We have BIG DREAMS for the future
What we do at Prairie Animal Assistance is already pretty awesome, but we do have some great ideas to make it even better in the future.
Eventually, we want to become self-sustaining and not have to rely entirely on donations for our funding. We want Prairie Animal Assistance to become a world-class education centre – not only educating animals, but people as well. There are so many problems in our society related to companion animals and the best way to make a change is by educating future generations. So many people still get pets without spaying or neutering them. Many people respond to behavior issues in their pets by having them put down or giving them away and passing the problem onto someone else. Many of these problems could be alleviated in the first place with education.
Horses are often treated even worse than cats. Many people believe that just because they are huge, that they must be trained with extreme force and that hurting them is okay because they don’t feel pain or have emotions. I challenge anyone who believes that statement to look into the eyes of a horse who has been severely mistreated without seeing the sadness, the fear, the hopelessness, helplessness and the physical and emotional pain. Looking at that same horse after going through the PAA program and the confidence, joy, and complete love of life will be impossible to miss. Even an animal like a rabbit can learn more than most people think. It wouldn’t even occur to most pet owners to try to fix a behavior problem in a rabbit, because most people don’t even know that they can learn the same things a cat or dog can.
We will have different educational programs for different groups depending on age and interests. Most often, people will come to learn at our facility, but sometimes we will go out to give presentations. School groups, church groups, families, 4-H, boy scouts, girl guides, seniors groups, visitors to our area, people with special needs; they all have one thing in common. They are always on the lookout for new activities. We want Prairie Animal Assistance to be an exciting and educational destination for booking tours and presentations. The wonderful animals in our care will get the chance to show off how far they have come. They love to have visitors. They can also give back, by helping to educate others and by helping to raise funds for their own care.
Our current facility has amazing potential. It is only 10 minutes away from Regina, a city of over 200,000. It is also visually appealing with lots of trees and a huge pond. Our barn and riding arena could use a paint job, but with a few minor cosmetic improvements, it could be a fabulous place to visit. But it is the animals themselves that are the real draw. We already have many breeds of dogs, all kinds of cats, 13 rescue horses, rabbits, ferrets, salamanders and snakes. We would like to add a few more species in the future such as a pot-bellied pig, a cow, a miniature horse, donkey, goat and a llama. We don’t intend to be a petting zoo, although just seeing the variety of animals and learning about them would be interesting to many people. We have bigger goals. We want to let the animals who are extremely highly trained entertain people while we get our educational messages across. So, educating various groups who pay to visit our facility will generate revenue, but that is not all we want to do at PAA.
Some of the educational work we want to do is much more specialized. We want to train animal trainers and rescue/shelter workers to use the methods we have developed over the years helping hundrends of animals. Our students could then go out and effectively help many more animals. For those who can’t come to our facility in person, we will also offer interactive web courses. As with the visiting groups from the general public, there will be different levels of educational programs that will include teaching people to train assistance dog for people with disabilities, teaching trainers to help pet owners solve behavior problems and teaching shelter and animal rescue workers some things they can do to help the animals in their care. We will even have a short course on teaching different species what they need to know to work on television, movies and commercials. In the future, we hope to offer weekend seminars in how to teach cats using clicker training to walk nicely on a leash, come when they are called etc. Our educational programs will range from a 6 month program for apprentice trainers, all the way to video clips available for download on our website (for a fee) detailing how to prevent and treat common behavior problems in companion animals. There will also be eductional articles and videos available free of charge to keep people interested in visiting our website.
Educating people will be our main source of revenue, but we will continue to work with the animals who are long-term residents until they have reached a ridiculously high level of training. We want to show off our animals to the world through video clips, tv appearances etc., using entertainment as a platform to educate. It also keeps the animals mentally and physically active and happy when they get to learn new skills. We want to show people what animals who have been through hell in the past are capable of achieving. This idea also carries over into the idea that people who have been abused or lived through trauma often feel they are worthless, hopeless because of their issues. Interacting with our residents will be another way our animals can give back. Many of our residents didn’t know anything but fear and abuse, but with patience, love, and positive behavior modification, they have flourished and so can people who have been through similar challenges.
Another idea is to make use of our facility and even some of the animals for therapy/ counseling for people. |There are many people who feel uncomfortable discussing deeply personal issues while sitting on a chair in an office. But imagine taking a dog for a walk, or brushing a horse, or playing with a cat. The presence of the animal takes the focus oof the person and can make “opening up” much easier. Also the “clients” would be helping animals who have been through hard times themselves, a win-win situation.
For those therapists/psychologists/counselors/ or their clients who are not interested in working with animals, they may still be interested in helping with painting, chorese, yardwork, filling water pails. Physical activity is good for everyone and so is the feeling that comes from helping animals who need you. This setting wouldn’t work for everyone, but there are many people who would find it helpful. The topic of using animals in therapy, as well as non-traditional settings, physical exercise and volunteer work all combined would make an interesting topic for a research study as well.
“People” therapy is not what we specialize in at PAA, but we would be interested in renting our facility to interested professionals in that field. We think it could be a very interesting partnership between those who help people and those who help animals. Our head trainer/ animal behavior consultant’s educational background is in psychology and many of the techiniques used with people are very similar to how we help the aimals who have issues. We believe idea of renting use of our facility to people in the business of psychological healing would generate revenue and be great fit.
How can we accomplish our future goals?
Our detailed plan for making our future goals a reality