Last month, I had the opportunity to volunteer with an organization that I found through voly.org! I DECIDED TO TAKE A TOUR TO LEARN MORe. I GOT TO MEET THE FOUNDERS, MELODE AND STAN. SHE LET ME RIDE ON A LITTLE CART TO SEE THE ANIMALS AND THEIR HABITATS. I LEARNED ABOUT HOW THEY STARTED THEIR ORGANIZATION AS WELL.
Paws for Reflection Ranch is a non-profit that utilizes animal therapy to help improve mental health in the lives of all kinds of people, such as those with special needs, trauma victims, and Veterans. This is a special place to me, especially having come from a background in Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution, I love the mission of PAWS.
Their services include:
Therapeutic Horseback Riding Therapeutic Horsemanship Equine/Animal Assisted Counseling Substance Abuse and Mental Health Counseling Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Play Therapy Afterschool/Youth at Risk Programs Business/Organization Team Building Events
To me, giving back and helping others in the community is very important. Spending time doing something other than style, makeup, yoga, etc. gives me so much purpose and joy. During my time at the ranch, I had the opportunity to work in Animal Care! I have always wanted to work with animals and learn more about them. What's really neat about PAWS is that they give people an outlet, a therapeutic way of managing stress, trauma, and difficulties throughout life. While I was at the ranch, which is located out in Midlothian, Texas, I got to feed the animals, clean their cages, play with them, and talk to them. I was stationed in the Critter Cabin where they keep the porcupines, rabbits, and chinchillas. The ranch also has horses, pigs, goats, chickens, and all the farm animals you can think of! They're just super cute and fun to just be around. I love to be in nature and around animals.
PAWS FOR REFLECTION MISSION STATEMENT
"To provide a healing, educational, motivational, and recreational environment utilizing equine and other animal assisted therapies and experiences to enhance the quality of life for all clients, and to provide a loving home, whether temporary or permanent, for animals that meet a specific criteria."
This is my friend that I made while there, her name is Tajuan. She's an Animal Science major. Here she was holding the porcupine, I was really too scared because I didn't want it to poke me. But I finally mustered up the guts to do it! Luckily, it wasn't too bad! You just have to be very gentle. They can feel your energy oftentimes.
Every day, I hear stories in the news about people with mental illnesses and not being able to control their behaviors and actions. It causes so much harm in society. Even now, there has been an increase in violence, suicides, and other traumatic events taking place in America and around the world. It is so important to take care of ourselves and our sanity. PAWS provides a place for people to connect with animals and to center themselves with nature. One of the services that they provide is therapeutic horseback riding. Through this session, one is able to ride, groom, lead, and feed the horses. The program helps those with emotional, physical, and/or mental disabilities as well as sensory dysfunctions or other impairments. The horse therapy helps with sensory and alertness, improves focus and even mobility for some. I didn't realize how much animals can give in indirect ways.
Here is the closet where they keep the food and bedding for all of the animals. It's quite an organized operation. They built the Critter Cabin for children to visit and play with the smaller animals. Everything is custom inside and so functional. I love that everything has a place and purpose.
Paws for Reflection Ranch is always looking for volunteers, so if you love animals, helping people, or just giving your time, please feel free to get in touch with them and let them know what you would like to do. They are also looking for board members so feel free to reach out! How amazing would it be if we lived in a world where more people make choices to take care of their communities and those in need? I truly believe in this organization and can't wait to see it grow.