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Green Acres is place to be

Residential care center near Wheatland has chickens, community garden
BY DYRINDA TYSON dyrinda@gmail.com Published: December 8, 2012
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Trevor the Brussels Griffon sports a Sooner sweater as he thrusts an inquisitive nose at a visitor. When a camera is brought out, though, he immediately cocks his head and strikes a pose.

“He's a real ham,” someone observes. Trevor's owner, Cathi Doar, just smiles.

The residents of Green Acres, a residential care home at 7601 SW 74, have settled into the living room after lunch. Trevor perches in Doar's lap, watching everyone else watch television. The pair moved to Green Acres nine months ago.

“He's the reason I'm here. Becky was gracious enough to let me bring him with me when I came. It saved a lot of broken hearts,” Doar said.

Becky Shannon established Green Acres with her husband, Cody, about eight years ago. Her grandmother Elsie Dean had died a couple of years before, spending her last days in an assisted-living center, and her death spurred them into action.

“My grandmother was diabetic, and she kept going into diabetic comas,” Becky Shannon recalled. “But they kept feeding her anything she asked for. And you know when you're in your early 90s, you don't necessarily make wise choices. So they were giving all the fruit she wanted, all the sodas she wanted, and she ended up dying.”

Shannon's mother, Donna Coy, pulled Dean out of that facility and moved her to another, but it was too late.

“It was already done — the damage was already there,” Shannon said.

Her grandmother needed help but not to the extent a nursing home would offer, she said.

“If she didn't need to be in a nursing home, why wasn't there a place like this where they could keep up with her?” Shannon asked. “So we sold our house, our cars, everything we had and bought this place.”

She drew inspiration from Fran Gomez, who ran a similar home in Oklahoma City where Becky Shannon worked. Gomez added that little extra push as Shannon was weighing her options.

“She found out she had leukemia, and she said ‘Becky, you need to go to school and you need to do this. You want to do this, you love doing this, and you need to keep it going,' ” Shannon recalled. “So with Fran's insistence and the situation with my grandmother, I decided, ‘OK, someone up there's trying to tell me something.' ”

The Shannons came upon the rambling, ranch-style home just east of Wheatland after a couple of years of searching.

The result is hard to pigeonhole. There is no Arnold the pig or Eleanor the cow on the premises, but a flock of chickens peck around in the back, and a community garden lies beyond. The chickens joined the family about a year and a half ago.

“I always had chickens,” Cody Shannon said. “I was raised in the country.”

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