Saving Graces

Three Local Animal Rescue Stories

Photos by Dante Fontana

(page 1 of 4)

Ask anyone who has rescued an animal from a bad situation or adopted an animal from a shelter, and they will tell you that there is something special about their pet. Animals that are rescued almost seem to know they have been given a second chance.

In a bad economy, people have to make hard decisions when it comes to their pets. When they are out of work, become ill, or for some other reason can’t take care of their animals, the kindest thing to do is turn them over to a rescue organization to find them a new home.

There are numerous no-kill shelters in the area where relinquished animals can live, either in the facility or in foster homes, until they are adopted. These are generally non-profit, volunteer-run organizations where caring people donate time and money to help the cause. In most cases, these organizations are continually in need of more foster homes, volunteers, funds and in-kind donations.

Of course, adopting an animal is a wonderful way to help the cause. This creates an opening for another animal in need, and the adoption fees paid go toward spaying/neutering, veterinary care, food and other costs associated with taking care of the animals. Here we give you the saving-grace stories of three compassionate individuals who adopted from area animal rescue leagues.

HAVANNAH

In the spring of 2010, The Grace Foundation of Northern California, a horse rescue organization, contacted Malinda Kregoski, owner and horse trainer at Equine Unlimited, Inc., and invited her to participate in a special program called The HELP Rescue Me Trainers Showcase. Kregoski and 31 other trainers took in a total of 50 horses from The Grace Foundation, trained them for 70 days, and then showed off their accomplishments during the Showcase that June.

Kregoski accepted two horses through the challenge and won her category on a four-year-old quarter horse named Havannah. She was given the opportunity to adopt her after the challenge, which she happily did. Havannah is now a valued part of Kregoski’s lesson and summer camp programs, helping children learn how to ride and giving pony rides at birthday parties. The other horse Kregoski trained for the challenge, Cammy, went on to be adopted by another person.

“Havannah had pretty good ground manners when I got her, but that was all,” Kregoski recounts. “I taught her to walk, trot and canter with someone riding her, and I taught her to jump. By the end of my two months with her, she would walk through water and tolerate me standing up on her back while holding an American flag. It was an amazing transformation, and she has really adapted well into our lesson program, which is exceptional for any horse this age. There are some really quality horses up for adoption.”

The purpose of The HELP Rescue Me Trainers Showcase is to raise awareness of rescue horses, showing that there are some very nice horses available. Some have come from abuse or neglect, some have come from the Bureau of Land Management wild horse roundups, and others were simply turned over because the owners faced financial difficulty and could no longer care for them. The horses in the program are more adoptable because they are trained and therefore more desirable.

“I got sponsorships from Purina, Lees’ Feed, Elk Grove Milling, and my farrier, Jasiaha Opsted, so that really helped,” Kregoski explains. “Everyone thought it was a great benefit and pitched in. I donated my time after work to do the training. I accepted the challenge because it’s a great cause. There are a lot of neglected horses out there, and I wanted to do my part.”

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