Nuzzling her muddy, straw-stained nose up against her owner’s leg, Blossom, a red tinted heifer, shows affection to Shelby Brawley. It’s the form of affection that reminds Brawley why she loves doing what she’s doing.
Brawley is the owner of Hoofs n Horns Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit organization that cares for farm animals such as pigs, goat, roosters, chickens, cows, dogs, cats, horses, ducks and a donkey. What’s different about HoofsnHorns is that most of the animals have special needs.
One of the pigs, Petunia, has crippled hind legs, while Jackson, a German shepherd dog, gets around on three legs. Some may ask, what’s the point? Why keep animals that aren’t fully healthy? For Brawley the answer is simple: animals are valued no matter their condition.
“When I got my crazy mini donkey – you think, well what good is he? He’s as funny as heck,” said Brawley. “His value is pure entertainment.”
HoofsnHorns is located on a four-acre lot in Picture Rocks. Some of the animals share living quarters with each other in the enclosed area on the property. Goats climb on brick goat houses, ducks swim in a small pond of water and dogs roam around the property – ensuring that no unwelcomed desert critters venture in.
Before starting HoofsnHorns, Brawley worked numerous years in the retail business and as an EMT, but all along knew that’s not what she was meant to do. It wasn’t until finding an abandoned animal on the side of the road, taking the animal in and caring for it, that Brawley realized where she should invest her time.
“I know it’s what I’m meant to do,” said Brawley about caring for animals. “I think I’m lucky enough to be one person that’s lived long enough to find my true calling in life.”
Helping alongside Brawley is her mother, Sydney Smith, who is her next-door neighbor. The animals are not only cared for by the means of food, water and shelter but also through the physical therapy and personal care from Brawley. Each animal has a name, because each animal has a story and is valued, said Brawley.
Brawley sells milk, soap, eggs and shirts to raise money to help pay for expenses. Donations and sponsorships are encouraged and welcomed. For more information regarding this and more, visit Hoofsnhorns.com.