How You Can Help: Volunteers and Donations

Step Up Into T.L.C. is funded through DONATIONS.

Wish list for 2023
Physillium and worming paste

Desitin/ zinc oxide
GAS cards
Monetary donations

I would like to thank all of you for your interest in volunteering. There are several ways you can help:

(1) Ranch chores.
2) Make phone calls to local day cares and schools to set up times for us to come in and give a presentation with JJ our Clydesdale horse and Buddy our Miniature horse. A small donation really helps with gas.
3) Hand out and post brochures and info for Step Up Into T.L.C.
4) Ideas for fundraisers and someone to be in charge of putting it together. For example: Bake sales, rides and games out in front of a store. Maybe contact a Rotary, Lions or Kiwanis club that is looking for a charity to do a fundraiser for.
5) Help at the events.
6) Help with the visits to our local nursing and retirement homes and hospitals.S

Since moving to Virgina in November of 2021 we have had an incredible amount of support from my son, Alex, his wife, Jennifer and her entire family and friends along with my grandchildren.  They have helped with continuing our mission here. We welcome several new volunteers. Julia Wallace and her daughter Savannah, Meredith Holaday and her son Cal.

A SPECIAL “THANK YOU” to my husband. Gregg, with all he did for Step Up Into T.L.C.. When people ask if he was a horse lover, I would smile and tell them I am the horse lover, he loved to build and lucky for me, he loved me. He was a great source of support and inspiration.
Also to my Father who use to love sharing the horses at the nursing facilities with me. He would always tell the residents at the various facilities when we introduce ourselves that I am the best daughter he has ever had. And I jokingly say..”that’s because I am your only daughter.” The residents would all laugh and it helped to get our “feel good” therapy started.
Thankful for all the donations, time and support from Ann Herrington-Publisher/Editor of the Tucson Dog Magazine July/August Issue, Heather Rowe, Carol Smith, Annie Brett, Leann Williams, Linda Allen with L.A. Ranch , Lori Faith, Jimmy at Big Tex Trailers, Tucson Dodge, El Rio Health Center, Kris and Don Hendrix, Scott and Karen Smith and their three children, Anne and Harold Foster, Susan Marshall, Gayla Strong, Ashley Albert, Hailey Albert, Tamera Albert, Kirsten, George Roach, Lisa Rankin, Justine and Tallie Negaard, Sherry Harris Hardy, Darlene Wager, Mary, Cynthia Levfko, Jenny Kendall, Kandie and Drew Vactor, Sylvia, Bryce, Braden and Karli, Post Feed, Doug and Diane Mayhew, Savanah, Melissa and Abigale, Laurie Easley,  Stephanie Hendrickson, Todd and Lisa Roahrig,Debbie Confer, Betty Confer, Debbie Confer and Tucson Medical Centre,  Bruce and Ginny Shaffer, Susie Wilcox and Bank of America,  and David and Betty Confer. Scott Kodysz:photographs   Nicole Zupan: my beautiful daughter and an awesome volunteer, Channel 4 News– 12/2/09 Making a Difference segment

Not what we give,
But what we share,
For the gift
without the giver
Is bare.
~James Russell Lowell
Step Up Into T.L.C. would like to thank all of our volunteers and donors for their precious gift of sharing.

A presentation, photos and pets at the Bear Canyon Library on Tuesday 7/10/12

We were greeted by an eager crowd. Ready to learn about JJ, Dillon and Sir Snickers. After the presentation everyone was asked to line up  so they could come up and pet each of our quiet horses and have photos taken.

I gave the presentation while volunteer Don Hendrix held JJ.
JJ is 8 years old, stands 17.2 hands tall and weighs approx. 1800 lbs
He eats about 50 lbs of food a day (and the children corrected me when I asked if he ate hamburgers?) and drinks about 30 gallons of ….yes- Water a day!

A blessing is: a volunteer who loves sharing smiles!
Diane Rockhill shares Dillon with the children and their families.

Volunteer Sherry Harris Hardy helps with making special moments.
Sharing her love for horses and SIr Snickers!

Just as we were getting ready to load JJ into his trailer a very upset woman asked if her elderly father could meet and pet our “Gentle Giant”. They had missed the presentation at the library and were very disappointed. Volunteer Diane stepped up to the job..parking lot pets and Smiles!

“Hey Snicks, we sure did have a nice time in the city today but there’s no place like home. Race ya back to the barn”

























Smiling on the Inside :)

Dillon our pony and Elliott, Jill Bemis’ therapy dog and friend.

Our surprise visit on Thursday June 27, 2012 brought a lot of smiles on the inside and out. Tucson Medical Center Pediatrics, Square and Compass Children’s Clinic and Peppis House (hospice) always welcomes us with open arms no matter what day or time it is.
Dillon gave his usual saddle rides while Sir Snicker was led by many children who had never walked a horse before.
It felt like a real dog and pony show at the Clinic. Our two boys shared the spot light and attention with a couple of therapy dogs, Elliott and Molly, and believe me there were plenty of smiles to go around.

Peppis House started with a smorgasbord of apples, watermelon, grapes, a special staff and three children. The children were new to feeding and petting horses. Although they were willing to learn and kept feeding after the first couple of treats their little faces showed no emotion. At first I wasn’t sure if they were enjoying themselves but after observing them for a few more moments I believed their actions spoke for them selves. The smiles had to be on the inside—for sure!
In our last room at Peppis House our team George Roach, Sir Snickers, Tonja Mize, Dillon and myself took a step back in time. We heard about a young couple who at the age of 16 and 18 married. Not because they had to but because they wanted to. They were in love. A love that carried them through 63 years. He talked about her life as he stroked her face. He smiled and said I like to talk about my honey, can you tell? He thanked us for bringing in the horses. He said she had horses of her own when she was young. He felt she was very aware of Dillon and Snickers’ presence and although we couldn’t see it, he assured us that she was smiling on the inside:)

Where’s Sir Snickers?



The question rang through the hall at Diamond Children’s Hospital on Monday June 25, 2012.   Buddy stepped up and into Sir Snickers sneakers and with his Darth Vader costume he road the elevator for his first time in search of his Princess Leas’, Luke Skywalkers’ and Smiles.   

Woke up and smiled at Buddy-ah!



Nancie, did you grow up with horses?

Nancie, did you grow up with horses? No, I have always loved them and as a young girl I was fortunate to have the opportunities to go to Pantano Stables with my girlfriends for fun trail rides. But I grew up in the city and the city life I led. After I married and had children we were able to find some property out in Vail, AZ. My daughter wanted a horse. After a few years my little girl grew up and learned to drive and found boys. I was left with the horse which is where all this began. I learned to drive a team of big grey Percherons. After that I was hooked. I fell in love with driving and the draft horse breed. I decided to start a carriage company of my own. In 1997 I purchased a Clydesdale from Anheuser-Busch. Lenny was 5 years old. He was as kind and gentle as he was strong. He pulled the carriage that my husband built for many weddings and pulled our wagon in many of the Tucson Rodeo and Marana Parades. Lenny was truly a “Gentle Giant.”
My girlfriend had lost her teen daughter a few years earlier to cancer. She told me how they lived in the hospitals sometimes weeks, months, and then there was the year with multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. She shared how much of a horse lover her daughter was and if a horse had come to visit her in the hospital while she was there it would of given her some normalcy to her days, a better quality of life and a lot of happy memories for her family to look back on. With that information in mind I called the childlife specialists at both TMC Pediatrics and UMC Pediatrics and told them what I had to offer. They welcomed us with open arms. They knew how animals enrich the lives of others. So in 1998 I began with one saddle, one ladder and one very loving 2000 lb Clydesdale horse named Lenny. (hence his horseshoe in the logo)
Over the years my journey has been amazing. The little and big miracles I have witnessed. My herd has grown to help fit the need of the visits that we make and the visits have grown because of the need. I formed a Non Profit in 2005 because all of my profits brought in from the weddings went back into the gas tank to Travel the Miles to bring Smiles. Over the years I have been blessed with the help of lot of volunteers who are angels in themselves. Supporting the mission of Step Up Into T.L.C. and sharing my horses. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make a difference!

Ribbon to Share

Ribbons to share: Dillon and I came for a special visit. A young teen so excited to see Dillon again. She greeted him with a hug and began grooming him. Talking to him the whole time. She asked me if she could help get him ready for his birthday party that he was going to go to next. She got some scissors and a ribbon of hers and asked if I could braid his tail and use her ribbons…”I know the little birthday girl will love it.”
We worked together, talked about horses and laughed at some of the silly antics that Dillon was doing. She asked me if I liked this place she was staying at. She told me that her Mom said it was a nice place. I assured her that it was. She was getting the best of care from people who cared about her and that she had a nice room with a patio. And best of all they allowed horses and ponies to visit. She smiled and said “your right, it is a nice place.” As we were leaving the hospice unit, she hugged Dillon and told me to tell the birthday girl that she hopes she likes her ribbons.
The first thing the little girls at the birthday party saw were the braids and ribbons in Dillon’s mane and tail. Squeals of OMG- Dillon is just the prettiest pony EVER! I will have to call hospice and let our young teen know just how much her ribbons were enjoyed.

These Sneakers were Made for Walking! December 11, 2008 by Nancie Roahrig

Snickers was on a mission. To accomplish this he had to prepare by taking safety measures onto his own hooves. I was in charge of putting on his new black and white, tie in the front sneakers. After placing them on and checking to see if our two volunteers had the clean up equipment & camera, Snickers was ready to walk his sneakers into University Medical Center and take the elevator to the 6Th floor. The elevator was not his favorite part of the journey but it was a necessity. It was the only way he could see the children and create the smiles.

His first visit was a little 7 month old who had spent her entire life in the hospital. Tubes and lines attached to her little body didn’t stop the RN and her Mom from picking her up and placing her on the back of Snickers. Her first pony ride…A cherished memory for her Mom…Snickers went into all three Pediatric wings and saw over 30 children that day. Riding the elevator several times from the 6th to the 3rd and back down to the 1st floor. He was a trooper! Walking the hallways he would continually throw his hind right shoe. After several attempts of putting it back on we decided, with the advise from Anne, our volunteer to walk him slow, just to be on the safe side. We didn’t want Snickers to go slip sliding away—

Snickers fell asleep at bedsides as he felt the loving hands upon him from the patients and their family members. He saw age groups from infant (more pet therapy for the parents) to 20 year old young adults. He helped them all to forget for just a moment where they were and why they were there. He helped bring smiles and comfort. Conversation and laughter. Healing movements and the gift of a simple touch from a soft nose.

Those sneakers were made for walking and that’s just what they did–that day those sneakers just walked into the hearts of all those who witnessed Snickers and his volunteers in University Medical Center. Mission Accomplished!  P.S. Two hours inside and we never had to use the clean up equipment-whew!