Homes For Healthy Dogs And Collaborative Horsemanship | Living Free

More Than Providing Homes For Healthy Dogs And Collaborative Horsemanship | Living Free


Homes For Healthy Dogs And Collaborative Horsemanship | Living Free

Animals deserve a second chance, whether finding their forever home or spending the rest of their days running in the field. That’s one of Living Free’s organization’s missions. This animal sanctuary provides homes for healthy dogs and cats whose times are up at public shelters. They specifically rescue animals from various pounds and do their best to put them back in the best condition for rehoming. 

How about the animals that are not adopted? Well, they still have a promising future ahead of them.

“Hopefully, they’ll find a home — that’s always better. But if they can’t, they’ve got a pretty good life here.”

This is one of Ray Barmore’s statements that reflects the values of the sanctuary. However, they also have other programs that center around veterans, called War Horse Creek.


What Is the War Horse Creek Program?

More Than Providing Homes For Healthy Dogs And Collaborative Horsemanship | Living Free

It’s known that many veterans struggle to adjust to civilian life. Most of them experience mental health issues that make coping with their traumas from service even more challenging.

Unfortunately, not all are willing to partake in therapies. Pharmaceuticals are also wary of their increased risk of addiction to certain medications.

Living Free’s War Horse Creek program aims to help veterans touch their inner patience, understanding, compassion, and empathy that was once dormant from their military tenure through Horsemanship.

According to Ray Barmore, Living Free’s Executive Director,

“We use horses — mostly mustangs — to help veterans transition from military mindset back to a mindset more compatible with civilian life.”

Veterans can participate in a program based around “Collaborative Horsemanship,” where they can relearn humanity with the horses. They can use those skills to build new and existing relationships with friends, family, and society.

“Horses require that the quieter, softer, and easier you are with them, the more you get out of the horse.”

Ray and the rest of the War Horse Program staff utilize their mustangs to help veterans rethink how they are trained in the military.


A New And Gentler Approach To Veteran Transition

More Than Providing Homes For Healthy Dogs And Collaborative Horsemanship | Living Free

Collaborative Horsemanship also helps veterans develop life skills, including wellness, higher education, job retention, conflict resolution, financial literacy, and more. This aims to significantly help veterans improve their lives in the civilian world alongside their loved ones. 

Veterans can also get to do a lot of recreational activities within the Living Free property and even have a chance to connect to their rescue animals. This provides the downtime and relaxation they need to experience life once again.

More than providing homes for healthy dogs and collaborative horsemanship, Living Free is helping animals and people that love them with a second chance at life. 


If you want to know more about their War Horse Creek program or want to adopt from Living Free Animal Sanctuary, you can always visit their sites.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Ray: My name is Ray Barmore and we are on The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Ray, why don’t you first tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals?

Ray: My name is Ray Barmore and I’m the executive director of Living Free.

We’ve been around since 1980, so, we’re not newcomers on the block. We have two missions.

One, we rescue small animals from the local kill shelters. We are a no-kill shelter and we spay neuter bring them back to any health if they need be, solve all those problems, and then we put them out for adoption.

If they do not get adopted out of our facility, they’ll just spend the rest of their life with us and we work to give them the best quality of life that we possibly can.

Other part of our facility is our War Horse Creek program, which is a veterans transitional training program where we use horses, mostly mustangs, to help veterans transition out of the military mindset back to a mindset that’s more compatible with civilian life.

It is horsemanship. We teach horsemanship, and in the process of learning horsemanship, you have to rethink the way you were trained to think in the military.

Horses require that you—quieter, the softer, the easier you are with a horse, the more— the more you get out of the horse.

Chris: Let’s talk about your programs because I do think what’s cool is that you are a sanctuary, as you mentioned, for companion animals.

Tell us a little bit about that and how you guys are finding the animals that come into your care.

Ray: We only take animals from the kill shelters. We do not take animals from the public. We get calls from the kill shelters telling us that they have animals that are on there—they’re in the back room.

Basically, their time is up at the local shelter. Their shelter does not have room for them and they’re going to be euthanized if we don’t come and get them.

So, if we have room in either our kennel or our cattery, we go down and pick them up. And it’s a job that I would not want to have my kennel manager and the cattery manager do it.

They say it’s one of the hardest things they have to do because they walk into the back room and we’ve got room for two dogs and there’s ten back there, and they have to decide which two they’re bringing home and those that are going to stay.

And I would never be able to do that. We would be overrun with animals. So, I’m glad it’s their job and not mine. That’s the toughest part of their job.

When they get here, we give them vet checks. They’re checked out, make sure they’re good and healthy. If they’re not, we take care of any of their health needs.

We spay, we neuter bring them up to date on all their vaccinations. We microchip all the animals, and then we—we—

If they need work to be socialized. We work on that, and then we put them out on our adoption page and look for a forever home.

Chris: That’s pretty cool.

And then what I thought is really neat is with you guys, they have a forever home, right? You’re trying to find them somebody that will take them and get them out, but if circumstances don’t work out and nobody really wants that animal, you guys will make sure they have a happy place to stay forever.

Ray: They are given the best quality of life that we possibly can.

None of the animals are in cages. The dogs, they come in at night into a smaller kennel area simply for safety.

We’ve got a lot of wildlife out here, like coyotes and mountain lions. We bring them in for safety.

But during the day, they’re out in large yards that they get to run around in and be a dog. They get walked several times a week.

We’ve got a couple of dog parks here that they can go out to and get taken off-leashed and—you know, chase the ball, chase sticks.

The one of our parks, it’s a full acre. There’s a small splash pond in it, so the dogs that like water get into the pond and splash around. They can chase the ball and just be dogs for—you know for— an hour, and then they’re walked back to their kennels.

But the kennels are large too, and the cats are in large rooms. None of them are in cages. There’s about 20 to 25 cats per room.

There’s also an outside catio, which is open all the time, so, they can go inside, outside. It’s not a bad life.

Hopefully, they’ll find a home and there—that’s always better.

But if they can’t, they’ve got a pretty good life here.

Chris: Ray, if people are interested in learning more about Living Free or learning more about the horse program, where can they go, what’s the website?

Ray: Enter, “War Horse Creek” into any search engine they have. Our website will come up, and they can learn a whole lot more about us, there’s places there. If they’re a veteran, there’s places there to sign up.

If they want to go to one of our workshops, you can do that. There’s places to donate. And, if they want to come up and just see the facility and see what’s going on, they can—there’s contact information there.

We’d be glad to give tours to anyone who wants to come up and take a look at the facility.

Chris: Well, Ray, thank you so much. Thank you for coming on. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing what you guys are doing.

And as I wrap up the show, I always love to remind people that innovation comes in all sorts of different forms.

And you look at what Ray and the Living Free team are doing to marry together mustangs that are in need of help, with veterans that need some help as well, and an innovative program with animals comes out of that.

So, maybe you’re watching or listening and you’ve got an idea for a product or a service or a program, anything that’s helping animals or the people that love them, we’d love to know about it.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and we’d be glad to have you on the show. And of course, we always need more volunteers at DOOBERT.COM.

You can sign up to be a Dooberteer. You can be a foster or transporter, Even, just buying your pet food through Doobert, we’ll donate 5% to the rescue or shelter or any organization, really, of your choice.

Check it out at DOOBERT.COM.

Ray, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for sharing everything you guys are doing, and I really hope this program expands.

Ray: And Chris, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

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