Alison and Steve Smith originally meant only to give refuge to homeless miniature horses. Had they known their family farm would soon turn into a promised land for every disabled creature that clucks, oinks, bleats, quacks or brays, then they might have picked a more fitting name for the experiment than Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue.
“We started the nonprofit in 2007,” said Alison. “I wanted to get back into horses at the time, but a back injury kept me from riding. So I got a miniature horse to pull me around in a cart instead. And I loved little Dennis so much that I soon asked myself: ‘Why not start a rescue for miniatures since they’re so often overlooked?’
“Unfortunately we soon found out there was a great need. We once took in 149 horses, donkeys and mules following the largest animal seizure in state history. Gradually law enforcement and others asked us if we would take in other animals – cows, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and anything else that could live on a farm.
“And we’ve taken them all. That’s how I’ve made my best friends.
“Triple H’s most famous resident is Wanda the pig. She was found in a dilapidated chicken coop, abandoned by her former owners after they went to prison, blind and completely alone. She doesn’t like the company of other pigs. She’s a solitary woman in that regard, but she absolutely adores people and going for walks on her leash. Her nose is so good that you would never know she was blind – she knows her pen like the back of her trotter, and can even bob for apples in her wading pool.
“Little Miss Chievous the goat has become another of Triple H’s celebrities. She was the runt in a set of triplets, not even the size of a can of Coke when she was born. We had to bottle feed her and save her from dying of pneumonia a couple of times, but she’s become fit as a fiddle … and an absolute spoiled brat. Little Miss goes to our local Petco as an ambassador for our rescue and leads some local parades.
“Last spring we were asked to take in a bull calf. He was named Covie. When Covie got big enough to play we thought he could use a friend, which coincidentally is exactly when we got a call about a blind female calf named Moo-Lan. Now they’re together and doing wonderfully. Moo-Lan uses Covie as her eyes.
“I never really liked chickens before we started taking them in. It is impossible to live with chickens and not grow to love them. We recently took in 23 at once from an egg factory farm. Their beaks had been snipped off and many of their toes were broken. They had never seen the light of day until they came here. Today they’re outside enjoying the sun. They just got pineapple and cherry tomatoes for lunch, and they’re busy picking off any bugs they can scratch up.
“The way they can appreciate life after everything that has happened to them … well, If you could picture pure happiness in your mind, you would see one of these chickens.
“Triple H has been a huge undertaking for Steve and me. We spend every spare minute of our lives and much of our financial resources caring for animals who otherwise would have been slaughtered or left to suffer and die. Even with that we still need help caring for all the cats at Kitty City, and we’re lucky to have so many people donate horse blankets, feed, and whatever else we could need to accommodate so many animals. But when someone comes to adopt an animal and take them to their new forever home, everything feels worth it.”
Triple H Miniature Horse Rescue gives peace and comfort to the unfortunate and powerless. If you would like to help Alison and Steve on this mission, then you may donate at hhhmhr.org, facebook.com/hhhmhr, or by mailing to PO Box 4125, Bismarck, ND 58502.
By David Scheller