Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pet Therapy with Kids with Anxiety: Another Example

by John and Diane.

We've talked about pet therapy with foster kids a few times here, with horses, dogs, I have turtles and chickens.  Not only do pets help kids with RAD and trust disorders, ADD and other issues learn to interact and be responsible for living things, they allow caregivers and counselors a chance to monitor the child's development and growth when it comes to social skills and overcoming social obstacles like self-isolating behavior and building empathy.
I do recommend using pets with kids, they help lessen anxiety and help bridge the gap between new foster kids and their environment, although close monitoring and awareness of the child's behavioral and mental issues is vital in keeping animals safe.
Here is a success story I wanted to share involving an unusual cat and a boy with anxiety disorders.  Enjoy.

Cat gives young boy a voice

Lorcan and Jessi-cat, hanging out. (Photo by Cavendish Press)On a difficult news day that may have made you question your faith in humanity, we were delighted to spot a story that reaffirmed our faith in, well, felinity: an article in The Sun about a fluffy kitty named Jessi-cat who's helping her young owner to find his voice.

Lorcan Dillon is a 7-year-old from Davyhulme, Greater Manchester who suffers from an anxiety condition that makes it almost impossible for him to communicate or express emotion. But that all began to change when his mother, Jayne, brought home a cream-colored Birman cat named Jessi-cat a couple of years ago. (Birmans, not to be confused with Burmese, are semi-longhaired cats with distinctive sapphire eyes and pure white "gloves" on each paw.)

Lorcan bonded strongly with Jessi-cat, and as a result, he's better able to show affection, Jayne told The Sun. "The bond between Lorcan and Jessi-cat is so touching as he's able to show physical affection to her which he doesn't like doing with people – even me." Not every cat is up for lots of canoodling, but according to Jayne, Jessi loves it: "She's such a delightful, responsive cat and he hugs and kisses her all the time." Aw.

The article also says that Lorcan is doing better in social situations recently. In the last couple of weeks, Jayne said, he's "started communicating with people he doesn't know very well and even reads to one of the teachers now," which he hasn't done before (aw!). And he's started saying "I love you" for the first time. Awwww!

Read the rest of the story


  1. I love this article. Just today I was watching "Buck", where a man found a deep connection with the animal. The person who recommended it to me was a child-abuse survivor, who found a deep connection with a horse as well. She says the horse was her closest friend at a time where she would get beat up so much in the home. Her friendship with the animal lasted for many, many years... She says it was God's way of reaching to her, and I believe it. Pretty cool.

  2. Thanks Gabriela, I know there are quite a few programs for kids that pair them with horses.. something special about that connection and I am glad it helped your friend. Wish that type of thing was more accessable for more kids who need it.

    John and Diane

  3. Paul, thanks for your comment and the link to your blog!