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

The proposed Skaha Lake Road housing project will be modelled after the Burdock House on Winnipeg St., said BC Housing.
BC Housing panel peppered with questions about Skaha housing project

Virtual meeting involved questions about crime, level of supports, timelines

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: COVID-19 restrictions continue to affect us all

Canada has recorded more than 700,000 confirmed cases of pandemic

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Landmark Cinemas Penticton was forced to close down when the provincial government ordered all theatres to close when new COVID-19 restrictions were brought in Nov. 19, 2020. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Despite ‘devastating’ losses the show will eventually go on at Penticton theatre

Landmark Cinemas has been offering movie popcorn since having to close in November

Ace Academy: Flight Experience is a digital interactive exhibition from the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. The exhibition is currently at the Penticton Museum and Archives. (Canada and Aviation Space Museum)
Penticton museum hosts innovative way to simulate authentic flight experience

Ace Academy: Flight Experience is a digital interactive exhibition currently touring across Canada

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

A couple living at the Summerland Waterfront Resort is trying to sell their unit because of strata changes which will require them to pay significantly higher strata fees or have their unit included in the resort’s rental pool (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Couple living at Summerland resort facing increases

Permanent residents of Summerland Waterfront Resort told fees will more than double

(Big White Ski Resort)
28 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

More than 200 cases have been identified since the cluster was announced

Police are seeking further witnesses after an elderly woman who was struck by a vehicle in Salmon Arm succumbed to her injuries. (File Photo)
Salmon Arm pedestrian dies after being hit by truck along Highway 1

Collision took place on Jan. 15 in downtown Salmon Arm, police looking for witnesses

A cow moose wanders around the Silver Star Elementary School neighbourhood Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Contributed)
Moose chases two people near North Okanagan school

Conservation and dog control attending to the situation

The sale of the Kirschner Mountain Development for $22M marks the largest in Realtor history, in the Okanagan. (Contributed)
Kelowna mountain development sold for $22M

The sale of the 640-acre Kirschner Mountain development has made the history books

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

Most Read