To provide a place of safety, hope, and unconditional love.
The dictionary defines refuge as: 1. shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc., 2. anything to which one has access for aid, relief, or escape. Safety is a basic need and so many in our broken world have been denied the security of a loving family and a safe home. Lives are too busy, schedules are overwhelming and often families are drowning in chaos and struggle. Sadly, as well as hurting people, another by-product of the broken world we live in is hurting, neglected, and abused animals. We have been called to be good stewards of creation. Proverbs 12:10 says, "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." All that God has made for us is under our dominion. Unfortunately, that responsibility has often been misused to inflict pain and neglect. With this in mind, in addition to caring for hurting individuals we seek to provide a place of refuge for animals that are in need. Not only do we believe that this is our responsibility as good stewards, we also believe that a special bond can be formed between people and animals who have both been the victims of hurt and abuse. Caring for these animals also gives the people who come to Refuge Ranch a real purpose for being here. They have something priceless to offer--the love and security--these animals need to flourish! Unique Experience Many people have never had the opportunity to experience all of the joy that farm life has to offer. This novelty offers an exceptional opportunity for impact. There is always something powerful about a unique experience where we are challenged to get out of our comfort zones and try something new. Empathy One of the leading causes of violence in our society is the inability of the perpetrator to feel empathy for another living creature. Children who are denied love, compassion, and kindness grow into adults who are unable to extend the same to others. Their lives have not been valued and so they have learned that life has no value. Abused children often do not develop empathy or sympathy. Children who have never developed empathy cannot feel that another person is as real as they are, or that others experience pain and hurt as they do. They cannot feel the distress or agony of hurting someone, and the act itself does not register as wrong. These children grow into adults who commit violent crimes. The answer is to break the cycle and create an environment where children and adults can learn to empathize. A relationship with an animal provides a safe context for a person to form a bond with another living creature. The animal does not pose the same threat to cause emotional harm as another person does. An animal gives affection indiscriminately. They do not judge or withhold affection based on one's race, performance in life, or social and economic standing. They do not expect anything in return or demand anything from us. This freedom often provides the safety net needed for someone who is unable to form an emotional bond with other people to do so with the animal. Once the initial bond is formed empathy begins to develop. Over time, this empathy can open doors for meaningful, connected relationships with other people, and this is where real change begins. Responsibility Refuge Ranch offers a unique and effective way to teach responsibility. Riding is only a small part of the program. Participants will be required to take part in the general care and upkeep of the ranch as a whole as well as being responsible for the care of individual animals. Participants will learn the correlation between hard work and payoff and the joy that comes from caring for others and being a part of something bigger than yourself.