Vincent: An Ambassador for Therapy Rats

Vincent was adopted with his brother Xavier in early 2018 by Abby Chesnut and trained for therapy work. This was Abby’s second therapy rat and he was perfect for this work thanks to his laid-back personality and his love of people.

Abby and Vincent became a registered therapy animal team near the end of the year and began visiting college students for finals week to aid in de-stressing. Eventually, Abby started a reading program where elementary school children would sit and read to him to increase their reading confidence.

Vincent loved visiting others and especially getting treats from his admirers. Many loved seeing him in his basket ready for the next adventure.

A therapy rat rests in a basket while a child pets him gently with one finger

Vincent retired in late 2019 with 97 hours of volunteer work under his belt, approximately 1000 people visited, and over 2.5k miles traveled for therapy events.

Sadly, Vincent was helped over the rainbow bridge in October 2020 due to cancer, but he was such a loved boy. He inspired and educated so many— from adults who wanted to start working with a therapy rat, to kids learning that rats aren’t actually all that bad. Vincent’s smile will continue to live in our hearts and memories.

A "smiling" therapy rat poses against a backdrop of twinkle lights

—submitted by handler Abby Chesnut

Abby continues to advocate for rats as therapy animals and provides education about rats on her website Healing Whiskers.


Pet Partners’ Cancer Care Fund (CCF) is a donation-based fund that allows us to honor the hard work of therapy animals by reducing the financial stress that is associated with a cancer diagnosis. Learn more and donate today.