Working as a scientist in hospitals, it is often easy to reduce patients to a date of birth and a list of symptoms. The only interaction you have is to discuss treatment options and outcomes. Furry Tales reminds me that behind the medication is an individual. A person who has experienced things and has learnt things that I may never get the opportunity to know. It reminds me to look past the diagnosis and to see people not as patients but as someone’s friend and someone’s family. At the start of sessions, particularly with dementia patients, there is a sense of unease and longing for home, but an hour later there is an overwhelming feeling of peace and safety. To see lucid moments, or a slight smile, really shows how important Furry Tales is. I never knew animals could produce such an amazing response.
Recently, a care home resident asked me by chance what I did for a living. I explained I was a scientist and discussed my area of expertise. It turns out he was once a professor of Biophysics and studied the same subject as me. What followed was one of the most intellectually stimulating conversations I have had in a long time. But what struck me to my core was when he discussed how involving research was and how time can pass by without you realising. He stopped being a stroke victim and became an intellectual peer and interesting man. I then realised that Furry Tales was not just important to me because I could help others, but because it helped me. It allows me time to reflect on my life and what I want to achieve. As a result, I work harder at work to find a cure, but also make sure I take time out for me and my friends.
Post by Aria Butterwick