Horses and Hounds

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Izzy Golden pets rescued thoroughbred Fabulous Flaw and miniature donkey Charlie at Horse and Hound Rescue in Guthrie.
Nelda Kettles holds a dog while three-year-old twins Knox and Elianna Allen and two other dogs, take advantage of a little shade at Horses and Hounds Rescue in Guthrie.
From left: Thoroughbred Come On Dooley, Izzy Golden, Michael and Jonathan Golden, Aaron Jones, Thoroughbred Phil Baby, Pam Walker, Deana and Knox Allen and Nelda Kettles and Elianna Allen.
Murphy lives in the pens with rescue horses and is better than a watch dog when coyotes or other things happen at Horses and Hounds Rescue in Guthrie.
Phil Baby, a 17-hand high thoroughbred, is one of two horses rescued from Will Rogers Downs after a tornado damaged a trainer’s barn in March.

Horses and Hounds
Rescue foundation works to find loving homes for abandoned animals

GUTHRIE, Okla. – There’s a magical place tucked inside the C K Running Horses ranch where thoroughbred horses and dogs live while looking for that special someone to adopt them.

Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation takes thoroughbreds – retired from racing, tornado victims, turned over from owners who could not provide proper care as well as horses who were abandoned, lets them rest then retrains them for a life away from a racetrack.

The hounds, actually all sizes and breeds, get there in many of the same ways but include dogs who have been dumped in the county or taken in by request from local humane societies.

The rescues live under the sympathetic eyes of owners Nelda and Larry “Potts” Kettles. All are cared for by the Kettles and volunteers.

“We’ve been rescuing animals for 20 years really, but we created our foundation about five years ago,” Nelda said.

The two newest thoroughbreds at Horse and Hound are Come On Dooley and Phil Baby. Both were in a trainer’s barn at Will Rogers Downs when it was hit by a tornado in March. No horses were killed, but these two had cuts and scrapes when they arrived.

On a recent April afternoon the ranch was buzzing. A big yellow dog called Dopey was the official greeter, shoving his head in the car to check out the visitor before anyone else. Several other dogs soon came out to check the stranger, all looking for the person who will allow them to get into their car and take them home.

After a horse arrives, it is evaluated and allowed to rest. Then, Nelda and a few volunteers ride the horses and see what it might be suited for next – hunter/jumper, dressage, barrel racer, trail rider, or in special cases, a therapy horse.

“We try to match the horse to a rider,” Nelda said.

When a match has been fully approved, including checks of the area the horse will live, who will care for the animal and approval from the new owner’s veterinarian, the adoption goes through.

How much does it cost to buy a well-trained thoroughbred?

“We charge $500 for each horse,” Nelda said. “That money is used to pay for the next horse we rescue.”
Nelda has seen some great things, including many magical moments.

“We had a family visit from Stillwater,” Nelda said. “They are retired military and had bought some land there.
“Tom and Mary Logan brought their son Ryan to visit. Ryan is 28, with Downs Syndrome and autism,” Nelda continued.

“His arms were always swinging around and he is non-verbal. I asked if he’d like to ride a horse and his parents agreed.

“We put him on one of our tame mares and led her around and the change was amazing. He relaxed. He smiled. His arms came down and he was calm,” Nelda recalled.

His parents saw this and knew they’d be getting horses of their own.

The Logans are waiting for two horses to come in for them. One will be a therapy horse for Ryan, another a trail horse that can also be used to lead Ryan’s horse.

Many of their volunteers came for the first time to visit the rescue site looking for a horse or dog. The ranch can cast a spell on some and they return again and again until they are regular volunteers.

The helpers are all ages. One group from Edmond includes their longest serving volunteer, relative to the rest.
Jonathan Golden is nearly a year old but was a frequent visitor at the ranch while his mother, Deana Allen, was carrying him before his birth.

“He’s a lifetime volunteer,” his mother said, laughing.

Izzy Golden, a junior at Guthrie High School, held Jonathan on one hip while she used her other arm to pet thoroughbred rescue Fabulous Flaw. Jonathan’s bare foot may have been gently nibbled once or twice, but he was happy where he was.

Izzy, her father Michael Golden and Aaron Jones, 16, a sophomore at Guthrie High School, all came out to see horses they own and board there and check on the new ones.

Three-year-old twins Knox and Elianna Allen have the run of the place under the eyes of their mom Deana. They feed the horses, pet the dogs and generally have a great time until it’s time to leave for an afternoon nap.

The children provide a valuable service. All the dogs and horses become used to seeing and hearing small children and other dogs and cats. It provides the rescuers information on each animal’s temperament and socialization.

Jimmy and Pam Walker are the other founders of Horse and Hounds Rescue Foundation. Jimmy was away, but Pam was there helping out the day of this interview.

While most of the horses and dogs are available for adoption, there are a few “sanctuary animals,” many handicapped in some way that are there to stay. One white dog is deaf and blind, one is very old, and one tiny dog was born with no eyes.

The pattern is clear. If an animal can’t be helped, it gets to stay with the Kettles and be the recipient of treats, petting and love from volunteers and visitors alike.

One sanctuary animal is a miniature donkey named Charlie. He is shy unless you have a treat – soft peppermints are his favorite – then he is your friend for life. Murphy, a full-sized donkey, lives in a far off pen, and Nelda says he is the first one to alert when there is a problem, like coyotes, in the pens.

Among the rescued horses are a few retired race horses who just as cheerfully take a piece of peppermint as any of the others.

Those peppermints are the treat of choice and most horses will sniff around a visitor’s pockets and hands, always hopeful for that sweet treat.

The lone exception is Phil Baby, a 17-hand (a “hand” is four inches) tall brown horse who is one of the tornado survivors. As an example, Triple Crown-winning American Pharoah is 16 hands high and is considered tall. On first view, if Phil Baby had feathery hair around his feet, he’d be a Clydesdale.

The horse that came with him, Come On Dooley, was happy in an indoor stall with a door to a small outdoor pen in the back.

Visitors and new volunteers are welcome at Horse and Hound Rescue. Call (405) 206-4849 to make an appointment.
For more information, to donate, or to learn how to adopt a horse or dog (they have a few cats too), visit www.horseandhoundrescue.com or their Facebook page, Horse and Hound Rescue.

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