Jamie was aged just 11 when he was referred to Dandelion Time with his Dad Sean. The family were overwhelmed by the heartbreaking loss of Jamie’s mother. Since her death Jamie felt unable to go to school. It seemed like everything was a struggle. Sean told us that Jamie seemed lost in his own world, not able to share his feelings and he felt he had lost his son as well as his wife.
On Jamie’s first session he stayed close by his Dad, clutching his arm as we walked across the frozen fields to meet the Dandelion donkeys Eddy and Woody. We know that animals are sensitive to human emotions and they must have sensed Jamie’s sadness. To Jamie’s delight the two donkeys and Star, our friendliest sheep, all lined up to be stroked. Jamie lent in closely to feel the warmth and smell of Woody, looked at his Dad and said I want to come here every day.
Over Christmas Jamie visited Dandelion Time with his family and helped care for the animals, pushing wheelbarrows of supplies, making beds for the new-borns and filling feeders. They were rebuilding their family bonds, laying down positive memories with shared experiences. Jamie’s fears about his life ahead began to dissolve as he looked forward to things.
By New Year, Jamie felt ready for school. We were delighted when Sean called with an update. After being asked by a teacher, Jamie not only agreed, but volunteered to talk about his Christmas during Assembly. An incredible step forwards for Jamie and his support team.
A year on, Jamie enjoys school, has a good attendance record, uses coping methods for stressful memories and is able to process difficult experiences. Sean says at difficult times Jamie deals with his emotions by finding a quiet place, in nature or with animals, just as he did at Dandelion Time.
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This is a composite case that is indicative of our work, names and images have been changed.
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