Therapy horses get help after weather damage
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (WSVN) -- After heavy wind and hail left several horses at a children's therapy center homeless Thursday night, things started looking up when someone stepped forward with a generous donation.
The non-profit organization, Tomorrow's Rainbow Ranch, provides grief support to children suffering from the death of a loved one through an equine-assisted setting. The charity relies on miniature horses and other small farm animals to facilitate a child's grief journey. "It's sad to say, I don't think I would be alive without this," said client Jami Tera. "It was a really rough time for me, the first few months after my father and grandmother's death, and I was very much feeling like there was no reason to stay living. I started coming here when I was 14. My father had died about a week before I started high school."
A couple of these horses look like big dogs cleverly disguised as horses. Nevertheless, they are horses. Miniature ones, most of them, and there's a reason for that. First of all, they have a sweet disposition, and second, to a child, a horse this size really is not very intimidating.
After heavy wind and hail hit the barn on Thursday, the center was forced to suspend programming until the storm damages could be repaired, and the farm made safe again. That means that over 150 grieving children, teens and their families will have to put a hold on their grief support groups. "It's devastating," said Founder and Executive Director Abby Mosher, as she choked back tears. "The entrance where families come in is completely blocked by trees and flooded, and it's not safe for children to work with the horses with all the twisted metal. Unfortunately, not only are the horses displaced, but we also don't have the ability to offer services to grieving children and teens in our community."
Those who use the facility are not charged for the service, but Tomorrow's Rainbow relies on private donations.
Shortly after our first story about the damage hit the air, Chris Pizzo of Patriot National Insurance walked up with a $20,000 check from the company. Pizzo said, "We're making a $20,000 contribution to help reconstruct the barn that was lost in the storm, so that the animals can have their shelter, and the children come back here and begin the healing process which is really so important for them."
Mosher was beaming with gratitude. "And I guess Tomorrow's Rainbow can begin the healing process as well," she said, "so on behalf of the children and everybody at Tomorrow's Rainbow, we want to thank Patriot National so much for being supportive all long, but this is just above and beyond."
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