We started visiting REM Ohio in December of 2015. We were making our rounds and came into the technology wing. Dakota was visiting with students and made his way up to a sweet gal named Danika. Pat, the director of activities was so excited for Danika to meet the horses because of the many stories she would tell about how much she loved them. So, we start walking toward Danika but her eyes go wide and she starts to back up.... "No! Stop right there!" she exclaimed. "But Danika, you told me you love horses...." Pat tried to assure her. "Well I do, but only on TV!"
A few months later we visit again, this time with one of our smallest at the time, Red. He's smaller than a golden retriever and very gentle. This time Danika lets him a little closer but she's very skeptical. "I'm not sure about this... that's close enough." We catch a picture, (only after we give her time to fix her hair) and she has a small smile when we leave.
Our next trip out to REM was during the summer months of 2016, so we brought our pretty boy, Dallas. One of the cutest horses we have and average in size. Making our way into the technology room again, we greet with other students and smile at Danika. She tells us, "just close enough for a picture, but not too close." So, we inch Dallas a little closer and closer, and she scoots her wheelchair farther and farther. Again, we snap a picture and she thanks us for the visit.
Pat emails us around August saying, "Danika promised her brother a picture of her petting a horse, so next time she'll do it." We were ecstatic. During one of the hottest days of the year, we bring back Dallas & Denver. We make our rounds and spread plenty of joy to the classrooms. As we make our way to the technology wing, the rest of her class is waiting by the door. "They're here! They're here!" The whole classroom is buzzing and Danika is waiting with a nervous smile. We slowly walk Denver up and around within arms length of Danika & she holds her hand out and pets his mane. "You did it!" exclaimed Pat & Lisa, "You really did it!" Danika was full of excitement and wanted to see the pictures after they were taken. "I did it", she announced. And the whole class applauded.
We may have just brought cute animals in for some of the students here, but to Danika she conquered a fear. We were able to help her reach a milestone and spread some joy in the process.
Serving Others. Bringing Joy. Offering Hope.