We started with a wonderful organization based out of North Carolina in the debut article of the Equine Rescue Spotlight Series. You can check them out here. This month though we are headed further west to the great state of Oklahoma to take a look inside a fantastic organization.
Yvette Fees, the founder and woman-power behind C.E.D.A.R Rescue, and I connected several weeks ago and really found a strong common ground when discussing unwanted horses and equine rescues. Like most folks who have committed themselves to helping horses that cannot help themselves, Yvette has been extremely busy battling the Oklahoma elements and caring for the 25 equines C.E.D.A.R is providing with a second chance, not to mention trying to find time to answer my questions. But folks, you are in for a real treat.
In 2013, amidst the outbreak of tornadoes in Oklahoma, Yvette and a close group of friends found themselves helping folks with livestock affected by the storms. Providing shelter for the animals while their owners worked to rebuild and recover from the storms, the group began to realize there was a larger calling besides helping just these victims. In lieu, C.E.D.A.R Rescue was formed.
Volunteers. Taking a look straight into the heart of any rescue, one of the most vital components to keep the organization running is dependable volunteers. For C.E.D.A.R, it is no different. When I asked Yvette what volunteers mean to her and what she would like to share with those that may be interested in getting involved as a volunteer, this is what she had to say,
"Volunteering is an act of self-sacrifice, it is a matter of giving of yourself in those less-than-glamorous areas that need attention. Many times when someone inquires about volunteering their motivation is to be able to ‘pet’ horses and to get to ride horses. This is not really what volunteering at a horse and animal rescue is all about.
What is really valuable to a Rescue organization and to the animals themselves is when someone is willing to do those less glamorous jobs like mucking stalls, running a water hose and throwing feed to a needy animal. Taking care of their needs is the first step to reestablishing a trusting relationship with an animal. Of course this is not as much fun as some of the other things that need to be done but the rewards are there because this is what makes a difference in that animal’s quality of life. Having someone who is trustworthy, honest and reliable is so important in a volunteer. We have to know they are capable skillfully, emotionally and can handle the hardest part of a rescue which is sometimes you can’t save them all.
Things like rehabilitating an injured or abused animal require the touch of an experienced caregiver so the animal makes forward progress in a safe manner. After any traumatic experience animals, just like people, need to heal emotionally as well as physically. This takes an experienced individual to successfully guide the process.
CEDAR would love to see volunteers that are willing to make a regular commitment and that are willing to do the smaller things that make a rescue run smoothly.
All volunteers have to have a heart that is open and care about the welfare of animals and people that have been affected by whatever situation. It takes a big heart to give up your afternoon or to forego something in life to be able to contribute your time and or money for a cause."
Any contribution is a big help and very meaningful, even if it is only for an hour a week on a consistent basis. It definitely helps when you meet a volunteer who is willing to make a commitment of a certain amount of time each week on a schedule. When someone volunteers that makes a commitment to a certain amount each month, and the organization can then count on that, more can be taken on by that organization. It knows the support for its mission is there. It is very hard to accomplish things in life without man/woman power and monies/supplies
The other benefit to the volunteer is that as time goes they get to be more and more involved with the rescue and get to take part in more aspects as the trust relationship grows."
Following adoption, it is always exciting to see what new adventures our equine friends will have the opportunity to experience given their ability and suitability. For C.E.D.A.R most of their horses have gone on to be companion animals and trail horses with a deeply rooted position as an extended member of their human families. Yep, they are getting loved on and provided with plenty of carrots, I have no doubt. However, Yvette did share they have had a horse come through that has gone on to show competitively in the dressage arena. Now that is pretty cool!
When it comes to running an organization that depends so much on the good hearted faith and generosity of the public for funding, things are not always that easy. "Everything cost money, everything. There is so much more that could be done and needs to be done but there are only so many resources, both those in man-hours and financially. With committed contributions, both by volunteers and funders, so much more could be done.." Yvette explains in further detail. C.E.D.A.R is a 501 (c) 3 Certified Non-Profit organization which means all financial contributions are tax-deductible. Donations can be made here.
Discussing the ever pressing issue of the 'Unwanted Horses', Yvette speaks from the heart as she elaborates,
"Unfortunately, unwanted animals, especially horses, is a huge issue today in America. A horse is a big commitment of time and money...It breaks the heart to see how many fine, and once healthy, animals are sold for pennies on the pound to slaughter houses."
Fortunately thanks to people like those from C.E.D.A.R, some horses are able to have a second chance at finding a forever loving home. For those that have had the opportunity to serve these great animals and provide them with a second chance at life, you know how much a blessing it is to be a part of their journey.
Passion and inspiration is the true coffee that gets us out of bed in the morning. For those in rescue some days are heart breaking while others make you feel on top of the world. Personally curious about her own personal motivation, I asked Yvette what her greatest joys and rewards are when working with the horses of C.E.D.A.R. Here is what she had to share,
"The biggest reward and joy I find in equine rescue is being able to restore horses, and other animals as well, to their intended health and happiness. To see that sparkle come back into the eye of a horse or to have him give completely into you because he trust you. I’ve seen a horse have tears both of fear and joy. At some point I pray you get see and experience this magic. To see that special connection between a new owner and their new horse is amazing. It is our mission to fix this broken world. Each of us has our own area we can and are supposed to effect. For me it is with horses. There is a deep sense of fulfillment and joy when at the end of the day you can see that you made a difference, that you saved the life of one of God’s creatures. That matters, it matters to me and it matters to them."
Thank you all for stopping by, taking a moment to get to know a little more about C.E.D.A.R and the woman behind it all. If you feel called to do so, below are ways you can give back to this great organization both through volunteering or monetary donations.
Can be made online here!
Volunteering and Contacting C.E.D.A.R
Online submissions can be submitted here.
Join C.E.D.A.R on FACEBOOK to stay up-to-date with their happenings!
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