They won’t bite

Pet therapy introduced to students to help de-stress


Lila, in the front, and Leo, in the back, were adopted to become comfort bunnies for WLHS. Most days, they are at school being loved and petted, but on others, they visit homes and therapy centers.

Crowding around a blue, plastic container, high schoolers were surprised to find a small, brown and white bunny, Leo, on March 9. Leo debuted as WLHS’s first therapy pet and was later joined by a gray bunny, Lila, to help students cope with anxiety and general discomfort.

“Leo has been with us since March 9, and Lila since April 5,” Stacy Erickson, librarian and caretaker, said.

The two bunnies were adopted by the school district from a breeder along with around a half a dozen other bunnies who were then sent to six primary schools, including Bolton and Stafford, and to Wilsonville High School to be comfort bunnies. Some of the other bunnies in the same litter were sent to the Oregon Zoo and rehabilitation centers.

“Three of them became companion animals at the Oregon Zoo and two of them are at Parrot Creek Rehabilitation Center,” Erickson said. “They’re working bunnies.”

Leo and Lila are sisters and were bred specifically to be comfort bunnie,s which means that they are comfortable with being pet often. They can be picked up and petted during break time or passing period. When they aren’t at school, they are working elsewhere or are simply resting at home.

“They are cute and helpful,” Mikayla Ellsworth, senior, said. “Petting them helps with dealing with stress.”