SOAN Internship: Kindness Ranch

Internship Opportunity for Truman State University Students

The Kindness Ranch-American Sanctuary for Research Animals

Do you share in our love for the well being of animals? Are you considering a career in animal welfare, veterinary services, or the behavioral sciences? If so, consider an internship at the Kindness Ranch. Truman State University has partnered with the Kindness Ranch to provide students with opportunities for experiential learning.

Situated in eastern Wyoming, the Kindness Ranch consists of nearly 1,000 acres of land, home-style yurts for cats and dogs, barns and paddocks for horses, pigs and other farm animals, plus several yurts for volunteers and visitors. Future plans include building dozens of new yurts and safe runs for more than 300 cats and dogs, housing for hundreds of small animals, barns and paddocks for needy farms animals, as well as state-of-the-art veterinary facilities. Co-Directors Dr. Karen Straight and Matt Farwell share their story about the ranch at Wyoming Tourism

They are the only facility of its kind working to rehabilitate former research animals. Cats and dogs at The Kindness Ranch live together with their human caretakers in spacious yurts specially designed to meet their needs. So far the results have been amazing: animals used in various research protocols who have been traumatized, isolated or otherwise prevented from living “normal” lives have thrived on the human attention and tenderness we offer. Student interns are a critical part of this process.

Interns will:

  • work hands-on in the rehabilitation efforts at the ranch. Students will be partnered with animals for the duration of their stay to provide socialization
  • analyze and record the animals’ progress towards health
  • feature their work with the animals the Kindness Ranch web page, helping others to understand the important work that is being done at the ranch
  • explore the study of animals in society through active discussion and readings

The Animals

The ranch has dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, and horses who have been used in research at commercial and educational laboratories. Students will work most intimately with the dogs, cats, pigs, and rabbits. The animals vary in their experience and needs. Most of the animals have lived their entire lives in kennels or cages. They need socialization to teach them about how to bond with humans, learn to play, have fun, and live in a home environment. The socialization process will range from introducing the animals to toys, providing loving and healing cuddles, walking the dogs, to more active exercises in our lovely large heated barn and in the fenced in yard.

Who Should Apply

Students with a sincere love of animals with an interest in rehabilitation should apply. They will provide you with training; it is most important that you feel a deep commitment to the well being of animals and an interest in learning more about how you can contribute to their well being. Behavioral science, pre-veterinary majors, and those in the agricultural sciences will find that their experiences to be especially valuable.


You will work closely with Dr. Karen Straight, Professor of Sociology and Outreach Director of Kindness Ranch, as well as the Ranch Manager, Matt Farwell. They will offer students both three week and semester length internship opportunities. The first three week three credit internship program was offered over the 2008-2009 winter intersession. Summer offerings will also be available.

Travel Arrangements and Accommodations

Interns will live on the sanctuary grounds in our beautiful cat or dog yurt. The yurts have bright windows, two bedrooms with a total of four beds, a kitchen, and washer and drawer. Accommodation will be provided at no charge to interns approved for their time at the ranch. Students will need to pay for food and travel arrangements. If you do not have a car, we will offer twice weekly trips to Guernsey (10 minutes away) for groceries. You may drive to the ranch. Students may take the bus from Columbia, Missouri to Wheatland, Wyoming. Change buses one time in Denver. The connection is a good one. Alternatively, fly to Denver, take a taxi to the bus station, and take the bus to Wheatland. Let us know of your arrival in Wheatland, and we will come and pick you up (a half hour from the ranch).

Surrounding Area

This is a wonderful area for nature lovers. You will see elk and antelope on our property. You can go on long hikes on the ranch. Guernsey state park and its beautiful reservoir are just 9 miles away. The Oregon Trail came through Guernsey, and you can still see the ruts. There is a lovely 2.5 mile walk along the North Platte River. During ski season, you can drive to Casper for day skiing. You might take a weekend trip to Colorado for skiing as well.

For More Information, Contact:

Dr. Amber Johnson, Chair of Society & Environment Department