Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Your beasts of unburden: Mental Health Day at Healing Hearts Farm Sanctuary

If you want to experience what heaven on Earth might be like, there are more than a few places in Tehachapi that could inspire that label. If your vision has rolling hillsides, towering mountains and farm animals in it, Healing Hearts Farm Sanctuary might provide your best glimpse yet.

Many of the donkeys, horses, sheep, pigs and goats are rescues from abusive or neglectful situations. The reason Healing Hearts occasionally puts on a free Mental Health Day, like they did on April 23, is because they understand the heart-healing power of these beautiful four-legged beings and want to share it with whomever could use this kind of natural pick-me-up.

Can you imagine what it would be like to stand in a corral solely with horses who are blind? I saw the four of them from a slight distance and actually felt how they interacted with each other. It's well-documented how such animals can help people with certain anxieties or PTSD, and Healing Hearts is well set up to help those who are looking for relief from the challenges of life we all experience.

Jason and Jennefer Lawson are the owners of this nonprofit, and donations are welcome at http://www.healingheartsfarmsanctuary.org. They work hard to make this big-hearted farm accessible to everyone. It's not merely a petting zoo where you only interact with a few baby goats. Here, you are encouraged to open a gate or two (with a volunteer) and actually mingle and interact with these gentle beasts.

Have you said hello to a llama lately? Stroked the neck of a burro? Let a charming pig snuffle over your open hands? You might just come away a little less stressed, and maybe even feel encouraged to volunteer here.

Jennefer is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and Jason is a first responder with the fire department. Their compassion extends to their sanctuary, where (in their words): "We are dedicated to helping animals that are neglected, abused, unwanted or slaughter bound by providing refuge and showing them kindness and compassion. Our mission is to foster healing through building connections between animals, people, and nature."

They also understand the knowledge that sometimes it's okay to "not be okay. In life we face so many difficult challenges such as the COVID pandemic, loss of friendships, relationships, maybe even family members. We experience change, hardships and so much more! We don't always have the tools or support systems in place to overcome these challenges but there are things we can do to change that. Our events are NOT therapy sessions; they are about bringing awareness to the community and to normalize not only mental health issues but getting help. Our emphasis is self-care: what it is and how to practice it in our daily lives."

The bottom line: visit Healing Hearts Farm Sanctuary because it feels good.

For more information go to http://www.healingheartsfarmsanctuary.org.

Scott and his life partner Maria are ranching peacefully in Sand Canyon, Tehachapi. Maria is a Reiki Master and Scott is a writer who can be reached at [email protected].