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Therapy rabbit brings joy to children

March 31, 2015 – Newark Post

Claude Monet isn’t your typical New Zealand white rabbit. He doesn’t appear out of a magician’s hat, live in Wonderland or magically fill Easter baskets with candy. No, Claude is special for a much different reason – he’s a therapy rabbit.

Three-year-old Claude lives in the art room shared by UD’s Laboratory Preschool and The College School on Wyoming Road. Diane Lawler, art teacher and Claude owner had him certified as a therapy rabbit through PAWS for People.

If children are having a rough day or needs to calm down, they can come into the art room and sit with Claude, take a break and recollect themselves.

“He’s a part of how we teach,” Lawler said.

Gail Rys, associate dean of CEHD’s graduate studies, said one of the most important developmental tasks for young children is mobility. Children spend a lot of time running, jumping and skipping, which is necessary for their physical and mental development, and a rabbit like Claude can help.

An animal also provides a safe outlet for a child to express their feelings. Many times, if a child expresses a fear  to an adult, the adult tries to fix the problem. That’s not always what the child needs. They may just want to vent, and a pet that sits there listening affirms the child’s feelings, providing a sense of comfort.

To read the full article, visit the Newark Post.