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Raising awareness key to helping abused animals, youngsters

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Ranch Hand Rescue is sponsoring its third annual Saddle Up Hollywood Style celebrity fundraiser with Doris Roberts of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame today.

The event raises awareness and funding for the charity which is dedicated to providing hope and a pathway to heal for both injured farm animals and children in Denton County who have been neglected or abused.

“This is an opportunity for children to get a new vision on things,” Roberts said. “We’ve lost the sense of family, and animals teach us about love and give us a soul. Animals love you unconditionally. My inspiration is watching Midnite (the pony with a prosthetic leg) practice and dance in the pasture. Animals love you unconditionally. That’s a powerful lesson.”

Roberts, who has served as the spokesperson for Ranch Hand Rescue for the past three years, met with First Lady Michelle Obama recently and suggested that they host a party on the lawn of the White House with U.S. veterans and Midnite, the organization’s star who has benefited from a prosthetic leg.

Ranch Hand Rescue is also announcing its new facility on U.S. Highway 377 that will serve more kids and provide a haven for abused and abandoned critical care farm animals.

”These animals are considered ‘throwaways,’” said Bob Williams, founder of Ranch Hand Rescue. “We are their last hope.”

In addition, Ranch Hand Rescue is announcing the successful stem cell transplant that helped heal an equine tendon without scar tissue – a first-ever double-fusion to repair a broken leg and made possible with the help of Oklahoma State University and consultation with Texas A&M University.

Ranch Hand Rescue’s mission is to save abused and neglected farm animals with a special focus on animals requiring critical care, to adopt out rehabilitated animals, to provide a caring sanctuary for the animals that have ongoing needs and to help people with personal, mental and psychological challenges to change and better their lives through Equine/Animal Assisted Therapy.

“When a bond happens (between a person and an animal), healing starts,” said Williams. “We are saving kids’ lives in the pasture.” The annual cost for each child to participate is $2,000 per year, and there is a waiting list.

Sixty percent of the children receive services for free. Participants who work with Ranch Hand Rescue include the Denton County Children’s Advocacy Center, CASA and Child Protective Services. Ranch Hand Rescue prides itself on being the only organization in Texas dedicated to using animals to help with mental health issues – especially in children and veterans.

At today’s benefit, Phil Crosby Jr. is performing with his jazz band singing songs made famous by his grandfather Bing Crosby. Also performing are veteran actor, playwright and director Jack Betts, and singer Maria Elena Infantino. Mike Doocy from Fox4 is serving as master of ceremonies. Scholarships benefit The Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County, CASA Denton County and Winning The Fight.

Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy is a treatment that includes equine/animal activities and/or an equine environment in order to promote emotional growth in persons suffering from ADD, Anxiety, Depression, Developmental Delay, traumatic brain injuries, behavioral issues, abuse issues, and many other mental health problems.

They currently service clients facing the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction, children of physical and sexual abuse, eating disorders, Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, victims of rape, and troubled teens.

Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy can help the individual build confidence, self-efficiency, communication, trust, perspective, social skills, impulse control, and help them learn boundaries. Beacuse the horses/animals have behaviors similar to humans, it’s easy for patients to create a connection with the horse/animal.

Children ages six and above, and adults, find healing and hope through this powerful form of therapy. At Ranch Hand Rescue, whether it is an animal or a person, their goal is for successful rehabilitation so that both the animals and the people can go on to live a better, more productive life.

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Photo above: Bob Williams, founder of Ranch Hand Rescue, reunites with Doris Roberts of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and Mike Doocy of Fox 4 News, both of whom will be part of the Saddle Up Hollywood Style celebrity fundraiser today. (Photo by Dana Benton Long)

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