Dianne Proper and Gerhard Foerg have been involved with saving horses for over 40 years, “We saved horses that were going to slaughter, thrown away because they could no longer work or just not wanted by their owners.” said Proper.
Sisters, Keisha and Kaelyn Oosterveld, joined Proper in 2011. “The girls had a rocky start to life so we became a family.” said Proper, “They’ve been actively involved with horses from the ages of six and four.
The family felt compelled to save lives and make a difference when they stumbled upon killpens in USA after inquiring about a mule they wanted to buy. “After we found out about all these horses going to slaughter, we wanted to help and began to save as many as we could care for. Reba was the first mule we saved from the killpens.” says Proper.
In addition, they felt the need to raise public awareness about horse slaughter in North America in the hopes that other people might save some lives as well. “A very dear friend we met while on this journey of saving horses, Mae, who is an advocate for saving wild mustang horses, was a real inspiration to us starting a sanctuary as well,” says Proper.
In the summer of 2016, the family moved from Ontario and Wild Rose Horse Sanctuary was opened at 284 Upton Road, Saint Peters Bay in eastern PEI. The 55-acre property is home to over 70 horses (28 had been saved prior to move to PEI and the others since April 2019). In addition to the horses, you will find Olaf, a jersey steer saved in December 2014 from a white veal barn; Charlie, Oliver and Minnie, three sheep saved on the day they were born in 2010; a goose named Gus; four llama/alpacas: Lily, Snookers, Lizzie and Leo, saved from an elderly couple that could not care for them any longer; and Penny, a pot-bellied pig who was no longer wanted by her owner.
“We also have dogs. Several were saved from puppy mills and the others came from homes that simply tossed them away,” says Proper “We also have several cats which were feral and just found wandering. With time and love they are now very loving.”
Wild Rose Sanctuary is facing an unexpected challenge. In February 2019 Foerg was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma cancer in his blood, immune system and bone marrow. Foerg is actively taking chemotherapy treatments and recently began kidney dialysis three days a week due to kidney failure.
Wild Rose Sanctuary is extremely grateful to the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition for its generous donation to the sanctuary, which donation is made possible by Jann Arden’s ‘Horseshit’ campaign (horseshit.ca).
Note: This write-up contains excerpts adapted from the Summer 2020 issue of PEI Living Magazine.
Wild Rose Sanctuary
Website: Wild Rose Sanctuary
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wildrosesanctuarypei