Nikki and horse

Nikki Jorgenson is pictured with a miniature horse that is part of her traveling petting zoo, Snake River Doodles and Friends.

Leap Day only occurs once every four years, and Snake River Doodles & Friends is making sure this Leap Day will be one to remember. 

“Leap Into Life” will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Clarion Inn at 1399 Bench Road in Pocatello. Focusing on literacy and bullying awareness education, the event will feature a multitude of activities, including face painting, hayrides, balloon animals, magic and a free book giveaway.

Approximately 600 free books to be given away were donated by the Idaho State Department of Education, according to Snake River Doodles & Friends owner Nikki Jorgensen. 

Local children’s author Brenda Anderson will also be on hand to sign copies of her books.

In addition, costumed characters from the R.E.A.C.H. program will be on hand to deliver an anti-bullying message. Based out of Tooele, Utah, R.E.A.C.H. — an acronym for “Raising Education Through Arts, Characters and Heroes” — is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of educational programs, including history, literacy, arts and being an everyday superhero, as well as the aforementioned anti-bullying program, which is led by King Arthur. 

While most activities are free, there is a nominal charge for some of the activities, including the face painting booths and hayrides, which will be given by Cocoa, who is “the smallest working therapy horse in the USA,” according to Snake River Doodles & Friends’ website. Tickets for the hayride are $1 for kids and $5 for adults and can be purchased in advance online at Proceeds from the event will go toward funding Snake River Doodles & Friends’ operations, which they provide free of charge.

Snake River Doodles & Friends breeds and raises medical service dogs as well as regularly visits schools, nursing homes and hospitals with 11 different species of animals, according to Jorgensen.

“There is no charge for these services, so we do three or four events a year to help fund our efforts,” Jorgensen said.