Children with special needs and from abusive backgrounds bond with animals just like them at a farm in Texas


The happiest, warmest place with plenty of wagging tails in Leander, just north of Austin, is quite possibly the Safe in Austin sanctuary, a place where everybody is welcome no matter what their story is.

Run by Jamie Wallace-Griner and her family, the sanctuary opens its doors to all animals who have special needs or have survived a past of abuse. And once the animals comfortably settle in and become part of the family, they help other children with special needs like them, or children with a difficult past.

Posted by Safe in Austin on Sunday, October 11, 2020

“We rescue animals from severe abuse or neglect, rehabilitate and rehome the ones that are able, and offer a safe and loving forever home for the rest,” said Jamie on the Safe in Austin website. “Once they are healthy enough and we have earned their trust; we introduce our rescues to children that come from similar backgrounds of abuse, neglect, and/or special needs.”

I watched an animal bring my baby to life. She reached a part of him I could not. The miracle of that relationship…

Posted by Safe in Austin on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

If you ever have the wonderful chance of walking through the sanctuary, you will find “20 dogs, 14 cats, eight horses, 32 goats, four rabbits, three tortoises, one parrot, four turkeys, lots of chickens, 18 pigs, and four cows,” Jamie told The Washington Post. And each one of the animals has their own different stories. “We have animals that are blind or deaf, have diabetes, cerebral palsy, deformities, missing limbs, broken spines… they all become part of our family,” added Jamie.

Posted by Safe in Austin on Saturday, September 19, 2020

What makes the sanctuary special is how they welcome children and adults to meet other animals just like them. Having witnessed firsthand how animals can see past a child’s differences and make them feel loved, Jamie added, “There is something absolutely magical about watching a child with differences come out here and say, ‘They’re just like me.'”

Jamie and her husband, David Griner, saw how an animal can change a child’s life when their autistic son, Jackson was transformed by a service dog named Angel. “Angel gave my son confidence and strength beyond anything I was capable of doing as his mother,” Jamie shared. “We saw a dramatic difference within weeks… The security of having an animal that understood him and what he was going through changed everything.”

With Angel beside him, Jackson felt safe. And seeing this pushed Jamie towards recreating the same sense of safety for other children. Along with her husband, Jamie bought a 10-acre land in 2014 and converted the place into a haven for animals as well as children. Jamie and David also get plenty of help from their three children.

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“I met a child who felt scared and alone, so I showed him a dog who needed a bone. I met a girl who didn’t feel loved, so I introduced her to a horse who had also been shoved. I met a boy who was breaking the law, so I asked if he’d help with a broken paw. I met a child who was too afraid to speak, so I invited her to feed the tiniest little beak. I’ve met many hearts that needed handling with a glove, but then I watched a rescue animal heal them with nothing but unconditional love.” ~ Jamie, Safe in Austin Rescue Ranch We are open to individual family private tours, volunteering, or healing heart visits. We miss you terribly, and can’t wait to wrap you up in some safe socially distanced rescue love!! Email us at [email protected] Saving lives, and healing hearts! Rescue animals, rescuing children! All because of a boy and his Angel!❤️🐾

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“We don’t care about the choices you made in the past, what you look like, who you love or what you eat. We concentrate on no judgment at all,” Jamie said. And the animals on her farm are more than happy to oblige.

Plenty of kids with special needs have bonded with animals who more or less face the same physical challenges they do, but seem content and happy when surrounded by people who love them. Safe in Austin has been a real sanctuary, not just for animals, but also children who have felt left out in the society for varied reasons. They come here, spend a day with these gentle creatures, and return home with a broad smile. And it truly a heartwarming sight like none other.

Jamie added, “This is a place for anyone who’s heart is in need of some unconditional love and friendship.”

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