The Rhode Island Foundation has been good to us and we count on this incredible organization to assist us with our ever-growing funding regarding our nutritional and medical needs of our rescues. This year, not only were we invited to the press conference, but Wendy was asked to speak about what the grant award would do for us. Here is her presentation in full...
"West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton, Rhode Island, is a nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating farm animals that have fallen victim to cases of neglect, abuse, and cruelty in our local and surrounding areas. We also provide wildlife rehabilitation for waterfowl and gamebirds.
Although we are about to celebrate our 12th birthday, we are still a very young organization. We are so fortunate to be able to do what we do, and foundations like the Rhode Island Foundation are a significant part of our existence. The Program for Animal Welfare Grant funds our Nutritional and Medical Care Program. Through this program, we are able to provide proper food and veterinary care to our rescues so we can bring them back to a state of good health. Many of our animals have been through significant negative events in their lives, which impact everything from their health, to their mobility, to their immune systems, to their ability to easily eat or digest food. You could say our animals cost more than most because of the circumstances from which they came. Knowing that, along with the support we received from the Rhode Island Foundation, we work very hard to keep our costs down, and we do so by growing and producing some of the food we provide our rescues. On our 8-acres, we have four working greenhouses, eight rotational grazing pastures, a working melon field, a fruit orchard, a wildlife berry and seed garden and a 100,000 gallon pond with aquatic plant life. Our green-thumb volunteers work each week seeding, planting, cultivating, growing, pruning, and harvesting. The vegetables and fruit we produce offer nutrition, enrichment and enjoyment for our farm animals, and the berries and seeds assure that our wildlife have the best chance of survival when we release them back into their natural environment.
Of course, with the dozens of farm animals and hundreds of wildlife that we handle each year, we could never produce enough food on our own, so the grant provided through the Program for Animal Welfare is pivotal in the success of our organization and the well-being of our animals.
One such animal helped through this grant is a horse named Just Johnny. When rescuing horses, West Place focuses on those over 20-years-of age, so that they have the ability to get a second-chance they might not otherwise have. Johnny has been with us since our beginnings, and he is now 32-years-old. As he is in his twilight years, in addition to hay, he needs four different kinds of special food and three types of medication so that he stays healthy and can continue to enjoy each day. I wish you all could have seen him yesterday, wrapped in his winter blanket and rolling on the grass in one of the pastures, as happy as ever. But as you can imagine, his care is costly. Johnny has been able to thrive at West Place because of one very special formula: The Program for Animal Welfare funding plus an amazing group of several dozen animal care volunteers, mixed with one incredible veterinarian who provides our medical care. As an aside, I refer to him as 'Doctor MacGyver,' as he has fixed the unfixable, treated the untreatable, and performed operations on the inoperable, all at an extremely reasonable cost.
As you can see, it takes an entire team to keep West Place going: our volunteer base, our vet, and organizations like the Rhode Island Foundation. We truly appreciate that the Foundation recognizes our mission as worthwhile, and a benefit to our community and to Rhode Island. We equally appreciate that they help us to move forward as we continue to grow our organization and enhance our mission. There is no doubt that we could not do what we do without the invaluable assistance of the Rhode Island Foundation and we are deeply grateful for their support through the Program for Animal Welfare. From all of us at West Place, we thank you so very much."
-Wendy Taylor, Director