Our AnimalsAt Iris House we are so blessed to have such amazing animals on our grounds, it is our great pleasure to introduce you to them:
Diva is a one-of-a-kind girl, adopted from The Cart Horse Association, Diva came to us having never had a rider on her back. She was at first very scared and had never been without her Mom (she was taken into the care of The Cart Horse Association when her Mom who was a cart-horse was removed from her owners due to bad treatment.) This timid, yet strong young girl, was backed over a long period of time by her trainer Alan Lockwood, using only the most caring loving techniques. Diva has after four years of training become our superstar, even allowing one of our blind children to literally trace her body with her hands without moving a hoof. She is gentle, kind, willing, and able. She can still get nervous but both Alan, Sue, and Theo her care team know the signs and are able to help her through her fears and anxiet. This beautiful young lady has helped so many children over the years to gain their confidence, posture, muscle strength, and just have a great time riding, it is truly amazing. We couldn’t be more proud of her.
Viltlgo, or the ginger ninja as we sometimes call her is a very sturdy, very dependable, cross saddle. She was also adopted from the Cart Horse Association. Bigger than Diva, she ensures our larger children can also experience the joy of riding and equine therapy. She has a very sweet nature and is steadfast, but when she is unhappy she really lets us know. She was with us for one week when he told in no uncertain terms she did not want her stable door shut at night, how you may ask, well she took down the back wall. Since then we have always ensured her door is open and she is free to roam her top paddock. Viltalgo is around 7 years of age and a mature lady, she is quick to put Diva in her place. She just loves our bigger children riding her and will even change her footing to correct the position of the rider. An amazing chestnut beauty who we are so blessed to have. Solid and dependable in any situation.
Alfred is named after the butler from the Batman movies. We all know Alfred was more than just a butler to Bruce Wayne, he was also his best friend and always there for him when he was in trouble. Alfred is a Kusa registered labrador retriever. He is 3 years old and his birthday is the 13th of Jan 2019. Alfred started his training at 12 weeks of age, he has been to good citizen classes and is trained weekly by CEO Sue van der Linde. Unlike a typical therapy dog, who only needs to focus on one child. Alfred has many children he works with on an One2One basis. The additional playroom has definitely helped him do his job better. He is a goofy boy who loves to jump into our fountain and then run around like crazy, stealing toys is also one of his favorite things. He is friends with everyone but will bark at new people who come to the property, he does this more to let us know someone is there, however, he can look scary. Please don’t be afraid, just say his name and greet him. He is a very loving boy, and extremely gentle with our children. At only 3 years old Alfred is already showing amazing results with our children and this will only improve as he grows up. He works three days a week at the hospice and has two days just being a dog with his friends at our protective workshop The Collar Club.
Our Other Animals
Shaun, Shiela and the Chickens
Shaun was actually our second sheep at the hospice, Oogie’s our first sheep unfortunately passed away due to seizures. Shaun was hand raised and bottle-fed, he actually thinks he’s a dog. We got him Sheila for company, she is a farm sheep but has become very tame. Our four silky chickens are gorgeous and very entertaining for our children. We are thrilled to announce that we will shortly be building a proper wheelchair-friendly petting area so our children can interact with Shaun, Sheila, Siverous, Luna, Golden Boy, and Golden Girl safely and close up.