Mack the Therapy Dog

Mack the Therapy Dog

Mack the Therapy Dog

Mack doesn’t like the Nutrition Center.

He got really scared when he was there one day for lunch. Some kids were playing on the other side of the big, overhead doors that separate the Nutrition Center from the gym on campus. A ball hit the big metal door and the noise was sudden and loud. It startled Mack, just like thunder does, and now he doesn’t like going in there.

But, when he is on campus he goes there at lunchtime. Everyone is thrilled to see him and comforts and cajoles him.

Mack is one of the Certified Therapy Dogs that works at the Ranch. His person is Lucas Mitzel, LMSW. Mack comes to work a couple days a week. Because Lucas is an excellent therapist, the two of them do really good work together. One of the greatest things ever is to look down the hallway and see Mack with his head and front paws sticking out of the office, waiting quietly for his next appointment to show up.

Mack is loving and accepting and wonderful. He also has some anxiety issues, like with noise. Because of that – and not “in spite” of it, he and Lucas help children understand that their behaviors and reactions do not define who they are. They also help them see that they can have courage and overcome their fears.

The children see that Mack is anxious, but also see that he is loveable, helpful, smart, and hard-working. Sometimes he gets a little stubborn, but if you take your time and help him through it, he is willing to try. He is scared of the Nutrition Center, but he goes in there anyway, and slowly, over time, he will become more comfortable and more of his best self.

Yes, just like the children.

Mack and Lucas are two of my hero co-workers. They help the children heal.

Please keep our kids and staff (and our dogs and horses and pheasants and barn cats) in your prayers!

In His love,

Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

Your Thrivent Choice Dollars® can be used to support multiple organizations each year. At the Ranch, we use all Thrivent Choice® funds for our Spiritual Life Program. Your support is vital in giving our precious children the foundation of faith they need to thrive. To direct your Choice Dollars® to the Ranch, simply go to, login, and choose Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. To direct Choice Dollars® over the phone, call 1-800-847-4863 and say "Thrivent Choice," after the prompt. Thank you for your continued support of our ministry!


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