About Us
The Bear
The Jumping Bean
In 1995 I began a truly unique job for Solihull Mind working with service users to turn an overgrown and derelict 3 1/2 acre field in Knowle into an organic horticulture, sports and conservation site. Although I had a background in the environment and was a keen gardener it was a very steep learning curve but a great deal of fun as well.
As soon as I bought my own house I started getting pets. There were hamsters first, Bob and Flower (before I had a camera so no photos unfortunately) and then came Tilly a cat who had had a very rough start and had been returned to rescue a few times because of her behaviour.
It was love at first sight and once she felt safe and settled she became the most amazing, gentle and funny cat anyone could meet. 
 She was joined a couple of years later by 2 foster kittens who had been found dumped in a bin. I was a total failure as a fosterer and Jack and Emily never left. 
In 2008 my beautiful Ella the Bear joined the family and I was very lucky to be able to take her to work with me.  An adorable, stubborn, loving and very clever dog she soon had a big fan base at home and at work. Tilly had died the year before but Jack and Emily soon taught her that though she may be many times their size cats are always the boss. 
Next to join was Billy. I had been looking for a rescue as a companion for Ella but hadn't really meant to get one so much smaller than her, Billy is about ten times lighter than Ella. I had been watching the Many Tears rescue website for a while and kept seeing this adorable tiny puppy who nobody was applying for because he had been born blind. I filled in the application form half thinking they would say no because of the size of Ella but 3 days later after some careful questioning by his fosterer I was driving back from his foster home with this tiny little creature and a non too pleased Ella. It took a few weeks but the two became the most devoted friends and partners in crime mostly because Billy adored Ella from the word go and wouldn't acept she didn't feel the same way about him.
This experience with Billy and his wonderful fosterer led me to start fostering for Blind Dog Rescue 3 years after getting Billy, something I continue to do. Once again thanks to a great boss (and careful planning to ensure safeguards for both the dogs and the people) I was able to take not only my dogs but my fosters to work as well. Through all the foster dogs coming and going my cats Jack and Emily remained sociable but definitely at the top of the pecking order. Jack died aged 14; considering all the adventures and near escapes he had I think he's used all his 9 lives and a couple more besides. I also think he's the reason my hair has gone white so young. 
After 20 great years we could no longer get any funding for the post at Solihull Mind and I was made redundant. I remain a volunteer for Solihul Mind, a wonderful organisation which has always seemed to me to be years ahead of most others in the approach it takes to people with mental health problems, mostly because it sees them first and foremost as people not a label or diagnoses.

Redundancy led to the decsion to follow the other great passion of my life - animals, and to start Bear and Bean, which came as no surprise to any of my friends.
This is me, Julie. I'm not one of the most photogenic people and I also tend to avoid having my photo taken but I did manage to find one of me with Billy and Josh, the second dog I fostered.