Founded in 2012 by Krissie and Ryan Newman, the Rescue Ranch has become known for their work in educating about the well-fare and respect of animals, and promoting wildlife conservation. It has grown in many ways through the years, including the addition of a 10,000 square foot playground in May 2017.
POPULAR SPEED recently caught up with Krissie to talk to her about the ranch, as well as her relationship with Ryan.
POPULAR SPEED: Why is it important to you to educate people about animals?
KRISSIE NEWMAN: Well, I think kids grow up with a different mentality if they have compassion for anything. So I feel like starting with the kids is going to change the mentality over time of how people treat animals, and look at animals, and honestly respect the earth and the environment and get outside to enjoy things a little more. I think starting with the kids is easier than starting with adults.
PS: Out of all the animals that you’ve interacted with, what has been your favorite?
KN: I don’t know if I really have a favorite. I have different animals that I like for different reasons. I mean, at home, we have dogs. They lay around on the couches with us, go places with us, and are comforting. At our one office, we have cats, and they interact with the staff – and they adore people more than anything. It is a little bit of a stress relief when they come in if they’re having a crazy day. I can’t say I really have an absolute favorite. I like them all for different reasons.
PS: Looking back at your times at the ranch, is there a favorite memory that stands out?
KN: I think when we opened the playground. We did a 10,000 square foot all-inclusive playground, and I think the first field trip that we had with kids with disabilities, it really touched me to see them playing on the equipment and being able to enjoy the playground, and hearing the parent’s reactions about that was such a good moment for those kids. The ranch has taken a turn from solely being all about animals, to just being respectful people, and it’s a place for everyone. It’s a place for a kid that has a handicap, or kids with autism, or kids that are completely fine on field trips and birthday parties. I want everybody to feel included.
Animals are therapeutic that in a way, we started something that we were not even knowing we were creating in having a place for everyone to have those connections with the animals and feel good about being there, and to really enjoy those things. I think the playground, for me, was a defining moment in seeing all of that come together.
PS: Switching things up, how did you and Ryan meet originally?
KN: If he told you, it’d be a truck stop. But we were set-up on a blind date through friends of my family and his family, and my grandmother.
PS: Now, do you get nervous during races?
KN: I used to. I still get a little nervous during the superspeedways – Talladega (Superspeedway) and Daytona (International Speedway) always kind of leave me with a little grumble in my stomach on those mornings, but I don’t get as nervous as I used to. It’s just I want to see him do well so then he’s in a good mood and the rest of the week is smoother, but I don’t really get nervous anymore.
PS: What’s something that you can say about Ryan that people would be surprised to know?
KN: Probably how down to earth and caring he is. I think a lot of people see his serious side, but he really does have a big heart and he’s a big softy.
Learn more about the Rescue Ranch by visiting their website at http://www.rescueranch.com/
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