Tag: guinea pig

World Mental Health Day – and guinea pigs

Today 10 October is World Mental Health Day. (For another hour and a half at least – erm, better late than never!) This year the theme is “psychological first aid”, which you can read more about on the World Health Organisation (WHO) website here .

When I worked at a hospital I took a course in “mental health first aid” and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used the skills and understanding it gave me, across the board in work, social and family situations. It covered everything from gaining a basic insight into various mental health diagnoses, to how to be there for someone who is suffering distress or overwhelming emotions, to how to build psychological wellbeing and recognise the impact of both day to day and unusual events.

Today we marked World Mental Health Day at the community centre I go to for volunteering, creative groups and support. Visitors were encouraged to the centre, we had tea and cakes, discussion and some interesting videos made through the Time to Change campaign (http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/).

I also received a gift from a friend – a lovely book on guinea pigs and a piggie snack for my hopefully-future-guinea-piggies! I don’t know the lady who gave it to me very well and I was touched that she’d be so kind to me.

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It’s an RSPCA guide and it has some sweet photos as well as lots of information on how to make them a good living environment.

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I’ve been reading up on piggies and I’m hoping to be able to get some, possibly by Christmas. I both want to and am nervous about doing it – I’d love to have something to care for but will I be able to look after them well enough? Another friend knows of a guinea pig which may need a new home, though things aren’t certain (guinea pigs prefer to live in pairs, otherwise they can get lonely, and we are not sure how this may work out as this piggie is very nervous and a previous homing did not work out). It was really nice to receive this book today. Not only was it a thoughtful gift, it has encouraged me to have confidence to go through with this and that my friend thinks I’d be able to look after them.

I hope something good happened for you today too.

Ginny xxx

Pet therapy

I visited my dad and step-mum a while ago. They have three cats. It turns out one of them is a bit of a diva. Usually, unlike her brother who is very cuddly and lets me pick him up, she is wary of me and doesn’t hang around much to be stroked and so on. Then this time, I was taking a picture of a pretty rose when she did a purrfect “photo-bomb”:

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After this, far from stalking off when she sees me as she often does, she was delighted to sit for several minutes posing to have her picture taken:

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For some time I’ve been considering getting a pet. It would be encouraging to have something to take care of and I’m sure it would bring a lot of fun, cuddles, joy and company. I’m looking into getting a guinea pig. It’s early days yet as I want to research first how to look after them and also, look into costs to make sure I could afford it. A friend of a friend has some baby guinea-pigs that will soon be needing a home and this has spurred me on to find out more about looking after them.

I remember that when I worked at a hospice, a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog used to come in once a week with a volunteer and visit patients in the Day Centre. They did the same at a nursing home my elderly friend was in, for a while. It was always popular and an undemanding kind of company for people who found talking harder.

Ginny xx