Congratulations to our June Volunteer of the Month, Brandi! We are very lucky to have the talented Brandi as a volunteer on the Wednesday AM team. Her reliability and consistency held the team together when it experienced a lot of understandable absences last winter. She was always there, the rock on the team, making sure the horses were cared for, working longer shifts and also occasionally signing up for extra shifts. Brandi is also a very talented artist who donates to the auction each year and has been know to paint a few SAFE horses! Thank you, Brandi, for your dedication to helping our horses, your teammates and the staff, we are fortunate to have you as part of our family.

How and when did you first get involved with horses? Do you have one now you want to tell us about?

I first heard about SAFE when I was visiting an artist friend at the Edmonds Artist Studio Tour in 2021.  Another artist was talking about your upcoming open house event.  It was then that I discovered that SAFE is so close that I could actually walk there if I were so inclined.  I’ve always loved horses and after lock-down, I could definitely use some exercise so I went to the open house looking for volunteer opportunities.  Side note:  A key factor in my decision to volunteer was the fact that there is no way I could possibly “accidentally” show up at home with a new horse (I don’t have the land or facilities to have my own horse).  I do not, nor have I ever, owned a horse , although I distinctly remember my father promising me as a child that he would buy me one some day.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?

I love how much everyone cares for the animals and what a pleasant environment it is to work in.  Everyone is so friendly, helpful, and we all really want to be there.  The schedules/tasks are so orderly and well choreographed.  Every tool in its place, every task assigned and executed on schedule, everything is kept so clean.  Coming from a military background, I really thrive in this environment.  Also, I am very thankful to SAFE for letting me discover through volunteering that I do still love horses, and at the same time, I do not want or need to own one to enjoy them.  If I need more horse time, I can just schedule another shift.  It really is a great way to get my fill without the overwhelm that I would feel with 24/7/365 care for a horse of my own.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?

I love Cramer.  Considering he was a former bucking bronc, I am amazed at what a gentle giant he is!  It also just tickles me how cute he is with Otto, one of the smaller horses.  The two of them together are adorable!  I was so happy that he got adopted and Otto is not far behind!

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?

I am retired from the Air Force Reserves and am a full time artist, specializing in acrylic paintings of animals.  I paint a lot of pet portraits.  Most of my paintings would be considered miniatures ranging in size from 4“x4” up to 11“x14”.  When I am not painting, I am usually gardening or driving around our beautiful state taking photographs.

Do you have family or special people in your life who support your volunteer work that you would want us to mention in your write up?

My husband Rene is so supportive of my volunteer work.  I suspect he knows that if I weren’t volunteering with animals, we would have a lot more pets at home.