Hello. My name is Scotlynn Belding and I am 16 years old. I attend therapy at SonFlower Stables with my mom and my sister. I was asked by Mary Giordano Howe to write how I feel about the therapy and about how the animals make me feel.
The Therapy: I really enjoy the therapy provided. Whether I speak about my problems to Mary that day or not, She always says something that helps me with them and I always learn something each session. And I always leave feeling loved.
The Animals: I am a huge animal lover and spending time with/connecting with the animals at SonFlower Stables makes my day. When I connect with these animals, I feel so relieved and relaxed and comfortable and I feel numb. The other day when I was at therapy, I had been having a bad day. I connected with Sadee, and it was a deep connection. I was able to talk to her about my problems and empty myself. I was crying at this time and she turned her head and held me close to her because she knew I needed a hug. She hugged me until I stopped crying and gave me several hugs afterwards. Her letting me empty myself to her and her hugging me, made me feel so much better and it made my day.
A few years ago I got to a point in my life where I wanted a change; a change in the way that I dealt with a world that was becoming more connected but disconnected at the same time. I had been lost the past few years and was now in the midst of a mental breakdown.
Having been raised on a farm I was always with the animals more than people so I began to look for an organisation that was involved with animals where I could be of help. I found an animal sanctuary that I thought might be a good fit but I let it slip that I was having trouble coping and I never heard back from them.
Then last February I read in a local newspaper about a place of healing with magical horses. Shortly thereafter, I met Mary Howe and explained that I wanted to be a part of something that helped animals and at the same time ask the animals to help me. Having always been around large animals like cows, the horses were a perfect fit and Mary never flinched when I explained my state of mind.
It was never my intention to volunteer at the stables. In my mind I would come and go as I pleased to spend time with the animals when they needed me and vice-versa. This is how it started anyways. I have had very little use for people in the past but as I worked with the animals, Mary in her round about way helped me as we worked side by side, caring for the horses and a goat. She has taught me and is still teaching me how to be non-judgemental and accept people for who they are. By her teaching, I have come to start donating to causes that relate to people whether they be homeless or ill. I have several skills that are able to help many kinds of people in need and Mary has helped me to see that there are people in need of my help.
I’m working towards a more “hands on” approach coming up to retirement where I can volunteer my time directly to an organization or concentrate on raising funds. I still much prefer to be the guardian of those who have no voice or quite often no choice in their circumstances. Volunteering has helped me to understand the difference one person can make and to see the change many people with the same passion can bring around.