Round up your posse and mosey on down to T.E.X.A.S. Rescue on Saturday, May 6 for the nonprofit organization’s inaugural spaghetti western fundraiser.
T.E.X.A.S (Texas Equine Xperience and Sanctuary) Rescue was established as a nonprofit organization last year with the mission to rescue, rehab, and rehome donkeys, horses, and mules.
“We rescue animals that have been starved, abused, neglected, forgotten, whatever the case may be,” said Tracy Miller, co-founder of T.E.X.A.S Rescue with his wife, Vicki. “Part of our mission statement is ‘We're helping the animals whose ancestors built the great state of Texas.’”
SPAGHETTI WESTERN FUNDRAISER
To help offset the costs of feed, veterinary care, and fuel costs, T.E.X.A.S Rescue is hosting a spaghetti western fundraiser from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, located at the rescue at 950 Williamson Road.
“Basically, the whole day is about fundraising. There's a huge expense with what we do, and it's gotten very expensive to feed the animals,” Tracy Miller said. “Our number one goal with rescuing anything, whether it's a horse, a donkey, or a mule, is making sure they're fed well, so buying feed is our number one priority. Any amount of donations that come in, whether it's online, or whether we meet somebody in the grocery store, and they donate to us, 100% of any donation goes directly to our rescue animals.”
Based on the old spaghetti western movies — a broad subgenre of western films produced in Europe — the event will transport attendees back to the old west.
"There will be a costume contest, so come in your best dressed western attire. If you want to come in with gun belts on, we're good with that. If you want to be the saloon girl, that depends on whether or not you shave your beard that day,” Tracy joked. “But come on in. There will be a prize (for the best dressed) and that will be a stay in our B&B here on the property.”
Guests can feast on the — perfectly fitting — spaghetti dinner provided by T.E.X.A.S Rescue board members and volunteers.
Following the meal, games and activities will commence, including a cakewalk, silent auction, a Kiss-My-(Butt) photo booth, and Donkey Dung Bingo.
“The mini horses and donkeys will be pretty much mingling through the crowd, while the draft horses will be behind a rope for photo ops but will still be able to be up close and personal (with the attendees),” Tracy said.
Dessert treats from Victoria’s Bake Shop will also be provided.
There is not a specific price point required for the spaghetti dinner or to attend the event, but monetary donations of any figure will still be accepted.
“All donations for meals and photos will go to T.E.X.A.S. Rescue, and 100% of donations will be used for the feeding, care, and welfare of our rescues,” Tracy said.
Individuals who wish to donate ahead of time can visit the website texasrescue.org, and click “Donate Now” under the “Donating” tab.
For more information, contact Tracy and Vicki at 661-972-5492.
The volunteer program for T.E.X.A.S Rescue is now underway, with 17 community members attending the first orientation a couple of months ago.
“The volunteer program is predominantly about helping the rescue and we're trying to get everything nailed down for what individuals will be able to do out here, but it also depends on your expertise,” Tracy said. “So, if you have experience with animals, you'll get to do a little bit more around the animals than somebody who’s never been around them. For volunteers who don't have any experience, it's going to give them an opportunity to be around and learn about the animals.”
For children age 12 and under, they can still volunteer at T.E.X.A.S Rescue by participating in Volunteer Reading Day, where they can read a book in front of an animal that's apprehensive around humans.
"We have a miniature horse in particular, and he is scared to death of absolutely everything," Tracy said. "We don't know what went on in his past life, but it's pretty evident he was abused. So, if we put him into a small corral area, a child with a parent can sit in a chair right outside that corral, and the child can practice their reading to mom or dad. The animal gets to hear that tone and it starts loosening them up to where they get used to people. It really is a big help for us to gentle some of these animals, so that'll be for the under-12 group.”
Those interested in volunteering can give Tracy and Vicki a call at 661-972-5492 for more information and to fill out an application.
Many veterans and first responders experience high levels of stress and sometimes even PTSD from a traumatic experience.
To help ease stress levels, Tracy and Vicki have decided to open their rescue to those hard-working individuals so they can experience equine therapy.
“There's a lot of people who need a little R&R in their life — first responders, police, firefighters, emergency medical services, people in ERs, hospital workers and military veterans; we have hundreds of them,” Tracy said. “They don't always deserve what they get, and they don't always get what they deserve, so we want to be able to give back. Any of them can be dealing with PTSD, and to come out and be able to sit in the chair and be able to pet on the donkey and feed them their animal crackers — which is their favorite treat — it gives them a place to just sit and relax, and we wanted to do that in addition to families and especially, families with kids.”
Tracy and Vicki’s rescue animals have also proved to be calming to children with autism, as they help with the development of empathy, social, and communication skills.
"We have seen people who are non-verbal with autism come out, spend time with the animals, and they're talking,” he said. “That's a magical thing when you figure families never get to see that, so that's a big deal for us too, so we want to have a day where families who have a family member or a friend with autism can come out. We want to be able to open up to any of these folks (so they can experience) what we get to see and be around every day to people who don't have that opportunity. Besides rescuing the animals, the animals are now helping rescue people.”
Tracy said he and Vicki are excited for the opportunity to educate Hood County residents about a cause that is so near and dear to their hearts.
“There's a lot of folks that don't understand equine rescue,” Tracy added. “They understand dog and cat rescues, but they go ‘Really? Horses and donkeys need to be rescued?’ They don't see that. It opens people's eyes, and it gives them an opportunity to see the kindness in these animals. Having this event is going to give them that opportunity to see what these animals are all about and why — not only us, but our board members and donors — all fall in love with these animals.”