Bunnies hop their way into residents' hearts at Yellowknife seniors' home

Rabbits Kobe and Kenya are the newest additions to Aven Manor's pet therapy program, where animals are brought in to spend time with the seniors.

Rabbits Kobe and Kenya make the rounds at Aven Manor

Avens recreation supervisor Carol Norwegian introduces Kenya to a resident. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

Two big footed, long-eared volunteers are helping out at a seniors home in Yellowknife.

Rabbits Kobe and Kenya are the newest additions to Aven Manor's pet therapy program, where animals are brought in to spend time with the seniors.

The two were recently surrendered to the NWT SPCA in Yellowknife. The organization says the two are a bonded pair and can't be separated.

They were adopted by Avens and now spend their days wrapped in blankets, being passed from senior to senior.

Avens recreation supervisor Carol Norwegian says Kobe and Kenya are a big hit.

"It's very calming, soothing, especially for someone that's just sitting around and not doing very much," she said.

"There's so much joy that they have just holding the bunny."

Maurice Mendo holds Kobe, one of the pair of rabbits adopted from the NWT SPCA by Avens as part of the organization's pet therapy program. (CBC)

Studies have shown that just stroking a pet can reduce blood pressure and therapy animals are widely used to reduce stress.

But having grown up hunting and trapping, for some residents having rabbits as pets is a novelty.

When asked if he liked the rabbit he was holding, resident Maurice Mendo laughed and said "I like to eat it."

He added he hadn't seen a rabbit in a while.

"I like animals and animals like me," he said. 

The two rabbits are litter-trained and currently live in Aven's front office.