BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

To say Lacey was in rough shape when she was rescued from a Surrey property five years ago would be an understatement.

The blue-eyed palomino paint yearling was gaunt, with skinny limbs, overgrown hooves and a fear of everything, even a blanket.

Fortunately, to say she’s doing alright these days is also an understatement.

“She looks amazing now, it’s hard to believe that it’s the same pony,” said Lacey’s ‘mom,’ Kathy Gilleran.

“She’s the most loving and affectionate and trusting pony you could imagine. That’s kind of what blew my mind with her.”

Lacey was among nearly five dozen animals that were seized by the SPCA during a cruelty investigation in August of 2015.

READ MORE: 57 animals seized in ‘disgusting’ case of neglect

Unfortunately, the seizure was not the first that the BC SPCA has dealt with involving horses, nor was it the last. Most recently, 27 horses were among nearly 100 animals seized by cruelty-investigation officers in late September from a farm near Princeton.

In each case, extensive – and expensive – efforts are taken to treat, rehabilitate and rehome all of them.

And while for some, the story does not have a happy ending despite best efforts, many others, matched with the love and attention every creature deserves, go on to thrive.

It is these stories of hope, perseverance and survival that inspired Kamloops photographer Leanne Peniuk to do what she could to help.

Peniuk began a quest last spring to capture the “happily-ever-after stories” for a book that would be sold to raise funds for the BC SPCA’s equine division.

“Every horse is given a second chance and I just kind of wanted to showcase that and tell their stories,” Peniuk said.

Rescue Me – published in November – is a coffee-table-style book that shares the stories of 25 horses, including Lacey, that have been rescued by the BC SPCA and successfully rehomed.

The goal, said Peniuk, is threefold, including inspiring people to consider adopting or fostering a rescue horse.

“And if one person drives by a field and sees horses that maybe don’t have water, food or shelter, or maybe don’t look the best … they take action and place a phone call to the SPCA, then it serves its purpose.”

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Every year, the BC SPCA seizes between 50 and 100 horses from unhealthy situations, and in her five years as manager of the BC SPCA’s equine division, Leiki Salumets has seen it all.

Salumets remembers that Lacey was a recent arrival when she started at the society’s Good Shepherd barn in Surrey that August.

Knowing how far Lacey has come offsets the heartache side of the job, she said.

Salumets’ personal experience with a rescue horse is also shared in Rescue Me. That horse, she said, “taught me kind of the most.”

“She’s a big part of the reason I do what I do.”

Lacey as she is now, in one of several photographs featured in Rescue Me. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Lacey as she is now, in one of several photographs featured in Rescue Me. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Proceeds from the sale of Rescue Me are earmarked to support the care and rehabilitation of the Princeton rescues.

Typically, the BC SPCA relies “heavily” on donor support to provide the care such animals need, said Salumets, describing the effort behind Rescue Me as “just incredible.”

Publisher Jill Veitch – who grew up in South Surrey but now calls Kelowna home – described it as “heartwarming.”

Veitch said she learned of Peniuk’s quest through social media, and “instantly” messaged Peniuk, “because I have (a rescue horse) and it’s been an absolute life-changer for my family.”

The foreword in Rescue Me is written by self-described rescuer, horseman and philosopher Kevan Garecki.

The book also include insights from Salumets and a prominent foster caregiver, as well as some information on the process that surrounds an SPCA seizure.

Peniuk said even though the book is finished, there is another chapter yet to come.

“Next year, I want to work… on horses saving humans,” she said.

For more information or to order Rescue Me ($55) visit www.leannepeniukphotography.ca/rescue-me



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCSPCASurreywhite rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

The BC Wildfire Service is urging caution amid forecasts of strong winds throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. (BC Wildfire Service photo)
Strong winds forecasted for Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire service urges caution

“Wind can cause grass fires to spread very quickly,” says the BC Wildfire Service

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Hesco baskets were first used outside the Cache Creek fire hall in 2020 (pictured), and have once again been put in place as a pre-emptive measure to safeguard the hall against possible flooding. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Cache Creek taking pre-emptive measures to prevent flooding

Sand and sandbags will soon be available for all residents who need them

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read