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Full Steam Ahead…!!!!

2 October, 2012

Well it’s been none stop for a good few months and it’s all going swimmingly.

On the 30th August Flossie and I attended Walsall Independent Living Centre where we were invited to speak to the public, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers about the work HumAnima CIC does and the services we offer. Needless to say, Flossie received bucket loads of fuss from adults and children alike.

The icing on the cake though was definitely the beautiful bouquet of flowers AND dog treats we received as a thank you for attending! 🙂 Flossie thoroughly enjoyed her treats and I even made sure she had them all to herself rather than having to share them with her son, Dinky!

We were officially welcomed into the arms of Social Enterprise West Midlands (SEWM) earlier in September and affirmed our new collaboration with a guest blog entry on their website. This has been well received and traffic to the website and blog has been gradually growing.

In the last few weeks though development on the app idea has exploded to FULL STEAM AHEAD! I am now working with Development KeysInnovista and Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute on our new app. I am hoping to reveal all in the coming weeks as we will be presenting a blueprint, demo and design manual to potential investors at next weeks Social Enterprise West Midlands, Social Finance Fair. Everybody I have spoken to, with regards to the potential of the app has given it the thumbs up so it’s all looking very promising.

What I can say is that HumAnima CIC’s new app will act as a social catalyst and will bring dog owners and dog lovers together. With our app, users can enjoy each others and their pooches company out and about, meet’n greet and find out about nearby resources and points of interest specifically for “dog people”. Watch this space, join our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with us and the apps development! 🙂

A few weeks ago we were invited to speak to the staff at Accord Group in Bloxwich. I spoke to members of staff who work with the older population and in particular with service users with Dementia. Again, Flossie dutifully toddled along with me and wore her workbag (I don’t see why I should do all the work!) and instantly made friends, yet again, and especially with the men in the room! (She’s such a flirt!). We’ve been invited to put together a training package that will focus specifically on Animal Assisted Therapy in Dementia so if you’d like to join us or are particularly interested in this area then do get in touch. I will be putting together a Scheme of Work over the next few weeks to propose to the organisation. It’s really great that they are so interested especially as they are already implementing what is known as The Eden Alternative. This brilliant approach incorporates plants, animals – nature as a whole, and in particular, intergenerational interaction for the benefit of the older population. Following on from this, Flossie and I (notice the order of introduction there… dog first, then me!) will be attending the Dementia Cafe in Pelsall near Walsall for a PAT visit with Flossie later on in November.

 

Last Saturday we were busy again, this time in Wolverhampton presenting at the Equinox Therapy Centre Taster day. During the day we held a stall where people could come and find out about the counselling service, Animal Assisted Therapy and (most importantly of course!) meet Flossie! We were VERY busy and by the end of the day Flossie was pretty bushed!

We had a fair few enquiries about the counselling approach I use and the role Flossie has in all of that. I find it’s helpful to explain what counselling is in my own words as everybody’s experiences of counselling are different – it is subjective.

I “ruthlessly” used Flossie as a marketing tool…. I’d bought a (Size 8…!) white t-shirt in Primark and ironed on our HumAnima CIC logo. Only as I was peeling off the logo, did I realise that I hadn’t printed it off in mirror image!!!! So it ended up being a talking point which actually worked in my favour! Fate?!

Image

I’m now preparing for our “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” course which is being held this Saturday at Keele Sustainability Hub, Keele University, Staffordshire. During this day participants will learn all about the benefits of the human-animal bond and the application of those benefits within counselling. This is a course specifically for counsellors, health professionals and students of the mental health and social work fields. We will also be exploring a basic understanding of the concept of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and its application in a safe manner which will take into consideration health, safety and animal welfare.

We do have some places left so drop me an email and come and join us! You’ll have a great time, find out loads of fascinating info, will eat lovely grub, and you’ll get to meet and fuss Flossie 🙂

Is “Pets As Therapy” the same as “Animal Assisted Therapy”?:

I am often asked about whether Pet As Therapy (PAT) visits are the same as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

Whilst there are similarities – interaction with a temperament assessed animal, work with clients of various health conditions, backgrounds and needs – they are very different.

Pets As Therapy visits are informal visits that otherwise might be known as “Animal Assisted Activities” or AAA. Pet Partners (formerly The Delta Society) describe AAA’s as:

AAA provides opportunities for motivational, educational, recreational, and/or therapeutic benefits to enhance quality of life. AAA are delivered in a variety of environments by specially trained professionals, paraprofessionals, and/or volunteers, in association with animals that meet specific criteria.

(from Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy)

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) on the other hand:

–  has specific aims, goals and objectives for the individual

–  is measurable

–  is delivered by a health/ human service professional within the scope of their practice

(From Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy)

So as you can see, it isn’t quite so straight forward. However, the benefits of both are undeniable and it is our wish to continue to support and evidence those benefits.

If you have any specific questions that you’d like me to address in future blog posts, message me, email me, Facebook or Twitter me. If all else fails,… try carrier pigeon!

G.I. Joe the Famous Carrier Pigeon

Icing on the cake this week?… Flossie won a competition online with the lovely P-etiquette after I entered their competition. Flossie won with her entry of this picture and will be getting a beautiful handmade Italian Leather PURPLE dog collar to flaunt as uniform when we go out on our HumAnima CIC travels. Very proud Mummy!

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