When Michelle Feldstein agreed to take a blind horse into her animal shelter she wasn’t prepared for the five goats and five sheep that came with her as a ‘guide dog’ entourage.

Feldstein and her husband run Deer Haven Ranch in Montana, a private rescue centre for unwanted animals that no-one else will take. The horse and her helpers were in another shelter that had to close and would have been put down if Feldstein hadn’t taken them in.

‘Sissy came with five goats and five sheep — and they take care of her. They round her up at feeding time and then move aside to make sure she gets to the hay,’ says Feldstein.  ‘They show her where the water is and stand between her and the fence to let her know the fence is there.’

Since Sissy’s arrival, Feldstein has accepted other blind horses and now has a small herd with their special companions.

Feldstein and her husband pay for their center themselves.  It’s an expensive business costing around $50,000 a year for feed, heat and veterinarian services for the 200 animals. They run a guest house  - for humans - to help support the sanctuary and family members help out.  

‘We get lots of donations, too,’ said Michelle.  ‘Many of our neighboring ranchers think we’re doing a good thing and they want to help.  Instead of giving us a cash donation, I ask that they send them money directly to our feed stores. They know exactly what we need.’

 Michelle pledges that all the animals at Deer Haven will be allowed to live out the remainder of their lives there.

‘I do what I believe in. This is my passion’ she says.

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