Support the mental and physical wellbeing of young people and their families in Gloucestershire
young man sat on sofa, arms folded leaning back and smiling

Elliot found some respite with YG’s Animal Assisted Therapy

Elliot and his mum have been attending animal assisted therapy sessions at YG and have found it a welcome break from the day-to-day challenges they have been facing.

“Elliot has never enjoyed school. He has always struggled but managed to mask it, he kept up with the workload and his grades were ok but when he came home, he would just explode and have huge meltdowns. He has Autism and Dyslexia and found the school environment too loud and overcrowded but because he did well in school our calls for help were left unanswered.

“Elliot ended up having a break down in the school car park. He left school at the age of 13 and hasn’t returned. Covid has played its part, but we largely just disappeared with little help from the school. We fell through all the cracks, and it took three years before we received a care plan for Elliot, he was 16 by then. He managed to complete one GCSE.

“I have really valued the time here with Young Gloucestershire. Elliot really struggles to be around people he doesn’t know, he has been diagnosed with Depression and PTSD and it has been a huge step for me to be able to leave him with the YG staff even for just short periods. It has been great to see Elliot smile again. We don’t get any of that at home. It’s what he needed; his face really lights up when he’s with Mini the dog.” Claire, Elliot’s mum.


“It was not good at school. I saw a lot of violence and experienced bullying myself. They used to make me where a lanyard to help identify my special educational needs, but this just made me a target for bullies.

“I came to Young Gloucestershire with no expectations. I try not to have expectations as I just end up disappointed, but I was excited to meet the dog. I really like animals, dogs in particular. I have been receiving support from the Children’s Mental Health Services at the same time. That help is much more clinical. Here at YG it is much calmer, homely, which is what I like. I have really enjoyed the sessions each week, it has been something to look forward to and has given me a break from how bad life is at the moment. I have enjoyed teaching Mini tricks and visiting the animal shelter. I don’t get out much, so it has been good to do that. I don’t like to go anywhere without a family member because I feel overwhelmed by my senses and the world around me so I feel very proud my mum was able to go to have coffee while I stayed an completed my sessions and achieved a Level three Qualification in Animal Care” Elliot


If you think that working with animals could help inspire you to open up and explore changes in your life then please get in touch to find out more or click below to complete our referral form where you can access all of YG’s services.

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