Morgan is our resident guardian dog who is best friend and protector of our chickens. Morgan has a loud bark and will announce your arrival. Morgan usually waits in her house while we work with the chickens as she is quite shy despite her bravado. Morgan is also a great teacher about diversity in friendships and supporting our loved ones. Morgan does not do one on one work with clients.
Gemma is the latest addition to the team. She is an 18 month old Maremma X Border Collie who came into our care from Maremma Rescue Victoria. Gemma has a kind and intuitive nature, loves to play and cuddle up, and just adores children! She will be undergoing official therapy canine training in 20201, and for now her work is supporting clients of all ages to work on energy transitions, managing and being aware of behaviours and reactions, finding joy in the smallest of things, and learning to slow down, listen to feelings, and ground when you need to. Gemma believes rubbing her tummy is a great way to achieve inner peace!
Charlie Rabbit visits us by appointment on Mondays and Thursdays for cuddle and play therapy. Charlie rabbit is about 5 or 6 years old and he is a cashmere rabbit who loves cuddles, and will lick you to tell you he loves you. He loves to eat Kale and pellets, and love plain in his tunnel and running around playing hide and seek. Charlie Rabbit works by appointment in the cubby play area and outside office.
Our bonny Bonnie is 12 years old, and has always been the “climbiest cat in the world” – in fact, Dr Traci has an anxiety book for young children starring Bonnie when she was learning to climb! As a kitten she always loved the highest spot in the house, and she still spends much of her time in session observing from above. Bonnie is shy, gentle and still loves to play. Bonnie’s forte is working with clients with anxiety or depression. Her soft purr and sweet and quiet ways support clients with mindfulness, sensory awareness, calming and being in the moment.
Tigger is our elderly statesman. Tiggy is 14 years old and has been blind for 18 months. He is happy to sit with clients and have a cuddle, and is willing to give play a go if clients are gentle. Since going blind Tigger’s other sense are more acute, and he works his way around the house with his hearing and sense of touch as guides. He has a great memory for where things are and “should be”, and is very aware of new smells and sounds. For children with heightened sensory awareness or those adjusting to life changing challenges, he is an inspiration in resilience and the capacity to be happy with life as it presents itself.
Leo “the lion heart”
Leo is 7 months old and is half of our therapy kitten team. Leo may be shy at first, but he loves to play and when he knows clients he will fall asleep loving them. Leo works with children with anxiety and phobias well, as he is gentle, curious, and aware. He also does a lot of play therapy and is a good stress reliever for children and adults who may feel overwhelmed. Leo’s role as a therapy kitten is to support clients doing indoor room based work in therapy.
Ariana is just 6 months old, and she is a Maine Coon coonlet! She a Leo are inseparable, and through their play together rand with us we can learn about boundaries, communication and connection. She is also very playful and cuddly as all kittens are, and as a giant kitten she can physically help ground clients who need it with a big Maine Coon cuddle or lap sit. Ariana and Leo work together in the house therapy room.
(Head of Security at Epona Brae)
Maverick is our resident outside kitty, and he will be first to greet you, check out what you are doing in therapy, and make sure you get a cuddle and the opportunity to rub his tummy if you need it. Maverick came to us as a wildcat, and he still likes to show how well he can climb trees or chase leaves if you let him. He is also a hitchhiker, so may jump into family’s cars to keep them company as they wait for clients.
The chicken family!
Our chicken family include resident friendly rooster JJ, his ladies Fi Fi, Langi, Eilish, Mina, Sassy, Shakira (who is blind in one eye but doesn’t let that hold her back), Arya, and new mother Samantha with her little flock Coco, Mimi, Fleur, Caroline and Zsa Zsa! Chickens have strong pecking order and family structures, are very social, affectionate and remember the faces of the humans they know. Chickens theory for ASD has been found in research to support children on the spectrum with learning and feeling connected, and our little flock love to work with children and humans of all ages to support them in social and emotional learning.