Noelle Waller, founder of Controlled Chaos Ranch & Rescue, admits she has a soft spot for animals – especially rabbits. After years of fostering a myriad of animals for other rescue organizations, she launched her own non-profit, focused on rehabilitating farm animals, exotic birds and rabbits (of course).
However, the Oklahoma-based operation serves more than animals in-need. A former teacher, Noelle partnered with the local public library to initiate what might the country’s only program pairing struggling young readers with cuddly rabbits. Dubbed “Read to Somebunny,” anecdotal evidence from local teachers suggests the program is delivering tangible results.
“Letting children benefit from the non-judgmental presence of a rescued animal helps them gain confidence and raises their self-esteem, while also allowing them to improve their reading skills,” Noelle says. In many cases, students who participate in the program require noticeably less literacy support at school.
Harry, a fuzzy little Jersey Wooly rabbit, is a favorite. “He just melts across the laps of all the children who choose to read to him,” Noelle explains. But it wasn’t always that way. When Harry arrived at Controlled Chaos Ranch, his fur was matted to his skin, a clear sign of neglect and abuse.
“We got him trimmed down, removed all the mats and realized he was the most appreciative bunny,” Noelle recalls. Soon enough, Harry was basking in the love and attention from the library program’s young readers, just one more success story for Controlled Chaos Ranch.