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)

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, believed to be between six and eight years old now, was among nearly five dozen animals that were seized by the SPCA during a cruelty investigation in August, 2015.

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

They had been kept without proper access to water, food or shelter; conditions that a senior animal protection worker described as “disgusting.”

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.

Rescue Me – published earlier this month – 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.

Every year, the BC SPCA seizes between 50 and 100 horses from unhealthy situations. In some cases, the animals have been intentionally harmed; in others, the skin, respiratory, digestive or other ailments they are found to be suffering with have resulted from a lack of understanding or education around their required care, or a lack of the finances to properly provide it.

In her five years as manager of the BC SPCA’s equine division, Leiki Salumets has seen all of the above. As well, the cases where someone who acquired a horse for a specific purpose such as competing, then didn’t want the expense of caring for them after those ‘useful’ days came to an end.

“When I’m at work, I sort of compartmentalize a little bit, so that I can just be professional and get through my day,” Salumets said. “If you let the emotions in… I would probably be crying all day.

“I have a window out of my office that looks into the first stall (of the SPCA’s Good Shepherd barn) and there’s an underdeveloped, skinny horse standing in front of me, and to know that that horse could turn out like Lacey just keeps you going – knowing that there’s good things on the horizon.”

Proceeds from the sale of Rescue Me – the first run of 500 copies will translate to around $16,000 – are earmarked to support the care and rehabilitation of the Princeton rescues.

Publisher Jill Veitch – who grew up in South Surrey’s Crescent Heights neighbourhood but now calls Kelowna home – described the team effort and determination to pull the book together as “heartwarming.”

“Everybody has a passion for it,” she added.

The book, edited by Langley’s Martina Montgomerie, hit the (online) shelves on Nov. 6 ($55, available at www.leannepeniukphotography.ca/rescue-me), and the sale of each one is enough to care and feed a rescue horse for one day, she said.

“It’s kinda neat when you can know that your money (helps),” Veitch said.

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.

“We tried to make it as complete a picture (as possible),” Peniuk said. “To really use it as a tool.”

Peniuk – who, like all involved in Rescue Me, has had a passion for horses for as long as she can remember – said even though the book is finished, it’s noted as ‘Volume 1: Humans Saving Horses’ for a reason: there is another chapter yet to come.

“Next year, I want to work – this is basically the yin and yang project – on horses saving humans,” she said, explaining that she will be looking to tell the stories of people for whom horses have had a healing effect.

Among so many other things, horses – given the chance – can teach about perseverance, patience, resilience, confidence, relationships and trust.

“We save horses, but horses also save us,” Peniuk said.



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

 

SPCA Animal Protection Officer Leanne Thomson stands with Lacey shortly after she was seized from a Cloverdale property during an August 2015 cruelty investigation. (Evan Seal photo)

SPCA Animal Protection Officer Leanne Thomson stands with Lacey shortly after she was seized from a Cloverdale property during an August 2015 cruelty investigation. (Evan Seal photo)

Just Posted

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

teaser
Top-10 ‘Maxim’ magazine contest model got her start in Surrey

Kajal Kumar hopes to earn $25K cash prize and a cover photo shoot

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on B.C. highways – checkpoint at Manning Park

Four checkpoints are set up Thursday, May 6 around the province

A woman walks past a long lineup that snaked through the parking lot at the Cloverdale Rec. Centre April 27 after Fraser Health allowed people age 30 and over from “high-transmission neighbourhoods” to access the AstraZeneca shot. The temporary vaccination centre is located on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale now considered a ‘high-transmission area’

Anyone 30 and over can now register for a vaccine

Ocean Athletics’ Roy Jiang – a senior at Southridge School – will study, run track and play clarinet at the California Institute of Technology beginning this fall. (Gordon Kalisch/Fast Track Sports Photography)
‘Triple-threat’ Southridge School student runs toward CalTech

Roy Jiang will compete on track team, play in the university’s symphony and study bioengineering

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Most Read