Combating Mental Illness With Support Owls Inspires Others

Combating Mental Illness With Support Owls Inspires Others

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Millions of men and women cope with different types of mental disorders and trauma each and every day of their existence. Many living lives of quiet desperation, hoping that somehow they could make it through another day without the use of mind-altering drugs.

Jaylo Miles, a 39-year-old dad from Llandaff North, Wales, is one of those individuals suffering from traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a complex mental condition that renders individuals with suicidal thoughts and severe bouts of anxiety.

For years, the Cardiff resident had endured abusive foster homes, several years of homelessness, and drug addiction, all of which left him with symptoms of PTSD, along with additional emotional disorders.

Luckily, help from support groups and family members have become Miles’ support network. There were two individuals in particular that were incredibly supportive and helpful for Miles; a pair of British barn owls named Oscar and Louie.

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The owls had initially been rescued by Miles, and over time the three have become extremely close. The pair are also brothers and have different personalities, which Miles has come to see as reflections of his own divided personality. The wary Oscar is fiercely protective, while Louie is a calm, loving, “cheeky chappy”. “I firmly believe I didn’t choose the boys,” Miles says. “They chose me.”

Miles added, “People rescue dogs from kennels, and it may take months and months for the dog to rehabilitate to the family household.

We knew from probably within 30 seconds of me seeing Oscar and my hand being in his cage that we had an inseparable bond that the breeder had never seen before.

The chance of Oscar putting a hole through the back of your hand was pretty likely when I first got him, but he came straight onto my hand and straight out of the cage with me. Two days later, I was kissing him on the face, talking to him.”

Over the years, Miles, Oscar (4-years old), and Louie (2-years-old), have visited countless hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, where Miles gives speeches about how to cope with different types of mental disorders, and how support animals can alleviate stress and anxiety.

Sometimes just being able to see the owls can bring comfort to somebody’s day. People will never know how special Louie is, not just for me but for the guys I let hold him, that special moment of love!” Miles stated.

Miles believes his unique story about how two barn owls inspired him to deal with his emotional affliction in a positive way can motivate others suffering from PTSD. His Facebook page titled “Many Downs, Time to Get Up. Here” is dedicated to those battling PTSD.

Miles said, “I have built this page from a desperate battle with my own mental health and suicidal thoughts in the hope to make a difference and leave a legacy to create & inspire.”

Miles and his support owls have become quite popular within their hometown of Cardiff, where the three encourage PTSD victims to join them and others for a day of hiking in the fresh outdoors. Although challenging, Miles believes that with understanding, support, and compassion, individuals suffering from PTSD can overcome their fears and take control of their lives.