'Acres' Hopes for Food for Therapy Animals

With 5 acres and dozens of animals that provide therapy to special needs kids and brain injury patients, the grocery list is never ending.

Touring the grounds at Acres of Hope and Aspirations, W147 S7138 Durham Place, you can't help but wonder how it all gets done.

The answer is it can't, especially when it comes to supplies needed for the dozens of animals that provide therapy for the rehabilitation center's many visitors and residents, while themselves receiving their own second chance.

Many of the animals are also special needs.  A donkey with malformed hooves.  A blind pony.  A duck that can't stand up, but that can still get around on its own.

Lisa Alberte, the RN and cheerleader for all of her charges behind the facility, said it's tough to make it, but it has always been in her nature to be positive and hopeful.  It's the same message she gives to her patients, three of whom live there as part of their rehabilitation from brain injuries.

"If we teach anything, it's to look beyond the deficits," Alberte said. "All of our animals are important."

The serene outdoor area, complete with pond and fountain, has a purpose for those who live indoors as well. 

"They say that attitude can be improved by 50 percent if you do gardening, interact with children, or spend time outdoors, and here we provide all three."

The animals provide an opportunity for tactile stimulation as well, and each have names, which those with brain injury are challenged to remember.  A few of them also go with Alberte to schools to help her teach kids about the work she does and the aftermath of brain injury.

They all need to eat on a daily basis, too.  Alberte is hoping that, especially with this time of year finding many with an abundance of produce, food donations become as a regular an occurence as dropping non-perishables into a barrel in the grocery store.

The list of needs is long, and includes many non-food items as well.  If you would like to donate, contact Acres of Hope at 414-422-4882, or by email: acreshope@yahoo.com.


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