Thomaston rabbit refuge proprietor wants service dog


THOMASTON — Amy Lorenda White loves all animals, however she has a penchant for rabbits, and created Lavender’s Refuge to share their magical qualities with others in want of reduction and unconditional love. 

White, a resident of Thomaston, has a variety of bodily and psychological disabilities; she is on the Autism spectrum, has PTSD, and suffers persistent ache from nerve injury, neuropathy and muscle weak spot. 5 years in the past she was confined to a wheelchair and was unable to stroll. Due to bodily remedy and her personal decided spirit, White is now up and about, sharing her little household of rabbits with youngsters and adults.

However her personal service dog, a sturdy German Shepherd named Moose, grew in poor health with Lyme illness final yr and is now not in a position to carry out his jobs, primarily, to assist her rise up if she falls down. Although she’s out of the wheelchair, White’s legs are weak, and she or he generally falls. She says her kind of neuropathy causes her decrease legs and arms to be numb, making motion a problem more often than not. She credit her bodily therapist, Shelby Sarracco, with getting out of the wheelchair, she stated. 

Having a service dog be part of her household would make a distinction in her life, she stated. Together with a dog studying to open doorways, decide issues up and assist her get out and in of a chair or mattress, she’ll have one other companion.

“Moose is only a fantastic boy, and he is executed his job for a very long time,” White stated, throughout a current afternoon within the yard of her Thomaston residence. Moose took a stroll on the grass close by with White’s daughter, Annette, 22. “He will get to simply be a pet now, and he is completely happy. I nonetheless want a dog to get round, to assist me. I used to be doing analysis on dogs, and I came upon about ECAD.”

Two years in the past she met a number of ECAD volunteers, who got here to see her rabbits. “I did not learn about ECAD till they instructed me they volunteered there on weekends,” she stated. “That is how I came upon what they do.”

White is required to boost $25,000 for one of many dogs, that are bred, educated and paired with shoppers on the nonprofit’s headquarters in Winsted. ECAD’s dogs are educated to detect medical emergencies, present emotional and bodily help, and information their companions indoors and out. Every dog’s abilities are tailor-made for his or her proprietor; these new homeowners are required to remain at ECAD’s coaching heart for the ultimate two weeks of coaching, earlier than going residence collectively. 

The price of such coaching is rather more than $25,000, White stated. “Whenever you add up the time to coach these dogs, and the work ECAD does with their shoppers, after which the years they’re with you, it is much more than that. So if an individual like me desires to have one, we’re requested to make that monetary dedication. 

“I’ve raised nearly $9,000 already,” she stated, including that her personal church and native arts organizations have held fundraisers for her. “Individuals have been so fantastic, and so beneficiant. It’s totally encouraging.”

In the meantime, White continues together with her work with Lavender’s Refuge. The little nonprofit shouldn’t be a rescue for rabbits, “however for people,” she stated. 

“My purpose is to ask folks right here to hug a bunny for an hour, and relieve their stress,” she stated. “I used to be on psychiatric medicines for my PTSD, and I’m off them now; I credit score that to the rabbits. They carry me a lot peace, and I simply need to share that with everybody.”

Three of these particular rabbits embrace Pistachio, a grey Holland Lop; he’s affectionate and likes to present kisses, when he isn’t enjoying within the grass in his crate. Scorching Fudge is a petite Rex bunny with a really comfortable coat that’s hypoallergenic, that means he is secure for kids and adults with allergy symptoms to fur and dander. Grace Ann, a snow-white feminine, is a Jersey Wooly that resembles a fluffy white ball. She is mild and likes to snuggle, too. 

It is easy to see — and really feel — why these little creatures are such a consolation to somebody like White. Lavender’s Refuge is a mission for her to show folks, particularly youngsters, tips on how to respect animals and to find out about them. 

“I’ve residence college teams come to go to, and we do some training program to assist them perceive tips on how to be mild with animals, tips on how to deal with them, and why it is so vital,” White stated. “However I additionally need to share the best way a bunny can assist you’re feeling higher. It is probably the most peaceable factor on the earth.”

To study extra about Lavender’s Refuge or to donate for White’s service dog fundraiser, go to her Fb web page at



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