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

  • Most Recent News

    Big Dogs Need Owners

    When the shutdown orders took full effect, it became nearly impossible to find a small dog available for adoption as Southlanders sought furry companions. In many Southland shelters, only larger breeds remained available for adoption. Now Los Angeles Animal Service is touting the joys of big dogs while offering discounted adoption fees for larger breeds […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Walkathon

    On Saturday, October 3, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states joined the path to bettering the world for children with autism and their families as part of BluePath Service Dogs’ fourth annual walkathon. The family-friendly fundraiser – this year held virtually – raised more than $120,000 to further BluePath’s mission of providing autism service […]

    Read more

    Service Dog In The Marching Band

    In a year that is anything but normal, the Jones College Maroon Typhoon Marching Band has welcomed its first known service dog member this fall. Laurie, a 3-year-old golden retriever, is baritone saxophone player Sara-Beth McKellar’s service dog. The Vicksburg native was diagnosed with epilepsy as a sophomore in high school after her first seizure. […]

    Read more

    Church Blesses Animals

    St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis hosted a special outdoor service last Sunday afternoon to bless the community’s pets, animals and other living creatures. In keeping with current pandemic rules, pet owners wore masks, remained distant, and took part in praying for dogs, cats, turtles, and other pets and animals around […]

    Read more

    Police Welcome New Canine

    After the unexpected passing of longtime Police Service Dog Zeus earlier this week, Kingston Police are welcoming a new member to the Canine Unit. Police Service Dog Bask, also known as K9-8, is a Dutch Shepherd and Belgium Malinois mix, and will be patrolling the streets of Kingston with his handler Constable Jeff Dickson. Bask […]

    Read more

    Dog Park For Travelers

    St. Petersburg is widely recognized as a dog-friendly city, and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is making sure its four-legged visitors and their humans feel welcome by rolling out the artificial turf carpet. With the completion of the airport’s parking and roadway project – part of a series of multi-million dollar improvements at the airport over the […]

    Read more