Planning travel for Iris has always been about following her interests but also helping her develop skills that she will need for the future. Learning how to thrive without her team of animals has been one challenge that’s on my mind each time we leave our menagerie at home. What I don’t tend to dwell on in my blogs is the difficult days, those tough moments where I search in desperation, my brain spins trying to find answers to what has disturbed Iris’s world, what was it that upset her or how do I help. Sometimes her abilities to speak or to show me leave her in those desperate times. I have become, dare I say it dependent on a crutch that takes many forms. A cat, a rabbit, and a pony. I am lucky to be surrounded by a team of animal therapists that save the day so when it’s time to leave them at home I do wonder, what will happen? how will we manage?
So far, to my delight each destination Iris is surrounded with an abundance of wildlife and animals that come to our door. It helps her realise she can make new friendships and get to know other animals and the people that they live with. It opens up opportunities for learning too about the different environments and what animals are suited to where and why.
All sorts of conversations, questions and topics can be derived from the newbies.
They also seem to be there just at the right time to help when Iris needs some distraction or comfort.
I have always been an advocate for how animals can help our children but usually people associate this with Iris’s cat Thula and their extraordinary relationship that wowed us all. But there are so many ways in which animals can teach and support us on our adventures.
The pictures above are from our last trip to Wales during our travels for the Forests of The World Project.