Local horse and donkey rescue has helped dozens of neglected, abused animals

Published: Sep. 25, 2017 at 5:19 PM EDT
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The Healing Barn is a non-profit equine rescue in Millbury. The founders of the organization and a team of volunteers have been helping horses and donkeys in need for nearly two decades. Some of the animals are able to be adopted, others live out their lives at the rescue farm.

Baby Jack is one of dozens of horses taken in by The Healing Barn.

When they first got him he had a spinal cord injury and was near death. About eight years later, he has made a remarkable recovery.

The Healing Barn is a safe haven for unwanted, abused and neglected horses. And there's Jack the donkey too. The farm sits along a quiet road in Millbury. It's one of the only equine-specific rescues in the region.

Staff and volunteers work with local horse owners in need and humane societies. Corri Mayo is the farm manager and one of the founders, "We've had so many great success stories. It is hard at first when you see the tough cases, but it is so rewarding on the other side. We get excited knowing that we are able help give these horses another chance at life. They are safe and they can take a deep breath and know they'll be okay."

Kelly Meister-Yetter has been a volunteer for about 10 years, "They're intelligent animals, they are kind and they don't judge you. They figure things out quickly. They are all characters in their own right. They each have their own personality."

Kelly says the farm has been a place of healing for her too, "You can come out here and focus on one thing. All the crummy stuff in your life falls by the wayside, and I suspect it may be that way for the horses as well."

One of the horses that needed a lot of help is George. To see him today, you might not guess that he was once in an emergency situation. Corri says when he was rescued he was wearing a halter that was so small it had grown into his face, "It was completely embedded in his nose, when it came off there was a gap on his face several inches wide. On top of his nose was infected with gang green. It smelled horrible. He will likely be here the rest of his life. He is well taken care of, he's loved and he's happy."

In spite of their rough start in life, these horses have healed, helping a lot of people in the process, "Some of the most afraid horses we've had are the best with kids, or with special needs children or with someone who is just shut down. To see that bond and interaction is priceless."

And it's a priceless experience for volunteers like Kelly,"Over time you see horses that came in abused and not sure about humans and then they learn to trust and they are excited about your visit. You begin to see a real change in them, and that's huge. That's why we're all out here."

If you want to meet Jack and all the horses at The Healing Barn, you have a chance to do that this weekend. There is an Open House on Saturday afternoon from 1-4. It is free. There will be games, entertainment for the kids, raffles and a silent auction. The Healing Barn is at 27731 Bradner Road in Millbury.

If you can't make it to the event but would like to help The Healing Barn, you can donate money, supplies and food. They are also looking for volunteers.

We've posted a link.