RAVEN ROCK REPORT
Punxsutawney Phil (our national weather-predicting Groundhog) let us know this February 2 that our spring would be early. Gossiping frogs vying for mates way into the night and hair melting off of our blonde Fjords like snow on the rooftop show us that Phil is right. Sunlight has been peeking in-between clouds which has given us all a reason to smile early this season.
Recently, COVID-19 has inserted itself into our daily lives, disrupting schools, workplaces and lives. It is devastating on so many levels. RRR closed down for 2 weeks beginning on March 15 to return on March 30. We wanted to be in compliance with the CDC guidelines. I feel it is important for all of our friends and family to know that Raven Rock provides an essential service for our community. The clients we see are children from 7-18 years of age who have experienced trauma. They are sometimes fragile emotionally and when an unknown and little understood virus attacks anyone and everyone, it is terrifying for those kids. Truthfully, I have no idea how this will affect our funding. It seems all funding is shifting towards physical health. I understand. But mental health should be a priority, too. For many of our children will go into a deeper depression when isolated and the suicidal ideation we are fighting with many of them can be exasperated in a crisis. Raven Rock, in response to COVID-19, thought about all of the children stuck at home many who had no access to computers. Thanks to David Boker, our former Board of Director, he was able to procure 8 computers which Raven Rock distributed to deserving children. Please
remember us with a donation when you can. We will be there for the kids- please be there for those of us in the front lines.
While we had a devastating loss in December of our beautiful bay mare, Robin, when she developed a lipoma that blocked her small intestine, we were able to add another great personality to our herd. None of our horses can ever be replaced, but love is not a zero-sum game. If you have given lots of love to Robin, you are not out of love. Another gives you the great opportunity to grow more love inside your heart. It releases oxytocin in your brain and is the reason we keep doing what we do: because it is worth it.
Rooney (yes- he came with an “R” name!) came to us all the way from Wyoming. His owner could not keep a horse that couldn’t do his job anymore. His job was a cowpony. She was paid by local ranchers in Big Horn to drive their cattle up to summer pastures and down to winter pastures. All of that mountain climbing finally became too much for Rooney. While he gamely gave it his all, that just wasn’t enough to get the job done. She couldn’t keep two horses when one couldn’t work, so she looked everywhere for a place to rehome him. No takers. So she sadly told Perk, my friend who boarded him to put him down.
I have been friends with Perk since we were in high school. She never asks if I will take a horse, so when she prevailed upon me to take Rooney, I knew he must be something special. She even drove him the 980 miles just for the expenses she incurred.
At the time when she could get through the mountains, we didn’t have space, so Julie, our Volunteer Coordinator, fostered him until the time was right. He came to us 2 months after he landed in Washington. Because of his very kind and gentle spirit, he fit right into the herd without one bit of arguing. He never challenged anyone and no one ever challenged him. Even Barney, the yellow Lab, trusts him.
He is fitting right into the program, too. Several of the kids needed a slightly larger horse that was kind and engaged. Rooney is all of that. I can tell he was loved because how much he LOVES people! No bad memories there. Just a deep desire to be close to humans. My vet team headed up by Dr. Dana Westerman, Dr. Taryn Rathbone, and Donna Zontok, Bodywork Pro and I are all working together to relieve some pain from old injuries and give him the best possible life. He is a happy camper!
Often, what we believe about ourselves stops us from even trying to change to whom we know we are deep inside. If we believe we are “dumb” or we have been told over and over we can’t be trusted, that is exactly who we become- the person who gets bad grades or cannot tell the truth. It is not fair to allow others to determine our fate, but that is so very often what happens to our kids.
A great example is one of our adoptive parents who strove to be as mindful and thoughtful in parenting her child as anyone I have ever met. She found that his previous trauma (from his family of origin) was quite significant. But instead of using the details of that trauma to remind him how awful he was, she allowed him the freedom to find his own potential and greatness. If he didn’t want to help around the house, there was not a big argument. She allowed him to mature into the person she knew he could be. How many times has someone bringing up your past failings or your parents helped you to overcome? Not often, because no one knows your failings as well as you do, or the flaws your parents had. To suggest that stealing, for example, is a genetic characteristic is simply wrong and QUITE damaging at the same time. Who can escape their genes? But your past is NOT your destiny if you are allowed to find your way in a safe place.
The young man who had a traumatic childhood is now making goals, finding a way to adapt to his school, helping in the household, and not threatening his mom with violence. Oh, yes. It was not an easy task this single parent took on. She definitely thought outside of the box. As her son would not talk to a therapist, she tried equine therapy. It has made a world of difference for her son and her life with him. She has taken a positive reinforcement approach instead of negative reinforcement. He is blossoming- later than we might expect for his age, but after having been emotionally delayed by trauma, once he found his footing, he has grown emotionally very quickly. He is one of the most caring people I know and one day her unconditional love will be rewarded.
Our main fundraiser this year is Waging Love: Agape’ in Action. Please save the date of October 10, 2020. We are only going to be successful if YOU support Raven Rock. It’s so rough out there-it is time to take action. It could save a life.
Please remember us with a donation when you can. We will be there for the kids- please be there for those of us in the front lines. www.ravenrockranch.org
Thanks so much for your support and for reading this report. We are on the same team!