Archive for October, 2009


Saaba’s Rescue Story

Saaba was rescued by Merced County Animal Control (MCAC) in February of 2007. She was very emaciated, pregnant and still nursing her starving foal. She had watched her fellow friends and the sire of her foals slowly starve to death one by one. Their owner had no pity for them and could care less that his horses were suffering and slowly starving to death. Saaba was trying to be strong, her foal needed her and she was pregnant with another. It was all so hard on her, her unborn foal taking everything it could to stay alive and on the outside world her starving foal trying to get all that he could get to stay alive as well. She was so weak that she often had to lay down to rest and try to regain some strength. Then, one time she tried to get up and she found that her body was too weak to do so. As she laid there she knew that her time was coming near. She had seen the same thing happen to her fellow friends and no one came to help them, they laid down, suffered and died; now it was her time.

She watched her poor skinny foal and wondered if the same thing would happen to him, but help was on the way. Concerned people had reported them to Animal Control and they went out to investigate. MCAC staff were horried at Saaba and her colts, along with the other few survivng horses, condition. They helped Saaba to her feet and then took them all to safety. Saaba finally started getting the feed and medical treatment she and her foal so badly needed.

Saaba was placed in a pen by herself near her foal. She started regaining her strength and slowly gained her weight back. The other surviving horses that were impounded with Saaba regained their weight easily, but Saaba would take a lot of TLC to get her up to weight through pregnancy, birth and nursing. We were notified that there were horses at MCAC and we contacted MCAC and told them that we would be willing to take the horses if they would be interested in placing them in a horse rescue. After checking us out, they called us back and said that they would be very happy if we could take Saaba and her foal into our rescue.

We made the long trip to pick them up and bring them to the rescue. She was still very thin but they had done a great job at rehab. One thing that really helped out is they had weaned her colt so she no longer had to nurse.

Saaba was skinny and ribby, but she had a big belly so we agreed with MCAC’s assessment that she very likely was pregnant.

Saaba had a very beautiful colt named Lexen. He recovered from his brush with death very well.

She had been here for only 1 1/2 months when the following picture was taken. Saaba was gaining her weight back very well. She had a lot more energy, we loved watching her prancing around. During feeding time she would always get so happy. It’s hard to think that she was only hours away from dying.

Lexen, her 10 month old foal, was adopted into a wonderful home. Saaba was sad to see him go, but she has been rejoined with two of her surviving pasture mates who MCAC when Saaba was seized. He was filled out and quite a beautiful boy.

Around this time Saaba was running around a lot, and her big baby belly seemed to be disappearing. We took her to our vet for yet another examination and an ultrasound, and the ultrasound showed that she was not pregnant. Most likely one of the times when she was turned out into the 20 acre pasture she had miscarried.

She was definitely feeling happy and carefree. She would gallop around the rescue in the large pens, tail up, head up, with the wind blowing between her ears. She was only hours away from starving to death, but thanks to concerned individuals who were brave enough to report her, she is alive and well.

Saaba was adopted with one of her friends that was seized by MCAC. Her adopter fell in love with them and they went to a wonderful loving home.

Saaba’s colt is also doing great. He is now in training, he is getting to know what all the ground work is all about.

Please, if you ever see a horse, or any animal, you believe needs help, do not hesitate to call Animal Control. Saaba needed someone to make the call, someone did, and today she is alive thanks to that brave person. Many times you have to call multiple times, but in the end, it is well worth it.

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As all of you know, Jason and Tawnee went to the Humane Society of the United States workshop for Disaster Animal Response Training (DART) followed by an Adoption Options workshop hosted by Petfinder. Jason and Tawnee are excited about their new knowledge, and one of the ways they are implementing some new ideas is an updated volunteer program. Tawnee worked hard on the volunteer page today and it is up and going. You can visit it by clicking here. We have a volunteer hotline number you can call so we can add you to the database. Read the Volunteer Opportunities web page to find out how. There are many ways to help, read on…

One of the new programs Jason and Tawnee are excited about is the Equine Transporting volunteers. We welcome people to sign up from all over the country to be volunteers. When Jason and Tawnee were in Nebraska, trailers were hard to come by, it would have been wonderful to have some people available. HSUS did a good job of pulling trailers together, but a list of people ready and willing would have made the process a lot easier. We know that a large number of you reading this are horse people, and most of you have trucks and trailers. Don’t let this opportunity pass, you need to be in our database!

Another volunteer program is grant writing. Grants are really a key aspect of nonprofit funding, but as of yet we have not even began to fully tap this area of funding. If you have experience in researching and writing grants, we need you! Call the hotline today.
Special events, such as the skating party we had earlier this year, are a lot of fun and can bring some much needed donations to the rescue. From time to time we host special events and your help would be greatly appreciated. From setting up tables, to helping kids enjoy the day, there is usually something for everyone. This is a great way for those that want to help raise funds for NorCal, as volunteers are not allowed to accept cash donations without a NER staff member present, to help.

The Emergency Animal Rescuing volunteer program is for those that are serious about getting their hands dirty during times of crisis. We are hoping to get a large team of local volunteers who are dedicated to getting the education and experience necessary to make an effective team that can operate during times of disaster.

At the rescue we have volunteer opportunities available too. Especially if you are part of a group such as 4H, FFA, Boyscouts, etc, that would like to come out from time to time, we could use your help.

As you can tell, it’s been a day at the computer. We now have our other fundraisers for November up and going. Our goal this month for the auction rescue is to save about 5 or so horses with a goal of $1,000. Thanks to Pam S., we already have $250 in this fund!

Since Nov of 2008 we have offered monthly free euthanasia clinics for 15 horses. This month, we have changed the free clinic to 7 horses for owners who simply cannot afford to have their beloved pet euthanized, with a total fund of $850, and then unlimited horses with a low cost charge of $150 to give them the last gift of love. Pam S. also donated $250 towards this month’s euthanasia clinic, making the remainder only $625. If you believe that we should continue to make the free euthanasia clinic available to 15 horses a month, and are willing to donate towards that goal, please let us know!

The low cost gelding program received some more donations today. Thank you all so much, it’s been amazing watching the thermometer go up! It is now at $1,520, it just keeps climbing thanks to you.

Many thanks to anonymous, Lari K., Jennifer H., and Nancy B. for their generous donations today! We really appreciate it, and we know the horses do too. Thanks for reading through the blog, we know it wasn’t very exciting, but it was definitly one of those “I didn’t start a horse rescue to get stuck behind a desk” days.

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Thank you all for your donations, the gelding program is currently at $1,060. We now have funds to geld right about 8 stallions. 8 out of the goal of 40. You all are starting to make a significant dent in the goal, thank you again!

Despite the cold, biting wind, faithful Linda was out working with the horses, passing out treats and making sure each and every horse feels loved. Here she is with Travis. Travis finally got his pre-adoption exam scheduled for Monday, so hopefully he will be going home soon.

With the cold, windy weather, it made the young horses feel frisky and full of life. Ronan and Mo enjoyed visiting each other over the panels, but they were also riling each other up.

Then Ronan would take off running as fast as he could, thankful to be a horse and feeling the wind in his mane. He is so lucky to be alive, he was born in Canada as a PMU baby, then he made his way to us and is looking for a forever home.

Jason visited the horses in Gridley this afternoon. They are all doing fine and are happy and healthy. Today Sadey and Tilly came back to the rescue so they can find their forever home. Tilly was contentedly munching hay when Jason pulled up.

The little youngsters out there sure are fun and full of life. Ethan just couldn’t get close enough to say “Hi!” He sure is adorable.

Ethan, Emily and Emma love spending time together. They all look so similar it is really hard to tell them apart. Once they come back to the rescue, and we get to know them on a more personal level, it should become easier.

Jason got back right about dark time. With the sun setting earlier and earlier, there never seems to be enough daylight to get everything done before night falls.

It is so wonderful to have the rehab of Tilly over. She is fat and sassy and ready for a new home.

Tilly and Sadie settled in quickly and seemed to remember that they have been here before. If you would like to read their rescue story, click here and scroll down until you see the Sheriff cars.

Many of you may have remembered when we talked about a TV special about the Mustangs. Today Tawnee found it online and says that everyone should see it. It interviews Madeline Pickens and Wayne Pacelle along with some wonderful investigative reporting. It is the best show that we have ever seen about the Mustang roundups. It is highly recommended that you take the time to watch it. Click here or click the picture below. Once you have opened their page, on the left corner you will see where it says “Video Gallery.” There are different segments, click on each one to play it. There are also little numbers above the segments, in all there are 6 segments and some web extras. Don’t waste your time on Segment 2, it is pretty much a condensed version of segment 1, go from 1 to 3.

We would like to thank all of our donors, but in a special way thank you Pam S for your extremely generous donation today! Peggy L., Susan W. Jackie W., Gayle O., all donated today to help the rescued horses and to the gelding program. Thank you each and every one so much.

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Thanks to your generosity, the gelding program is at $690. Some folks who sent in a $10 donation wish they could send more. With the matching grant, that $10 became $20! It’s always fun doing a fundraiser when there is a matching grant and watching the money grow twice as fast.

This morning we got a call from some people who have been struggling to keep their horses. They were going to surrender their horses a few months ago, but they thought they could manage to keep them. Today they realized they could no longer afford to keep their beloved pets. One of their horses came up lame and they had no money for medical attention for the horse. After the morning chores were done Jason and Tawnee headed out with the truck and trailer.

The problem was, their road was very small and there was no way we could make it in with the big trailer. We called up our good friends, Jim and Donna, at Home at Last to see if we could use their trailer. They hooked up their truck and said it would be easier just to hop in their truck and go get the horses. It sure makes it hard, not having a small trailer, the axle breaking sure was unexpected.

The road to the horses got smaller…

…and smaller…

…and smaller yet! Jason and Tawnee were so glad they had not taken the big stock trailer down the driveway.

When Jason and Tawnee pulled up by their house, the owner said “Take the first right and take a lot of luck with you!” The turn around area was very tight, there was literally only 6 inches on each side of the truck and trailer.

The reason we went was waiting patiently for us. Two very beautiful, well fed and very greatly loved Mustang’s were more than happy to greet us.

The owners tied up their horses and said “Goodbye” to them. It was really hard watching them say goodbye to their baby’s, they have had them for a long time. This economy is so hard in so many ways.

Rosey loaded up first. She is a Mustang in her teens. She seems very sweet and loving. They told us they would let the grandkids ride around on her. The other horse, Spirit, loaded up as well once Rosey (seen below) was in the trailer. Spirit has a sore foot so we will be evaluating it to see what can be done for him.

Then it was back to Home at Last.

Spirit came out first, he sure is sore. We are really hoping that he just has a foot abscess and that everything will be ok in the end.

Once both the horses were loaded into the big trailer, Jason and Tawnee hit the road and headed back to the rescue.

When they got back to the rescue, Tawnee’s first words were “Oh no!” The canopy over the swing was just, simply, gone. It was there when they had left, but it was gone when they got back!

It made its way about 100′ up the hill. Apparently it got extremely windy this afternoon. This canopy has amazed us on how well it has done during windy conditions. Guess today was its day to go. It did a good job protecting from the summer heat, don’t worry, if you are planning on visiting the rescue next summer, we’ll have it (or another one) up to provide shade.

Rosey took her first look out the door at the rescue.

She is a really beautiful girl. We decided to let them stay the night in the round pen as it would be the softest place for Spirit.

Next it was Spirits turn to unload.

Spirit’s hooves are also long, so we are hoping a good trim and time to let the abscess heal is all the doctor will recommend.

We would like to thank you for your generous support of the general operating funds that allow us to help horses like Rosey and Spirit. Without your continued support, we would have had to tell them “No, sorry, we don’t have the funds to bring them in.” Your donation makes a difference in hundreds of horses lives every years, lives just like Rosey and Spirit. Thank you in a special way to Carla G., Jean S., Gail G., Kathy M., Sigrid V., Jen S., Sue K., and someone donated while the blog was being written: Caroline R. donated $100 for the gelding program, which is doubled to $200 with the matching grant! Now the gelding program is at $890. Thank you all so much!

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Jason, Tawnee and Larry traveled back to the Oroville area today. Volunteers fed and cared for the horses, but didn’t manage to take any pictures. The long drive gave time to ponder on some very important things.

One of which is the upcoming gelding clinic. This is one of our most important programs, it has potential to keep thousands of horses out of the slaughter pipeline. We want to dedicate the rest of this blog as to why this program is so important.

We have received a lot of questions as to why we believe it is important to have a gelding clinic. We’ve heard so many times: “If the owner can’t afford to geld the horse, why do they even have a horse?” This is true, in a perfect world. Just like the dogs at puppy mills, where mobile spay/neuter clinics come and offer to spay and neuter. It’s for the animals, not for the people. The concept of low cost, or free, spay and neuter is a lot easier of a concept when it is related to the cat and dog world. We hope to help change that perception and make low cost gelding available to horse owners as well! This is a hard perspective for many horse owners, to put gelding in the same light as spay/neuter for cats and dogs. Professionals agree, it is just as important.
theHorse in May did an article on castration clinics for horses. Their article leads by saying: “Equine groups across the country are attempting to reduce the number of unwanted horses at the source, through subsidized castration clinics aimed to reduce the number of foals hitting the ground.” Click here to read the rest of the article. There are a lot of organizations out there that would like to offer gelding assistance programs, but the reality is, most horse people do not understand why they should support such programs.

Here is some of our experiences on why gelding clinics / programs are so necessary.
We see this scenario time after time at auctions. Someone gets a young colt. They think he is just adorable and would be a great pet for the kids. After a year or two, he starts showing stallion like behavior, which scares the family. He tries to mount their old mare and he is breaking down the fence to get to the neighbours horses. Not knowing what to do with him, they stick him in a small panel pen, and there he lives for a year or two. He has too many behavior issues, they are scared of him, and do not want to spend more money on an animal they cannot even pet. After awhile, they start trying to find a home for him, desperate for a solution. No one wants a stallion. One evening, the husband is at the bar with his friends, and makes up what he believes will be a great offer that will at least pay for the stallions food for a bit. One of his friends has a mare he wants to breed, and will pay the stallion owner $100 to breed his mare. The stallion owner is more than happy to get $100 out of the deal. The friend brings his mare over and another horse enters the world. It turns out the mare has a colt and the cycle starts all over again…
Frustrated, and not knowing what to do, they take the stallion to an auction. That is the only place that will take it. In the auction ring no one bids on him. The price drops very low. There is a rescue group there, but they are afraid to bid on him because they know they will not be able to find him a home with his behavior and they do not have the funds to geld him either. Soon the man with a huge out of state trailer buys him for just a few dollars. He sizes up the horse and knows he can make a few dollars off it. After the auction, he loads it up with all the other horses in the trailer, along with another stallion he purchased that day. As he pulls away from the auction, you can hear the fighting in the trailer, both stallions trying to claim and protect the mares. By the time the trailer stops, there will no doubt be blood all over. The man unloads the horses into a feedlot, to fatten them up and hold them until they are shipped to slaughter. At the feedlot there is already a stallion that is more than willing to defend his turf against the newcomers. The two new stallions and the stallion that was already there, spend most of their time fighting, injuring themselves and others, until they are crammed into yet a bigger trailer, where the fighting continues over the border to the slaughter house. If the stallions would have been gelded when they were a colt, and the people educated on how to properly care and train a young horse, he most likely would have never ended up in the slaughter pipeline.
Stallions on the whole are separated from other horses until breeding season when they are allowed to cover mares by breeders. In this poor stallions case, his neglectful owner did not want him to be with the mares, so he was locked in a 6×8 stall where he could barely turn around. He lived in horrible conditions for months at a time. If he had been a gelding, he would have lived out with the other horses and his quality of life would have been so much better. After he entered our rescue program, he was gelded and is now living in a lifetime sanctuary with other horses.

These are just a few scenarios of what we have come in contact with over the years. A gelding has a far better quality of life than a stallion does. A gelding is far less likely to end up in the slaughter pipeline than a stallion. A gelding cannot produce unwanted horses that will end up in the slaughter pipeline, a stallion can potentially produce thousands of horses. Just a simple procedure can result in saving thousands of horses the brutal trip to slaughter. Please help us make this years goal of 40 stallions gelded a success! Click here. Last year, 20 stallions made their way to the clinic and left as geldings. This year, driving past their homes, it is nice to see that the mares are not pregnant. We can make the goal with your support, we still have a lot of funds in the matching grant. Your donation will be automatically doubled! Please help us help the horses.

Thank you for your support, both financially and emotionally. Constance W. and Scott C both donated to further our rescue efforts today, thank you so much!

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Today was a pretty normal day at the rescue for a Sunday. A lot of visitors came to the rescue to see the horses and spend time with them.

Linda showed horses to potential adopters. April and other volunteers worked at the rescue as well, feeding, cleaning, showing horses, etc.

Lots of people visited the rescue. This little girl sure looks happy to be spending some time with Hershy.

The horses always love Sunday’s when visitors come out to spend time with them. They enjoy having the staff and regular volunteers spend time with them, but they also enjoy having new faces to visit.

Where were Jason, Tawnee and Larry today? They had piled into the big white van and headed to Fresno.

Today was an Adoption Options workshop sponsored by Petfinder and Petco Foundation. Jason and Tawnee were able to go attend the workshop in Reno last year, but every workshop is different with a lot of new information.

The workshop was in a beautiful venue. About 100 people attended the workshop.

The speakers were very motivational. The topics were varied and in depth. During the introductions Jason received a round of applause when he announced this years gelding clinic. Spray/neuter clinics are second nature to cat and dog rescues, but is definitely a fairly new concept for horse rescues. All of the speakers were very good, and the closing monologue brought people to tears.

Many thanks to Gail G., Donna A., and Sara H. for their generous donations. We greatly appreciate it!

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Phoenix’s Rescue Story

Phoenix was rescued May 5th, 2009. It all started when a woman named Diane was driving down a road in central California. A horse caught her eye. It was standing in a field, all alone. He was very skinny and didn’t look healthy in the least. She turned the car around for a closer look. She almost didn’t, but something inside her head told her she needed to investigate. She is an amature photographer, so she took pictures and posted them on her blog and put a link on another major horse blog, hoping to get help for this horse. One of our volunteers saw the pictures and forwarded them to us at the office.

We contacted a local veterinarian office, Taylor Vet, to help rescue this poor boy. Animal Control refused to seize him, stating “The horse was a very old horse, there was food for him on the property in the form of some green grass, and that he has been improving in weight and health, other than his hair seems to be falling out.” Upon evaluation he is only about 14 years old!

The owner agreed to sign Phoenix over to us. Taylor Vet led him gently to a waiting trailer.

He was hungry, and showed some interest in food.

Poor Phoenix, he was simply as emaciated as a horse can get without dying. His hair was falling out due to malnutrition the vet said.

He had a soft, kind spirit and the vet could not believe that someone would allow their horse to get in this condition.

They determined that he was just barely strong enough to make the short trip to the vet hospital. He could hardly lift his legs into the trailer, but with some time he managed.

Once in the trailer he was given another quick examination to make sure he could make the trip.

Phoenix has been at a vet hospital from when he was rescued in early May 2009 until late October 2009. He was first at Taylor Vet, and once he was strong enough to travel, Look Ahead Vet. He had a rough start to his recovery, he had severe diarrhea and other complications due to his starvation. He had to have a lot of medical attention including a plasma transfustion. Now, Phoenix is recovered and doing extremely well.

Phoenix has been given a lifetime sponsorship by a very generous donor so he will be living his life out at the rescue. He has a friend named Napoleon and they share a home together.

It is hard to believe that about 5 months ago Phoenix was at the point of death by starvation. He looks like a completely different horse now.

We are so glad that Phoenix was given a 2nd chance at life. We know he is glad too!

To watch a video about Phoenix’s journey to life, click the play button below or click here to watch it on Youtube.

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