I remember very clearly dropping my son off at Trak for the first time many years ago and sitting in the car, holding my breath, hoping he would relax and have fun. Knowing that he was worrying about germs, how big the horses were, looking stupid in front of other kids and not getting it right, I worried too. Little did I know he was about to meet the man I like to call the “D- Whisperer”. A man who’s quiet confidence and calm demeanor both frustrated and inspired a young kid who had little confidence in himself. Scott never rose to the bait when D got frustrated or changed his belief in D’s abilities. Even when D quit for a day, weeks, or months, Scott was right there when D returned, calmly leading him forward, taking small victories like getting horse spit on your hands as huge wins. Fast forward to a 17 year old who has grown into a thoughtful, albeit stubborn, young man. A young man who doesn’t quit, works hard, feels compassion for others, and takes risks without constantly worrying about failure. When I look back on all the pivotal points and people who have helped get us where we are today, I know that Trak and Scott were the turning point. The D- Whisperer will forever hold a place in my heart because he believes is my son. Thank you to all who make Trak a reality.
Amy O.-Tucson, AZ
Special Needs Teacher I teach a life skills class for individuals with a wide range of disabilities. I began taking my class to work at TRAK one morning per week this past January. TRAK has been a wonderful experience for all of the students that I bring with me, and feels like an extension of our school program. We are able to work on transition skills in the community that focus on future job skills such as following a boss’s directions, completing a job, working alongside co-workers, and being professional in a work environment. Working with the TRAK animals is an incredible incentive to students and brings out the very best work ethic in them. The TRAK experience is therapeutic for all of the students and teachers who come with us. It bonds us as a group and we leave feeling accomplished, happy and connected. Everyone benefits from its service. But the “magic” it has worked with my one student in particular is not something I could have created without the incredible opportunity of working with animals in such a loving setting. The people who run TRAK are kind, organized, clear, generous, and have a profound understanding of the therapeutic aspect of working with animals. The staff and animals of TRAK are doing the deepest therapeutic work by just being available to us. It has changed our world and I am greatly thankful. -Danielle Anderson, Independent Life Skills Teacher, Flowing Wells High School
Volunteer: TRAK has developed a lot in the past four years I have been here. I always tell people that when you arrive at TRAK it’s hard to leave. I have developed a lot as a person and my position at the ranch. TRAK is a fun place to watch develop and grow in the community. - Tayler P.
Youth Volunteer: TRAK, a place I now call my second home. I’ve been here for about 5 years and I’ve only had positive experiences, and it’s only helped me grow and find a place where I belong. It’s a place where mistakes are ok because they can be fixed. It’s a place where we build each other up and it’s a place where friends become family. I can’t think of a better place to be when it comes to animals and fun. I truly wouldn’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t come to TRAK. - Liat S.
TMC Hospital For Children:
”One little girl particularly wanted to see the chickens. When the chicken was placed on her bed, she kept feeling all the different textures that the chicken had. She usually does not speak, but spoke to the chicken...TRAK is one of the most comprehensively therapeutic, successful and fun program to come to hospitalized children that I have ever seen. It was wonderful to feel the excitement, not just from patients and families, but the entire staff when the ranch animals visited on Saturday morning. Nurses and volunteers participated fully in the event, holding and petting the animals and directing the TRAK volunteers to patient’s rooms who they felt could benefit from a ranch animal visit. The TRAK volunteers did an outstanding job in creating the enthusiasm and success for the program." - Kathleen Wolfe, Child Life Manager, Tucson Medical Center
"My son Bradley has volunteered at Trak for a year now. He has high functioning autism. His life has been greatly enriched by the animals at Trak. The staff and volunteers are friendly and so hardworking. What a blessing for our community!" - Maricela, Bradley's Mom
My son and I had the best time during the field trip to TRAK. For the first time I did not feel afraid of horses. The safety you explain to the kiddos is amazing!! Thank you for allowing me to see the beauty of horses!!!
Paws Radio Pet Vet:
"A double dose of goodness." - Paul Blaushild When discussing the way that TRAK benefits both those on the receiving end of the visit, as well as those providing the visit.
"My daughter has been riding at TRAK for almost 2 years. It's a great place to meet great people and animals too."
Handmaker Assisted Living and Senior Care:
We began our tour of nearly 90 animals with meeting three dog “partners” in the office. Jill introduced us to their newest “partner,” not yet named, a sweet puppy which just joined the family on Monday. We also met Molly who followed us throughout our tour.
After meeting three of the dog partners, we met “Buddha,” a big black pig. He “talked” in his sleep when Arnie pet him. It was funny listening to him. We met several goats and sheep, which are free to wander the ranch. Each animal had great names; like “Bambi” who had spots like Bambi, “Lilo” and “Stitch,” “Laverne” who has now lost her friend “Shirley,” and many others. “Honey” who is a miniature horse loved the taste of Diane’s right calf and kept trying to untie her tennis shoe. Jesus petted nearly every animal we met. They really enjoyed the attention he gave them.
The rabbits were munching on colorful, crunchy fruits and vegetables which are brought over twice a day from Basha's, for all the animals. The animals have a very healthy diet. Next door was the chicken coop. Grace got to hold a chicken while a duck waddled out to wander freely. Outside of the chicken and rabbit pens, we stood and admired the many horses in the arenas, especially “Norman” which is a Clydesdale mix - the biggest horse at the ranch. We got closest to “April” and “Peanut.” How wonderful for people to come to the ranch to work with animals, take riding lessons, or have a birthday party. Thank you,TRAK, for the tour of your ranch. Getting to know the animals was a lot of fun for our residents."
People are talking...
"We love this place. We need to get back there. My daughter absolutely loves going there. She is autistic and the staff there always makes it a great time when she is there. She loves playing with the pigs and the donkeys. Next goal is to do the horses. Thank you TRAK for having a place for us to enjoy the animals and have therapy at the same time. K.R., Tucson."
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