Archive for the ‘SOUL Harbour Ranch’ Category


SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. — Therapy dogs and small horses from Soul Harbour Ranch were taken for a walk through nature in South Barrington.

All of the therapy animals are registered with the National Registry Pet Partners. Soul Harbour has 20 percent of the nation’s pet partner miniature horses.

Soul Harbour Ranch is run by an all-volunteer team that’s looking for more people to join the team. The therapy animals will be taking a walk on the first Sunday of every month.

Watch the WGN report here.

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Lunar gets a pat during a visit to JourneyCare in Barrington. The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program has 10 miniature horses, eight registered therapy dogs, and even a therapy cat that visits in a stroller. (Courtesy of SOUL Harbour Ranch)

These days, it’s not so unusual to see therapy dogs roam hospital hallways or visiting nursing home rooms.

What may be a little more unusual is seeing sneaker-wearing miniature horses waiting their turn to offer up a little nuzzle.

The SOUL Harbour Ranch Therapy Program in Barrington brings miniature horses — as well as its trained dogs — to spread a little love to the elderly, people who are sick or those who just need a little comfort.

Jodie Diegel and her husband, Jerry, owners of SOUL Harbour Ranch, have grown the program to 50 volunteers with various therapy animals. Their hope is to continue to expand their offerings to keep spreading the joy these loving animals bring.

Jodie discusses the programs they offer and how you can join their team or offer other assistance.

Q: What is the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program? Give a brief overview of what the organization does.

A: The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 located in Barrington, home to founder and president Jodie Diegel and her husband, Jerry.

Read the rest of the Q&A in the Daily Herald here.

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SHR Christmas

The volunteers and special therapy animals of the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program (therapy animals from L to R) therapy dogs Rosie, Baron, and Dakota; mini therapy horses CinderBella and CreamPuff (unicorn). Photo by SOUL Harbour Ranch

The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, the NW suburbs most experienced comprehensive animal therapy program, shared holiday joy with the residents of Alden Estates of Barrington on Christmas Day.

The registered volunteer handlers, with 2 registered miniature therapy horses (CreamPuff and CinderBella) and 3 registered therapy dogs (Rosie, Baron and Dakota) visited at the residents’ windows and then went inside to visit residents for some SOUL-filled connections.

SOUL is all about Sharing of Unconditional Love…it’s what our special therapy animals do best. And what better way to share that love that on Christmas Day! Sharing joy, laughter, smiles, and love…that is the true healing power of animal-assisted therapy.

The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, located in Barrington, is an all-volunteer 501c3 nonprofit comprised of close to 70 volunteers, with miniature therapy horses, therapy dogs, a therapy cat, and miniature donkeys. We visit and partner with hospitals (including Rush and Loyola), veterans, schools, libraries, nursing homes and so much more. We also mentor the SOUL Buddies Animal Club at Barrington High School.

Interested in volunteering with us? We are looking for future volunteers that would like to do therapy work with our animals OR your own animal. We would love to mentor you on your journey to test with your pet through Pet Partners, the national gold standard for animal-assisted therapy, and then join us.

For more information visit soulharbourranch.com.

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National Night Out

Enjoy food, family-friendly activities and more at the National Night Out Against Crime event hosted by the Village of Barrington and the Barrington Police Department from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, August 5th.

Join the Village of Barrington and the Barrington Police Department for National Night Out Against Crime from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, at Cook and Station streets.

Enjoy an evening of neighbors coming together for free food, family-friendly activities, and getting to know Barrington police officers.

The event features free bike helmet and bike safety checks, the opportunity for kids to explore (and climb in and on) public safety vehicles, activities such as games, balloon art, a K9 demonstration, a nine-hole inflatable mini-golf game sponsored by Makray Golf Club, wood toys made with Home Depot, cookie decorating with Jewel, a snow cone Truck sponsored by the Barrington Police and Fire Benevolent Association and the Barrington F.O.P. and more.

This year’s National Night Out will also feature a blood drive hosted by the Barrington Fire Department and Vitalant. Sign up here and enter code 024H near the bottom of the page.

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National Night

The Barrington Police Department will be hosting National Night Out Against Crime in downtown Barrington and the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program is once again excited to be invited!

The National Association of Town Watch launched the annual observance in the 1980s as an anti-crime campaign to encourage people to flip on their porch lights, lock their doors and mingle with their neighbors and first responders on the first Tuesday in August.

Here’s a sampling of where National Night Out activities are happening:

  • Algonquin: 4 to 7 p.m., Algonquin Area Public Library, 2600 Harnish Drive.
  • Dundee Township: 5 to 8 p.m., Carpenter Park, 275 Maple Ave., Carpentersville.
  • Elgin: 6 to 8 p.m. at: 55 N. Spring St.; 272 N. Spring St.; 85 S. Crystal St.; 357 Division St.; 1223 Fleetwood Drive; 533 St. Charles St.; and 1080 E. Chicago St.
  • Deer Park: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Vehe Farm Park, 23570 Cuba Road.
  • Barrington: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Cook and Station streets, downtown.

For other locations, click here.

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Handler and SOUL Harbour Ranch volunteer Carrie Podgorski is pictured May 1, 2021 with Cupcake the miniature therapy horse during the Kentucky Derby-inspired celebration the ranch held in downtown Barrington. (Karie Angell Luc / Pioneer Press)

Children experienced the tradition of the Kentucky Derby recently by celebrating the festivities socially distanced style in downtown Barrington. 

SOUL Harbour Ranch held its annual Kentucky Derby celebration at Barrington’s White House May 1, giving families an opportunity to actually touch and pet Cupcake and Creampuff, two miniature comfort horses, with the supervision and guidance of trained handlers.

They could also hug Marshall, a male therapy dog.

“Whenever we take the animals out, especially during COVID, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to connect and enjoy this beautiful weather,” said Jodie Diegel, owner and founder of SOUL Harbour Ranch.

The event honored the 147th “Run for the Roses” Kentucky Derby.

Approximately 20 children were registered for the fundraiser event. They were treated to games and indoor activities, and there was a natural attraction to the therapy animals.

Read more here.

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With a combination of grit and determination, a little bit of luck and a lot of love, Jodie Diegel, founder of Soul Harbour Ranch Therapy Program, is literally living her dream life. She has created an organization that uses therapy dogs, miniature therapy horses and miniature therapy donkeys to share a lot of SOUL (Sharing Of Unconditional Love) throughout Barrington and nearby communities.

“I’m a very positive person. I know that my mission, my purpose in life, as a nurse and as a giver, is to help others through animals,” Diegel says.

In addition to being the founder and president of Soul Harbour Ranch, Diegel is also a registered nurse and legal nurse consultant with Kaveny + Kroll in Chicago. Diegel says that a difference is made when there is a soul-to-soul connection between humans and animals. She laughs while noting that her husband Jerry “is not really a horse person.” She credits him for the wok that he does at SOUL Harbour Ranch and his advocacy for her passion. “He sees the magic our animals bring to those we visit.”

“People often ask, ‘What is a visit and what do therapy animals do?’” Diegel’s reply: “At every visit, when others meet our special animals, there is joy, laughter, smiles, and sharing of unconditional love…that is true healing.”

Read more in Country Magazine here.

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