My cat is a built environment?

Well, not exactly.

A cat or a dog, a plant, a goldfish in a bowl, are obviously grown, not built - though the bowl is constructed and placed there for effect. So are they part of the (built) environment?

And it's true that a cat, a tree, even a potted plant, can change radically the look and the feel of any space. Recently research has confirmed the extent to which we gain health benefits from nature, whether actively participating or simply viewing - even viewing greenery on screen, it seems.

But with animals there is a more immediate, more personal relationship; and as with anything in PIEs, it's the relationship that is central.


Where does this go, in PIEs 2?

So is the cat a member of staff (on a zero hours contract; 'will work for food'...) deserving support? If feeding the cat is, perhaps, a role in a household community, is being a cat itself a role? (IF so, one they have perfected over the years, with no need of help from us...)

The title of this page is a deliberate echo of a blog post from some years ago ("Car, bus, tram or unicorn - my car is a built environment') - that we do feature here rather a lot.   In it, the author, an outreach worker, suggested that she could use her car as a psychologically informed environment, subtly but consciously shifting the relationship with the user/passenger.

The author of 'my car is....' had said, in her original piece, that this use of the PIE concept was not strictly accurate; to which we could only say that if so it was the concept that needed to change. (This was just one further example of the reasons for the development of PIEs 2, to broaden the narrowing meaning that was becoming established at the time).

The point here is: don't sweat the small stuff.  It doesn't really matter which category you want to think of this in, or where to include it, if you are using a Pizazz assessment to take a long look at your service.

As we have said elsewhere, these PIE categories and concepts are meant to be our servants, not our masters.....


(NB: The one point at which that might matter is if comparing your services with others; and particularly if using the PIE Abacus for a larger scale comparison, for example in research . If so, you might want to agree between you where to put this. But if its really significant art of your services, it might be worth creating an additional, 'bespoke' area, to explore it in more detail..)




Further background reading/listening/viewing

NB: Lenny (pictured above) is a llama, and a long-stay resident now at the Cosgarne Hall city farm, St Austell, Cornwall. The farm, which on the premises of the hostel, also has some of the most flamboyant rare breed chickens you will ever encounter.

PIElink pages

The coffee break Pizazz : HERE

Relationships : HERE

The Three Rs : HERE


Library items

Car, bus, tram or unicorn: why my car is a psychologically informed environment : HERE

Loving beggars : HERE


Animal assisted therapy sites

Animal-assisted Therapy Research : HERE

How cats help improve mental health : HERE

The Dogs Trust (UK) : HERE

My Dog is My Home (US) : HERE

Working with dogs in healthcare settings : HERE