Congratulations to SAFE’s Volunteer of the Month for December, Thursday AM Chores Team Player, Wendy Kettering!

Wendy and Butterscotch, photo by Sundee Rickey

How and when did you first get involved with horses? Do you have one now you want to tell us about? I was the usual horse-crazy young girl. When I was in junior high I painted the entire exterior of our house as payment to purchase a horse that resided in the neighbors pasture next door. It was actually a big job, and I finished the whole house all except a small wall. Once the horse was purchased, their labor pool of one vanished. Parents, be mindful that child labor can be a little flakey! I rode with no instruction or mentors; we just hopped on and headed out through nearby open space, forest, and neighborhoods.

Very I recently brought a new horse into my life. She is a 15 year old half Quarter Horse and half Arab buckskin mare. We are getting to know each other and I look forward to hitting the trails with her.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE? I wish I had “found” SAFE about ten years ago! I enjoy being around the horses, and learning by observation how SAFE staff cares for and readies the horses for adoption. I also like to be outside, and my Thursday morning shift gives me a reason to get outside regardless of the weather! However, my favorite aspect is the Thursday AM team members. They make schlepping poop (among other things) a joy, not a job!

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why? I don’t really have a “favorite”! I was very fond of Gunner when he was with SAFE. A little cliché but I like them all. I do appreciate the various personalities of the SAFE horses, and seeing their transformations to curious and more calm such a short period of time after arriving at SAFE. Remarkable.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us? We have four rescue dogs, and I have volunteered in dog rescue for nearly 13 years. Which is how you end up with 4 dogs! The dogs are 16, 13, 8 and 6 years old. All came from less than ideal situations and have their own unique quirks. Which really means, not all of our friends and neighbors love our dogs as much as we do! We recently began building a home on the Key Peninsula in Pierce County, and will eventually move there. It’s an area where we have family, and have had a small cabin since the 80’s. It is quite rural, so it will be a big change from the greater Seattle area. So that little project is beginning to take up more and more time.

Do you have family or special people in your life who support your volunteer work? My husband Mark has encouraged and supported my all-things-animal interests. He has tolerated being bitten (badly!) by foster dogs, and encouraged me to volunteer at SAFE because “you love horses, and you’re not getting any younger.” This fall we took a trip to Africa. It took me 3 years to convince him it would be an amazing experience. He finally acquiesced and now says it’s probably the best trip we have ever taken.