds of hours of training over the course of a year before they interact with the public. Together with a 50-member volunteer crew, Smith has served more than 26,000 people in educational settings, homeless shelters, hospices, libraries and senior living locations throughout the Twin Cities, including The Fountains at Hosanna in Lakeville. “The rabbits bring smiles … holding them is calming, and you can reminisce with residents as it reminds them of good memories they have with pets,” says Kari Harrison, activities director at The Fountains at Hosanna. “A lot of our residents in memory care are unable to leave, and so bringing this experience of engagement to the residents is great for them.”

Bunny Besties
15612 Highway 7 Suite 234, Minnetonka
Facebook: Bunny Besties
Instagram: @bunny.besties


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