In the rec room of a Northeast Portland apartment complex, a kid in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt is kind of freaking out over the bunnies. The two rabbits are snuggled next to each other on a green blanket.
"They're so soft I'm going to die," he says, bug-eyed and smiling.
He's talking about Winter and Paige Louise, two of Bunnies in a Basket's therapy rabbits. With their handler and the organization's founder, Sarah Baran, they visit hospice care, low-income housing and mental health facilities.
But today, they're visiting a small group of kids around the age of 5 at the Beech Street Apartments.
Like most therapy animals, Winter and Paige Louise are furry bundles of unconditional love. But while Portland is still obsessed with Rojo the therapy llama, there's at least one advantage bunnies have over other therapy animals: You get to swaddle them.
Before a kid gets to hold a bunny, Baran makes what she calls a "bunny burrito"—she wraps Winter or Paige Louise in a baby blanket and hands them to a kid to cuddle.
While one boy cradles Paige Louise, she reaches up to gently poke his cheek with her tiny bunny nose. A chubby kid who's holding Winter nuzzles the tip of his nose against the bunny's.
"He likes me," he says.
"Of course he likes you," says Baran. "You're a good friend."
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