I have been training and working with therapy rats since 2016. I’ve been part of two Pet Partners therapy teams with my rats, Oliver and Vincent.

It’s not every day you meet a pet rat, and a therapy rat at that! We get an overwhelmingly positive response when we visit schools and libraries and even if someone isn’t sure about petting a rat, they usually warm up after seeing how cute they are.

Having a rat as a therapy animal gives me an opportunity to teach others what great animals they are and challenge the negative stigma associated with the word “rat.” My current rat, Vincent, regularly visits local libraries and schools as part of Pet Partners’ Read with Me program. We sit with a child who reads to him and Vincent relaxes and listens to the story. We also visit college campuses during finals week and help ease students’ stress. The students really enjoy the uniqueness of having a therapy rat on campus.

Story submitted by Abby Chesnut