Since the founding of Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids in November 2007, TRAK has become a familiar name in Tucson. The camps and events that gain media attention make wonderful memories for sure, but not everyone who walks through the gates of the ranch knows the inspiration for its founding. Jill Prickett-Tilley, in remembering "Little Bit", said, "Ever since I was little, I always wanted a horse. My dream came true in 2003. It was love at first sight. I felt a connection with him like nothing I had ever felt before. He became my best friend, my therapist and my inspiration. I had always known there was something incredible about the human-animal bond, but it wasn't until he came into my life that I truly understood it. It was this relationship that guided me in the creation of Therapeutic Ranch for Animals and Kids (TRAK)." In fact, a child walked for the first time at age four, overcoming challenges of both autism and cerebral palsy when asked to go to "Bitty". The combination of the strength of the human-animal bond, and the motivation that animals provide is the foundation for TRAK's signature magic. While the public, for educational privacy purposes, does not see pictures of the school groups bringing students with special needs daily to volunteer at the ranch, and learn real-life vocational skills in a supportive environment, the therapeutic environment Little Bit inspired remains a key purpose of TRAK's mission. Bitty, himself, had special needs, and was blind due to equine uveitis, common in appaloosas. Everyone, whether labeled with a diagnosis, or not, has challenges and "special needs", they're just all unique and as different as the human experience. It could be the mom of a child with autism who needs a break from being a 24/7 caregiver, the veteran with PTSD, or the person who wants to spend more time with their children that benefits next from the Tucson tradition started by one special Little Bit.
There are so many ways to be involved at TRAK. Family membership, volunteering, and donating all support our mission and vision to strengthen kids and community through animal interaction. Come and experience the ten year tradition that is proof that a "Little Bit" can do a big service!