My husband and I have made Bainbridge Island home for a number of years after realizing what a special community Bainbridge is. Neighbors helping neighbors with a thriving warmth and spirit unmatched in many communities. We would live nowhere else.
With a desire to be more involved in the community, in addition to a love of rescuing once treasured items in need of a new home, I created a successful vintage shop in downtown Winslow for many years. It was an absolute joy for me to be involved in the community in this way and to have the opportunity to meet even more of our special neighbors, many of whom have become cherished friends through the years.
It was, however, with my life-long love of animals in mind, that I began to dream of helping animals in bigger way and doing so within our wonderful island community.
I wasn’t sure what form this would take, except that I wanted to make a difference and help rescue animals in need. I knew I would need a space to shelter larger animals as those often suffer from neglect and can be difficult to re-home, especially if they have health and behavioral issues.
Synchronicity soon intervened and I learned of a dilapidated farm for sale in desperate need of repair and rebuilding. I saw so much potential in the property and what it could become, but more importantly, it already felt like a sanctuary and I could envision needful animals thriving there. I felt instantly the property needed me as much as I needed it.
We began the long process of repairs and rebuilding the farm, but long before we were ready to even think about opening our doors to animals, synchronicity intervened again, when I learned of a mini-horse, Melody, in need of rescue.
I knew I couldn’t save every horse, and I knew rebuilding the farm would take time, but I also know that in many instances timing is exactly what it needs to be for the situation. While the farm wasn’t ready, Melody needed rescue immediately and we would find a way to make it work.
It was winter and we had only one space that could be temporarily improvised into a stall. It was formerly used to hold firewood and was rotting and decaying.
We welcomed Melody to her little horse home with many
blankets hung to protect her from the winter weather. We knew that had to change and quickly, but
it would have to do for that moment.
Click the picture to enlarge and view in full screen.
I had bigger visions of creating a large barn with multiple stalls to accommodate and shelter many horses, but getting adequate shelter for Melody that winter was the priority and served as motivation to focus and move quickly.
Soon, with our good friend Jeff Henderson and contractor John Bethea’s help, we were able to create a makeshift structure for Melody so she could get through the winter. My love of rescuing vintage items was incorporated, and we included reclaimed window shutters (which actually shutter open-and-closed) into the structure.
Melody, as well as Skip and Jersey the goats were snug and warm the rest of the winter.
Soon we would endeavor to put up another structure from scratch. We had learned many valuable lessons with the first shelter and were determined to make this new one even better, from the structure, to the materials, and right down to the stall floor matting the horses would stand on.
My life changed that cold December day four years ago when I learned of a mini-horse in need of rescue. I had no shelter for her, nor did I even have a horse trailer to get her home, but sometimes, you can’t wait for the circumstances to be right and you have to act in the moment.
Melody was the first of our rescue horses and since then, more have pranced into our sanctuary who include Shorty, Geoffrey, and Bella, in addition to Skip and Jersey the goats. They have all since taught me many valuable lessons along the way and continue to do so.
As our brand new barn with eight additional stalls is near completion, we’ll soon be able to accommodate more horses as needed in the coming months.
I often think back to my life as a happy business owner in the heart of Winslow, and I wouldn’t change one thing about that time. It validated for me my love of this community, and I treasure the valued friendships I have gained along the way and will carry with me as we move forward together.
However, it has always been my love of animals which has been ever-present throughout my life that is now changing my life in other ways beyond my imagination. I wake up every single day thankful I get to help animals in need in some small way.
To add to this, I am now getting to meet even more wonderful people who have reached out to me, as well as many who have begun to visit and to volunteer at the farm individually, and with their families. In many ways, I hope their time at the farm feels like a sanctuary for them as well as the horses. I know it does for me and my hope is that I can share even a piece of that feeling with others.
Happy Hooves Sanctuary will continue to evolve, and I thank you all for sharing this journey with us.