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Willowview Hill Farm


Successful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time
By Nikki Alvin-Smith

Successful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time 
By Nikki Alvin-Smith

Like many horse owners I have done my share of horse and pet rescues. Within a 40 mile radius of our farm there is both a large horse rescue operation and a major auction house. The latter is where horses either find themselves a new home or a long road trip to the slaughterhouse. Everyone has their own point of view but I do believe that many animals that end up on the discard heap could easily be re-homed if they were brought into good health, retrained and adopted to the right home. It would be awesome if this could be attained without the horses being shipped to the auction houses altogether. There are some new initiatives about, including The Right Horse, based in Katonah, New York who is developing some seriously brilliant approaches to this task. But I digress.

If you have run or presently run any kind of rescue program, you will know first hand that fund-raising for this effort is a major ongoing challenge. To give you some inspiration I’d like to share the story of a highly successful adoption program in Rancho Sante Fe, CA. I came to learn about this program from Horizon Structures LLC, based in Atglen, PA, a major producer of horse barns, indoor arenas, commercial and residential kennels, coops etc. Basically Horizon Structures provide shelter for ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ with their beautiful Amish crafted structures and have done so for 40+ years. When companies partner and step up to work together there really is so much that can be achieved. These relationships all begin one step at a time and are often serendipitous in nature. More on that later.

It is heartening to learn how the program began with one woman’s vision and how her legacy has developed. I hope it will give you some ideas to help your rescue or adoption program for whatever creatures you welcome, and suggest ideas that everyone can share with neighboring rescue organizations to help guide the way to a successful and sustainable program.

The Story Begins

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away from Atglen, PA, there lived a young woman named Helen Whittier Woodward.  Helen’s father, Max Whittier, had moved West from Maine to sunny California to drill for water. Instead he found oil, and thus the dynasty “Rodeo Land and Water Company” began.

Helen was born in 1907 and grew up with her three brothers on the lands now known asSuccessful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time By Nikki Alvin-Smith Beverly Hills.  Her family home was originally on what is now Sunset Boulevard replete with a cow in the garden! Not quite the Los Angeles we know today.
Helen had a passion for animals and for living life outside in the fresh air.  It was almost inevitable that after college, marriage and children, Helen would find a way to help animals and people across many different charities.
In 1972 Helen and a group of friends committed to making the world a better place for both animals and people with the foundation of the San Dieguito Animal Care and Education Center in Rancho Santa Fe.  Helen, aided by her good friend Mel Morse who had many years of experience training and caring for animals, was able to realize her vision of a place where “people help animals and animals help people.”
The center was renamed the Helen Woodward Animal Center in 1986 in Helen’s honor after her death at age 79 in 1983. This remarkable lady has left a tremendous legacy:   
• A Therapeutic Riding Program
• An adoption center for ‘orphaned’ animals of all descriptions
• An equine and small animal medical clinic to rehabilitate and recover health for horses, dogs and cats
• A full educational program to teach responsible pet ownership to people of all ages.
The medical clinics accept outside patients and the profits are channeled to the non-profit adoption and educational entities truly aiding animals that find themselves in transition.
Today nearly 400 animals are housed on the property. Some are available for adoption.   Others are in rehabilitation.  Still others are employed in educational programs at the Helen Woodward Center.  The realization of Helen’s vision continues to grow and develop each day.

Successful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time By Nikki Alvin-SmithWe spoke with Mindy Wright, Communications Assistant Manager at the Helen Woodward Animal Center to find out more about the type of animals that are housed at their facility.

Meet Mikey the Morgan

Mikey, a 23-year-old Morgan, was leased to the program when his owner began graduate school back in November of 2012. His smooth gaits and prompt response to aids make him a good choice as riders move into trotting independently, and even learning to canter.
  
Papa Mama ~ Pint Sized with Personality Plus
Successful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time 
By Nikki Alvin-Smith

Papa Mama loves to be a part of a family, and prefers to snuggle with people as often as possible. She’s quite a fashionista and can often be found sporting a chic sweater, basking in a ray of sunshine. She’s four-years old, and, as a Chihuahua blend is grown up both in size and in personality. Though her name is Mama Papa, this little ray of snuggly sunshine just wants to be your baby.
 

HWAC Meets Horizon

Horizon Structures entered the arena when it came time for the Center to move on to the second stage of a major renovation of their facilities.  The project includes tearing down the original Main building which was built in 1972.  Through the wonders of ‘net neutrality’, the Center’s Management Team discovered Horizon Structures operation and offerings through the web.
Horizon Structures provides ‘shelter for all creatures, great and small’ with their prefabricated barns, kennels (both residential and commercial grade) and chicken coops.  Our structures for animal centers were the perfect solution to solve the temporary housing needs of the dogs in the Center’s care.
After several weeks of back-and-forth consultation, customization to meet HWAC requirements and some minor design tweaks, three beautiful new commercial kennels were built by Horizon Structures, at their main facility in PA, and shipped out to Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

Marcie Grube, Social Media Manager at the Helen Woodward Animal Center, advised that,Successful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time By Nikki Alvin-Smith as of the posting of this blog, the three commercial kennels are all presently set up on site and ready for their new occupants (*pending permits from the City to move the animals in to their new abode).
“We’ll be using two of the kennels to house our pets that are available for adoption and the third one will be used by our rehabilitation team for animals that require medical support following surgeries or recovering from illness,” explained an excited Marcie Grube.
While Atglen, PA may be a long way from Rancho Sante Fe, CA, Horizon’s quality Amish craftsmanship, experience with nationwide delivery, follow-through and on-site set-up of their pre-built structures made them an obvious choice and a natural fit for The Center.

“It’s truly a blessing to have beautiful, well-constructed kennels to house our precious orphan pets during our construction project. Horizon Structures understands that our main priority is the safety and comfort of animals in our care, and they’ve made it their priority throughout the entire project. We’re so confident in their quality {kennels}, that Successful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time By Nikki Alvin-Smithwe hope to pass them along to another organization when we no longer need them. Working with the Horizon Structures Team has just been a wonderful experience,” said Renee Resko, Vice President of Development, Helen Woodward Animal Center.
Dave Zook, Owner of Horizon Structures is similarly thrilled at being able to fulfill the needs for such a worthy organization.  “We were very excited when Rita Truderung, VP of Operations for The Center initially contacted us for a quote.  As we worked with her on the project, we learned more and more about the organization and the incredible work they do.  What started as the sale of 3 kennels is evolving into a fantastic opportunity to support the cause of animal rescue.  Stay tuned for something really big coming up in 2018!”

Horizon Structures and Helen Woodward Animal Center look forward to furthering their alliance by developing of innovative methods for providing Horizon Structures barns and kennels to animal rescue organizations in California and beyond. Watch this space for information on our structures for animal centers and the “Horizon Structures to the Rescue” program.

More About HWAC

HWAC works with over 4000 shelters to help find orphaned pets an adoption home. While the staff at the center are currently being moved into temporary offices so that the main building can be torn down and a new, more modern structure built, the needs of the animals are always ‘front and center at the center’.

The success of HWAC has been phenomenal. The provision of profitable businesses on Successful Horse & Pet Adoption ~ Once Upon a Time By Nikki Alvin-Smithsite, such as the Equine Medical Clinic that provides services to outside patients, means that the non-profit adoption business has a channel of funding from the for-profit side to facilitate its growth and provide for the needs of the animals.
“The Helen Woodward Animal Center is one of only two facilities on the West Coast to have a rehabilitation pool for horses. We operate three programs.  We have the Equine Hospital which is a for profit-business with accredited hospital and housing for horses.  Our rehabilitation pool is used extensively by the Delmar racetrack and racehorse owners and our location close to San Diego, in a horse rich neighborhood, keeps the center very busy.  And we provide a therapeutic riding program with 10 to 12 horses to approximately 50 students every week with horse shows on some weekends,” Grube commented.
Animals from bunnies to horses enjoy rehabilitation at the center. Animals often find themselves in a state of transition through no fault of their own and the HWAC is a great place to find your next horse, dog or cat. The center operates more as an adoption program than a rescue center.
There are so many reasons that an animal needs a new home.  Sometimes owners simply cannot afford to keep a horse.  Divorce or death leaves animals without a home.  Folks cannot fund the medical care their animals need.  And, we all know the tremendous impact Mother Nature can have on pets.
Fortunately, the recent major fires in California did not affect the center.

“We have taken several calls from people needing kennel space for their dogs and cats which we have been able to provide. We were evacuated in a previous fire season, and that was not easy with all the animals we had to move. Thankfully, this time around we have so far escaped the need to evacuate,” said Grube.
At HWAC there are many programs to educate the new ‘parent’ of an adoptee. Adoption kits are provided to new owners and courses in training and care of the animals are available as well.
“Our goal is to promote pet adoption and get people to go to shelters to adopt a pet rather than buy from a puppy mill. We partner with many other companies, such as Blue Buffalo for example, to provide assistance with education and supplies for the new adoption or foster home. Our reach is extensive and we collaborate with partners around the world,” explained Grube.
Please take a moment to visit the center's website to learn about the Helen Woodward Center's story and to see for yourself what a tremendous organization this is!

Please visit Horizon Structures at https://www.HorizonStructures.com to learn more about all their wonderful buildings on offer from their Amish craftsman. Whatever your critter needs they have you covered.