One of our clients, a boy, felt very isolated until he found a friend on the farm who was as lonely as he was.

The client came to the farm after three months of an extreme wilderness therapy program in Utah. During those months, the boy did not even see his family. Coming back here, reentering school was a really big transition for him.

At the time, we had a very aggressive rooster who was isolated, literally. The rooster was very aggressive with other chickens and even with clients, so he stayed in a separate cage in the barn. The client bonded with the animal. He liked to open the cage, pick the rooster up, and hold him in his arms like a baby. The kid’s face glowed from within. He identified with this animal and had empathy for it. It seemed that the kid no longer felt isolated; he and the rooster were buddies. The boy got a friend and it changed his whole personality. The rooster was totally calm in the kid’s arms. He, too, was like a different animal, like a baby.

However, the rooster had to go because of his aggression. So the boy had to say good-bye and separate from the animal. This type of experience is another opportunity for therapeutic growth that is built into the farm. The rooster moved out, but the client still talks about his friend. The boy says that the animal knew how he felt, understood his loneliness.

The kid feels that the rooster was healing him. And he really did.