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Libby’s Second Chance

Libby was born on the range in the Oregon badlands.  When she was a yearling, she was rounded up with her band by the BLM, separated from them, and shunted from one BLM gulag to another until she was finally sold at auction.

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Liberty Belle (“Libby”), our first rescued wild mustang.

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Libby’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) freezemark brand.

Soon after she was sold, Libby’s owner sent her to a foster.  When her foster could no longer keep her, she was at great risk of being returned to the BLM, and eventually sent to slaughter.  Despite federal laws protecting wild equines, loopholes are often exploited, and when wild horses are returned they can be deemed “unadoptable” and sold to kill dealers, who truck them outside the country to slaughter.

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Wild mustangs in BLM holding pens.

Although our mustang rescue and equine program is still in the planning stage, we decided to take a chance on Libby, and give her safe haven at our Sanctuary – fulfilling an original vision of our Founder, Emily Jo Beard.

Under the patient guidance of Ray Barmore, a lifelong horseman and trainer, Libby took to the groundwork and is gaining trust every day.  She has bonded with our three rescued BLM burros, and Ray’s mares, and is settling in very well in the tranquility of the Sanctuary.

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Ray Barmore, Facilities Manager and horse trainer working with Libby.

Nothing can replace the free range, but with sufficient support, Living Free can one day offer some semblance of the freedom wild horses once enjoyed.

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Libby roams the “Front Forty” section of the property.
No sentient being can thrive when deprived of freedom.  That’s why at Living Free, we provide all rescued animals – cats, dogs and equines – as much space and freedom as possible, while keeping them safe.

In the long term we plan to build a mustang rescue program that will be unique to the region – an expansive, natural sanctuary where horses roam free, and children of all ages can hike into the wilderness and study wild equines in a natural habitat.  We also have plans for an equine therapy program, as well as a humane education center.

Also, our program will help raise awareness of the plight of the mustangs, help stop the roundups, and ensure that wild horses are humanely and rationally managed on our public lands, where they have thrived for many generations.

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Montgomery Pass wild mustang – June 2015. (c. RH – LFAS 2015 )

The Mustang Initiative is a major undertaking, but we believe that preserving a national treasure and symbol of our spirit – not to mention saving the lives of beautiful animals like Libby – is well worth it.

George’s Heartwarming Holiday Story

George’s life began with everything stacked against him. He was born in a cardboard box in an animal control van on the way to the county shelter. His tiny, terrified mother, Kate, had been injured and could barely walk. The two were brought in to the shelter just as our Kennel Manager, Edgar Santiago, was leaving with eight other dogs he’d rescued, already more than he’d planned to bring to the Sanctuary that day. Edgar took one look at the newborn pup and the traumatized mother and knew they didn’t stand a chance. 
 
WHEN GEORGE AND KATE ARRIVED, IT WASN’T THEIR DAYS THAT WERE NUMBERED. IT WAS THEIR MINUTES
 
Not sure how he’d manage it, Edgar agreed to take them. He brought them back to the Sanctuary and found a quiet, warm space for them until there was room at our “Puppy Palace”.  
 
With a little attention and love, Kate soon blossomed and despite her injuries, she has been a doting mother. And George is an adorable mix of love and curiosity, exploring the world around him, amazed at piles of leaves, warm sunlight, and the feel of grass under his feet.

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SAFETY, PEACE AND DOG TOYS
Glenn Massie, dog trainer and owner of Homeskooling 4 Dogs, donated a lot of “educational toys” for George and future puppies at the Puppy Palace. The toys help familiarize them with common objects and surfaces, stimulate their minds and exercise their bodies.
 
Kate liked to encourage George to go down the slide, but George often preferred to stay up top where the view was better. And of course, there is that ball…

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A “HAPPY TAILS” ENDING 
As soon as George was old enough, adopters were clamoring for him. He recently found his forever home with Jessica Huftless of Los Angeles. Now that he is on his own, Kate will undergo the orthopedic surgery she needs to get back on her feet, and potential adopters are already lining up to offer her a loving home, too.  
 
We are happy that George and Kate now number among our success stories instead of as yet another tragic statistic. There are so many more out there – dogs and cats that just need a second chance that you can help provide.

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