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Our Story: Kids and Critters, Inc

It was nothing short of a miracle watching the magic between troubled kids and animals as they worked with the variety of animals that showed up on the doorsteps of David and Dianne Linderman, everything from lions, tigers, and bears to goats and puppies.

It was the middle of the 80s and David and Dianne Linderman were counselors at a local Dude ranch in Southern Oregon. Stories of their success helping young people spread around the country, until one day, a very ill wildlife park owner knocked on their door and asked for an important favor. She asked the Lindermans to take over her wildlife park with no money down, and continue the work that she had been doing for 30 years! Needless to say David and Dianne took that opportunity! And then something very interesting happened.

A few very troubled young people from all over the county started showing up! The Lindermans put them to work. What the kids found themselves doing was extraordinarily simple. David and Dianne believe that all kids have potential, and when you put young people in the right environment, and teach them how to work, miracles happen. What they never knew is what happens when you bring animals into the picture. David and Dianne Linderman found the perfect recipe for the amazing resurrection of not only the hurt and troubled sprits of these young people but for the unloved animals that found their way to Noah's Ark Wildlife Park. The kids worked hard daily cleaning, feeding, and caring for the animals around the clock like a parent. They found self-respect as they became responsible for something that was more helpless than themselves.

One day in 1989, David and Dianne called a meeting with this group of once troubled young people to share with them their dream of creating a non-profit organization to further the concept of bringing troubled youth to work with animals.. This is how Kids & Critters, Inc. non-profit organization was born. In the years to follow Kids and Critters took time to develop. David and Dianne started a professional petting zoo and pony ride company, The Great American Animal Entertainment Co., which went on to become the number one petting zoo and pony ride in America. They eventually sold the company to a few of their long time employees some of whom were also helped by the Lindermans as young adults.

Years later eight of these young people are now successful entrepreneurial adults and have joined together with Kids & Critters, Inc. along with the Lindermans to help a whole new generation of young people have the same experience that changed their lives. "The Farm" a program of Kids & Critters, Inc. is a way to do just that. By bringing the real farm experience back to America. In a day and age where condos are overtaking farmland and children do not know where eggs and milk come from, it is important to keep alive the spirit and values of farm life. The programs that the farm will offer help kids build character through responsibility and heal troubled hearts along the way. With over twenty years of experience in the animal industry the Lindermans along with this very special group of now successful entrepreneurs created The Farm to inspire and help many more people, young and old. The true Farm Life experience in America is becoming extinct and they want to be apart of keeping the farm experience alive!

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