Bob Williams opened Ranch Hand Rescue in 2008 and it’s one of the most unique nonprofits in Denton County. The mission is simple: animals helping people and people helping animals.
“I believe that all life is precious,” Bob explains. “Our kids, animals, the elderly—especially those that can’t take care of themselves. We need to be their voice. Our supporters know that that’s our mission.”
Ranch Hand Rescue is first and foremost a sanctuary. It opened in 2008 for abused animals, most of them in need of so much medical care it was much cheaper to euthanize them. The nonprofit’s mascot, Midnite, came to them severely neglected and in agony from a missing hoof, with the recommendation that he be put down. He became the first horse ever to receive a prosthetic limb without an amputation and lived out the rest of his days happily in the ranch’s stables.
Ranch Hand Rescue has been featured on National Geographic for some of their accomplishments in treating animals. They performed the first ever stem cell transplant in a horse to heal a hoof without scar tissue and the first double fusion on a horse to straighten its leg after it was beaten with a baseball bat. Recently, they were first to do open heart surgery on a sheep. However, RHR’s potential goes far beyond healing abused animals.
“I was diagnosed with PTSD and severe anxiety in 1997,” Bob says. “When I was saving these animals, I noticed there was something magical happening with my own trauma but I didn’t understand what it was. They were having a positive impact on my health.”
There have been many studies conducted on the power of animal-human bonds. Dogs, for example, lower blood pressure in nursing homes. Equine therapy is a well-known phenomenon. However, all of these studies were conducted with healthy, well-cared-for animals. RHR was first to study the connection between abused animals and people healing from deep trauma, partnering them together.