Debra Dranoff donated $50
Wendy Norton donated $10
Wendy Norton became a supporter
Judy Zeidler donated $25
Holly Womack donated $25
kathy boyle donated $25
Stacey Dennis became a supporter
Pamela Groves became a supporter
Glenna Bauer became a supporter
Diane Perrigo became a supporter
Brigitte Klingenberg became a supporter
Joe anne davie became a supporter
Gwyn Padgett became a supporter
Robin Ferguson became a supporter
Elizabeth Broyles became a supporter
Diane McGregor became a supporter
Diana Fowler became a supporter
Paula Lucas became a supporter
Stacey Dennis donated $500
Norton Wendy donated $20
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We are a 501(c)3 public charity. Our mission is to advocate, care, and provide for animals in need of a rescue.
How Rasta's Rescue Ranch Began
During the fall and early winter of 2009, my best friend, C, daughter, Ten (now Twelve), and I committed to a massive undertaking. It is no small task to assume responsibility for the lives of others, for their faults, defeats, and utter failings as human beings. Taking responsibility for the hungry, sick, and suffering in the midst of world-wide economic crisis with tentacles threatening to drown you in the waves of financial uncertainty, is at the very least a brush with insanity, but at the very best a revelation of human soul and decency. It started with Sergeant Pepper, not his band, but a goat named Pepper. The Craig's List ad read something to effect of a northern New Mexico family had decided they wanted to “collect” a different kind of goat; thereby, Pepper needed a new home. My beloved animal advocate, C, found herself aptly appalled. The ad declared Pepper might make a perfect rodeo goat. I suppose if Pepper grew up with a rodeo clown instead of being bottle fed by children, the story might sound somewhat less callous. If Pepper knew the ropes, so to speak, of bolting around an arena evading the pounding hooves of a racing equine and rope-wielding cowboy, perhaps C’s eyes might not have locked on. Fact is though, Pepper knew the inside of a family home, not the rodeo grounds, and literarily grew up in the arms of loving children. Before I knew it, we set to constructing a goat pen. As the saying goes, one thing leads to another. In December, along came Rasta. His owner called him Snowflake. She gave him a light airy name to match his beautiful white coat, as if this summed up his existence. If possible, I’d grant the owner ignorance, but she knew damn well better when she posted the ad seeking a new home for Snowflake. C came across the ad months earlier and attempted starting a dialogue, asking about the situation, needs, and what could be done to help. The owner seemed reluctant to communicate, perhaps aware that she caught the eye of a true animal advocate, which could lead to troubles for her regarding this particular Shetland pony. For months she evaded C’s inquiries, but finally surrendered to C’s persistence. Days before Christmas, Snowflake, re-named Rasta, arrived via a professional equine transporter hired to move him from a distant New Mexico county to our small country property in Santa Fe. As I peeked into the small horse trailer, those huge gorgeous black eyes gazed back into mine. He’d just made a journey of many hours and miles. The transporter had also seen the ad months before and made inquiries about the Shetland in need of a new home. She found the owner reluctant to deal with her as well, perhaps because she primarily transported for equine vets and experience had surely taught her the plight of neglected ponies. “Pathetic conditions,” she reported. “This poor pony.” Not many years into the business of caring for and owning horses, I’d only heard of the condition, not actually seen, or understood the consequences of foundered, particularly a case neglected for years. The transporter guided the Shetland from the trailer. Only our second rescue and we stepped into the worst-case scenario. His four small feet were twisted with hooves well over grown, mangled by unmanaged disease. In our naiveté we felt we could treat him, proper care and love might help heal, then again, in our hearts, C and I knew better. Your human mind wants to rationalize and correct, but you know instinctually something has gone on far too long, you understand the necessity of freedom from pain and suffering. And here you thought I was just writing about some animal rescue in northern New Mexico. Nothing could be further from the truth. I suspect if you’ve read this far you already know this. And if you’ve read our postings in emails, our website, or on our Facebook page, you know what happened here. The next day, after Rasta’s arrival on our small ranch, tragedy struck; tragedy comes without warning, hence the shock of her nature, the circumstances in which she embraces us, like Mother Nature, unpredictable and uncompromising. I delivered Ten to school and returned home with Rudy and Cowboy. Rudy is a German Shepherd, the caretaker of Ten, since she was five. His duty, as I taught him and instinct made him, is to protect his girl, his property, and the tenants of this land. Cowboy is a pit-bull mix rescued from Espanola, New Mexico. I allowed Cowboy to do morning rounds with Ru, but something happened--a tragedy, a blend of fate, a lesson in dignity, kindness, giving, and profound heartbreak. From a daydream slumber, I wondered to the sunroom, something didn’t feel right. Closing in on the exterior room, something didn’t sound right. From a distance came fierce barking. Swinging the door open to the yard, I called to the dogs. I saw Rudy running the fence line to the pens, signaling something wrong in his domain. He knows the rules of this property by nature. I called again louder, then knew something had gone terribly wrong, or as nature might have it, God might have it, if you will, something terribly right. In retrospect, sometimes we can understand tragedy this way, make right of wrongs, correct unforgiving courses, change the world in which we live. That’s the kind of tragedy that morning delivered us, a devastating, heartbreaking, do the right thing for God’s sake kind of tragedy. As painful as it is sometimes the right thing is a challenge to everything we thought, our ideals, wants, needs, denied for something bigger than we imagined as we embraced the notion of bringing home a rescued pony for Christmas. In the wild the weak, injured, and suffering are identified. Cowboy identified Rasta’s plight. We were mortified as we raced to the stalls. Rasta’s injuries were slight, but his fear and desperate need for human intervention profound. C wrapped him in her scarf and jacket and embraced him in her arms. I returned to the house to call Thal Equine Veterinary Hospital. Coincidentally, the best equine vet in Northern New Mexico sits less than a mile from our property. Two vets were on site in short order. They confirmed that Cowboy’s welcoming, though unfriendly, caused no serious harm, but I remember distinctly the statement, “What about his feet?” They affirmed then what we knew, not from experience with foundered horses, or reading up on the subject, but in our hearts. Rasta lived in uncompromising pain, utterly uncorrectable after unimaginable years of neglect. Circumstances led to a necessary decision in less than twenty-four hours. We inherited the responsibility of another owner’s failures, and a heartbreaking choice. C held Rasta a little longer then whispered a loving good-bye. She returned to the house and I checked with the vets one last time, just to be certain. Rasta needed to be free. The gentle hands of caring vets humanely released a princely spirit from a body wrought with injury, from years of, as one described, excruciating pain. We cried for hours, cried for his suffering, the neglect inflicted by humans. Tears inevitably surrendered to duty, a responsibility we assumed on behalf of a handsome boy. He wore a beautiful white coat and a Rastafarian mane. He truly looked and behaved as a prince, handsome and brave. That evening I walked down to the horses alone. I apologized to them for the tragedy they witnessed. Though not indifferent to the occurrences of that morning, they seemed oddly distracted. I entered the barn to gather hay and grain then heard the pounding of small hooves. I glanced outside. Scarlet and Dancer, our two horses waited simply for their food, along with Sergeant Pepper and his companion goat Moon. I returned to the bales. A rushing sound went by like a pocket of wind. I turned catching a glimpse of white, too big to be a rabbit. I thought Sgt. Pepper might have escaped his pen. No, he stood waiting, as before. Again hooves pranced by with another flash of white soaring happily. Dare I say, Rasta embraced his freedom. His spirit celebrated his release and he made certain that I heard and saw him, so C, Ten, and I would know, although we felt our hearts broken, he found his wings. In conversations that followed and tears that still swelled, in honor of a handsome prince destined to enter our lives Rasta’s Rescue Ranch, once an idea discussed, took flight.
Our Rescues: From Horses to Pit Bulls
Chloe, a blind pinto pony, came to us in December of 2009, shortly after the loss of Rasta. She was owned by a little girl, who once barrel raced her and even won second place. As Chloe lost her sight the little girl lost interest. Her father took Chloe to an auction in search of a new home. While there he was approached by a Kill-Broker for a slaughterhouse in Mexico. Although, his daughter wanted nothing to do with a blind pony, he could not justify such a horrendous destiny for a horse. In late December he found Rasta's and asked us to take her.
Chloe is now a permanent resident of the ranch. Pictures of Chloe and all our rescues are available on our website at www.rastasrescueranch.com
In January of 2010, as we worked to get our 501 paperwork underway, Savannah and Pirate arrived. Savannah is a beautiful buckskin mare, who suffered not only from neglect, but serious malnutrition. Her mane and coat were coated with mud and her ribs highly visible. The first day she was with us, the girls took the time to cut out knots in her mane and tail, to brush and clean the mud from her fur, and then we set her free in the arena. She ran like she hadn't run in years. Chances are she hadn't. Since her arrival we've found she has a bad hip, probably from being tucked into a small pen for years. Given her age, she should still have been a ridable horse, but unfortunately, she was forgotten along the way.
Pirate on the otherhand was not altogether forgotten, but instead abused. He is the shiest stallion I've ever known, afraid of almost everyone, except 12, my guess is that is because she is small. I say almost though, because in the two years since we've had him, he's begun to understand no one here at the ranch intends him harm. He recently came out of his shell for our horse trainer Jan, and really opened his heart of a volunteer, Jamie. Like Savanna, Pi arrived serverly malnourished, but also scarred, including the loss of an eye, likely shot out with a BB gun.
By the end of January 2010, we were fully invested in developing the ranch as a rescue for animals in desperate need, but our work had really started long before then.
Scarlet, our beautiful paint, and Dancer, a guelding, are rescues in their own right and long before C and I met she was an advocate for and rescuer of pit bulls. One of her earliest was Bucky Marie, spared the fate of a baitdog in a Los Angeles dog fighting ring. Today we care for 5 horses, 3 goats, 1 sheep, and six dogs, and everyone is a rescue except for Rudy, the German Shepherd who watches over everyone.
Our mission though does not stop with those on the ranch, but is a constant effort to better the world from our little corner of it.
For more stories please visit our blog at www.rastasrescueranch.blogspot.com
You probably won't hear about us in the news, actually we prefer it that way, but in our small way on a little L shaped plot of land off the Historic Turquoise Trail that runs through Santa Fe, New Mexico we are making a difference in the lives of animals and people. The difference is negligible given the worldwide crises and chaos, but in the lives of a few it is immeasurable.
We have a rescued pit mix named Bella. I call her Bell-Bell. At not even one year of age, Bell has lost two homes, one due to a family downsizing and another due to breed discrimination. The second family to lose Bell was heartbroken and Bell herself was awfully devastated. There's no way of explaining to a dog why things have gone wrong for them, but there are ways of making it right. Her second family didn't want to turn her into a shelter, because, fact is, shelters are overrun with pit bulls and mixes and Bell already suffers from separation anxiety. Given that, she probably would not pass an adoptability test. There was really no place for Bell to go, except a rescue.
She’s a sweet girl deserving of a good home. We are providing that at Rasta’s until her perfect human companion finds her. We also accept the fact that maybe we’re it, just in case he/she doesn’t catch up. A simple Google search will provide all the information one needs to know about the fate of so many pit bulls in America. At Rasta’s and rescues across the country, we all know we can do better than those results. So part of our mission is advocating way beyond New Mexico state lines. Advocacy though takes time and energy, often borrowed from the time and energy required to make money, but things have to change. That’s really why we say every dollar makes a difference on a rescue ranch.
We have largely self-funded the operation since we started it, it is our responsibility because we took it on, but help from donors makes such a huge difference and really enables us to do more.
We have a vision, but know we can’t do it alone, know that we need help, because the ultimate goal is to change the world, end the life and death decisions occurring in shelters every day, stop the slaughter of PMU mares from America in Mexico and Canada, end the endless breeding and abuse of “man’s best friend,” save the “Nanny Dog” from destruction via the dog fighting network plaguing this country and a once cherished breed. There’s so much to be done. And really for those who might want to argue what about the adults and children suffering, well, we make a difference there too. Animals change the lives of humans everyday. I know because I grew up with them.
As I sit here writing this the clock is ticking on thousands of dogs, another horse owner is preparing to take a horse to auction not knowing they might sell it to a Kill-Broker, another animal is being neglected and or abused, and another family is losing their home and surrendering a pet at the local shelter; they have hopes the shelter will do their best, but the system is overwhelmed, though not admitting how bad it is. And while I’m at it, some jerk probably just dumped a mamma dog and her puppies on a back road in New Mexico.
We can do better and we can do more.
During June and July of 2011, Rasta's Rescue Ranch had the pleasure of participating in the rescue of Red a pit bull from California who spent the first 5 to 6 years of his life on a chain. He was surrendered at a shelter with an embedded collar. Red had a number of supporters who help him get to Santa Fe, NM. where he lived with his foster mom Kate until finding his forever home.
I've included Red's donations in the overall total for 2011, because Rasta's is dedicated to helping more dogs like Red and our overall budget should include those unexpected, but necessary rescues.
Rescue A Mare, Save a Foal
This is an ongoing project here at Rasta's. We are working towards rescueing a PMU mare in the spring of 2012. The fund was started by Lilli. If you would like to know more about it, please read Lilli's post at our blog page: rastasrescueranch.blogspot.com
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