Happy Dog Ranch Foundation provides a safe, happy environment where nature and animals can work their miracles in transforming and enriching our lives.
In 2006, John and Bernadette Spillane had a life- changing opportunity to move to the property of their dreams. At that time, they had one horse, a beautiful Arabian named Zhum, but one horse on 53 acres just wouldn't do. So they started down, as John would say, a slippery slope, accumulating just the "right amount" of equine companions -- they now have 40! Add to that some goats, chickens, alpacas, plus one llama, and two cats! So, despite the name Happy Dog Ranch, it's really home to a wide variety of lovely, wonderful animals, and life has never been the same!
John and Bernadette thoroughly understand how lucky and blessed they have been to have this ranch so close to the foothills, civilization, and Chatfield State Park. They knew they wanted to find a way to share it with others. And as their journey to become better horsemen and to care for all of their animals began, they asked clinicians and healers, animal communicators and spiritual people to help guide them, and from that guidance, HDR's mission was realized.
My name is Jenn Lyon and I am the owner of OutLiving, a social program for individuals living with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Discovering Happy Dog Ranch has helped my group grow and develop in many ways.
For nearly 2 years I have taken my group of 4-11 disabled adults to Happy Dog Ranch every Thursday to do volunteer work. When we pull up to the Ranch, my clients immediately jump out of the car, put their work boots on and head to their tasks which need to be completed. Their jobs include letting the alpacas out, feeding the goats, cow, pig, chickens and ducks, mucking stalls, and moving different animals to various pens.
As a result of going to Happy Dog Ranch weekly, no matter the weather, for nearly 2 years and volunteering over 300 hours, my clients have grown significantly and developed more life skills.
They have learned how to be ranchers, gained a better understanding of responsibility and holding to their commitments. They have gained more confidence in their skills and abilities, built a greater level of independence and have created wonderful friendships through their time at Happy Dog Ranch.
My clients love that when they go to the ranch, they have a job to do and are surrounded by people that hold them to their tasks, animals that rely on them and where they can be themselves, making this world the beautiful place that it is. Happy Dog Ranch has given my group more than just a vocational site to visit and work, it has literally given them a safe place to grow and develop…a home away from home.