Sign In

Animal therapy ranch

April 27, 2020

Saddle Up Ranch, located just off the A926 on the edge of Blairgowrie, provides animal therapy to people from Perthshire, Dundee and Angus while rehabilitating animals.

Serving young adults to pensioners, ranch boss Jessie Probst uses horses, dogs, goats, alpacas and even snails to help teach transferable skills about conveying and reading emotions, as well as providing animal training and fostering.

Jessie, who also runs a dog training business, believes that after lockdown restrictions are lifted, more people will require their services.

She said: “We’ve run this facility for six years and it really helps vulnerable people. We’ve even got contracts with some schools.

“Our clients come from Perth and Kinross, Angus and Dundee. We had over 1,000 visits last year and held workshops every weekend over the summer. Just now, we’re getting 10 to 15 visitors every day.”

The non-profit organisation, which is run by volunteers, has been based at the Perthshire site for almost two years, having previously operated from Glamis, but their lease is set to expire at the end of the summer.

Jessie said: “We need to find a new central location somewhere in Tayside. We only need about five or ten acres for rough grazing – we’ve got evidence-based funding to build stables.

“There’s going to be a huge spike in anxiety and depression over this period and the ranch will be a massive asset after lockdown.

“We need somewhere to move into by the end of September. We’ve got success stories coming out of our ears but the only places we’ve found that are suitable are way up north, which isn’t good for our clients.”

Amongst those hoping Saddle Up Ranch can relocate nearby is Monifieth High School student Hannah Harper, who suffers from a rare neurological condition called Transverse Myelitis.

16-year-old wheelchair user Hannah was set up with therapy dog Lily through the ranch and said being paired with the cocker spaniel has turned her life around.

“We had been looking for a dog and the ranch was recommended to us. We got Lily, an emotional support dog in October.

“She’s completely changed all our lives, especially now during lockdown.

“I feel much happier and much more confident. School is something I’ve always struggled with and I spoke with my guidance teacher about bringing her in. They were very keen.

“For one, she gets us all out of the house more than we used to and overall she’s made us all so happy.”

One dog who has benefited from Jessie’s work is Togo, a Chihuahua approaching his third birthday.

Togo arrived from Kent in late March as an aggressive dog with behavioural problems, having bitten his owner.

Jessie successfully initiated big improvements, which she has documented on her Facebook page Dundee & Beyond Dog Trainer.

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs At School

    Those who own a dog can attest to their ability to lift mood, improve stress and bring joy by simply being there, unanswering, seemingly all-knowing and always delighted to see you.  Therapy animals are known for their calm and comforting nature, giving people a way to relax, de-stress and interact with a loving pet.  They […]

    Read more

    Wonder Dog

    For those of us with dogs, we know they quickly become major parts of the family. You live for and care for just like one of your own children, and one dog right here in Oklahoma City is beating the odds, and helping others recover as a therapy dog, despite all of the issues he’s […]

    Read more

    Scott And Charlie

    Cherokee Middle School students may do a little more “doodling” second semester starting this month (January), but also will improve their attendance marks because of a special attraction at the school, courtesy of Principal Scott Aden. Aden, an effective, caring administrator, has acquired and will house and handle a young female Golden Doodle (Charlie) that […]

    Read more

    Hope For Veterans

    E5 Therapy opened in April with a different way to help veterans in therapy. They offer canine-assisted therapy along with talk therapy to veterans and veterans’ families in Solano County. Owner Matthew Decker is a licensed clinical social worker in Northern California, focused on helping veterans achieve their mental health goals. Along with his team, […]

    Read more