Four-Legged Therapy Book
3rd October 2018
How fur, feathers and scales can make life worth living.
Way back at the beginning of 2018, when I was slightly off my head with depression and reeling from the unexpected death of my very good friend, I was commissioned to write three chapters for a book on four-legged therapy for Department Store for the Mind.
This was timely because I was a) ill and b) feeling very lost.
Now we are just one day away from publication!!
This commission gave me a focus and caused much mirth amongst my close friends. Why? They know me as the girl who reluctantly pats their pooch on the back or squirms when their cat plonks itself on my lap. I am not an animal fan. This makes me sound like I am an animal hater and I am not. I love that you love your pet. I just don’t want to pet your pet, you know?
I ‘fessed up everything to dog-loving Katie, my editor. She decided my reluctance to get up close to animals would give my writing a different perspective. Cue: chickens and conversations about dementia, borrowing other people’s doggies and learning about how Susannah became a cat slave (her words) and learned to be a more mindful time-keeper. Oh, and a visit to Stepney City Farm for a photoshoot which inspired my bestie to say she wanted a chicken handbag, too! (No chooks were hurt in the making of said photos but my belly hurt from laughing after G’s comment.)
The book, published by Octopus, is out tomorrow and it’s been lovely to revisit the stories I discovered months ago about how fur, feathers and scales can make life worth living. Canines, cats or community-owned hens and pet rabbits, school goats or visiting llamas offer us purpose – something to care for – and motivation to get out into the world. Their constant presence, daily rhythms and intuition teach us about listening, love and developing resilience in a hectic world where mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and loneliness affect old and young alike.
I may not want to touch my four-legged therapist but I definitely see how these creatures can help someone like me to feel calmer and happier. Four-Legged Therapy is not just a book but a community with real world events, too! Find out more here.