Wellbeing and the power of pets in giving therapeutic support
In their discussions, they were very aware of the powerful role their pets played in comforting and connecting with their children. Over the years Anne’s dogs, Bob then Hamish, and Clare’s daughter’s guinea pigs, Fudge and Poppy would offer limitless, cuddles, spontaneous fun and playfulness helping their children to feel happier, regulated and loved.
They began talking about developing a wellbeing resource together, combining Anne’s commercial creativity with Clare’s ideas for an approach to support children’s emotional development. Both so aware of the way their own children’s pets offered comfort and unconditional care, especially when life felt tough or challenging and their recognition of the power of pets became a central feature for their work together.
With a lack of support for children’s emotional health, massively stretched services, and huge waiting lists for CAMHS, support for vulnerable children is worryingly sparse.
For many children, school isn’t easy and when children are worrying about their learning or friendships, when things at home are difficult, or they have experiences that adversely affect them, their wellbeing suffers, and they are at risk of long-term mental health challenges.
Clares’ work has always been about advocating for greater awareness of children’s emotional health and supporting schools to understand behaviour in the context of what the child is trying to communicate. She is acutely aware that children need opportunities to talk with adults who really listen and care about them, and to know that they are not alone in their feelings and experiences. Having the chance to talk to their peers with an adult who can help them to connect, feel heard and feel a sense of belonging whilst doing activities together, can be extremely powerful and life-changing for children.
There are amazing staff in schools who work really hard to be the listening ear, the advocate, and to help children express and share how they are feeling, but Clare’s vast experience in schools has made her increasingly aware that pastoral staff really need quality resources to help them.
So Hamish & Milo was created!
The Hamish & Milo Wellbeing Intervention resource was born from a great desire to offer pastoral staff in schools a comprehensive framework and a complete range of activities that can help vulnerable children gain an understanding of their own emotional experiences and can offer them insight, awareness, and approaches that help them regulate, reflect and thrive.
Research shows that stroking our pets for just 15 minutes boosts the “feel-good” hormones, serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin, and even lowers blood pressure by 10%!
Clare and Anne are both passionate about helping all children to enjoy life and to thrive, despite adversity.
Clare and Anne recognise completely how having a pet is very special and so many children love being able to talk to or cuddle a pet or an animal. They can help us to regulate, calm, feel loved and special. They can also make us laugh at the funny spontaneous things they do and playing with them allows us to have fun and feel a sense of togetherness.
As well as running Hamish & Milo together they are now even greater friends, with a common goal and shared purpose. They have shared both laughter and tears and know the importance of trust, fun and mutual respect!