A pair of adorable goats named after Still Game characters are helping Scots recover from crippling addition issues at a rehab centre.
Winston and Jack arrived at Calderglen House Residential Rehabilitation Center for Alcohol and Drugs in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire a couple of weeks ago.
Residents tasked with feeding, grooming, cleaning and cuddling the farm animals claim the backyard lodgers help ease anxiety, depression, provide a ‘sense of purpose’ and allow them to ‘relax’.
Named after two beloved BBC comedy characters, the kids have helped patient Stephanie in many ways.
The 38-year-old from Galashiels, Scottish Borders, told the Record: “When you come from a life of chaos the goats completely relax you.
“I suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorder and it’s hard to be calm.
“It’s all about team work when we look after them; we clean them, check their skin and eyes to make sure they’re okay and we get cuddles too.
“It’s been really good so far and has helped so much.”
Mark, from nearby East Kilbride, explained Winston got his name as he has a limp – like the Still Game character – but is recovering thanks to the support from his fellow Calderglen residents.
“Before coming here I wasn’t caring for myself at all and I had no self-confidence,” he said.
“Having the goats is good for us, we’re up early checking their water and feeding them.
“It’s relaxing to care for them and has helped us all in different ways so far.”
Theresa who hails from Rothesay on the Isle of Bute felt life before Winston and Jack lacked purpose.
She said: “When we heard the animals were coming I thought it was a great idea.
“Having responsibility for another living thing, working as a team and using common sense is good for us.
“We have lovely grounds so being out in the fresh air is therapeutic.
“With my aftercare when I leave I can come back to look after the goats and see how they’re getting on which is great.”
While Andy took a shining to ‘affectionate’, bottle-fed Jack, the 34-year-old loves has loved seeing a more cautious Winston go from strength to strength after arriving at the center with a limp.
Andy, who also hails from East Kilbride, said: “I never used to have a reason to get up in the morning, there was no structure or purpose to my life.
“Now, there’s an animal relying on you and you have to get up, I’m really happy the goats are here.
“I have anxiety and it’s been really calming, plus their quirky noises make us laugh too.”
Nobody is more pleased with the results than center manager Billy Henderson, from Wishaw, North Lanarkshire.
The 58-year-old, who’s worked in addiction services for a number of years, told the Record: “I believe this is the first center in Scotland to have goats.
“It’s been proven before the positive affect animal therapy can have on anxiety and depression; two conditions that we often see with drug and alcohol addiction.
“I’ve seen residents who, before Winston and Jack arrived, would’t even live their heads, now their up, laughing and engaging.
“It’s been brilliant seeing the progress.
“We’re hopefully getting another goat in the future, who we’ll name Victor.”
For more information on Calderglen House please visit their website, call 01698 823 624 or email [email protected]
You can contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 116 123 or via their website.
Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here .
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.