Now in the final stages of preparation, Two Bears Ranch in Durango, Colorado, will soon be helping America’s veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to find hope and healing. The non-profit ranch will offer equine and canine therapy, both of which have shown evidence of reducing the lingering and sometimes debilitating symptoms of PTSD.
Two Bears Ranch was founded by USMC veteran Sara Sheeler. Sheeler’s husband, Dr. Carl Sheeler, is a respected voice in the world of risk management and also a veteran of the Marine Corps. All net proceeds from his most recent Wiley book, Equity Value Enhancement, will be donated to Two Bears Ranch. With this past June marking the third annual PTSD Awareness Month — and June 27 designated as PTSD Awareness Day — the Sheelers hope citizens will take a moment to consider the enormous sacrifices veterans have made in defending their nation.
“Our mission is to provide an opportunity for veterans to return to normal life,” says Sara Sheeler. “Anyone who owns a pet knows just how calming they can be. Two Bears Ranch will use rescued dogs and horses to help our veterans slowly release the PTSD-induced anxiety and fear that has consumed their lives.” Carl Sheeler states, “In addition to serving veterans we’ll be offering a unique investment and retreat experiences geared towards Ultra-High Net Worth business founders and families struggling with their own transition and transformation challenges. Our tagline is ‘Profits with a Higher Purpose.'”
The Sheelers are attending the annual Opal Family Office & Private Wealth Management Forum event in Newport RI, July 18-20, 2016, to promote Two Bears Ranch.
A traumatic event is often the root cause of PTSD. A mental health professional can diagnose PTSD when those effects persist indefinitely. Common symptoms of the disorder include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and obsessive thoughts about the original event. The natural “fight-or-flight” response is sent into overdrive, and people with PTSD can feel sudden panic for no obvious reason. Servicemen and women in combat zones are uniquely vulnerable to PTSD, given that few experiences are as harrowing as live combat. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that up to 30% of veterans will have the disorder at some point in their lives.
In addition to helping veterans recuperate and restore their sense of calm, Two Bears Ranch will also participate in animal rescue. Currently, about 58,000 mustangs roam public lands – about 30,000 above the ecological carrying capacity. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) removes thousands of these animals every year, placing them in holding pens where most will spend the remainder of their lives. The cost to taxpayers of keeping all these horses is about $49 million.
Two Bears Ranch will adopt these formerly wild horses for use in equine therapy. The rescued horses will likely enjoy a long retirement at the ranch. All of the horses have the potential to be adopted by well-screened individuals, perhaps even some of the veterans.
Equine therapy as an alternative treatment for PTSD has been well documented over the years. Animals have a way of making people feel at ease, and the environment of a typical horse farm lacks the kind of stressors found in crowded cities.
At Two Bears Ranch, veterans will participate in the “gentling” process of taming wild horses. The process involves slowly building trust between human and animal. The obvious benefit to someone with PTSD is the chance to focus on the animal and its needs rather than themselves.
As of January 2016, Two Bears Ranch earned approval to begin accepting donations. “We’re proud to be working to not only raise awareness of this tragic condition, but also to actively help those dealing with it on a daily basis,” adds Sheeler. “Going forward, we will need the community’s support to continue this good work.”
Two Bears Ranch is a 501(c)3 (pending) whose mission is to help veterans with PTSD through the use of equine and canine therapy. The horses will be mustangs, adopted from the Bureau of Land Management, and the dogs will be rescued. Our goal is to give those we serve (two legged and four) a safe place in which to recuperate and reengage. Families wishing to learn more about the offered retreats or investors looking for a one-sheet and slide deck should directly contact the Sheelers.
More information on horse therapy and veterans programs on their website, www.twobearsranch.org.
Source: Sara Sheeler, Two Bears Ranch