Special Needs Children Meet Farm Animals

A Jackson County farm that throws free parties for special needs children had some very happy guests Friday. For the first time, the Pony Patch hosted a group of children in wheelchairs.

Chandella gave 11-year-old Lindsey Romero her first kiss from a horse.

"Just to see her reaction to these animals which she likes to cuddle with them," said Elizabeth Stone, Lindsey's aunt. "She wants to hold them, but we won't let her."

About a dozen children from the Harrison County Development Center also made friends with a chicken named Drumstick, a goat named Freezepop, and Lisa the pig.

Shelly Gubbs-Roberts works at the Development Center.

"They don't get to see the farm animals. They don't get to interact with them. They don't get the chance to a lot of things in society that everyone else will. They're shunned so much by society that people kind of push them back."

The beautiful smiles made the owners of Pony Patch feel a little more at ease. Although hosting free parties for special needs children is nothing new for them, it was a first with wheelchair bound children.

"Today it was more challenging and it was more rewarding." said Pony Patch owner Karen Travis. "Of course, in order to handle these types of events, we're going to have to do a little bit different than we have in the past. We're going to have to put in paths so they can roll the wheelchairs easier, but we don't have a problem doing that."

Pete Travis said, "But we're getting better. Every time we get these groups in here, we're getting better at it and we're having fun with it."

Rebecca Helton's parents say it's difficult to find activities the 13-year-old can take part in because of her disability. They're grateful for this opportunity.

Johnnie and Debbie Helton said, "To train her to be part of the world and to help her to be as normal as possible. It makes me happy to see her happy. "

For more information on the Pony Patch call (228) 623-2888.