Locals look to boost mental health with wildlife sanctuary

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:29 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Lake area resident, Michele Trahan, and her husband turned their personal home into a place to help animals and welcome anyone who may need a emotional boost.

Emotional support can be both beneficial for animals and humans.

“Animals feel a whole lot more than people give them credit for 100%” Trahan said.

By turning a 22-acre farm into a place for healing, Michelle Trahan and her husband rescue wildlife like zebras and camels and give them a second chance.

With over 80 different animals and 90% of the animals being rescues, the Trahan’s open their home for anyone to experience emotional support from animals.

“The horses a lot of the times are learning to trust humans because maybe their training wasn’t so good or maybe they were alone for a little bit of time so a kid starts seeing ‘Oh this horse is okay with somebody coming into their life maybe I can be to’,” Trahan said.

She said it’s good to allow people to spend time with the animals and journey into healing together.

Family friend Jill Phillips is able to de-stress by coming to help the animals who need care.

“A load is just taken off of you when you are here. You know there’s no words that can describe it. Without them I just don’t know where I’d be,” Phillips said.

According to Lake Area counselor Joel Daugherty, there are plenty of benefits. He said these emotional support animals could especially help kids.

“When they have that animal there and are holding the animal or petting the animal it relaxes the child, it brings a sense of calmness, it’s a great way for kids to deal with the issues they’re dealing with,” Daugherty said.

For more information about Red Oak Farms you can contact them on the Red Oak Farms Facebook page.

The family asked that guests schedule appointments before arriving during the holiday season.