Our vision is both clear and defined "to assist everyone involved with the Owl and Pussycat Centre to move towards achieving their goals and/or dreams".
Ruth Hickling Founder
My background to help you to understand how I have arrived here; my father was a Yorkshire farmer one of the toughest breeds going, he had a love of animals and a very definite loving way with them which I learnt as a child. My mother was a probation officer with real dedication and passion, I remember her saying to me just before she died the closest I should come to social work was to run a prison farm, like most teenagers I did not listen. However I did go on to study Agriculture Science and whilst studying became a volunteer at Askham Grange Prison (an open women's prison). I started a young lifers pre-release programme and was engaged in supporting several young lifers back into the community. Upon qualifying I worked as an assistant farm manager for 2 years before deciding I would attend Leeds University and study to obtain my Social Work qualification.
I am now a registered social worker with over
20 years experience within criminal justice, Ten years as a probation
officer in Yorkshire and six years as Social Work Manager within
Aberdeen Prison. I also managed a hostel for offenders aged between 16 and 24
years with drug and alcohol problems.
In 2000 I took up post as an Integration Manager for the New Community Schools
programme, 3 years later I became a Change Manger in the Central Area
for Aberdeen City Council. I started the Owl and Pussycat Centre in
2010 having injured my back and been told I needed to keep my muscles warm to prevent my back going into spasm. I can say that running the Centre over the last 3 years with the support of many dedicated volunteers has worked.
As a professional CPD is an essential part of keeping my social work registration and as such over the last 6 years I have undertaken 3 Diplomas, a Diploma in NLP
(Neuro-Linguistic Programming), a Diploma in Counselling and a Diploma in Life Coaching. All these skills are now used in the work I undertake with young people.
I am also a respected Reiki Master, having studied with 3 different masters for each level of mastership I feel I have a good and varied knowledge of how powerful and effective Reiki can be. I
prides myself on my ability to keep it simple whilst still supplying
all of the necessary tools, skills and resources for change and
I have over 50 years experience of working with animals, having studied equine management at the University of Minnesota in 1976. I have been exploring animal assisted therapy as an effective way of enabling youngsters who struggle to engage and form relationships. For many youngsters forming a relationship with an animal first, in my experience, is a very positive experience for them and can give them the confidence to trust and to risk exploring building relationships with people.
I have a deep love of nature and I am committed to sharing my experience and training with those who choose to change their lives.