Our Stories - Niamh Animal Magic Story

Through sponsoring visits to special needs schools by the traveling Animal Man, we have learned how much children enjoy contact with our furry friends.
But one devoted mother is exploring the possibility that animals can have a direct therapeutic effect on special needs kids.

Veronica wrote to ask if we would sponsor her daughter, Niamh, to undergo animal therapy at a special centre in Penrith, Cumbria.

Lords House Farm allows children to interact with a whole range of birds and animals, including horses, Llamas, Parrots and frogs.
In 10-year-old Niamh’s case, the treatment is designed to confront some of the challenging issues she suffers from.
Mum, Veronica, explained:”Niamh won’t touch food and has major issues with some sounds and smells.
“By taking her to Penrith, it allows us to meet animals who are noisy and smelly and need feeding, all the things she has a problem with.
“Down there, she is brushing horses, which is amazing because she won’t even touch a brush in the house!”
The Teddy Bear Foundation has been delighted to fund 25 sessions for Niamh in Cumbria, at a cost of £500.
It means 200-mile return trips twice a week but neither Veronica nor Niamh seems to bother.
Added Veronica:”Niamh is my wee star.  She is still undiagnosed so we have no name for what she has.
“I am hoping that the animal therapy may help develop some speech within her.
“Even a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ would be amazing and to hear the word ‘mum’ is more than I could dream of.
“We have had seven or eight sessions so far and Niamh is now using sign language to tell her therapist, Caroline, what animals she wants to see and touch.
“We’ve not long started but already she is showing real progress.
“The amazing thing about the Teddy Bear Foundation is that you emailed me back within 30 minutes of making my request.
“Within a week, I had the cheque!”


It's Fendi the Llama's turn to be fed.

Niamh brushes Brambles the pony in Cumbria.

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