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Julia35

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4 reviews

Review for Minis and Friends, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I am a mini owner and volunteer. The minis bring a great deal of joy to everyone they surround. I believe, that in the presence of the tiny horses, people open up to their huge heart circle and are then firmly planted in the here and now.....which is joy!!!!

Your smile muscles will hurt for a week when you experience the magic!!!!

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Minis and Friends, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been with Minis and Friends about four years. I believe that in the presence of these little therapy minis, one forgets all else for a while and is firmly in the moment. That's when there is joy.

I have five therapy minis and I believe they are for sharing!!! We all get as much out of the visits as those whom we visit. Our 'smile muscles' hurt, there are tears sometimes and it is our mission to show we care. The mini therapy ambassadors are so amazing. They know when they are working and are gentle and patient. They pull you right into their heart circle. There's no escaping it!!!

There are enough stories to fill a book. After a five minute visit with a woman in a wheelchair at a nursing home, I thanked the woman for the visit and said that we needed to move on down the hall. She had been hugging and petting the mini. As we walked away, she turned to the woman beside her and said, "Such a nice dog!!!".

Another time a patient hugged the mini and sobbed for 15 minutes as the mini stood patiently with his head resting on her lap.

All the volunteers have their 'ah-ha' stores. The minis provide a starting point for the interaction. We talk to residents in nursing homes and ask if they ever had horses. We have some really great conversations. Many people have not had the opportunity to be around an animal bigger than a dog since they moved into the nursing home. There are many who rode a horse to school or did ranch work with their horses. Many memories shared with us.

Once, as we walked up to a man in a wheelchair, the staff stood behind him and mouthed the words that this gentleman HATES animals. They were shocked as he hugged the mini and talked to him.

I'll stop now, but I could go on...

It is a very unique experience and one that you won't soon forget! Join us, if you think your smile muscles can take it.

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Minis and Friends, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Minis and Friends is a 501c3 organization that serves children, youth, adults and seniors in the greater Austin area who have mental, physical and emotional challenges and disabilities. There is a magical connection between people and the tiny horse ambassadors. I feel that they plant you firmly in the 'here and now', a space that leaves no room for anxiety and worry for the past, present and future. Whether you are in a nursing home, a special education class or in your wheelchair in the Healing Garden at the Dell Children's Hospital, when a tiny horse puts their head in your lap, they create a place of total focus on the relationship. It's you and a horse. They nuzzle and get close to you. They'll put their head right on the bed in a nursing home or step right along the side of a wheelchair for hugs. It is virtually impossible not to be drawn into the moment. We hear people say, "Oh, they have made my day", "Could you leave them here with us?", "I used to have a horse", "I could hug them all day!" and "I have never seen a horse indoors". (They wear dog booties to walk on indoor surfaces)

We have witnessed someone talking to a horse having not spoken for over a year. There are Alzheimer patients who remember the horses' names, cerebral palsy patients who move to touch the horses and special needs children so filled with excitement that you can barely stand it. And those are the people we visit. The truth is that the 'trickle down' effect touches not only our target audience, but the nurses, the parents and families, teachers, nursing home staff and, in a huge way, the volunteers.

The volunteers go to visits week after week and they keep coming back for more. The experience of presenting the minis where smiles are needed, provides us with something deeply satisfying. When you visit from room to room you show, for this little visit, I am here, I brought you a four legged friend and we care. And then the mini magic happens!

The minis are tiny and travel in my Volvo station wagon. I am a board member, volunteer and mini owner of Wiggins, Fiona and Jooney Belle. Three little magic makers.

Minis and Friends is a family of volunteers. It is simply, the best!

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Minis and Friends, Austin, TX, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I am a volunteer and mini owner. I enjoy working with the minis to reach into peoples' lives who are isolated, have special needs or facing stress or change because what the minis do is to put everyone into the present. When you are in the moment, there is joy.

The minis are the means to anchor people in the here and now. They are magical. It is very difficult to ignore their magnetism.

One day in a nursing home, a woman doted on my 150 lb mini for about fifteen minutes. She was very happy to have the visit and as we said goodbye and started to walk away, I overheard her say, "Such a nice dog!!!!!"

Much of the time, the minis are welcomed with opened arms. They evoke memories of peoples' experiences with horses they knew in their youth. They produce smiles where there were frowns.

The minis are the catalysts for connecting with anyone. They become the focal point when you present them to others, they remove barriers, such as shyness or the awkward 1st meeting of total strangers. They are like peace offerings, "Look, I brought you a friend who really wants to say 'Hi' to you". That's all it takes. They are the 'foot in the door'.

What we are saying by sharing the minis is, "We care. We are all here because we want to be here and we brought you a friend"



Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Role:  Volunteer