Sams Valley woman saves animals at her RES-Q Ranch

In 2002 Linda Marsh and spouse Lou departed  Northern California for their 42 acres of lush, verdant serenity on Meadows Road. Her love for animals drew her to join the Board of Directors of a non-profit equine sanctuary run by Michelle Thomas on nearby Rte. 234. A few years later, Thomas wed, relocated to Bend, and took several of the fifteen rescued horses with her. 

As of  January, 2011, Marsh officially stepped up to the post vacated by Thomas’ departure. The Marsh property provides shelter to seven horses, one donkey, two canines, and four felines—all rescues, according to Linda. They coexist with other pets that were not among the rescued, but obtained by other means. The distinction means that her pets don’t fall under the definition of creatures still seeking qualified, loving, adoptive homes.

On March 22, a lone, underweight white and brown-faced  mare stood behind a shoulder-high barn door.  “That’s ‘Sweetie,’” Marsh said, flashing an affectionate grin to the approaching equine.” She’s part Mustang.  Horse lover, Katie, read an ad on Craig’s list offering her to a good home, so  Katie called me. Sweetie had almost starved to death before we got her. See how her ribs still show?  I also wormed her. I keep her separated from the other horses until we’re sure she’s healthy enough to be around them.” One of the functions of Res-Q ranch involves providing companion horses to qualified families, upon request. What qualifies a family? “They fill out an application indicating they’ll provide certain essentials. They must have shelter overhead—anything that will keep the animals out of the rain and cold,” she said. “Applicants must be able to furnish feed, clean water, and, when needed, supplements.”    

Marsh stepped outside a back entrance overlooking a roomy corral. “Keger, Maggie, Casper,” she called. “Come on out here.” Lou ventured out, and underscored  the beckoning  with his shrill, brief, whistling. The animals shed their shyness and ventured forward. Keger, a large male described by Marsh as “a Belgian,” demonstrated his penchant for hugging, by positioning his head and neck to embrace his human. But, the true show-stealer?—Casper the friendly donkey, so named because of his extroverted nature, combined with an eerily soft, grayish white, ghost-reminiscent appearance.  

Res-Q ranch subsists in its non-profit status, on the generosity of donors, Linda Marsh states. “Twice each  year—Spring and Fall,– we hold fundraisers.” These resemble larger yard or garage sales. We always welcome donations of good, clean, items in decent, sellable condition for these events, she says. “Even if the sale is months away, we’ll probably have space to store the contributions we accept.”

Marsh conveyed an emphatic thanks to Rainey’s Corner, and the community for the boost that keeps her involved with this noble cause. “We’ve gotten cash, hay, wormers, and tack. Kind people have left them off at Rainey’s for us. It’s been a huge help.”

For details on adopting rescued horses, or to make tax-deductible donations to RES-Q Ranch, a  501 (C) (3) Non-Profit Oregon Corporation, please phone 541-826-7244.

By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent

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