Meet some of our other rescued animals
Though we focus solely on rescuing equines, the public nature of our work means sometimes other animals are forced upon us, too – sometimes they’re even dumped at our front gate.
That’s mostly how we’ve come to have a small menagerie of non-equine animals in our care. Amazingly, they all integrate very well. It doesn’t seem to matter if they’re a pig, turkey, cat, dog, bird, peacock, horse, donkey, pony or mule, they all get along together really well. There’s a message for us humans in that, huh?
Jasper the peacock
In 2014, Rod went to a local Spanish store to buy some bedding for the horses, and found Jasper locked in a tiny cage. Awfully, it turned out he'd been kept there almost his entire life. We've actually seen this a lot here in Spain, people keeping peacocks and other fowl in just horrendous conditions – tiny cages or in semi darkness in garages.
We couldn't leave Jasper to that fate, so we brought him home to our garden.
Around the same time, someone found a tiny baby female peacock wandering the streets, and gave her to us so Jasper had some company.
We built Jasper and Jasmine a large enclosure for the first six months to teach them that our centre was their new home, as peacocks can fly. Then we slowly introduced the pair to the outside world.
Can you imagine what that must have been like, for a bird that had always been imprisoned in a tiny little cage, to suddenly have freedom?
Jasper's still quite frightened of the outside world, but he loves roaming his garden and has developed his own little daily routine. Early in the morning he spends a couple hours with one of our rescued horses, Hurricane, then heads back to our garden to spend the rest of the day in the shade, perched on our fence or on a table we set up especially for him. We just love him.
Isadora the pot-bellied pig
Isadora came to us not long after she was born in June 2011. Some good friends of ours had saved her dad from a market years ago as a tiny little guy, half-boar, half-pig. Then someone gave them another pig, who turned out to be a female. Surprise, surprise, a litter of piglets soon appeared. We agreed to take little Isadora.
At first she lived in the house and shared a basket with Mini the Chihuahua-Papillion, who we rescued as a puppy. Gradually, her baskets got bigger and bigger. One day, we got home and Isadora had made a nest in the front room with all our cushions, rugs, table lamps, cords and all sorts. It was a giant mess, with a giant pig lying in the middle of it.
That’s when we decided Isadora would be better off living outside. She promptly took over Rod’s workshop, which became her apartment, and claimed several favourite spots in our garden, too.
Mini the Chihuahua-Papillion grew up and decided hanging out with a pig was no longer cool, but then little Benson the dog was left in a cardboard box outside the gate. We brought him up on a bottle and then Isadora took over, becoming his mother figure. They still spend hours together every day. Though it’s a bit of a love triangle, as Ernie the turkey loves Isadora, too, and chases Benson around the garden trying to have Isadora to himself.
Isadora has a lovely life, with her special GM-free, vegetarian pot bellied pig food that we ship over from the UK for her, plus all the fresh lettuce she gets twice a day. We’ll keep her forever.
Romero the stable cat
Romero was dumped at our rescue centre in 2013 and broke his leg as a young cat, necessitating an operation to have a metal plate put in so he could walk again. But he’s very happy and healthy now, and lives in our stable area and feed room with another cat named Carson.
Carson the stable cat
Carson was among a litter of kittens dumped inside our gate during a Christmas event in 2011. Even though our place was already overflowing with animals, we couldn't just ignore these abandoned kittens so we took them in and gave them a home. Carson seems pretty pleased with his lot in life now.
Harvey the dog
Harvey was abandoned as a puppy on a tiny balcony in April 2013, left to sit in his own faeces with no food or water, very little shade and no way of escaping. We were told the Spanish family who lived there could no longer pay their utilities and had simply left, locking Harvey on their terrace.
A woman who lived in a neighbouring apartment noticed this poor puppy and called the police, who said they couldn’t act without a rescue centre lined up to take him afterwards. The local dog charities were too full to help, so she called us in desperation. We simply couldn’t say no.
Harvey was still a puppy when he arrived, small for his age and with a slightly deformed back due to malnourishment.
He’s now more than made up for that slow start. He’s an enormous boy – the size of some of our miniature horses – and doesn't quite seem to realise just how big he is, meaning he occasionally bowls people over from sheer excitement. Luckily, he doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body.
Harvey lives in our garden with our other canine residents, but has also learned how to open doors so regularly lets himself inside.
He’s taken up a lot of our personal space and he’s certainly not the sort of dog we would have picked for ourselves, but nonetheless he’ll stay with us for the rest of his life, as they all will. We believe that if you undertake to save an animal, you must keep it for the rest of it’s life, not play pass the parcel with it. Harvey is with us for good.
Ernie the turkey
Ernie had been offered as a raffle prize at a Spanish fiesta back in 2011. The Spanish man who won Ernie promptly tied his legs up with string and threw him in the boot of a car like a bag of rubbish.
A horrified English couple immediately offered to buy Ernie to save him. Afterwards, they realised they lived in an apartment and had nowhere to keep him. So guess who they called? Us!
Ernie was a young turkey who had been fattened up for the Christmas table. He was terrified of people, terrified of the open world and basically a nervous wreck.
Over the years, he developed the most amazing personality. He loved people and was in his element on our open days. He knew his name and when we would call out, he'd answer us. And he was madly in love with Isadora the pig and fought for her attention.
So many people got so attached to Ernie. He was one hell of a personality and an absolute pleasure to live with. Every home should have an Ernie the turkey – not just for Christmas, but for life. Ernie passed away in October 2017 after a long and happily life. We still miss him very much.
Our flock of chickens
A happy flock of chickens also call our garden home. Never a dull day around here!