This July, ANT bunnies and Gabby (the golden retriever) were featured guests at the Microsoft One Week Expo in Redmond, WA!
Jessie Pemble (Mobile ANT Coordinator) and Kelsy Hartmann (Barn Manager) drove the Mobile ANT Van down south for the 2-day event, and hosted a “Cuddle Corner” for guests (all Microsoft employees) to enjoy. This is the second time ANT has been asked to provide therapy animals for a corporate event in order to relieve stress (read about our visit to Microsoft Build here). Indeed, the bunnies were a welcome respite from the busy expo, and many visitors exclaimed that the animals should be a permanent fixture of Microsoft events!
With the summer heat in full force (nearly 90 degrees!), we kept the bunnies cool with frozen water bottles and cold tiles, and brought bags of ice for Gabby to lay against. In spite of the warmth, guests loved cuddling the rabbits and giving Gabby lots of belly rubs – her favorite! We enjoyed taking breaks in the air-conditioned staff tent and visiting with all the behind-the-scenes crew working hard to make the event a success, as they needed some stress relief too!
A highlight of our experience was pulling the bunnies around on a cart through the expo, delighting unsuspecting guests and inspiring many squeals and shrieks of excitement. It was heartwarming to see faces, previously looking haggard or tired from the heat and energy of the event, break into smile when they approached our rabbits. While animal interaction might seem simple, implemented thoughtfully it can have a profound effect; we heard countless expressions of relief, happiness, and comfort. It also brought people together–employees would encourage friends and colleagues to join them at the Cuddle Corner, while strangers helped take photos of each other and chatted as bunny baskets were passed around. New friends were made (human AND animal!), and we’re sure our animals were the most photographed subjects in the state that week!
The expo included music, food, gaming, and more, but many employees found the animals to be their favorite feature!
Stay tuned for our next Microsoft adventure…