Let’s set Walter up to live his retirement years with peace and love at his forever home — the life this former rodeo horse deserves.
That’s the goal of a fundraiser launched by Senior Animals In Need Today Society (SAINTS Rescue), in partnership with Team Kerr Real Estate.
SAINTS Rescue Operation Manager Kate Lennan says the 30-year-old horse was brought to the sanctuary last week, but unfortunately there’s not enough room for Walter there. So the team is working to find him a home to live out his remaining years and fundraise enough money to cover all of his future food, medical, and dental costs.
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Lennan said the team has known Walter over the past couple of years because he was boarded close to where they are in Mission — so when they were approached by the caring individual who did their best to take care of Walter, but wasn’t able to give him the time he needed, it was “no question.”
The non-profit said they learned he was a rodeo horse for many years, in which he was worked hard, and not provided the care he needed during the off-season. When Walter got older and slowed down, he became repeatedly re-homed.
“SAINTS is actually his seventh home, which is just heartbreaking that this horse has not actually had a true owner,” Lennan said.
“A lot of those owners, of course, had good intentions,” Lennan said, but “because he had no value left because he couldn’t work anymore, he was kind of that ‘free horse’ which gives people that opportunity to live out the dream of being a horse owner without actually doing the appropriate research on how to care for a horse.”
Walter has also endured injuries from his life in rodeo, was left with overgrown hooves, and no dental care, she said, adding his teeth are so bad he can barely chew hay.
Describing Walter as a bit timid and shy, Lennan said it’s most likely because he is deaf, explaining most of his interactions can be more intense and frightening for him.
“That is probably due to being deaf, but also due to the fact that he’s never really truly had the opportunity to bond, and be in that forever home,” she said, “30 years of being passed around is way too long.”
“It would be nice to find him a foster home so he can build a connection with someone which is something he’s been lacking for his entire life,” Lennan said, “SAINTS would take care of all of his expenses.”
Lennan said the team was coming up with a plan to pay for Walter’s boarding fees when Matt Kerr and his team reached out about a matching campaign — they’ve committed to match up to $5,000 raised for Walter.
Since the SAINTS team has taken Walter under their care, he has already had his first veterinarian appointment and they are working on a new diet plan for him to accommodate his damaged teeth.
Lennan said what truly won the team over about Walter is his story, “how much this horse has endured, and how much he has supported people — without people supporting him back.”
While Lennan hopes the community comes together to fundraise for Walter, she also hopes his story is shared so people become aware of the animals labelled as “free horses” because they all have value and purpose.