At the end of our first day back yesterday, as we were having a cup of tea and our usual de-brief we spotted a squirrel on our nut feeder out in the courtyard. Wendy had put this up on the Buddleia bush outside one of the windows in the hope we would attract some birds for clients to watch. We had returned from our break to find the nuts very depleted and a lot of mess round it! Then this little squirrel appeared and was very greedily eating the nuts. We were thrilled as any wild-life that appears will be good for the clients to watch and observe. I know the local birds will not like this intruder but for us now it will be a point of interest and clients we know will love watching the antics of this squirrel.It is amazing that something as small as this will cause our clients a lot of pleasure but also that it causes them to stop and notice what they probably wouldn’t notice if it wasn’t there. Hopefully we will get birds to feed too and we may have to invest in a squirrel-proof feeder to do this! Nature has an enormous restorative capacity within it and just seeing the before and after pictures of the clients when they garden is evidence to us of that. Animals and other species have been used in hospitals and hospices and care-homes for a while now. There is evidence that your blood-pressure lowers when you stroke an animal. The posh fish tank in my local dentist I guess is in place for this very reason. Well we can’t go as far as having a dog in the Centre, a good few clients have these already, but we can tap into something very simple and beautiful right on our doorstep. It can become what gardens and wild-life are too many, an oasis in the middle of life.