Hospital Therapy Rabbits on Hand for 'Bunny Day'

By SYDNEY LUPKIN

abcnews.go.com

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The Easter Bunny has some sweet competition in the form of two therapy rabbits at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.

Nutmeg and Clovis, both 5 years old, live on the 13th floor of the hospital, and this week, they visited patients for Bunny Day, the hospital's nondenominational springtime celebration. They wore rabbit ears (yes, really), a bonnet, and sat on a basket of eggs.

"The bunny cart is decorated to the hilt, and then we'll go and see patients and work with patients," said Gwenn Fried, manager of horticultural therapy services at NYU Langone. "The patients adore it."

As she travels the hospital with one rabbit at a time (Rabbits need breaks, too!), she said she hands patients a plastic Easter egg, and it contains either a sticker or a bunny treat.

"The bunny is very excited about the bunny treat," she laughed.

The bunnies visited 15 patients on Thursday and will visit more today and tomorrow, Fried said.

The rabbits are part of a therapy program that's been at the hospital for about 13 years. Sometimes, doctors recommend the bunny therapy, and sometimes patients request it, but Fried said she's seen them work magic on children and adults alike.

"One dad just said, 'I really think Clovis changed our lives,'" Fried told ABC News last year. "He's the most patient animal I've ever seen in my life."

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