It was a cold, wintery day in Pickering, Ontario. Worse than that, it was icy. Treacherous. Michelle Rushton carefully stepped along the path near the park with her gentle Boxer-mix, Lexi. As a therapy dog certified with Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) to work with both adults and children, Lexi is mindful of the signals she receives from Michelle. She walks calmly on-leash without pulling – in fact, normally Lexi, at 70 pounds, is so laid back that she sits still in a canoe. That day, however, was different. As Michelle tried to steer them away from the frozen build-up at the entrance to the park, strangely, Lexi was not responding. She seemed odd – tuned into something else. Michelle struggled to maintain her balance on the ice. She continued trying to steer Lexi away from the park, while maintaining her balance. Lexi, however, was insistent. And on all that ice, Michelle had no choice but to follow Lexi’s lead through the park entrance…
Perhaps it’s because Lexi has a crooked leg that she’s been drawn to people experiencing mobility problems. As a puppy, she was rescued from an abusive situation where she’d been kept in a cat crate. That may account for her misshapen leg, but there’s no mistaking one thing, however; Lexi has always been drawn to people in walkers and wheelchairs. That made it easy to decide on the facility where Lexi would begin her impressive career as a therapy dog: Abbeylawn Manor, a seniors’ residence in Pickering.
At Abbeylawn, Lexi quickly bonded with a man whose wife had died, leaving him without family. Martin always waited for Lexi to amble onto the floor. As soon as he saw that big Happy Girl face, he’d shuffle over in his walker to offer special dog treats. He loved his pet therapist “like crazy”, Michelle said. Then came a day when Martin could no longer get out of bed. His skin was cool and blue. Lexi popped her top half onto the bed so she could lick his face. “Please leave her,” was Martin’s request, as he held Lexi’s paw, in what would be their final visit.
When Lexi comes into a lounge where some residents are slumped over, every single person straightens up to offer their therapist carrot slices – treats that Michelle prepares for just such occasions. In one case, an extraordinary case, Lexi laid her head on a woman’s lap and the resident cooed, “What a nice puppy. I used to have a dog when I was little.” Everyone watching was shocked. Those were the first words the woman had uttered in six years. She went on to hold a conversation with Lexi as though they had long known each other. Michelle summed it up by saying, “There’s something about patting a dog that just makes people want to open up."
Then, there’s the children…
Lexi was quickly certified to work with children – or, more accurately, work her magic on children. As a participant in TPOC’s Paws To Read program®, where the pet therapist listens quietly while a child reads, Lexi relied on her instincts to put timid children at ease. For example, one small girl was nervous to approach Lexi. Immediately, the large white dog knew that by lying down on her side, she no longer would be at the intimidating eye level of the child. Worked like a charm. Michelle said, “I never taught her to do that – Lexi just knew.”
Interacting with older children has been no different. In a church setting working with adolescents, one teenaged boy became immediately attached to Lexi and did not want to leave her side. Instead, he related the events happening in his life that had left him feeling sad. As Michelle has said… there’s just something about patting a dog…
And then, there’s the animals…
“Den Mother”. That’s what Lexi’s been called for her work with rescued dogs. Michelle and her family foster dogs – sometimes dogs that are frightened or otherwise challenging. Here, too, Lexi has a therapeutic touch, helping dogs to settle and sometimes teaching them dog manners. A well timed growl from Lexi has assisted unruly dogs behave more like polite, adoptable pets. When it comes to rabbits, though, well, Lexi is more like a Guardian Angel. Michelle fosters rabbits, sometimes bunnies with injuries like broken legs. Lexi loves the rabbits. The rabbits love Lexi. They snuggle together in interspecies trust, in the warmth and safety of Michelle’s back yard.
At the frozen entrance to the park
When Lexi would not be denied, when she was adamant that despite the icy walkway, they should enter the park, Michelle agreed, albeit reluctantly – that is, until they rounded the corner and saw the elderly woman sprawled on the ground. The woman was in slippers and a sweater, not at all prepared for the frigid temperatures in the park. When Michelle tried to help the woman to her feet, she resisted. Nobody was taking her from the park. Then Michelle said, “My dog is getting cold. Would you walk my dog out of the park?” That was different. The woman wanted to help Lexi to safety… And Lexi wanted to help the woman to safety. Just another day with Lexi on the Lead.
The setting is a hospice. It’s evening. Nicky knows something the humans in the room don’t yet realize. The man in the bed will soon be leaving This Life sooner than expected.
One Special Dog
Linda and Ken Greason are retired teachers. They own and handle Nicky, a four year old Ganaraskan. At the early age of three years, Nicky proved he had The Right Stuff to be a pet therapist when he was certified by Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) to work with adults, then soon after, certified to work with children.
Being so highly qualified means Nicky’s skills are urgently in demand. He visits Southbrook Retirement Community, a retirement home in Brampton, Ontario, as well as two schools. At one school, the little therapist visits special needs and special mental health classes. At the other school, Nicky participates in the Paws to Read® program where Grade One students overcome their anxieties by reading to the therapy dog. Nicky is their attentive, non-judgmental, loving audience.
But then, there are “special events”, like PAWS Rooms held in secondary schools and Sheridan College at exam time. In these rooms, Nicky and other therapy dogs provide a playful, stress-busting break to the students. And there are other special events – like the “unofficial” visits Linda, Ken and Nicky paid to their family friend, a man approaching the end of his cancer journey…
One Special Visit
The church the Greasons attend has a prayer shawl ministry. They had given their friend a prayer shawl when he was diagnosed with cancer three years earlier. Now they were returning to the hospice to provide him with a new shawl.
Linda, Ken and Nicky walked through the door and immediately the wife of the man in bed, scooped up the off-duty therapy dog and held him tightly as they settled onto the couch. Over the next hour and a half, as the woman petted the small dog from head to toe, spoke to the Greasons and cried, things changed. Nicky realized he was very much “on duty”. Throughout this time, he looked at the grieving woman, making deep eye contact with her. Penetrating eye contact. Eventually, the woman murmured how helpful, how relaxing, it was to have Nicky there by her side, making himself available to comfort her in those difficult moments.
It was dark. Late. Linda and Ken prepared to leave. At that point, Nicky sat straight up and stared at the man in bed. Nicky sniffed the air for several minutes. The Greasons had never observed these behaviours in the their therapist before.
The following morning, Linda received a call from the woman. Her husband had died in the night.
The Great Unknown
Much has been written speculating about whether dogs and cats have the ability to predict impending death:
Owners of dogs and cats, especially therapy dogs and cats, understand the abilities of animals to know when a human is about to leave This Life. Our ability to articulate how they know is another matter...
Ganaraskans began their development as breed about 40 years ago when a man engaged in pet therapy was inspired to create a new dog from breeds known for their ideal suitability as pet therapists; namely the English Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frisé, Poodle, and Miniature Schnauzer. Although not yet recognized as an official breed in Canada, the consensus is that formal acceptance is just a few years away. The Canadian Ganaraskan Breeders’ Association does not have a website, so for more information on Gannys, visit: https://www.petpremium.com/dog-breeds/ganaraskan/.
 Associated Press. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3186088/Pets-pick-cues-comfort-dying-grieving.html.
 David M. Dosa, M.D., M.P.H. “A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat” (July 26, 2007) 357(4):New England Journal of Medicine, at 328-329.
This article, written primarily by Michele Peddle, concerns her talented pet therapist, Jasmine. Although this blog featured Jasmine recently, in light of the events Michele has detailed below, there just had to be another blogpost about Jasmine. You’ll see why – ed.
Approximately six years ago, Michele was acting in her role as the Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) Team Leader for Bowmanville/Courtice/Newcastle in Ontario, when she reached out to a local high school. Knowing TPOC’s Paws To Read ® program enjoyed a success rate for elementary age children that was off the charts great, Michele wondered whether the program would be of any value to tweens, teens and young adults.
The teacher Michele contacted was Bruce, who worked in "Learning Life
Skills" – a program for students who didn't fall into the usual class room
protocol. As luck would have it, Bruce was an advocate for pet therapy and happily invited Jasmine and Michele into his classroom. Then, Michele had some planning to do. “So now what?” she wondered. “These students are 17 to 21 years old. What can I possibly give to them that would make a difference in a high school reading
program?” Fortunately, planning is one of Michele’s well developed skills…
A Great Idea
The plan was that once a week Jasmine and Michele would arrive at the high school, where they would wait in the library for Bruce's entire class, including the Educational Assistants for the students who required full time support. Each student would arrive with a book or lesson they were working on, and sit around a large table reading individually to their Educational Assistant. Michele learned later that students practised their reading with their Educational Assistant because they didn't want to let Jasmine down by mispronouncing a word. Their routine involved Michele calling the students one at a time, to their cozy corner in the Library. There, the students who were able to do so, sat on the floor with Michele and Jasmine. For students in wheelchairs, Michele sat on a chair beside the wheelchair, with Jasmine either lying on the tray of the wheelchair, or on the student’s lap.
Then They Met Josh
From the beginning, Josh stood out. He was charming, handsome and keen – always arriving in his wheelchair with a book or lesson to do. One more thing: Josh was so enthusiastic to spend one-on-one time with his therapy team, he couldn't seem to read to Michele and Jasmine quickly enough. Every sentence. Every book. Every time.
The World Turned
After two years, Michele and Jasmine moved to a different location to volunteer with kindergarten-aged children affected by severe disabilities. Another pet therapy team remained to work with Josh’s school.
Four years passed.
Recently, Michele received an email from teacher, Bruce, who expressed concern about Josh. He reported that Josh had been diagnosed clinical depression and school was no longer his happy place. Bruce asked whether it was possible for Jasmine to drop in, unannounced, to spend some quality time with Josh.
There was only one answer to that question.
Return of the Sparkle
Josh was called out of his class, not knowing that Jasmine and Michele were in the library waiting to see him. As he wheeled through the doors and saw his former pet therapy team waiting for him, Josh’s smile returned. His eyes sparkled....
The three sat privately and talked about life. Jasmine laid on Josh’s lap, calmly and comfortably, while Michele and he talked about the books they had shared together. Michele then told Josh she was proud of him and would be thinking about his life choices after he graduated from high school, at age 21 years. His smile returned and was dazzling. He thanked Michele for bringing Jasmine for a visit and said how much he’d missed them. Michele told Josh she missed him, too. They said goodbye. Josh wheeled away.
This week Michele received an important email from Josh's teacher, Bruce, asking for her mailing address. Josh had something he wanted to send to Michele. An envelope arrived in the mail. Clearly, Bruce had addressed the envelope... but below it, was some printing that said, "from josh". When Michele opened the package, she found two graduation photos of Josh. The first picture was Josh in his cap and gown, proudly holding his certificate. (This was where Michele felt like family.) The second was a grad picture of him in a different setting. Beside the photo was an area for a personal note where Josh wrote, "michelle and jasmine, thank you for making me happy".
When Michele finally stopped crying, she started smiling... then she emailed Bruce, asking him to let Josh know she’d received his letter. Michele added, "Tell Josh he made me happy, too!"
Michele wishes Josh all the best in whatever adventures his Life brings… and thanks Bruce for being Bruce.
We thank Michele and Jasmine for “being there”, for giving so much of their time, so many heartbeats, to bring support and joy to Josh and so many others – ed.
 Michele also is TPOC’s Director of Team Leaders-Canada.
 For privacy reasons, the student’s name has been changed to Josh.
On July 17, 2009 an important addition to Ontario’s court system was born. It had four paws, a cold wet nose and wiggly tail. This addition would soon go to live with Kathy Perry, who named the pup, Gordon. Six years later, Gordon and Kathy would make history in Ontario’s criminal justice system.
A dog doesn’t begin its career as the provider of comfort and calm to vulnerable people in the justice system – even a dog gifted with a gentle temperament like Gordon requires extensive training. And so it was with Gordon. His ordinary obedience training was followed by a Canine Good Neighbour Certificate – recognition that a dog follows commands on and off lead. To become a therapy dog team with Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC), Kathy and Gordon passed the certification to work with adults, including seniors and adults with disabilities and later, further certified to work with children.
Kathy Had an Idea…
Kathy has been a Victim Witness Services Worker with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General in Peel Region (near Toronto) for 18 years. In that time Kathy has assisted victims and witnesses, answering their questions about the criminal justice system, including what to expect for each court appearance. These people, who are vulnerable and in need of emotional support, had Kathy thinking about what more could be done to assist them in their experiences with the justice system.
As owner of a gentle certified therapy dog, Kathy wondered if pet therapists could have a role assisting victims of crime. She conducted research. She spoke to the District Attorney who spearheaded the Courthouse Dogs program in the United States and learned how support dogs were used in their courtrooms to offer emotional support to victims and witnesses. Aha! An important idea was taking shape.
In October 2015, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General agreed to collaborate with Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) to launch a Support Dog Pilot Program with the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP). The result is a two year pilot under the Ministry's Child Abuse, Sex Assault and Human Trafficking Protocol. In addition to the team of Kathy and Gordon in Peel Region, two other programs were initiated: in Kingston, a Kingston police officer began working with his service dog, while in Newmarket, VWAP partnered with the St. John’s Ambulance Pet Therapy volunteer handlers.
Working out of Kathy’s VWAP office in the A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse in Brampton, Ontario, Gordon has provided his calming, supportive magic, primarily with victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. Initially Gordon was prevented from entering courtrooms due to prohibitive protocols. Things changed in November 2015, however, when Gordon was permitted to comfort a vulnerable victim during his testimony. Many times since then Gordon has been in court, assisting victims of serious crime in accordance with Criminal Code provisions governing use of testimonial aids in the courtroom. For his part, Gordon doesn’t need direction. He has the uncanny ability of gifted therapy dogs, knowing who needs his help and exactly what he should be doing. In April 2016, a mere six months after the program began, the Ministry of the Attorney General awarded Kathy and Gordon a Prix Excelsior Award of Excellence for innovation.
Tell It To the Judge
Gordon’s work has been noticed by police officers, courtroom lawyers – and Judges. In January 2017, Kathy and her manager gave a special presentation to Justices presiding over criminal and family law matters in the Ontario Court of Justice. Although the presentation was scheduled to last 10 minutes, the Judges kept them there for 50 minutes, asking questions about the pilot project and brainstorming about legal principles that could support Gordon’s presence in court. For Kathy’s part, she’s now advocating to have Gordon accepted as a support dog in jury trials in the Superior Court of Justice.
So much work lies behind Gordon and Kathy. So much lies ahead.
It’s Thursday morning at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario. Many patients and staff await the arrival of a special therapist – Dusty, a 10.5 lb. silky coat Havanese.
The Child Life Specialist provides Dusty’s owner, Simone Bronfman, the list of patients to visit and then it’s time to get down to work with another member of the team, a hospital volunteer. Dusty is anxious to start work and has approximately one hour to work her therapeutic magic with patients, parents, nurses, doctors, staff and students – although really, her work begins as soon as she steps off the elevator. Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) limits the time animal therapists can work to one hour per day, so there’s no time to waste.
Dusty’s primary assignment is to the Neurology Floor, where she works with other team members – the Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist. Simone recalls one especially momentous visit. It was Christmas Day, 2015. Dusty visited a young patient before surgery to provide calm and comfort. After surgery, the patient would not talk to parents, nurses or doctors. This was a job for Dusty. It was only Dusty to whom the child would speak. Similarly, the doctor, nurses and parents wanted the patient to get up and walk so they could go home – another situation calling for Dusty’s special skills. Simone asked, “Would you like to take Dusty for a walk?” The patient slowly got out of bed and held the leash (along with Simone) and together they walked Dusty to the elevators and back. The parents cried as they videotaped the whole experience. Dusty’s tail wagged the whole time. A special Christmas indeed!
In addition to her work on the Neurology Floor, Dusty visits the Epilepsy Classroom at Sick Kids where she participates in the PAWS TO READ® program. Dusty and Simone also respond to special requests and visit on a different day and different unit at Sick Kids. As if this wasn’t busy enough, Simone receives many requests from the University of Toronto for a Dusty visit before exams to help reduce students’ stress and anxiety. Before being certified to visit children, however, Dusty began her career as a dog certified to visit adults and initially visited adults on the psychiatry unit at Mount Sinai Hospital. Now she spends time at Baycrest Home for Seniors where she befriends many residents.
Clearly, Dusty and Simone are a busy therapy team. Dusty, with her even, calm temperament and super-cuteness, provides emotional support, stress relief, distraction and comfort to children and adults. Simone says, “You know when Dusty is in the room with you, everything will be ok.”
IN THE BEGINNING... THE BIRTH AND FLOURISHING OF A PET THERAPY ORGANIZATION: as told by Judy Sauvé, Founder of TPOC
- written by Michele Peddle and Fran Carnerie
After being forced into an early retirement at the age of 41, it took me a few years to realize what direction my life would take. Having always wanted to be a veterinarian, or to work in social work field of some kind, it didn't take too long to figure out that I had to have a dog. Immediately.
I learned a neighbour's dog recently had a litter of Poodle/ Pomeranian crossed puppies and only two remained. After begging my husband to come with me, he reluctantly agreed. There they were… a brown male and a white female. OMG! They were just adorable. With my husband firmly on board, we selected the white female. Our Granddaughter, Abby, named the pup, "Princess Jasmine". Yes, that one, from the Disney movie, "Aladdin".
Jasmine was enrolled in puppy obedience and went on to graduate from five levels of obedience and a tricks class. It was suggested to me that using Cheerios as a training treat was a healthier option than regular training treats, so Cheerios it was. Later, I’d come to appreciate the cereal was a healthier choice if, by chance, any Seniors had the impression the Cheerios were for them.
Realizing there was something very special about this little girl, I wanted to share her love with others. I soon learned about Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC). At the age of a year and a half, Jasmine was evaluated for her fitness as a therapy dog. She passed! Then we finished the balance of our required stages to become a certified therapy dog team and soon we began visiting in the local hospital on the palliative care unit.
Jasmine was a natural when it came to visiting sick, elderly people. Small enough to lay beside the patients on their beds, she intuitively knew when to snuggle in close, or lay calmly by their side. Jasmine loved the homemade crocheted blankets and often made a nest before laying down beside the person who was under the blanket. Wheelchairs with a tray became another favourite. As soon as I placed her red TPOC towel on the tray, she’d become excited because she knew she would be placed on the tray for a lie-down and a visit. The smiles on the faces of those, who otherwise would be unable to touch their pet therapist, were priceless. Now patients had the same touching experience as people not confined to wheel chairs. With a few Cheerios under her belt, Jasmine curled up and remained patient while being patted, spoken to and loved up by each person.
The Terrible Scare
At the age of five years and without any warning signs, Jasmine required emergency spinal surgery. If she hadn’t undergone surgery, she would have been completely paralyzed. We were devastated! There was no discussion -- we knew what had to be done. Four days and $9,000 later, we were finally permitted to visit Jasmine in intensive care. They were the hardest four days of my life.
Jasmine quickly recovered from her surgery and soon was cleared to go back to work. So back to work we went. She was very excited to be on the job again and appeared to truly miss it. And as it turned out, Cheerios for treats had another unanticipated benefit for Jasmine. Following her surgery, it was very important that our little girl not put any weight on -- at all. A one to two pound weight gain could be detrimental to her health...who knew?
Not long after her return to work, Jasmine was evaluated to work with children. After passing the certification (with flying colours), we went on a search to discover where this new chapter would take us. Soon I was contacted to start our Paws To Read® program in a local elementary school. We were so excited!
Once a week Jasmine and I go to a smaller classroom, where we visit a young boy. Robbie is wheelchair-bound, unable to speak, walk, feed himself or pat Jasmine. But he waits for our arrival. Jasmine is placed on her red towel on a gurney with Robbie's wheelchair tucked up close beside it. Six students arrive, each with a book but first, each child spends a few minutes with Jasmine, doing tricks with her or feeding her Cheerios… same at the end of class. When the reading program begins, each student reads to Jasmine and Robbie. What a wonderful way to include this little boy in the simplest of activities. And while the students read, Robbie's Educational Assistant gently holds his hand to help him touch Jasmine's body. For her part, Jasmine understands her role is just to lie still -- something she appears to love doing for Robbie.
Then came the miracle! After three years of repeating this weekly process, on a day after Robbie had received 68 Botox injections, Jasmine appeared to sense that he was in pain. Instinctively, Jasmine laid as close as she could to his body and after licking his afflicted arm, she put her head on his arm, closed her eyes and fell asleep. Then Robbie moved him arm by himself and patted Jasmine on his own! Robbie’s Mom happened to be there that day and was awestruck.
Wait… There’s More
In addition to the children's reading program, Jasmine has the pleasure of working one day a week with severely low functioning children who have a variety of health issues. Also, we visit inmates of a Forensic Unit in a locked down facility. While visiting them in their orange jump suits and gang tattoos, she excitedly wiggles her tail and can't wait for them to pat her. They each give their pet therapist a few Cheerios and their voices raise to a high pitch. "Hi Jasmine!” “Oh look! Jasmine is here." Their faces are full of smiles. Their hearts open to show that below the orange jump suits they are still humans with a heart -- perhaps bad judgement -- but with a heart.
Then, there’s the patients with mental health challenges. Jasmine spreads the love (and miracles) at Ontario Shores in Whitby, Ontario. (At the bottom of this post is a letter we received from a young woman Jasmine has visited a number of times.)
The Princess of Cheerios has taught me the true meaning of being non-judgmental. Working closely with my dog has taught me so much about humans, trust, relationships and commitment. Jasmine has given me more "life experiences" then I could ever imagine. I am forever thankful to her for that. If I ever write a book about my life with Jasmine, the title would be “All Because Of My Dog”.
Biography of an Inspired and Inspirational Therapy Dog Volunteer – Michele Peddle:
Letter from a young woman Jasmine has visited several times:
Hi! My name is XXXXX, and I have been in and out of the hospital for about two years due to mental illness. For as long as I can remember, Michele (from Therapeutic Paws of Canada) has brought her dog, Jasmine, to the hospital every Thursday. There have been times when I have had no visitors or phone calls; where I feel as though no one cares. That’s where Therapeutic Paws of Canada comes in. I could be in the most depressive mood ever, yet, as soon as Jasmine (the wonder dog) walks into the room, I immediately pick up. To me, Jasmine truly is “The Wonder Dog”. She will climb onto my bed and usually lie at the end of my feet. She will let me feel her and pat her. I think my favourite thing about Jasmine is that she will give me kisses. From what Michele told me, Jasmine very rarely lets other people feel her, and she rarely gives kisses. When I was told that, it brought a smile to my face. Therapeutic Paws of Canada is an extraordinary group of people and dogs that is sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face.
“There’s no looking back.”
Lexi, owned and loved by Michelle Rushton, arrived home with Michelle’s daughter, Kelli, as a 12 week old rescued puppy. That was 11 years ago. Possessed of a calm, loving, even “amazing” disposition, Michelle put Lexi into the Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) program and reports, there really is no looking back.
A gentle soul, Lexi shares her patience and love with all, but especially with the elderly -- she’s really pulled to seniors. Michelle and Lexi pay weekly visits to Abbeylawn Manor Retirement Home in Pickering, Ontario and have done so for years. Instinctively, Lexi understands that she should not raise her paw, or sit on the residents’ feet, or lean on them – like she knows what’s needed to do her important work. Lexi spreads the love with the residents, including several special people… like George, for instance. He always lights up when Lexi enters his room. Once there, Lexi is happy to sit by his side and soak up his gentle loving pats. There was a time when George was not doing well physically. Michelle thought they had just lost him -- but Lexi detected something different. She nudged him softly until he responded, sitting with her head by his pillow, gazing into his eyes. And George gazed into hers.
Another resident was in need of Lexi’s loving attention – Dorothy. Upset when she first moved into her new home, Dorothy settled only when Lexi was by her side, where she could touch and speak to her pet therapist. Soon after, Dorothy reported feeling very happy to have a dog by her side once again...and has ensured there’s always treats on hand for those anticipated Lexi visits.
Of course, with so much love to give, Lexi also is calm and relaxed with young children. She’s never been much of a 'dog's dog', however, Lexi’s more a 'people's dog', enjoying the company of humans over that of her own kind.
Through the years, Michelle’s family have had dozens of foster pets, many of which are elderly and not doing well when they arrive. The environment greeting these animals, however, is rich with compassion, love and calm. Soon after, the animals are able to heal themselves and live a quality life. Lexi plays a huge part in instilling the calm that is so important to their recovery process. And bunnies? The rescued bunnies that have run loose in the Rushton yard for years seem to understand that Lexi is their guardian. They appear to feel safe in Lexi’s presence.
Senior citizens, fostered rabbits, cats and even a horse… Lexi’s life is filled with people and animals who are showered with her love and compassion. What does Michelle say about all these things? “The satisfaction we get is so warming and so fulfilling!”