Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children


Boys Care for Orphaned Animals

By Janet Anderson

Residents at Boys Ranch Town have been busy the past few weeks caring for a new baby colt named Chief. The little horse is a Dunn, a breed known for being tan in color and having dark colored strip down their back. Chief was born on a snowy day in Hugo, Oklahoma. Like most foals life began with new things to see, smell and taste. He frolicked and played alongside his mother, took naps in the warm sunshine and chased other foals in the pasture.

Everything changed for him one day and he found himself without his mother - alone, cold and scared. Humans tried to help him, but it wasn't the same. Knowing he had to learn how to be a horse from other horses, a call was placed to the BRT Equine Specialist, Jennifer Kloeppel. She was very excited to help Chief, knowing that he would, in turn, help many boys at the ranch. Just as they often need to learn to trust, so did Chief.

After the three hour trip from Hugo to Edmond, Oklahoma, Chief found himself in an unfamiliar barn with people who care very much for him, but because he is young and without much experience, he was still a little frightened.

Chief had left the only place that felt safe, familiar, and even fun. Leaving everything behind was scary, and he couldn't take all those things with him that he knew as "his". Everything in this new place was different…the sounds, smells, and even the food were different than anything he had known before. Even though he was curious, it was difficult to settle in and feel at home in this new place.

Chief received his name, a name that is nice, strong, and dignified, and from his reaction, we think he likes it. Over time he has grown more confident and comfortable with all of the attention he receives from staff and boys alike. Every day is a new adventure and while some days are harder than others, one thing is for sure...he feels loved and cared for.

The boys have enjoyed caring for the little horse and are doing a great job training him, explains Jennifer Kloeppel. Mrs. K, as the boys call her, is a new staff member at BRT leading the Equine Assisted Training program. The boys asked Mrs. K why he didn’t seem to want to eat when he first arrived.

She explained to them that Chief has had a hard time. “He lost his mommy, traveled a long way here, and he couldn’t bring anything with him that made him happy, or feel safe.” She asked the boys, “Can you possibly relate to how Chief is feeling?” Compassion was written on all of their faces. They have asked many times if he is eating enough, and she has been so happy to tell them he is, and that he is growing more and more every day.

The boys have also been caring for another orphan, a small Black Angus calf named Valentine whose mother rejected her. As difficult as that reality is, it is common in farm life and rejection is another feeling that many of our boys have in common with these two animals. The small calf is still struggling and has not quite learned to drink from a bottle, but the boys are trying their best to get it to start to suckle.   

Letting the boys handle and care for these orphan animals has led to some great conversations with the boys. They can really relate to the orphaned animals. “While many of the boys at the Ranch are not true orphans, they come from some very difficult circumstances; just as the animals they are caring for,” says Mrs. Kloeppel. It is our privilege at Boys Ranch Town to pour God’s love into their lives…not to “fix” them, but to give them the acceptance and security that they need to begin to heal, gain strength, and grow into the adults they would like to become.

March, 2014

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