The dynamic duo in red from John Ball Zoo was back this month, charming children with wild arm candy that included a dove named Bert, a rabbit named Cookie, and a female tarantula.

And yes, it’s absolutely safe to assume that smiles formed ear to ear on the little faces inside Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Zoo volunteer Betty Sobel, 75, asked Cedar Springs resident Emma Orr, an 8-year-old being treated for neuroblastoma, to guess the rabbit’s name.

After a shrug from Emma, Sobel gave her the name: “Cookie.”

“Does he like cookies or something?” Emma asked.

“No,” Sobel said. “Do you know what rabbits eat?”

They eat carrots, said Emma, drawing Sobel’s approval.

Later, Sunny Sjaarda, 78, handled a dove named Bert, whose best friend, Ernie—also a dove—lives with him at the zoo.

“Bert and Ernie take turns visiting the hospital,” Sjaarda explained.