The Rescue Barn is an extension of K9Airlift and a dream-come-true for two former federal government employees, David and Lynne Jennings. The couple spends their time and energy helping rescued animals of every description.
“I moved to Huffman around 1989 from El Paso, and the 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal rescue, K9 Airlift, was created after I retired around 2008,” Lynne said. “K9 Airlift’s mission is to help unwanted and abandoned animals in this area through rescue, sanctuary and spay/neuter assistance. The Rescue Barn came into being in 2009 with a Belgian mare that desperately needed a home.”
“I want people to visit the Rescue Barn and meet the animals who live there,” Jennings said. “They have such different personalities and seem to appreciate being rescued and living in an environment where they are loved and cared for. Since their lives before coming to the Rescue Barn were at the hands of negligent or abusive people, it is good for them to meet visitors who appreciate them and are kind to them.”
According to Jennings, there are a number of people who kindly donate to the care of the animals at the Rescue Barn, but she funds it with her retirement income for the most part. She suggested that donations be made directly to K9 Airlift or to Cachere Feed Store in Dayton. Receipts are available on request for tax purposes.
“The farrier comes every six weeks at $240 per visit. The weekly round bale of hay is $75 now, but can go up to $100,” said Jennings. “Volunteers are welcome and can expect chores such as making new nests for chickens, mucking stalls, grooming horses and checking fence lines. I want people to know that I believe caring for animals should be an act of love. If you cannot love them or properly care for them, don’t get them – it is a big commitment,” said Jennings.
Volunteers are also needed to scrub water buckets and feed bowls, patch fences, make feed store runs, apply saddle soap to bridles and saddles, and much more. There is always a long list of to-do items.
Donated items most appreciated include animal food and grain, old towels, metal trash cans with lids, old but working refrigerators to keep produce in, paper towels, Lysol, Pine Sol, dog crates, heavy pottery bowls to be used for water for rabbits, trash bags, and grain for pigs, chickens, horses, goats, turkeys, rabbits and burros.
“For our farm animals, the goal is to provide rescue, sanctuary and adoption, if possible,” Jennings said, relieved that all their farm animals survived the winter. “Right now, I am looking for old wooden fencing (privacy fence) to complete a farmyard project,” she said.
“New residents to the barn this year are three goats and one sheep,” said Jennings. “Animals in the care of K9 Airlift are: four horses, three burros, four goats, one sheep, two pigs, 18 rabbits, 20 chickens, six turkeys, 20 cats, seven dogs, one parrot, one cockatiel and two parakeets.”
Each animal at the Rescue Barn is given a unique and endearing name. The four horses are Cassie (Belgian mare), Miss Lena (Quarter Horse mare), Dakota (Thoroughbred mare) and Fandango (miniature stallion). There are three burros – Tina and Merry Noel are standard size and Nemesis is a miniature.
The four goats are Nanny McPhee, with newcomers Vincent Van Goat, Beauregard and Snowflake, plus one sheep that is a new arrival named Eunice. Saratoga is the name that Eunice was first given, but Jennings had a dream about her Aunt Eunice shearing sheep, so the name was changed in honor of Aunt Eunice.
Add to the menagerie two pigs, Princess Fifi and Sir Francis Bacon; 18 rabbits named Thumper, Snow White, Bashful, Hoppy, Doc, Siegfried, Roy, Bunuela, Bilbo, Frodo, Mr. Bean, Freckles, Little Mary D., Greyson, Neville, Nigel, Alastair and Angus. Included are six Narangasett turkeys: Geronimo, Pocahontas, Sacajawea, Consuela, Bonita and Conchita; and 10 feral kitties: Winken, Blinken, Nod, Sunshine Lollipop, Tiger Lily, Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mo and Shadow.
Even the chickens each have a name: Charlie Sheen, Dottie, Sister Alouicias, Denise, Henny Penny, Chanticler, Annette, Babette, Caluette, Dominique, Bertha, Cinnamon, Blanca, Gretchen, Hilda, Natalie, Esther, Adelaide, Beulah and Clara.
“We have seven dogs (Zeus, Boudreaux, Jake, Oakley, Digby, Milagra and Ansel), six cats (Sven, Mukluk, Paisley, Kinky Boots, Stormy Llewellyn, and Sylvester); four birds (Gandalf, Rosa Mystica, Heckle and Jeckle) and one pig (Fifi) at the house, and two cats (Esme and Apache) at the hangar. K9 Airlift also donates pet food to Humble Area Assistance Ministries for their ‘Animeals’ Program,” said Jennings.
For numerous safety and security concerns, the location of the Rescue Barn and possible future kennel remains unpublicized. Be forewarned that volunteers and supporters are destined to make many new animal friends when they visit.