Like so many veterans, Edward Henry’s world has been turned upside down by post traumatic stress disorder.
“There wasn’t a lot to look forward to,” said Henry, who spent 20 years in the Navy. “I had a lot of anger issues and I had a hard time dealing with people.”
Since spending time with his new friend Cherokee, though, he’s been able to get back on the horse.
“Beforehand, I could count the number of friends I had on one hand,” said Henry. “I can’t anymore.”
He was one of the first veterans to go through a special program at the Paws for Reflection Ranch in Midlothian that uses horses to treat mental health issues.
“Every day there are those moments that you just know this is the right thing to do,” said Melode Seremet, President and Owner of Paws for Reflection Ranch.
Seremet says she saw a real need for veterans services south of the Metroplex and decided she and her team should be the ones to provide them. They began working with veterans in January.
Another member of that inaugural group, Army veteran Norman Plourd, says working with the horses and riding them has changed his life for the better.
“Us veterans, we get stuck in our own problems sometimes and we just need a way out,” said Plourd. “We need something to break that cycle.”
Seremet and her team say that’s exactly what the ranch does.
Not only is it located somewhere serene and relaxing, but the animals give the kind of unconditional love and attention that may not always exist in conventional therapy sessions.
“It’s a lot safer to connect with an animal,” said Brooke Knox, Clinical Director at Paws for Reflection Ranch. “Then that transfers into other people in their life.”
The Texas Veterans Commission just awarded the ranch a $75,000 grant that will allow them to continue the program at no cost to veterans. They’re confident that will lead to even more success stories.
For more information about Paws for Reflection Ranch, CLICK HERE.