‘Wonder Rabbit’ helps disabled children to read.

29 February 2024

Winter the 'Wonder Rabbit' is helping disabled children to read.

A mini-lop rabbit in Bedfordshire is developing a reputation for helping children with additional needs to overcome the barriers they face with reading. Despite the popularity of dogs and horses as therapy animals, Winter the rabbit has become one of the most popular therapy animals at a small private farm in Bedfordshire. Animal Edge was established in 2016 by owner Danielle Edge to support children who required additional learning support throughout their education.  

The farm works closely with charitable organisations including Autism Bedfordshire to provide animal assisted therapy for both children and young adults.  

Six year-old, Winter regularly meets with disabled children and their carers to support them with reading books, prompting children to engage in story time and develop their verbal communication skills. 

“Animals like Winter can serve as a communication bridge between therapist and patient, facilitating conversation and laughter. Some studies have shown that interacting with animals can positively improve the social behaviors of children with autism and we have definitely witnessed this first hand with Winter. We’ve had children who were considered as mute, respond to Winter and her story books with spoken word. It’s left staff, carers and parents in total shock and amazement,” said Farm Manager Danielle Edge. 

“The time spent with animals encourages social contact and the development of social skills. Empathy, respect, communication, cooperation and teamwork can all be improved by working closely with animals. When children meet Winter for her reading sessions, they can discard the negative experiences they have had with reading previously and we notice a significant improvement in their verbal and physical responses to books.” 

Animal Edge is an award-winning small private animal farm set in the heart of Bedfordshire, on the doorstep of Center Parcs, Woburn Forest. The private farm in Millbrook, Bedford is also home to animals including donkeys, pigs, goats and guinea pigs. 


Scroll to Top