(Originally appeared in the Pensacola News journal, January 23, 2016)
A new year has begun and with it comes a sense of fresh beginnings and renewed hopes. It is a time to set goals and work toward becoming a better “you.” A great way to accomplish this is through volunteer work.
English author John Bunyan wrote “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” I have experienced the truthfulness of those words through volunteering to help the abused and neglected. The “someone” for me is not human though, but rather equine. They are the horses of Panhandle Equine Rescue Inc.
In our 11th year, PER is still working hard fulfilling our mission which is to rescue, rehabilitate and provide adoption services for abused, neglected and abandoned equines. We are a 501(C)3 organization and verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. We have a dedicated board of directors and a core group of hardworking volunteers but we need more community involvement to continue in our mission.
We currently have 23 horses in foster care and desperately need adoptive homes for them. These horses deserve loving, forever homes especially given the abuse and neglect they have had to endure. Many of our horses are not ridable due to medical and/or abuse issues. This does not make them less deserving of a home or family, in fact I think just the opposite. We have several strong, sound horses who can be ridden with the proper training and patience.
If you cannot adopt, perhaps fostering would be a better fit. PER reimburses for 100 percent of expenses and you provide the pasture, shelter, safe fencing and TLC. We desperately need foster homes as we are full at our facility and cannot take in critical-care equine when that call comes in due to lack of space.
If you cannot foster, then sponsor. For as little as $15 a month, you can sponsor any of our foster horses. Every three months you will receive a letter and pictures from your horse filling you in on all their adventures.
If you can’t sponsor, then volunteer. No matter your interest or ability, we need your help in the following ways; Horse training, horse grooming, stall cleaning, barn maintenance, errands, public relations and fundraising.
If you can’t volunteer then donate. As I stated earlier, we have 23 equine in foster care and we pay for all of their needs. When we take in a critical care equine, the bills can add up into the thousands depending on the medical issues. We rely on the generosity of people who share in our feelings that every animal deserves to be treated with kindness and dignity and to live free of abuse and neglect.
If you can’t donate then educate, network and cross post. Please follow and share our Facebook page and visit our website, http://www.panhandleequinerescue.org for more information. Remember to always report abuse or neglect by calling (850) 587-3565.
Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”
These words, although simple, have such a deep and powerful meaning. Please join our team of volunteers and let’s see how much we can accomplish together!
— the author of this article, Nancy Way, is treasurer for Panhandle Equine Rescue.