My Noah’s A.R.T. Story
How it began
Stewart is an animal lover, and grew up around dogs. He was struggling to get out of his flat due to anxiety, and was dealing with other mental health difficulties.
A mental health worker from the Early Intervention Team referred him to Pet Connect (Noah’s A.R.T.’s canine befriending scheme).
Then what happened?
A supported volunteer began visiting him at home once a week, with the Pet Connect Coordinators and a Noah’s A.R.T. therapy dog. Stewart told us:
"I’d been very afraid of talking to people, especially strangers… I found it hard…But you’ve been coming so long now, I’ve gotten used to you, and can speak to you like a normal person.”
“[The visits] sort of like, lightened the day. I know, normally, first thing in the morning, I’d be really edgy. For one day a week it lightened me up”
Then, after a few months of home visits, Stewart’s confidence had increased enough that he was able t o visit the Pop Inn café. To begin with, he just stayed for half an hour. But gradually, he was able to stay with us for longer and longer. He started to stay for the whole day.
Then, Stewart became a Pop Inn café volunteer, lending us his invaluable DIY and handyman skills. Over time, he progressed to also volunteering each wee k at Therapy Thursday. He has become a valued volunteer, and whilst he has since had ups and down with his mental health, he has remained a part of the Noah’s A.R.T. team.