When most people hear the words “animal rescue,” dogs and cats typically come to mind. However, Kathie McCauley has a soft spot for animals of the larger variety. When a need popped up in her Nashville community for equine rescue 14 years ago (specifically horses, mini-horses, donkeys, and mini-donkeys), she and a few other passionate residents jumped in to help.
“We moved quickly to establish a non-profit and then reached out to law enforcement to let them know we were available to assist, should they run across any cruelty or neglect cases,” Kathie said. “And that meant more than just taking the animals in for rehabilitation—I’m also a certified animal cruelty investigator, which means I’ve been trained to help law enforcement identify these types of situations. Soon, our reputation grew as being a reliable and professional organization; and the records we kept allowed us to provide documentation with proof of condition at intake for court dates.” In all cases, her rescue was awarded ownership of the animals—and since Kathie had an equine facility and acreage at the time, the majority of the rescues went directly to her. She happily retrained the animals and found their perfect forever homes.
While she has been a part of over 500 equine rescues, one particular story is closest to her heart. When asked by the county sheriff to take custody of seven horses and one small pony due to starvation by their owner, the rescue immediately jumped into action. Upon arriving at a local veterinarian’s office to pick up the pony, Kathie quickly realized the severity of the situation. “He could barely walk—and if he laid down, he couldn’t get up,” she recalled. “My vet lived right down the street from me and came over every morning for almost two months to help me stand him up. He wasn’t sure the little guy would make it and told me to not get my hopes up…but I could tell he was going to fight, so I named him Spirit. I fed Spirit small meals several times a day, including overnight. It took about six weeks for him to be able to stand up by himself and five months to get him back to normal. I fell in love with him and decided to adopt him. People would tell me that Spirit watched me whenever I was outside like a dog does! I’m so glad I was able to give him a good life, with plenty to eat, shelter when needed, and lots of love.”
She continues: “I believe there’s nothing more fulfilling than taking in animals that have been neglected or abused, rehabbing them, and seeing them get adopted. Horses are very forgiving and, by nature, are not aggressive. They are amazing, loving companion animals and I can’t imagine my life without them.”
While she has since sold her farm and left the original rescue due to time constraints (“and it can also be very hard on you emotionally,” she adds), she has since joined another local equine rescue and continues her noble work. We’re sure there are many more animals that are glad she did.