Posted: Tuesday 26th April 2022
It is National Pet Month so to celebrate and raise awareness of the benefits on how a pet can help a foster child settle into a new home, we interviewed our very own foster carer Caz Bateman and her little 8 year old pooch, Lexi a Cocker Spaniel.
Caz and her husband Ian have been fostering local children since May 2021 and during that time she has fostered around 12 children in Flintshire. Caz offers emergency and respite care to children which usually means the children only stay for short period of time, this can vary from 1 night to two weeks.
‘When the children arrive with the social workers, our dog Lexi offers a distraction for the children and everything that is going on around them, as soon as the children see Lexi, they focus a lot of their attention on her as she is such a friendly dog and loves children’ explained Caz.
‘It’s so lovely to see the children relax and see the benefits Lexi brings to each child, normally by the time the introductions and conversations have taken place, Lexi is lying down next to the child.
Caz continued to tell us that having Lexi also helps the children share stories about their own pets at home and because they are no longer around their pets, they like to take part in taking care of Lexi by feeding her, holding her lead and throwing the ball when going for walks.
‘The last child who came to stay got into a routine with Lexi, every night before going to bed, he would ask if he could give Lexi her daily treat, he would make Lexi wait and sit whilst she got excited, and this was something he asked to do himself which was lovely as it confirmed that he was relaxed staying here, he even got Lexi to give him her paw which made us giggle as he thought it was Lexi’s first time and felt so proud that he may have taught Lexi a new trick’
We asked Caz if there had been any children who had stayed but didn’t have pets at home and how they reacted to Lexi.
'There was a little girl who at first was a bit nervous of Lexi as she was over excited but as soon as she watched Lexi for a little while she soon relaxed and realised that Lexi was friendly and just excited to have a new visitor to the house. The foster wales team will only place children with us who are happy to be around Lexi and if there was ever an issue then we would seek alternative arrangements for Lexi to stay at her regular doggy daycare’
‘The children who come to stay love being around Lexi, she makes them laugh when she jumps around on her two back legs and during the spring and summer months we bring out an agility course in the garden for Lexi to use and she will do this for a treat’
‘Lexi offers comfort to the children, we feel she can sense that they may be a bit sad when they first arrive and she gravitates herself towards them, she becomes their best friend and follows them around the house. We love watching Lexi snuggle up to the children on the sofa in the evenings, it’s so heartwarming to see them happy’.
The Flintshire Foster Team would like to thank Caz and Lexi, of course for taking the time to share with us these lovely stories.