A Maine Coon cat Thula and a girl with autism share a special bond. Thula has become her faithful best friend and helps her live her life more fully.
Iris Grace Halmshaw, a 4-year-old girl from the UK has been struggling with communication, expressing affection and social interaction. Her parents introduced Thula the cat back in Febuary, 2014, the little furry friend has brought sunshine into her life since.
"She has been at Iris’s side since she arrived and slept in her arms during her first night here. A true Maine Coon, affectionate, loving and intelligent. It seemed like they were old friends as I watched them on the sofa. We have named her Thula after one of Iris’s favourite African lullabies called 'Thula, Thula' meaning Peace and Tranquillity in Zulu," said Arabella Carter-Johnson.
"The morning routine is changing, Iris once slow to stir and difficult to get going before 9am has now got springs in her feet. Waking up with her new friend beside her spreads a wide smile and I hear her say ‘more’ as she walks following her to the stairs."
"Thula’s constant presence and gentle nature is having a remarkable effect upon Iris who is nonverbal most of the time, I am hearing more words, she is instructing Thula on how she wants her to be."
"She has become her best friend helping her in ways I could only imagine. She helps me settle her at night, wake her in the morning, with bath time, hair brushing…you name it Thula will find a way to help Iris through whatever problem she is going through, it’s incredible."
She chats with Thula about everything. They are inseparable.
Thula encourages Iris to read her a story while playing.
They love playing and being creative together.
Iris loves to paint, and Thula is her assistant, sitting quietly while watching her work.
"Iris and Thula had a relaxed morning together, I managed to fit in some counting and speech therapy and it worked really well, I would say 'How many ears has Thula got ?' she would point and say 'one, two' the same for paws, 'one, two, three, four' and so on. I even got her to shake paws, Iris has never wanted to shake peoples hands," said Arabella.
They share a daily after-lunch nap on the couch, peaceful purring...
Iris and Thula share a special friendship, Thula giving undeniable love and loyalty to her best friend and Iris loving her back just the same.