Even before the pandemic, 2020 was shaping up to be a tough year for Missy L., a Cumberland county horse owner. In January, her sister Mary passed away after her cancer unexpectedly returned from remission. “She was my rock,” says Missy, who had an incredibly close relationship with Mary. The two sisters lived within 3 miles of each other their entire lives, led 4H together, and even worked together for 20 years at the daycare center Mary owned. Despite her grief and the impact of Mary’s passing on the daycare, Missy was determined that the center would stay open to support the families who depended on them for childcare. Then, in March, the pandemic hit in Maine, and Missy was forced to close the daycare after more than two-thirds of the children stopped attending within a two-week period.
On top of all of the challenges Missy was already experiencing, she learned that her Tennessee Walker mare, Tess, needed to be transported for an expensive treatment. Missy didn’t question whether or not she would provide the care Tess needed; after all, her parents had taught her early on to go to the grain store even before the grocery store. Still, Missy was overwhelmed by the expense of her mare’s surgery on top of the regular cost of providing excellent care to her 2 horses, 2 minis, and her donkey, Pedro. Thankfully, Missy’s veterinarian, Lila Solomon from Freeport’s Equine Veterinary Services, is familiar with the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals and suggested she apply to its Feed and Care Bank. Now in its fourth year, the Feed and Care Bank has provided support in the form of hay, grain, farrier, or veterinary care to more than 50 Maine equines. At first, Missy was hesitant; she is much more likely to offer help than ask for it. After thinking about her animals, though, Missy knew that they deserved the help and would not be worried about where the hay was coming from.
In May, Missy received enough hay from MSSPA’s Feed and Care bank to feed her herd for more than a month. The hay did more than nourish her horses, though; for Missy, it provided “the one bright spot in a very long time.” With the breathing room provided by the hay, Missy felt a huge weight lifted from her shoulders. Now, she can focus on the daily training that her 6 year old Tennessee Walker, Remy, requires. The routine of caring for her equines–mucking, scrubbing buckets and grooming–has given Missy a sense of normalcy that so many lack right now. With a helping hand from the Feed and Care Bank, Missy knows that she can continue to provide for the horses who have given her so much.
Maine horse owners in need can apply to the Feed and Care Bank at msspa.org/hay or by calling 207-892-3040.
If you are in a position to support the Feed and Care Bank, donations are appreciated. Give online at msspa.org/give or call 207-892-3040 for more information.