Skip to main content

A Rescue Program – Saving Calves & Kids


Guest Blogger
Clinton Dorny
Executive Director
Discovery Ranch for Boys


Having worked in the helping profession for over 15 years now, I am constantly amazed at the value of Experiential Therapy and the use of animals in the healing process. The students who come to us at The Ranch, struggle in life due to early childhood trauma of some sort. They often fight the good fight against anxiety, depression and other mental health or developmental concerns.



The use of animals in the therapeutic process has been a part of what we do at Discovery Ranch
since its inception. I have always tried to share the value, respect and care we place on the animals in our care. They are just as much a part of the “treatment team” as our clinicians.

For this reason, I’d like to share some details about the integration of animals into the therapeutic process. It has come to my attention that there is a misperception or misunderstanding about what we do with our calf program. 

Please allow me to educate you on what the normal process is for the bulls at dairies and how we save and adopt them.


When bulls are born at dairies they are normally discarded, in other words…bopped on the head and killed at birth.  Dairies see them as a waste product and don’t want to waste their mother’s milk feeding them.  However, they keep and raise the females to garner a return on their milk production.
Dairy cows need to have a calf every year in order to keep their milk supply going.  So, dairies are constantly in the process of increasing their herd.  We purchase the day old bull calves from the dairies and raise them until they are 5-6 months old. Our students are the ones responsible for raising them. They feed them each day, clean their hutches and care for them medically. The calves are then sold to local farmers and ranchers. We’ve had some students, along with their families, adopt their calf and place it in an animal sanctuary.





We have found that the calf program is highly therapeutic for all of our students, especially those who have adoption issues (not reactive attachment). This therapeutic initiative provides opportunity for the students to experience the principles of service and sacrifice.  Therapy is very egocentric in nature and this gives a child the chance to care for something else and become the surrogate parent and caretaker. There have been therapeutic breakthroughs with the students too numerous to mention as they work with their calves.

Something of note is that bulls go through the maturation process in a short period of time.  They go from dependence to independence to interdependence in a period of a few months.  Our students get to be part of that process and experience those transitions and relationships in a very natural way, but do so from a parental perspective. It allows the students to gain some insight and perspective of what their parents have been going through with them. It is so powerful and real!


While the hard costs (over $600,000 since we opened) of the Calf Rescue Program is a substantial expense, the clinical value and investment is priceless.


Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself about this innovative and progressive therapeutic endeavor. You can learn more on our website at www.discoveryranch.net

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Perfectly Wicked - A new take on an old fairy tale!

Guest Blogger Amanda Schultz Age 15 There she was…hair as black as night, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow. Standing by the window, washing dishes, whistling while she worked. Snow White. I shudder with disgust every time I hear her name. What kind of a name is that anyway? “Snow White”. Gahhh, it’s a name that practically begs to be made fun of. Yet, there she goes, frolicking around like she owns the Enchanted Forest. No. I’m the Queen. I’m in charge. My magic mirror was mistaken. I’m the Fairest of them all, not that sorry excuse for a princess. One bite from my poison apple and that air-head will be so ugly not even her mother could love her. And I will be the Fairest once again! I suppose that I should rewind a little bit. It wasn’t always a competition between Snow White and me. In fact, back in the day, we had a nice little system going on. I would rule the kingdom and practice my magic, while Snow did the dishes and tended the garden. She stayed out of my w

An Open Letter to Parents Researching RedCliff Ascent

By Stephen C. Schultz "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." Having been raised in Oregon, I spent the majority of my childhood and teenage year’s steelhead fishing the coastal waters, climbing the Middle Sister in the Cascade Mountain Range, drifting the McKenzie River and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.  I have mentioned to friends, family and colleagues on many occasions;   “From a therapeutic standpoint, there is no better place to have a student’s issues manifested quickly than in a wilderness setting.” The question then becomes, “Why do therapeutic issues rise to the surface in an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare program like RedCliff Ascent ?” Throughout the years of teenage development, most teens spend a lot of time with friends. These friends think the same, dress the same, act the same, listen to the same music and sometimes get into the same types of trouble. Some teens also develop patterns of communication and manipulation

Life transitions are inevitable! I'm no exception

By Stephen C. Schultz This is just a quick email to share with you that after 20 years with the Ascent Companies, I am making a transition. I want you to know that the last 20 years have been more than I could have ever wished for. What a great opportunity I have had to not only work with, serve with and be friends with all who are a part of the RCA , DRG , DRB , Oxbow , Discovery Day PHP , Connections and Oasis programs. I owe such a debt of gratitude to the four original owners, Dane Kay, Steve Peterson, Scott Peterson and Jim Salsbury for seeing my potential and taking a risk on me back in 2002. Steve Nadauld, Brent Hall, Andrea Burgess, Clint Dorny, Shawn Brooks, Steve DeMille and the program teams have been like family and an absolute joy to be around.  I feel honored to have played a small role in the success you as educational consultants, private clinicians and us as treatment providers (working together) have had over the years on literally thousands of families.  #GRATITUDE