LOMIRA, Wis. - Whisper Hill Clydesdales is hoping for a holiday miracle. The farm where they housed their therapy animals has been sold, so they've launched an online fundraiser to find a forever home.
The non-profit organization's 40 animals are like family to Sue Reich.
"To come and just sit there and brush on them, love on them, and stuff like that is amazing," she said.
Reich has volunteered for years for the group. She has seen how the barnyard therapy animals lift the spirits and boost the confidence of those with special needs, children with autism, seniors and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"The horrible visions that they've had, it helps them work through it, just feeling that the animals will love you no matter who you are or what you are."
That unconditional love is helping the Strysick family who's missing their husband and father during his one year deployment with the Navy.
"It's a distraction, you know, dad's not here. It gives them something else to do, something to look forward to," explained volunteer Sarah Strysick.
Their visits, however, are becoming fewer and farther between. The clydesdales, ponies, goats, donkeys and llamas are split up and spread out. They're living with foster families in four different counties until the organization is able to buy a new place after the owner of their old farm sold it.
Reich said, "There are nights that we will sit and text back and forth and Tim's like, 'Why are we doing this? Why are fighting for it?'"
After seeing the joy the animals have brought to so many, Tim Wiskow, the non-profit's founder, is determined not to sell them. He started a Go Fund Me page to raise a $125,000 down payment on a new property that he's interested in near Menasha.
"Every time we put out a post, the amount of people that say, 'I'm praying for you. We wish you the best,' and stuff like that. It's just amazing," said Reich.