The True Power of Animal Companionship

Iris Grace Halmshaw is a 5-year-old girl from Britain with autism. Due to her autism, she doesn’t speak very much but she began expressing herself at the age of 3 through painting. She is now known worldwide for her soft monet style artwork.

Like many individuals with autism Iris experienced high levels of anxiety especially in social situations. With a little bit of research, her mother began to consider an animal companion to help her.  At first, they considered horseback riding, but Iris was not fond of horses. Then came a dog, however; the licking and hyper activeness of a dog bothered her. That is when an online fan suggested a Main Coon cat. Thula is a gentle and intelligent Main Coon cat that has become Iris’s companion.

Thula helps calm Iris’s daily anxieties and assists in her daily activities including walking out side, biking, and going on boat rides. Iris and Thula enjoy their time outside which has inspired many of Iris’s beautiful paintings. Thula the Main Coon has not only been a companion, but a life changing experience for Iris and her family.

For more information and resources on planning for your loved one with special needs, browse through our website at specialneedsforum.org.

Love Story: Extraordinary Girl + Amazing Cat