At Risk Horses Finding a Home at Joey’sJOEY’S HOME ANIMAL RESCUE by Lisa Alvarez Johnson I had the pleasure of visiting Joey’s Home Animal Rescue for horses on the Yucca Valley mesa the other day and got quite the education on these beautiful creatures. There are so many horses abused and neglected; the numbers are staggering. I met with Melinda Allen, her husband Joe and some volunteers as we walked around the sprawling ranch discussing their mission to save as many horses as they can on a shoestring budget. I actually met Melinda last summer when I was painting the house next door to her ranch. We would have friendly chats over the fence and it was then I came to see firsthand her tireless love and devotion to these animals who have become part of her family. It takes a very special person to aid and protect creatures that have been literally thrown away by their previous owners. Joey’s Home Animal Rescue was named after Melinda’s second rescue named Joey. Joey is a beautiful, 30 year old thoroughbred and quarter horse mix. He is very well trained and Melinda believes he was used in rodeos. In February of 2012, Melinda heard of a horse that was emaciated and left in the mountains between Desert Hot Springs and Yucca Valley to die. She and several people spent a day and a half looking for him. When Melinda finally found Joey he was scared, sick and very malnourished. She brought him home to her ranch and after 4 months he was healthy and happy. Melinda didn’t intend for her property to become a rescue even though she rescued her first horse Charlie in 2011. Thin and poorly maintained, Charlie’s previous owner could not afford to keep him any longer. He was an off track race horse. Off track race horses are usually dumped because they cannot make their owner money. Today Charley is very healthy and has overcome many issues of trust after being neglected. I think what people forget are animals of all types having souls and feelings are only different from us in size and shape. Horses are capable of unconditional love; they take care of their families and on the flip side feel fear and mistrust. Melinda’s hope as well as mine is to educate the public that horses and other animals are to be cherished and cared for and not available for neglect and abuse. After Charlie and Joey came other horses that were starved long term; Bailey a 6 year old horse and Kirby a mini mare who was pregnant came from animal control after a horse was starved to death on the property they were living on. Kirby was pregnant and her hoofs were in very bad shape. Shortly after arriving on the ranch Kirby gave birth to Rowdy who has the run of the place. Rowdy would greet me at the fence with a smile and a whinny when I was working last summer. At present, Melinda has three minis. They are pets and ambassadors for the rescue. At this point there are 9 horses at the rescue and two are ready for adoption; Charlie being one of them. Joey’s Home Animal Rescue incorporated in June of 2013 and became an official charity. Melinda will not be taking in any more permanent fosters and instead has a more ambitious plan to help more horses. She has applied for a federal grant to acquire money to build a new corals and shelters for horses she will foster from other horse rescues until they are found homes. Finding new homes for horses in our area is difficult. Melinda wants to take in more horses, get them well and happy, and then take them back to the rescues that are better able to find them homes. Melinda and Joe spend every cent they have on helping these horses. It’s a 24/7 job. She needs volunteers to help with the everyday care and riding. I met three volunteers the day I went to visit. They come often to help exercise the horses and work around the ranch. Of course she needs more volunteers and cash donations. If 16 people donate a single dollar, that’s a bale of hay. The term “eats like a horse” has new meaning at Joey’s Home. Horses eat a lot of food and require vet care. Melinda also needs someone to help her develop her website as there are no grant monies without one. Melinda holds birthday parties for children at a very inexpensive rate. She is happy to show anyone who wants to learn how to ride and care for these precious animals. Allison Fletcher gives English and western riding lessons at a very affordable rate. Melinda shared with me a story of an older man who came to her ranch because it was his dream to ride a horse if only once in his life. He walked on two canes and his daughter and son in law had to help him on the horse. Once on the horse, he was led around and had tears in his eyes because he was so happy. It’s the selfless acts of people like Melinda who make this world an amazing place. Melinda needs our help to continue to bring hope, love and care for at risk horses. Even 30 minutes can make a difference in rehabilitation of a neglected horse and Melinda can certainly use anytime or resources you can spare. Joey’s Home Animal Rescue Mission Statement Our Mission at Joey's Home is to rescue the horses we can and assist in rescues when it is needed; to network with other rescues in saving at risk horses and to educate the public in the care & treatment of animals. Joey’s Home Animal Rescue is open to the public by appointment only. You can reach Melinda at Joeys Home Animal Rescue on Facebook or Joeyshomeanimalrescue@gmail.com. You can also write the rescue at P.O. Box 1073 Yucca Valley CA 92286.
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