Improving Mental Health through contact with animals.

The day I introduced Daylight the lamb to young people at Small Steps.

We caused quite a stir walking through town, with lots of smiles, and people wanting to stop and say hello and even taking selfies.  I don’t think its possible for someone to see a baby lamb and not get a huge smile on their face. There was one man who had just finished a shift at the local slaughterhouse (a job that has been linked to a high risk of mental health problems) he was so excited and happy to see a lamb who would never end up on the kill floor.   Then an elderly lady who was so pleased to get to cuddle a lamb on her morning trip to the post office.

So how did Daylight end up with me? Well, I’m a bit of a magnet for animals in need, whether that’s rescuing wonky pigeons to unwanted and neglected hamsters or saving and rehousing 21 ex-laying chickens who would otherwise have been culled.

Daylight was given to me by an elderly farmer who over the years has reduced the size of his flock and with only one cade lamb this year who would not suckle off the ewe, he simply didn’t have the spare time to bottle feed her every few hours and was happy to give her away to a good home. Daylight is a 5 week old Texel cross ewe lamb, she is a real character who loves a cuddle and a good chin scratch and walks on and off a lead better than any dog I know!

Daylight stayed with me, both in the house to start with, for safety and ease of overnight bottle feeds, and also in a friends field. We had plenty of adventures together before she went on to an animal sanctuary in Ceredigion where she will get to live out her whole life with lots of lovely sheep friends and will never be at risk of ending up on somebody’s plate.

Daylight had a great time meeting everyone at Small Steps and it was easy to see how much she lifted everybody’s spirits.  According to “Interacting with a friendly pet can help many physical and mental issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall psychological state.” I’m sure we’ve all heard of therapy dogs, cats and even horses – well how about an emotional support sheep?!