He was beautiful, had a kind, intelligent eye and was a stunning dappled gray. This gorgeous animal was only six years old and was sound of body and mind. He was at the auction house to be auctioned off, and because of his size and physique- was extremely interesting to the kill buyers.
What is a kill buyer you ask? A kill buyer purchases horses from auction houses, based on what they think they can get for the horses hanging weight. The horses are purchased for pennies on the dollar and packed dangerously into trucks and they are sent to slaughter. Horses in the United States ship to either Canada, Mexico and Asia for their meat. Unfortunately, this story is quite common. There are more than 200,000 unwanted horses in the U.S. that get into the slaughter pipeline each year.
This magnificent horse was rescued by another organization (now defunct) that rehabilitated him. My husband and I applied for adoption. His name was Sterling. Knowing that horses are herd animals, naturally he needed a buddy- and there was this other horse that caught our eye...So, we adopted them both.
Trooper, a beautiful bay ex-racehorse was only 8 years old. Many people don't realize that most ex-racehorses end up at auction and then off to slaughter. Very few are given a second career. This horse was special. He did retire from racing, had a second career. However, this second career was even more brutal than racing. He was used as a Mexican Tripping Horse, a barbaric practice where a running horse is tripped using ropes for the entertainment of the crowd.
Naturally, this guy had not only physical damage, but he was injured psychologically as well. Time, patience, and constant re-affirmation finally allowed this horse to put his shattered pieces back together. He is now a spunky, full of himself, well-adjusted "happy and healthy" horse.
We brought Sterling and Trooper to our little farm, where they enjoyed being loved and pampered. The rescue agency contacted us several weeks later about two baby nubian goats that desperately needed a home, or they would be destroyed. A goat dairy had been shut down by the government due to over breeding and diseases that ran rampant throughout.
Naturally, we didn't ask any questions, we knew that these poor little babies needed a home. When we picked them up they were very sick. We quarantined them and when they were a bit more stable, we began antibiotic injections, IV's and deworming. That was four years ago. We are happy to say even though it was touch-and-go at times, we nursed them to good health. Bonnie and Clyde are now healthy, happy goats. Clyde is the first to greet you when you arrive at the farm, he is so big - he towers over our miniature horse Little Man.
However, we kept getting calls from folks that heard of animals that were in dire situations where they had been altogether abandoned or their owners had circumstances that forced them to relinquish them.
We kept opening our arms and gathering these lost souls into our little farm. Soon, there were numerous mouths to feed and we had plenty of critters to love on.
What became a small movement, has now had morphed into something far greater than we ever expected. People began to visit the animals, asking if they could help at the farm--feeding, petting and caring for these creatures. We realized that this was going from a small menagerie to a full-fledged sanctuary. We did our due diligence and learned how to start a nonprofit.
About two years into caring for this collection of animals, we had a rescue dog that came to us. We immediately deemed her the "sweetest dog ever”. She is a black lab/pit bull mix, that loves everyone. She named herself through her demeanor and actions, “Sweetie." She is adored and loved by everyone she meets.
Black dogs (and cats) are notoriously the hardest animals to adopt out due to unfounded superstitions about their color. Sweetie also had a second strike against her, she is a pit bull mix. Breed discrimination is real, people base their perceptions upon what the news media portrays and sensationalizes.
Every dog has the potential to bite, and can and will if given the proper set of circumstances. Pit bulls were known as the nanny dog up until the about ninety years ago because of their love and loyalty to families and children.
We realized that Sweetie was very special, that we believe her to be the perfect example and embodiment of a rescue animal. She was and is the mascot for the farm. At the time we officially made plans to become a Farm Sanctuary, we decided to pay homage to her and her spirit by naming our hearts’ endeavor, Black Dawg Farm and Sanctuary..
We quickly outgrew our other facility and realized that we needed to relocate and find somewhere that the Sanctuary could grow. This sanctuary was no longer about us (Tom and Kelly), it was about the animals and their needs for a larger, better functioning farm. In 2018 we relocated to an amazing location in Rainier Washington.
Because we have much more room for the animals, naturally more came here to live with us. We have an indoor riding arena for equestrian opportunities and other functions. We are growing, and there are so many ways we are of service to our community.
We hope you'll come visit the animals, see what we are doing to help them, and who knows, maybe it will inspire you to volunteer, learn and pass it on to others.
Sadly, Sterling passed away August of 2018 due to complications of an injury while playing in the field and we lost Clyde in early 2020. We miss them both, but their spirit and gratitude live on here forever.
Black Dawg Farm And Sanctuary
Black Dawg Farm And Sanctuary 12020 123rd Ave SE Rainier, WA 98576us
Global federation of animal sanctuaries Accredited | WA State Combined Fund Drive #1482697 | EIN#47-5488900 | SOS CHarity #2002336
COPYRIGHT © 2020 BLACK DAWG FARM AND SANCTUARY - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.