WEST BRANCH, Mich. – Several horses displaced by the pandemic and flooding across parts of central Michigan have found a new home at a rescue farm.
Amid the COVID-19 virus, caretakers began abandoning their pets or placing them with friends and family, the Midland Daily News reported. Between the pandemic and historic flooding in May that destroyed homes, barns, and fields, the situation became harder for owners to properly care for their animals.
Since then, D&R Acres Hobby and Rescue Farm has received several equines. The 20 acre farm and 13,000-square-foot barn and riding facility is now home to 38 horses, donkeys, mules, ponies and miniature horses.
“We’re kind of the retirement home for horses,” said Dolores 'Doris' Harris, chief financial officer and founder of D&R Acres, of West Branch.
Animals come to live at D&R Acres because they have either been abused, their owners have died, or the owner feels they can no longer take care of them. Although many animals stay at D&R Acres for the rest of their days, the farm does adopt out equines once the animal adjusts to the situation.
“We adopt one out, we get two in,” Harris said.
Harris explained the key is to pair horses up with two or three others to integrate them gently.
“It’s not just giving them a home. We need to re-socialize them,” Harris said.
This year, Harris plans to create 13 new pastures and plant a rescue garden with fruits and vegetables to help volunteers and horses alike. Harris hopes to grow carrots, squashes, pumpkins tomatoes and peppers.