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Animal Therapy - A Real Life Success Story

Animal Therapy - A Real Life Success Story

Posted by Animal therapy, Parrot Charities and Rescue, on 25/1/2024

This is how we support the animal therapy programme at HMP Holme House.


Animals as therapy isn’t a new concept, and it is widely recognised the benefits animals can bring. And as pet owners, we learn to appreciate this very quickly.

Here at Northern Parrots, we’re honoured to have the opportunity to work with Susan Ford, manager of a charity run Therapeutic Community (TC) in HMP Holme House.

HMP Holme House is the first and currently only prison with a Therapeutic Community (TC) for Men Programme running Recovery Through Nature. This is a high dose, total immersion programme, targeting medium to high-risk offenders for whom there is a link between their offending and problematic substance use.

Using a social learning theory model and a cognitive behavioural approach, the TC encourages residents to learn and develop skills and values, necessary to live drug and crime free lifestyles.


The charity created a 36-foot wildlife pond and garden so that they can take part in the National Wildlife Awards 2021, and are the first prison to use Pets as Therapy. Furthermore their work has featured on television and radio, including the BBC, who have reported on the project.

They are an approved re-homer with their local council authority, who routinely inspect them. The charity has been able to offer a forever home to ducks, ex battery chickens, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs and small birds. The programme is staffed 24/7 so no animal is ever left alone.

The project receives no funding and Susan buys all the essentials herself, as she knows first-hand the importance this valuable work does for the residents on the Therapeutic Community Programme.

Susan contacted us as she had some birds they were looking to rehome and after explaining more about the charity and the project we were delighted to help out.

To ensure the new arrivals had the best start to their new life, we provide three full set ups, cages, cage covers, food, treats, sand, perches, toys and UV lighting.

Following a recent report from Susan, the birds have settled in well and are playing a vital role in the therapy of the residents.

The Therapeutic Community Programme has had a positive impact on the men, with return to prison rates reduced. Read more about that and animal therapy here.

You can find out more from their website
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