Dragon Slayers is a an innovative, animal therapy program for the physically challenged children and adults, using rare and unusual animals as a medium. Teaching self-confidence, awareness and conservation, Dragon Slayers has served the physically challenged community for over 35 years.
All weekly lessons are private and tailored to maximize each student's physical and personal potential. Josef Rivers is the guiding force that inspires this school of champions. Having polio as a child further qualified Josef to teach and understand the physically challenged.We have spanish and sign interpreters
The animal lends itself as a diverse tool in this therapeutic program, adapting to our unusual methods and equipment. Each one hand-picked and trained by Josef, addresses the specific need of every student. No animal is used unless it has proven as a therapy animal: trustworthy and dependable. Hence, there has never been an accident in our program
Precious Teal & young alpaca Our Zebu family (miniature Brahmas)
Henrietta, The Pink One-Eyed Chicken
By Josef Rivers
Years ago, I was at a donkey farm to buy a donkey. Running out in the pasture was this little, white, Silkie, one-eyed hen. I said to the donkey breeder, ”You know that little hen isn’t going to last a week out in this pasture, a predator will have her for dinner,” at which time I put my hand in my pocket, pulled out a crumpled $10 bill, and said, “Let me buy her.” And, to my surprise, the donkey breeder said, “O.K.” I said to the donkey breeder, “You’ll have to pick her up, I can’t reach her from my wheelchair,” and with that, the donkey breeder snuck up on her blind side and swooped her up. I didn’t buy a donkey but, in place, I saved a little, old, white, one-eyed Silkie hen.
When I got back to the Dragon Slayers, an animal therapy program for physically challenged children and adults, Henrietta, as we christened her, fit right in. And in a few days of good food, plenty of fresh corn, delicious apples and whole wheat bread, our beloved Henrietta started to lay eggs, lots and lots of eggs. She desperately wanted to be a mother, I mean really, really wanted to be a mother. This went on for years. Henrietta would sit on anything, dutifully trying to produce a chick, and us without a rooster. We kept taking her infertile eggs away. Henrietta was undaunted. She would sit on anything from a rock to a walnut.
Then, at last, her patience was rewarded. Jerry Schexnayder, the Serama King from Louisiana, generously sent us a whole flock of Seramas, the World’s smallest breed of chicken. These little 10 & 12 ounce miniature jungle fowl started laying eggs by the dozen. Now, Henrietta has been sitting on a clod of dirt for two weeks with no results. So, out of pity, we put nine fertile Serama eggs under her, so Henrietta set for three more weeks. And, at last babies, 6 of them – all colors from white to black and all in between.
That made no difference to Henrietta because she was bright pink. Why pink? Well, years before, I got the idea if you have a physically challenged student that is so very shy they will not make eye contact or speak or even look at a stranger, taking them out in public with a brilliant pink, blue or purple therapy chicken draws people like a magnet and the shy student is compelled to talk and make friends by sharing their passion. Amazing what a little food coloring and a one-eyed chicken can do for an overly shy, physically challenged wheelchair-bound person.
And that is what we do at Dragon Slayers. We use rare and unusual animals, carefully trained, to meet the needs of a wide variety of physical challenges. Why not get a physically challenged person to bring you on tour.