Case study

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When is a Rabbit, not a Rabbit?

We’ve all grown up around the endless children’s stories, myths, legends and fables with animals as their heroes, villains, guides and companions. No matter the cultural background, animals abound. Children have an innate affinity for animals; perhaps down to Biophilia, an innate tendency or love of nature, as defined by E. O. Wilson (1984), suggesting this love, this connection is part of biology, genetic make-up and is in fact in-built. Perhaps that is why it is so easy for children, young people, adults and older people to relate to most things concerning animals – whether that be a conversation or an interaction.

What were your favourite stories with animals whilst you were growing up? I have always loved all the different animal stories as I was growing up. Stories where the animals could speak to us and we could be understood back were always a favourite and classic tales such as Brer Rabbit from Disney’s “Song of the South” have stayed with me throughout my years.

A popular “tool” though has always been the fable – Aesop’s Fables being perhaps the most well-known. Who hasn’t heard of “The Hare and the Tortoise” or “The Fox & the Crow”? Most people are familiar with them and of course there are morals and lessons to be learnt behind these wonderful stories. (If you aren’t familiar with these wonderful tales, I can highly recommend them!) Depending on how you read them you may take away one lesson or more; in “The Hare and the Tortoise” you might end up considering “more haste, less speed” or, as it was for me “slow but steady, wins the race”. There are a number of different interpretations and different people will perceive and interpret different […]

There’s no time like the present!

Well it’s been far too long since I updated the blog but the diary has been chocka block for quite a few months! Finding the time to have a bath has been challenging and I felt that the general public would approve more of an ‘abluted’ representative for HumAnima CIC rather than a frazzled one!

Where to begin though! I’ve had several meetings with a few organisations to discuss the possibility of working with them to deliver courses and therapy programmes. Finance continues to be an issue for the majority of them but there are a few who know that it is wise to invest in NEW opportunities especially in hard times like these and so 2013 will hopefully include new partnerships and collaborations with some really forward-thinking organisations!

Perhaps I should have started with our biggest achievement of 2012 though…? In November I put in an entry for HumAnima CIC for the Social Enterprise West Midlands Awards. I entered us into Prima award, which was the award for innovation. It was a very short turnaround time for shortlisting and notification but we were quickly informed that we had been shortlisted! Now to be shortlisted, was an achievement in itself as we were up against many other entries (I can’t remember the exact number. Must check!) so that put a smile on my face. Unfortunately, the date of the award ceremony clashed with a previous engagement I had to deliver a Pets As Therapy visit but thankfully I was able to rearrange that for February. On the night in question, our category had 4 entrants a few of whom I was already aware of and knew were fantastic and indeed innovative social enterprises! It was an honour […]

Final Video Diary with U-do

For the past few weeks, I’ve been rushed off my little feet! I don’t know whether I’m coming or going! So much has been happening! All good but I’m already contemplating retirement… Only joking!

Over the last 4 weeks I’ve been interviewed once a week by the charming, Nitya of U-do about the various aspects of social enterprise development, what has helped HumAnima CIC and what people can look forward to. Last week was my final video diary (I’d never done a video diary, let alone an interview this way so it was very new territory for me! Fascinating though!) and in this one I talk about marketing – which is a continuous learning journey, can be frustrating and so requires much patience!

And just a reminder that places are filling up for our “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” course! Happening at Keele Sustainability Hub, Keele University on the Saturday 6th October! Places are filling up so don’t delay! Email me for more information and a course booking form.

If you have any thoughts or questions, you know where to find me 🙂 info(at)

Plan, Propose, Prepare, Prevent!

On of the biggest issues affecting the take-up of Animal Assisted Therapy here in the UK is the red tape and emphasis on health and safety. It is easy to understand why we need to keep H&S in mind, but at what point is cautious, too cautious?

Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods” (2010) coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” and since that time we have come across increasing news articles noting the rise in allergies, aggression and behavioural problems in children. The link has now been made between these problems and a lack of access to greenspace, nature and an increase in urban, technologically oriented society.

Some of you may have come across the recent news (except that this is old news!) confirming that children who have/ interact with animals have fewer allergies. This makes sense on so many levels – children from a young age, interacting with animals, get a chance to build up their immune system making them more resistant to conditions like allergies and making their health stronger on the whole. This is why I struggle to understand the obsessive cleanliness of some parents who by keeping their children “too” clean contribute towards the development of allergies.

It is understandable that in institutions and establishments such as hospital wards, residential homes and schools that particular care must be taken due to the increased vulnerability of this population and their weaker/ weakened immune systems. However, you can be over-cautious and in being so completely miss out on the fact that the benefits outweigh the risks!

Older people in residential homes and hospitals suffer greatly from loneliness and it is such a problem that
there is a Campaign to End Loneliness. PAT dogs and […]

NEW DATE: “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” course – 6th October 2012

Following the success of our first course, the next “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” course will be taking place on the 6th October 2012 at Keele Sustainability Hub, Keele University, Staffordshire.

For more details or to book a place, please email Kathryn at info(at)

Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling course flyer

Success WILL come if you work hard enough!

It’s been a VERY busy month with lots happening. On the 18th May I presented to a group of people interested or already involved in Care Farming at a small care farm in Shopshire. The location was stunning and whilst the weather wasn’t fantastic, it was good enough for us to go for  a brief tour after lunch to see some of the animals on the farm. The course looked at “Animal Assisted Therapy in Care Farming” and addressed the history of Animal Assisted Therapy, the background to Care Farming, AAT’s potential role in Care Farming, possible techniques and of course, the all essential Health & Safety! The day went very well and feedback was more than encouraging and gave me the little “oomph” I needed to prepare for the “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” course.

Here is one of the feedback comments:

      ” I thought what a lovely lass she was. All the content and information was there, and it was in informative bite sized chunks. I really enjoyed it. When I saw how she relaxed with the animals I almost wished we had done things the other way around, as she positively shone from then on.”

Well that was all the encouragement I needed to get myself into gear and prepare for the upcoming “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” course. The course took place on the 9th June at Keele Sustainability Hub at Keele University, Staffordshire. It was very well attended on the day with a comfortable group size and no sooner did the click hit 9:30am than people started coming through the door. Delegates were welcomed enthusiastically by Flossie, who went up to each person, sniffed and wagged and waited for a fuss. […]

Principle 3 – Obtain a Yield

Whether it’s because of the time of the year, the alignment of the stars, the right conditions, synchronicity, fate or just finally having the right conditions and circumstances, ideas are “being laid” left, right and centre. Much of it started last week when we had a meeting with a lovely lady from Community Catalysts. Commcats (@Commcats) are an awesome organisation fighting micro-enterprises’ corner and helping the likes of Pulp Friction – a cracking social enterprise which provides volunteering opportunities for young people to develop work readiness, social and independence skills.

Initially, I had come to the meeting not knowing really, what to talk about. So much has been going on that I was, in essence, starting to lose my focus. Thankfully, with Amy’s help, I was able to regain my focus. I’ve been able to clarify my current action plan and (incredibly) have come up with some ideas that will hopefully put HumAnima CIC on the public sector map. In the coming weeks, I will be creating 3 or 4 case studies based on anonymous details, that will give social workers an idea of how HumAnima CIC can deliver social, emotional and psychological outcomes for service users through tailor-made Animal Assisted Therapy programmes and associated work. By working in a person-centred way, we can also focus on areas that service user feels needs the most attention, as ultimately they are their own expert.

I am hoping that this will help enlighten people as to HumAnima CIC’s intentions, possibilities and ultimately the opportunities available when working with Animal Assisted Therapy and Eco-therapy. I realise now that all these ideas swimming around in my head are muddying the water and it’s time to gain some clarity and focus. However, this is also […]

By |March 17th, 2012|Case study, Counselling, Good Practice, Psychotherapy|1 Comment