something to do.  Right now I volunteer three mornings a week and try to fill in if needed.  I try to come on holidays so that volunteers with family here can stay home.  The horses don’t know it is Christmas, they just know they are hungry”.

I asked her how she found out about the Sanctuary, “I met Bonnie Black, who is a longtime friend of Connie’s, and she told me about the Rescue.  I called Connie and the rest is history!!  I knew nothing about horses when I came to the Rescue.  I mean nothing!!  That was fine with Connie and the other volunteers.  They treated me so kindly and took every opportunity to teach me.  I loved it from the very first day”.

 When I asked Ruth what she enjoys most about volunteering, she told me, “What I love the most and the least about working at the Rescue are intertwined.  When a horse comes in skinny, sick, and neglected it makes me angry that someone just chose to throw this animal away.  I have always been an animal lover and I will never understand how you can turn your back on an animal that counts on you to care for them.  The best part comes when the horse is fed, his physical needs are addressed and he learns what love is.  That’s when their personality comes out and they start to trust humans again”.

Most days at the rescue I help feed the horses (clean the duck pond of course) and clean stalls.  It can be a challenge when the weather is uncooperative but I don’t mind, since I love the horses.  There is always something that needs to be done.

Ruth shared some stories about a couple of horses that came into the Rescue.  “Doc came in over last Thanksgiving weekend.  He was skinny and scared and covered in ticks and scabs.  Each morning that I am at the rescue, I take some time to brush him to remove the scabs and some of the ticks.  He is so sweet and gentle and seems to enjoy the brushing.  I always give him a hug or two.  I think it is more for me than him”.

 “It’s always sad when we cannot “fix” a horse.  That was the case with Stormy.  He was a beautiful white horse but came to us with a very bad infection behind his eye.  The vets at MU did their best and removed Stormy’s eye.  Every morning that I was there, I would stop by his stall as soon as I came in.  I would pet him and give him a carrot or an apple.  He was such a sweetheart.  Every day Connie would remove the dressing on his eye and clean it as gently as possible.  It had to hurt but he would stand there so patiently.  One morning when I went in Stormy was not in his stall.  He had gotten sick the day before.  In spite of all the care and medication the infection had reoccurred and gone to his brain.  He had to be put down.  It made me so sad, but I knew that in the last few weeks of his life Stormy knew what love was.  That is why I volunteer…to let these beautiful animals feel love.  I get more than I give when I volunteer.  The love I give the horses is returned to me over and over”.