Posted December 7, 2016
It’s no secret that we at Blue Sky Fostering are a soppy bunch when it comes to our pets, you could say that goes hand in paw with role!
This is three year old Finn. By night, this beautiful Bernese boy is a much loved by the family of one of our supervising social workers. By day, he’s a therapy dog, helping children, young people, people with dementia and those suffering with mental health disorders. His support is invaluable, as one young person found out, recently.
Alys is sixteen and has lived with our foster carers for a little while. We knew about her history as a victim of abuse and her own self-harming, but Alys didn’t talk about it. We understood why, and we knew we needed to wait until she felt she could talk about it; until she could find and say the words to tell us.
Finn gave Alys the strength to tell her story
We know that some children and young people (and adults) find it easier to relate to animals than to other people. It’s logical that, as someone’s been abused by another person, they find animals more reassuring, more soothing, so we introduced Alys to Finn. The rapport was instant as this affable, gentle giant, strolled towards Alys’s chair, quietly positioning himself next to her and resting his head on her lap, just waiting to help. Loyally, for six hours he supported her, laying beside her, sitting up when she was struggling, placing his soft paws on her self-harm scars and his head on her knee when she became distressed. Finn had a break when Alys had a break and at the end of the six hours, Alys sat on the floor next to Finn, cuddling him and thanking him for being there. She said he was “such a comfort and gave me the strength to begin to tell my story”.
Never understimate the power of animals
Finn’s owner is delighted with the help he’s providing: “we should never underestimate the healing and supportive power of animals. Finn was reassuring and calming and I am the proudest Blue Sky social worker and Finn’s dog-mama tonight!”
Finn’s ready to help more children – are you?
Finn’s work continues with Alys and will do so until Alys feels the time is right for her to stop, but that won’t be the end of the bond; Finn and Alys are friends for life. There are lots of children and young people like Alys, in need of the safety and comfort of a foster home. Finn’s ready to help them; are you?