Chris works approximately 5 days a week, Monday thru Friday, which is much more than most of the volunteers. He even occasionally works on weekends if there is an immediate need for help. “I initially volunteered because I enjoyed the work, but I have since learned how much Connie needs dependable help. So, now I do it mainly because I know how much I am needed, and I get a lot of satisfaction from that. Since most of the volunteers are women, it is really helpful to have a male around for the harder and more demanding jobs. I know Connie appreciates all that I do, and she really needs the help.”
When I asked Chris what he enjoys most about volunteering, he stated, “I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the horses have a much better life and living conditions. And, this job keeps me outdoors rather than just laying around. Also, a number of horses really like me and will follow me around when I am out in the pasture. It is a great feeling when they come up and start to nuzzle me for attention.”
Chris told me about two separate occasions that were the most memorable to him since he has been volunteering at the Sanctuary. The first was in August 2014 when April was surrendered by her owner to the Sanctuary. She was emaciated with a -1 body score, and she was covered with ticks and sores and had bad hooves. Because she couldn’t stand for long periods, and she couldn’t get up when she laid down, they had to put her in a sling. Chris said that Connie brought April back from near death to a very healthy, energetic horse. She is still at the Sanctuary, enjoying living out her life with the other permanent residents.
The second occasion was when Connie and Donna brought back a donkey from sure death due to tetanus. When they got him he was in the beginning of a tetanus reaction and he became stiff as a board. He could not stand or move his jaw to eat. Connie and Donna stayed with him 24/7 and bottle fed him along with giving him antibiotic injections. Very slowly over time, he started responding and improving and became a vibrant little donkey once again. “At the time,” he said, “all the vets that were consulted suggested that the donkey be put down. This was not acceptable to Connie which shows you the kind of person she is, and how much she cares about and loves these animals.”