Imagine receiving a call from a frantic person saying that a healthy mare has 30 minutes to live and is about to be put down because she can no longer carry foals to term for her breeder? Or a call from someone trying to stop two beautiful mares from a horrific death at the slaughterhouse after they had spent all their lives as fodder in the underground rodeos? These are the types of calls Vicki Sims receives weekly, and sometimes daily, at Sadie’s Haven Horse Rescue & Sanctuary (“Sadie’s Haven”) an all volunteer, non profit 501 (c) (3) public charity in a Sonoma County.
At 7:00 a.m., seven days a week, Vicki starts her first job of feeding and caring for 16 senior, disabled and abandoned horses, 4 ponies and 1 mini-donkey. Once she is done feeding, she begins her second job at BrightHaven, another nonprofit. Vicki not only works at BrightHaven, she donates many hours a day to them along with her time at Sadie’s Haven.
When she finishes there in the late afternoon, she returns to Sadie’s Haven to return phone calls about horses faced with certain death, to discuss volunteer opportunities, to network, fundraise, brainstorm, and to feed the horses dinner, as well as to begin preparations for the next day’s breakfast. Expenses run about $2500 a month for feed, farriers and other requirements. So important is the mission, that when donations fall short from volunteers and sponsors, Vicki and her husband close the gap with their own funds.
When Vicki is not working at Sadie’s Haven or at her job at BrightHaven, she is actively engaging with the public on issues of animal welfare, and educating the community via partnership programs with UC Davis, the local Humane Society and local schools about legislation to protect America’s horses from the horrors of auction yards, feed lots and slaughter. She encourages citizens to contact their representatives to change legislation concerning horse slaughter, domestic and wild horse issues, and to participate in animal and humanitarian causes. Not only does Vicki help unwanted horses, she has tirelessly addressed the need for education around horse breeding, the truth about auctions, and the horrors of kill buyers and horse slaughter. Since 2009, Sadie’s Haven has referred, networked, rehomed, or placed in sanctuary nearly 300 horses that would otherwise have met horrifying ends.
Vicki has a wonderful relationship with our veterinarians, one of whom volunteers her time twice a year to supervise the students of UC Davis Equine Medicine Club for dental and well check experience on our horses. Vicki hosts the tour every week each summer for youth through the local humane society summer camp program. Vicki believes that she can help effect change through all these partnerships and programs. Our volunteers become horse ambassadors; and our community becomes a better place for horses and people. It’s all about dedication, compassion, love and advocacy. Believe you can make a difference!
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