My learning curve is steep. In August I went on the board of directors of Heart of the Redwoods Horse Rescue, a small rescue in Eureka, California where I live. In the last few months I've been learning about . . .
. . . the intensely, heart-rending, exhausting, soul-ripping, rewarding job of rescuing neglected horses and nursing them back to health.
. . . the hours and hours and hours of fundraising to support the horses currently in the rescue and to make it possible to rescue more.
. . . the need to keep rehabbing horses engaged with humans, building or rebuilding their capacity to trust the very creatures who once betrayed them.
. . . the agonizing questions about how to manage resources and what to do with those dear horses that will never be sound.
. . . the moments when everyone is exhausted from one more rescue event, its time to go home, and that final horse just won't load.
. . . the grind of day-to-day operations, the endless cycle of feed & muck & feed & muck, and the need to staff morning and evenings feedings in each facility of the rescue.
. . . the need to maintain facilities and keep donated resources in top shape.
. . . the need to recruit, orientate, train, schedule, coordinate, encourage, and appreciate the many, many wonderful volunteers that keep non-profit rescues going.
. . . the challenge of maintaining a strong internal structure, day-to-day operations, and an healthy, transparent organization with volunteer staff.
. . . the tears shed for those horses you couldn't help.
. . . the challenge of finding homes so you can welcome more horses in need into your care.
. . . the need to provide daily care, grooming, and exercise for all the horses in the rescue.
. . . the amazing, committed, caring, give-their-all-and-keep-on-giving people you will meet.
. . . the community that will support you and that you depend upon for the funding to continue to help the horses.
. . . the need to train horses that would otherwise not be adoptable, and the need to find quality trainers that are committed to the rescue.
. . . the knowledge that it takes a community to save a horse.