Welcome to Friendly Acres! We’re a small farm in Southern Colorado that is set up as a ministry. Our animal ministry originally began as a K9 ministry. We utilize the talent and training of our therapy dogs to entertain and inspire audiences nationwide through award-winning motivational programs.
When we moved to Friendly Acres, (a 45 acre farm in Southern Colorado), we offered equine therapy for other brain injury survivors (like myself) in the area to take part in healing the way that I did—through horses and music.
Since then, we’ve incorporated a couple of goats, a cheeky pony and even a Cockatoo named, Pearl. Scroll down for an introduction to all the animals of Friendly Acres!
This beautiful dog is Nadja, an 11 year old German shepherd. Nadja loves to perform! She has been my service dog (she helps me with my multiple sclerosis) for many years, and performs her task work to music for our ministry; much to the amazement and delight of her audiences!
These two little cuties are Roxy (left) and Gracie (right).
Roxy is a 2 year old rescued Pomeranian. We adopted her last year and have been training her to therapy dog standards so she can accompany us in our programs. She has already done one trial program and is doing GREAT! Roxy is a wonderful addition to our family and her sweet, loving personality makes her a perfect addition to our programs, as well.
Gracie is a 12 year old Shih-tzu/Bichon mix. She has been with our program since she was a puppy; and boy does she have a great time performing! Gracie is a certified therapy dog and has helped many people through her work including visiting childrens’ hospitals, nursing homes and even sitting on the laps of children in court when they have to testify against their offenders. She is our “funny little fur person” and we are blessed to have her on our team!
This sweet boy is Buddy. He is a rescued, 8-year-old Egyptian Pharaoh hound (a VERY rare and ancient dog breed). These dogs are known to be aloof with strangers, but Buddy has never met a stranger! He loves everyone and feels that his love heals all; which makes him a perfect therapy dog. Buddy loves to attend our programs and manages to endear and delight all who meet him!
This handsome boy is Jack. He is a rescued, 6 year old Labrador/Cur dog mix. Because of his cur dog breeding, Jack is very high strung and isn’t suited to therapy work, so he keeps the home fires burning and is a protection dog for our livestock and our home.
Jack is also being trained to shed hunt (use his amazing sniffer to find shedded antlers in the forest), which will be used to make beautiful crafts which we will be selling on this blog.
Isn’t this guy adorable? This is Gunnar (pictured with Buddy). He’s a mini Australian shepherd and our resident old man (approx. 15 years old!). We rescued Gunnar from an abusive situation and planned only to foster him until he was well enough to place in a forever home. One day with us, and we fell head over heels in love with this sweet, sweet boy and couldn’t bear to part with him. My only regret is that we didn’t find him sooner so we could love him longer.
Gunnar performed in our programs up until the end of last year, when he lost his sight. He is otherwise very healthy and happy to go on long walks on our property and spending time resting alongside of his Momma (me!) while I write. We absolutely adore our Gunny-man and are blessed by his addition to our family.
This handsome boy is Maverick, my therapy horse and the catalyst for the Equine Ability Program, a cognitive-music based program designed to help brain injury survivors (like myself), trauma survivors, and troubled youth overcome life challenges.
This is Sparky. When you come to Friendly Acres, you will most likely be met in the driveway by this cheeky, little pony who thinks he’s a dog! Sparky is a sweet, smart boy who we’ve found to be a perfect therapy pony. He gives rides to the siblings of some of our therapy kids, and visits the local nursing home, as well.
Harley (R) and Otis (L) are year-old goats that we have taught tricks and bring to children’s programs throughout Southern Colorado.
They are VERY smart, easily trained and fun to interact with. Plus, they love to dress up and delight audiences with their funny antics!
Last, but not least
We absolutely love birds. We’re blessed to share our home with two little budgies (Elliot (on left), and Sonny (on right), and a rescued cockatoo (the crazy chicken!) named Pearl.
Sonny and Elliot have made our home such a happy place! Their happy chatter entertains and comforts me and I love to watch them play. I keep them close to my office so as to be inspired by my tiny, little feathered friends; and I talk to them (and they to me!) throughout the day.
Pearl is a 30-year dream come true for me. I’d always wanted a cockatoo, but didn’t have the lifestyle to be able to have one…until now. We rescued Pearl about a year and a half ago. She’d been abused in her prior home and had multiple emotional and physical issues because of it. Today, she is a happy, healthy too learning to relax, play and be the happy-go-lucky bird she was created to be.
This selfie-taking (yes, she really takes her own selfies, like the one below!), “crazy chicken,” cracks us up daily with her antics and quirky personality.
We’re hoping to bring Pearl to kid’s programs in the future, but only time will tell if she is able to overcome her former abuse enough to be comfortable doing so. Until then, she is my constant companion and muse for my writing.
So there you have it! All the animals of Friendly Acres. We hope you’ve enjoyed meeting them and will continue to follow their adventures. Continue to scroll down for more photos of our fur-ed and feather-ed kids!