Finding the right Colorado horse real estate for you can be difficult, especially if you want to live in an area that doesn’t compromise on social and night-life aspects just because you live in a rural area. Imagine that you could take a thirty minute ride from downtown Denver and look out on over fifty acres of beautiful Colorado countryside, spotting dozens of horses.
Colorado Horse Property did some research and found that place with the perfect balance. It is called The Happy Dog Ranch Foundation. Happy Dog Ranch is a non-profit horse rescue and sanctuary, bordering the scenic Chatfield State Park to the north and east. The ranch is run by owners Bernadette and John Spillane, who now have over forty horses and an assortment of other animals including goats, ducks, chickens, alpacas, pigs and more. As a child, Bernadette always had an affinity for animals, and horses had a special place in her heart.
The Spillane’s did not buy the property for the purpose of becoming the sanctuary that it is today. In fact they started out with just one horse and over the years they have taken in animals whenever the community needed them to. If you are looking for a horse property for sale in Littleton and the surrounding area, knowing that the Spillane’s are close by is a big comfort. The name of the ranch comes from the fact that Native Americans used to call horses dogs. If you met the Spillane’s two Irish Wolfhounds, Carrie and Murphy, you would know why—at around thirty inches tall, these dogs are as big as their Haflinger Pony cross named Ayla.
The foundation fosters an environment in which those seeking to make an adoption really must get to know the animal first before making any rash decisions—they aren’t just buying a horse after all, they are taking a member away from its herd and that is a big decision to make. Therefore, the foundation does less adoptions than other rescues.
How Happy Dog Ranch Heals
What makes Happy Dog Ranch unique is that it offers a space for clinicians, educators, and therapists to come together and serve the Colorado horse community. Through educational, vocational, and therapeutic programs, Happy Dog Ranch has helped many people with mental disabilities and behavioral problems, as well as those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from all ages and backgrounds. The ranch is a known space for Hope Held By A Horse, an organization that assists women who have had breast cancer in healing through sessions with horses. Horsemanship classes at the ranch can teach you to become a horse therapist and get certified.
The healing here is simple—horses, as a part of their own biological need to preserve themselves through insuring a safe environment, can sense when a person is not at their best. Drawing out the fears and emotions of someone can help guide trained therapists in figuring out how they can better help those in need. Bernadette, the staff, and the volunteers at Happy Dog Ranch know that horses are teachers not tools. These animals teach love, trust, and responsibility. The ranch is also a training ground for programs at the University of Denver and the Gestalt Equine Institute of the Rockies.
How You Can Help
Like most non profit organizations, Happy Dog Ranch cannot function without the help and support from its community. One of the best ways that you can help this organization move forward is by sponsoring one of their many animals. You can also make a donation to Happy Dog Ranch through Amazon Smile, Colorado Gives, or simply through Paypal. The ranch also cannot survive without volunteers. Volunteers get firsthand experience with walking, grooming, feeding, and watering the horses. If you would like to volunteer at the ranch, just visit the volunteer page on their website to apply.
Happy Dog Ranch Photo Gallery