See gorgeous photos of the ranch this couple donated to help people with PTSD.

When one of his horses crashed into him without warning, Rick Wanless had no idea how badly he was hurt.

Wanless, who is in his late 70s, was working on his ranch in British Columbia four years ago when the collision happened. It didn't seem so bad at first, but the pain was intense. He had broken his pelvis and suffered severe internal injuries.

A team of paramedics rushed him to a local hospital. From there, he was transported by medevac to a trauma center in Vancouver.


Luckily, Wanless made a full recovery. And today he's riding horses again without fear, something he's loved doing his entire life. He credits those amazing first responders with making that possible.

Wanless and his wife, Donna, decided there had to be a way for them to give back.

Rick and Donna. All photos by Rick Wanless, used with permission

"I realized that they have a pretty demanding job and a great many of them have PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)," he said. "The need to help them seems to be overlooked when they're so busy helping us."

So he started reading. And as he read, he found dozens and dozens of articles praising the therapeutic value of farms and ranches. And it's true, studies have shown that exposure to nature can be great at easing the symptoms of PTSD, which include intense fear, anxiety, insomnia, and many others.

As he read, Wanless looked around the serene, 25-acre ranch he and his wife call home and came to a big realization.

It was the perfect place for healing.

Rick and Donna offered up their ranch to Honour House, an organization that provides free housing and support to Canadian veterans and people who have served who have PTSD.

When most people want to give back, they donate money. Rick and Donna decided instead to open up their home to people in need — to share their little slice of nature with people who desperately need to get away from the triggers and stresses of everyday life.

"I imagine a lot of people leave stuff in their wills, but they never know if it comes to fruition or not," he said. "This is actually something we can see happening."

The property will be called Honour Ranch, and small numbers of individuals suffering from PTSD will be able to visit and work with the horses...

...watch for deer, bears, and other wildlife...

...boat or kayak on the pond or nearby river...

...or just camp out and enjoy the tranquility.

Rick and Donna will continue to live on the ranch, but they won't have a great deal of interaction with their guests. And that's the point.

He said they have virtually no neighbors, making the property a perfect place to be alone in nature.

Of course, rest and recuperation is only one aspect of recovery. Honour House will bring in treatment professionals as needed to work with visitors to the ranch. The program is expected to kick off in Spring 2017.

In the meantime, Rick and Donna just hope their kindness will inspire others.

"We've had a wonderful life. We haven't had any hardships," he said. "If [others like us] can be inspired by what we're doing and want to help out in some way in their community, that would be wonderful."

Most of us don't think of a bird as a cuddly pet, but Swoop the snuggly magpie didn't care what humans think. After he was rescued by New Zealander Matt Owens, the baby bird became a beloved part of the family—the family being Owens and his cat, Mowgli.

"It was just sitting there bleeding, sort of unable to walk properly and it looked like it had been abandoned by its mum so I just picked it up and decided to take it home," Owens told Newshub. The timing of finding Swoop couldn't have been better. Owens' dad had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the bond he formed taking care of Swoop gave Owens an extra dose of love and comfort.

Mowgli wasn't sure about the new family member at first, but soon took to Swoop and the two became fur-feather friends. The Dodo recently shared a video on Facebook highlighting Owens, Swoop, and Mowgli's story, and it's unbelievably adorable.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Bill Gates has always been passionate about providing vaccines to the parts of the world that lack resources. On Friday he came through again by announcing that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committing $150 million toward efforts to develop and distribute a low cost COVID-19 vaccine to some of the poorer countries of the world.

According to Vox, this latest financial commitment brings the total Gates has dedicated to the pandemic to around $500 million. He is hoping the funds will keep vaccine costs down to increase accessibility beyond just the wealthier populations. As Gates told Bloomberg, "We're trying to make sure we can end it not just in the rich countries." Gates is working with the Serum Institute, which is the most prolific vaccine producer in the world, to make $100 million doses that would not exceed $3. In general, companies producing the vaccine have agreed to keep the profit margin low."


Keep Reading Show less