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Cristabelle is helping Manitoba children understand and manage their anxiety.

WINNIPEG -- Cristabelle is helping Manitoba children understand and manage their anxiety. She’s not a typical therapist though – Cristabelle is a goat.

Cristabelle, a miniature silky fainting goat, is one of the many animals on the Lil’ Steps Miniatures & Wellness Farm in Saint Malo, Man. The farm integrates animals in child and teen therapy and counselling. Cristabelle, along with some of the other animals on the farm, is being featured in a new children’s book ‘Cindy and Cristabelle’s Big Scare’ that teaches kids about anxiety.

“Childhood anxiety is very common. I’ve see it kind of across the board. Even with all the other pieces that I work with, anxiety is a really common theme,” said Lucy Sloan, Li’l Steps director, and author of the children’s book. “So, I wanted to develop a book to help kids be able to understand (anxiety) better.”

The book follows the two goats as they struggle to overcome their fears, worries, and anxiety. The book also comes with an activity book for parents or caregivers to develop management strategies with their children.

Sloan said the goats are easy for kids to connect with because they are so calm, but when they get scared – they freeze.

The book is just the first in the Lil’ Steps Book Series. Sloan said she plans on writing other books based on the different animals on the farm.

Sloan has planned a book launch for ‘Cindy and Cristabelle’s Big Scare’ on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Lil’ Steps Miniatures & Wellness Farm. There will be a book reading and a chance for people to meet the characters. Tickets are seven dollars. Children three and under are allowed in for free.