"It is impossible to describe the feeling of seeing an animal that first comes into your life fearful and near death from starvation and neglect, only to later have that same animal run confidently to greet you with his spirit rekindled."
When we began our equine operations at Todd Mission Ranch, our focus was on the care of 15 donkeys, a PMU Percheron mare named Pepper and her foal, Shadow. Our world was a peaceful world filled with joy and wonder at the antics of our equine family. We were not a rescue, yet. Although aware that people do not always do the right thing when it comes to animals, we still did not know how bad it was for the UN-homed equine. We had no idea of the depravity of human character that causes such suffering for these beautiful, intelligent and heroic animals that are so much a part of who we are as Americans. For a few years we were able to continue to stay blissfully focused only on the well-being of our herd.
We were showing and doing quite well which prompted us to explore the possibility of breeding high end mules and selling them. Our joy continued as soon, we were able to seize on the rare opportunity to acquire a herd of mammoth donkeys. We are excited still, that we have this wonderful and rare herd at our ranch. Sadly, there are only around 2,500 of these gentle giants who are called American Mammoth Jackstock (AMJ) left in the world. It is a thrilling privilege to have so many of these wonderful donkeys, who were first developed in the United States by George Washington. One could correctly say that George Washington was the first American donkey advocate!
Unfortunately, in time, this peaceful world where equine are safe and pampered, soon collided with the outside world where they are afforded no mercy. It has been a jolting experience. Although no equine slaughterhouses are still operating in the United States we learned that it was still legal to transport equine to slaughter in Mexico and Canada. The more we learned about the horrors of transport and the cruelty involved with slaughter, the more we realized that our animals could not really be safe if we were not able to keep them with us. The thought of even one of our beloved equines ever falling into a terrifying situation like slaughter made us realize that we could never sell any of our animals with the absolute assurance that at some time they might not end up in the hands of a kill buyer. Simultaneously, we were coming to understand the terrifying reality of slaughter and all of the ramifications it had for us and our original business plans to raise, train and sell high end mules. It seemed like every week we were taking in groups of donkeys or horses from one bad situation or another, and our family of pampered pals grew. We could no longer ignore the fact that Texas equines were in desperate need of our help. This realization was the catalyst for becoming a fully certified 501(c)3 rescue, which is legally registered as TMR Rescue, Inc.
Our sanctuary is now home to over 400 donkeys, mules, and horses that have come to us over the years. We are also in the process of creating spaces where humans can come to feel like they, too, are in sanctuary. As they walk our paths to the different paddocks, or sit on a bench under a tree and just enjoy the company of these sweet creatures, we are confident that the experience will open their hearts to the true value of equine therapy. Our vision for the future of our rescue is now clear to us. We believe in the healing powers of animals, and we want to share this great gift with people, especially our returning soldiers. As our construction continues we are guided by this vision.
We have a full time staff to help us to provide for all of our animal’s care and training, and with so many rescues we do keep our vets on speed dial. We also have three different farriers who visit at least once a week and we have specialty trainers come in to help us to educate our equine to have manners, and develop their skills. In short, we are continuing to grow as our sanctuary takes shape! We want to share the joy of donkeys, mules and horses with everyone, while protecting them from harm. As it turns out, this is a tall order, so our adoption program is really a loaner program. The animal must come back to us should circumstance keep a person from being able to keep one of our equine once adopted. We also will not adopt outside of 200 miles because we need to be able to check up on our friends when they leave here. Ultimately, beyond our devotion to our animal’s good health, what is really important is that we are able to share with people the true value of these inquisitive, good natured animals.
It is impossible to describe the feeling of seeing an animal that first comes into your life fearful and near death from starvation and neglect, only to later have that same animal run confidently to greet you with his spirit rekindled. Nor, are there adequate words to describe what it is like to get a donkey “hug”, or mugged by fuzzy youngsters, all trying to get your attention. Yet, it is these poignant moments that fuel our passion. It is satisfying to be able to help in such a significant way with love, good care and a few carrots. Oh, and speaking of carrots, it is pretty easy to tell when the carrot cart is making its rounds. The whole neighborhood can hear our equine’s enthusiasm.
Conversely, there is a downside to rescue. It is a heartbreaking and unfortunate reality that many animals require a great deal of vet care due to their past neglect and abuse. While these expenses can be daunting, we believe that through grants and donations we can defray many of these costs. We cannot save them all, but we don’t give up easily.
TMR Rescue is nestled on 207 beautifully wooded acres Northwest of Houston. Our passion is longears and we are always happy to share their wonderful persona and sweet natures with our guests. We welcome pre-scheduled visits from the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM. To schedule a tour, call the office anytime at 936 894 2867 and leave a message, or send an e-mail to Marjorie at Marjorie@TMRRescue.com.
We are always looking for help handing out all those carrots!
Marjorie Farabee & The Crew at TMR Rescue Inc.