|Loudon family rescues mini horses and donkeys from
knoxnews.com-Fulfilling her destiny as predicted some 25 years ago in her high school yearbook, Angela Devine is living her dream today. After purchasing a farm in Loudon in 2014, she and her family began adopting miniature horses. “It just snowballed from there,” she said.
Realizing the need for a real rescue and rehabilitation facility, Devine started East Tennessee Miniature Horse and Donkey Rescue in 2015, receiving nonprofit 501(c)3 status in 2016. Since then, she has taken in over 140 miniature horses, donkeys and mules. “Most of them are owner surrenders from cruelty cases,” she said. “We work with TN Redemption Road Rescue, a larger rescue in Middle Tennessee.”
About 25 percent come from auctions. “Miniatures and donkeys are at risk of going to slaughter just like the big horses. We try to help all we can.” One recent success was the purchase of a donkey and her foal, about to be auctioned separately with the mother headed to Mexico. Reunited and safe now, they are both thin and shy, but Devine and her crew are working on fattening them up and getting them accustomed to people. “I can’t wait to see them full of life again!” she said.
Her passion and devotion to the well-being of animals pours out when Devine speaks. “I’m loving every minute and wish we could do more,” she said. She has enlisted a core group of like-minded volunteers who help out, and there are a lot of things to do.
Most rescues come in with signs of neglect, so visits with the veterinarian and farrier have to be scheduled. Transportation usually has to be arranged, too. There are no paid staffers, so volunteers pitch in with everything from farm maintenance, site visits, rescue and transport. If that’s not your thing, you can help with socialization by sitting and reading to them.
The Rescue relies on public donations, fundraisers and events for all operating expenses. If you shop online, you can easily donate through iGive; the company sends a rebate when you buy from stores like Kohl’s, Walmart and hundreds of others.
Right now, there are around 20 minis ready for new homes, but Devine is selective about where they go. “We screen the prospective families and do a site visit to make sure it’s a good fit and the property can accommodate them,” she said. Photos and bios are posted on their Adopt-a-Pet site.
Devine and her furry friends make appearances at special events throughout the year and hold open house days at the farm, 6545 Calloway Road, but don’t just drop in. In addition to running the farm and the rescue, Devine works a full-time job so appointments are needed for visits. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-266-3396 to set up a meet and greet.
You’ll find a lot more information about volunteering, fostering, adopting or donating at easttennesseeminiaturehorseanddonkeyrescue.com and on Facebook.