Connecting special needs children with special needs animals

I have always firmly believed in the healing powers animals have to offer to us as human beings. I’m not exactly sure how to explain or describe it, but I myself have experienced comfort and peace in the relationships I have formed with my own pets and animals.

I’m certainly not the only person who can attest to the healing abilities animals possess. According to an article from The Good News Network, an animal sanctuary in Texas is encouraging special needs children to bond with injured animals in hopes to creating relationships and friendships.

Safe in Austin is the brainchild of Jamie Wallace-Griner. The project took shape as she observed the interaction between her autistic son and his service dog, Angel.

“Knowing firsthand that one of the most difficult emotional challenges for children who are differently-abled or whose behavior or appearance sets them apart from their peers comes from the feeling that they don’t fit in, Wallace-Griner and her husband, David Griner, purchased an old ranch in Leander, Texas, with dreams of turning it into a judgment-free animal sanctuary and rehabilitation center.

“But more than that, it would also offer a safe haven to kids with special needs, disabilities, mental health issues, or histories of past emotional trauma.

“Wallace-Griner says Safe in Austin’s mission is ‘to rescue animals from severe abuse or neglect, rehabilitate and rehome the ones that are able, and offer a safe and loving forever home for the rest.’

“The current menagerie numbers 20 dogs, 14 cats, eight horses, 32 goats, four rabbits, three tortoises, one parrot, four turkeys, numerous chickens, 18 pigs, and four cows,” the article explains.

I was truly touched when I learned about this phenomenal initiative occurring in Texas, and I think it is one that could tremendously benefit all sorts of people and animals across the globe.

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