Web Extra: Paws for Reflection Ranch's Owner Answers a Few More Questions
Sep 21, 2016 04:30PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger
Paws for Reflection Ranch. Photos courtesy of their Facebook page.
In our article, "Animals Heal at Midlothian’s Paws For Reflection Ranch," we got to know owners Melode and Stan Seremet. Below are a few bonus questions Melode answered for us. Take a look!
Q: What’s unique about the ranch?
A: All Ranch services are client based, designed for the individual. We do not offer "cookie cutter" services. The peaceful setting of the ranch speaks to each person that comes through the gate. It is certain that each client and family member will find an animal to connect to, one that reaches them at a soul level.
The ranch has been designed for the whole family to benefit from time spent here. While a rider is having a therapeutic lesson, the caregiver may take a walk on the nature trail. While a child receives counseling, the parent may spend quality time with their sibling on the playground. We are unique in that due to the strength of our counseling team, we can offer services to the entire family, sometimes scheduled at the same time if most convenient.
The relationship between our professional staff and ranch animals offers a unique approach to providing clinical services in a non-traditional setting. The relaxed environment of the ranch creates a healing environment where one feels safe and can focus on their personal challenges, able to take time to "pause and reflect".
Our educational and outreach programs allow us to introduce uncommon animals to the community, broadening their awareness of the animal kingdom. Our nature trail offers opportunity to learn more about nature and the many treasures found there.
Q: Why is Paws For Reflection so important?
A: There are limited services for veterans, for youth-at-risk, and for those with special needs in the southern region of the D/FW metroplex. No one offers the wide range of therapy services with the variety of animals that we do.
We are able to treat the entire family if need be. This is typically not available in other counseling settings. The ranch environment is equally comfortable for men, women, youth, and children.
One of the goals of the ranch is to teach good stewardship of our animal friends. With the help of our animals, we are able to teach empathy and compassion in each of our programs. As our clients strive to create a relationship with the animal(s) they feel most connected to, they learn emotional control, empathy for others, communication skills, and how to build healthy relationships.
Q: Has the program faced challenges/obstacles? Explain.
A: The ranch is a pioneer in the animal assisted therapy field, therefore, it is challenging for people to understand the depth of what we do. People need to experience the healing firsthand in order to truly understand.
Lack of funding and donor support for the many services we provide is a major obstacle. We have not yet been able to capture the interest of major corporate sponsors, though their employees may be benefiting from our programs. We have received generous funding through private and state funded grants which we utilize to provide services for specific target groups.
Despite daily efforts to engage in the community, we still hear "we didn't know all this was available, and right in our backyard" way too often.
Q: What do you like most about being involved with Paws For Reflection?
A: It is tremendously rewarding to witness people overcome major life obstacles through the help of the professional therapists and animals of the ranch.
Q: What’s your best memory of being involved with the organization?
A: One of our best memories centers on the success story of a veteran who suffered from PTSD. He was unable to hold down a job, had difficulty with personal relationships, and struggled with the challenges of daily life. Successfully graduating from our Boots of Honor program, he has gone back to school and has a rewarding job. Since, according to him, his dramatic life change happened at the ranch, he and his bride began their marriage here with family and friends in attendance.
Q: What else do we need to know about Paws For Reflection?
A: Paws for Reflection Ranch provides an innovative approach to the therapies we provide. Our professional therapists and trained ranch animals offer a level of treatment and care comparable to none. We are truly pioneers and leaders in the realm of animal assisted therapies.