Curbside Farm Animal Adoptions and the Painting Horse

click to enlarge Adoptions have continued at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, including a curbside option. - THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF MISSOURI
Adoptions have continued at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, including a curbside option.

On a typical day at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, the air smells like fresh-cut grass, soggy soil, fresh hay, and a little bit like horse droppings.

However, Becky Krueger, marketing manager, says, “there’s no typical day — every day is different with the animals.”

Krueger may be correct. The 165-acre ranch located a little more than an hour southwest of St. Louis near the small town of Union is home to equines, pigs, goats, birds and even a horse that knows how to paint. Longmeadow was created by the Humane Society of Missouri in 1988 and is now one of the largest, most comprehensive horse and farm animal rescue and rehabilitation centers in the country.

Their latest addition includes eleven horses that were inside a trailer that overturned on Interstate 44 on their way to the slaughterhouse. The rehabilitation process, Krueger says, is intense. Every day, their wounds need to be cleaned and bandages changed. She estimates that it takes multiple people two to three hours to attend to each horse.

This story is not irregular to Longmeadow. In fact, this is how they gained their most famous resident animal. In 2007, after a trailer accident, horses on board were brought to Longmeadow. On-site veterinarians found out that one of the horses was pregnant. Twister soon was born at the ranch and still lives there today.

When Twister is not serving as a “barn buddy” who goes to events and represents the organization, he paints. Volunteers have taught him to hold a paint brush between his teeth, pick out paint colors and create brush strokes on a canvas. Twister's abstract pieces are sold through the ranch’s website to raise money for the other animals.

“He’s wonderful — a very talented artist,” Krueger says, laughing.

Twister at work.

The pandemic has affected the ranch significantly. They began a Fall Fowl sale in October, where birds’ adoption fees were $5 all month long. Starting in March, Longmeadow pivoted to curbside adoption after shutting down their in-person process.

It’s not quite as easy as pulling your car up to the ranch and loading a goat into your backseat. However, the process is still quite easy.

Potential adopters can research the animals available on the website, with photos and descriptions of each. After a selection is made and an adoption application is completed, the ranch is contacted and will decide if the match is a good fit. If the requirements are met, adopters then pull their car up to the front entrance of Longmeadow and sign the final paperwork, and just like that, a farm animal is adopted.
“When we closed our doors to the public, we didn’t close our doors to the animals,” Krueger says. Strays, surrenders and large-scale forfeits from various situations still found their way to the Ranch, despite adoptions slowing down for a beat. Longmeadow never denies an animal from their rehabilitation program.

“We knew we needed to get these animals homes when they were ready to be adopted,” she says. Since March, the Humane Society has had 3,300 animals adopted.

Krueger says now is the perfect time to adopt. More people working from home means more face-to-face time to acclimate the animal to their new digs.

“We truly believe these animals are just as important as dogs and cats and companion animals – they deserve our kindness and respect. In turn, they give us so much more,” she says.

In her twenty years of being in the animal welfare business, Krueger simply hopes that Longmeadow can provide “a safe haven for the animals,” she says.
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