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Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch: A Sanctuary For Animals And Humans

Mariah with Bugs & Bunny
Mariah with Bugs & Bunny

Situated in the heart of Glen Rose, Texas, just southwest of Fort Worth, is a ranch that serves as a sanctuary for both animals and humans. This isn't a typical ranch. Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch is home to dogs, donkeys, goats, horses, kangaroos, longhorn cattle, and even a zonkey. They are dedicated to helping animals in need get the love and care they deserve. Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch offers refuge to animals, and equine assisted lessons to individuals who have experienced trauma or difficult situations. They are passionate about making sure that people and animals have a safe and loving place to heal.


Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch’s mission is to save as many neglected animals as they can. Their goal is to rescue, rehabilitate, and show them the love they deserve before finding their forever homes. They welcome horses and donkeys monthly, arriving from livestock auctions and owner surrender situations. Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch’s founder, Mariah, dedicates the first weekend of each month to travel to a livestock auction in Bowie, Texas, rescuing equines in dire need of care. Most of the equines rescued by Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch, are found struggling with health issues from neglect; many are emaciated, and without Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch’s help, they would not still be here today.


Tito, Trigger & Zorro
Tito, Trigger & Zorro
Mercy’s Story

“April 20th, 2022, was the hardest, most eye opening day of rescue for me. We walked the pens full of horses like we normally do. My sister stopped in her tracks and said, ‘There’s a dead one in there.’ As we approached the pen my heart broke as I saw the shallow rising and falling of her chest. She was still breathing. No one cared. People came up, kicked her leg, and continued walking. Was this real life? Was this really the world we live in? I jumped the fence and moved the other horses away, as they were trampling her as she laid there, too weak to stand. I spent the next hour pleading with management, hoping they’d let me buy her and get her out of there. HOW in the world did no one care? Once they allowed me to purchase her, I realized the only way we’d be able to get her out would be to physically drag her. It was the most intense anger and sadness mixed together as me, my sister, and a few Good Samaritans pulled her weak, emaciated body out of that place. We immediately met our vet who agreed, she deserved to be freed from her pain and suffering. As she was leaving this world, the name Mercy came to me so clearly.

The few hours I had with Mercy lit a fire underneath me. It was time to take this more seriously, these innocent creatures have no voice. We will try our best to honor Mercy with every rescue we take in. Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch was born from her story, the Mercy she deserved, and the life she should have lived. I hope we make you proud, Mercy.” Says Mariah, Founder of Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch.


Mercy
Mercy
Reba’s Story

“Reba’s comeback story will forever be one of my favorites. I remember the first time I saw Reba. I was so shocked and heartbroken at the neglect and abuse. She reminded me so much of Mercy, but I felt this time we had a chance. We’d found her in time. I told her that as long as she’d fight, we’d keep going. One day at a time. She’s come SO FAR. One of the sweetest mares I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. We rescued Reba terribly emaciated and got to spend 11 amazing months with her. When her arthritis and joint pain were no longer manageable and her quality of life declined, we laid her to rest surrounded by those who loved her most. She was the ruler over the ranch, and she will be so missed.” Says Mariah.


Reba
Reba

Reba's Transformation



Meet Eleanor

“Ellie is arguably the strongest horse I've ever met. Her abuse was the worst case we've ever taken on. Besides the unbelievable starvation she endured, Ellie had lived in horrendous conditions and had mud caked up past her knees. She also had abscesses in every foot, one of which had blown out the top of her foot. When I stood with her in her first days with us, I felt sick to my stomach. She was so weak, so tired, and in so much pain. She was always out of breath, just from standing. Ellie could only eat for about 5 minutes before she'd need a break to rest. She constantly shifted her weight because she could find no relief from her painful feet. I remember crying while I stood beside her, wondering if I was doing the right thing by keeping her alive. But she had that fight. She wanted to overcome. Watching her come back to life has been the most beautiful, heartbreaking thing. But she's done it; she's looked death in the eyes and had the fight in her to say no. Not me. She is strong.

She is fighting. She is what never giving up looks like.” Says Mariah.


Eleanor
Eleanor
Meet Echo

“This is Echo!

Rescued from the auction in December. I was drawn to her because of her bold love towards every person that entered her space. She would confidently walk up to anyone and everyone, just wanting love. Interaction. I sat and watched many traders go over her, looking for what’s important to them. She would stand so politely. They’d pry her mouth open to see her teeth to age her. They were lifting her feet to check out her legs. Flailing their arms, they tried to scare her so they could see her trot away to see if she was in pain anywhere. She just tolerated it all. And I loved her for it. She is such a lovely girl, and she will make someone a lovely horse someday. We love you, Echo! You’re welcome here as long as you need to find your forever!” Says Mariah.


Echo
Echo
Meet Zuki 

“Watching Zuki find confidence has been SO BEAUTIFUL. 

She has exploded with happiness the last few months. She used to bolt every time we touched her, even when we made sure she knew we were near. Now she walks up so confidently and lets us pet her, and truly enjoys it. We walk away, and she actually tries to follow us for more. I can’t explain how happy it makes us all feel to see her feeling so free and happy. She’s also kind and loving to every horse she meets, which is just so precious. Happy ever after, Zuki!” Says Mariah.


Zuki
Zuki
Meet GusGus 

“GusGus today, versus the day we rescued him. Our sweet boy was SO sick and depressed. Still, he followed me around. Stayed close by. Wanted to be loved on despite being sold over and over like a used car. No one was taking the time to get him feeling better before the next sale. Bless his heart. He’s well now and SO incredibly sweet.” 

Says Mariah.


GusGus
GusGus
Meet Huck

“I'm constantly amazed by this little guy. He’s so sweet and gentle. He loves our morning walks and calls to the donkeys. I'm excited for his quarantine to be over so he can make some friends, but honestly, this time with him is so special and so important. When you’re working with equines from the zebra family, it’s crucial you build a bond with them before they make equine friends. This way, he will trust me and allow me to approach him once he’s out in the pasture with friends. He is doing incredible. We love you, Huck!” Says Mariah.


Huck
Huck

It takes a team effort to keep Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch running smoothly.

Mariah’s sister, Brook, is in charge of hauling the equines, feeding routines, medical care, and day to day tasks such as feed runs and donkey ear scratches. Mariah’s son Shep helps feed the animals and naturally desensitizes the horses and donkeys to loud sounds, running children, and fast-moving objects. Mariah’s husband Alex handles all the heavy lifting, tractor tasks, hay hauls and any handy work needed on the ranch. Lyndi, a ranch hand does morning feedings, keeps the stalls and runs clean for the horses, helps run the equine assisted lessons program, and jumps in to help wherever she's needed. Sheridan, a horse trainer, helps properly assess the horses to find areas they enjoy, and areas they need more work/confidence in. Megan, a rescue team member, cares for the senior equines in retirement. Tori volunteers weekly, paints portraits of the rescue equines, and donates 70% of her art sales to Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch. It also takes a team of multiple volunteers, vets, farriers, sponsors, adopters, and people who donate to keep up with the needs of Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch.


Brook & Frank
Brook & Frank
Shep & Charlie
Shep & Charlie

Upon being rescued, the horses and donkeys are transported by Mariah to Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch’s quarantine facility where they decompress and work towards full health before heading to Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch’s main property. The quarantine property is where all the new intakes live for the first 30 days of being with Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch.


After 30 days of quarantine, the horses and donkeys are transported to Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch’s main property, where most of them will stay until they are adopted. Some of the horses and donkeys stay as permanent residents and are involved in helping people heal through equine assisted lessons. A few of the senior equines go to live with Megan, who runs Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch’s hospice/senior center. Megan showers the senior horses and donkeys with love through their final months of retirement and provides them with a safe, loving home.



Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch also offers equine assisted lessons to trauma survivors and special needs children. Offering equine assisted lessons was something that Mariah dreamed of doing since launching Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch. In Mariah’s words, “Horses don’t get enough credit for how incredibly healing they are. Growing up I went through many dark years and sometimes the only thing I looked forward to in life was going out to a ranch where I could love on horses and donkeys. I could feel the pit leave my stomach. My heart rate slowed down. I did not feel scared or anxious. It was my safe space. This is incredibly emotional for me, as this feels like a full circle moment in my life. It’s really happening. I made it out of the darkest years of my life and found a way to help others through their dark years, using the same thing that saved me.”



In 2023, Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch saved 97 equines, 5 dogs, 2 kangaroos, and provided free equine assisted lessons for 7 trauma survivors and special needs children.


Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch relies on donations from people like you to help horses, donkeys, and other animals. If you’d like to help Sweet Mercies Rescue Ranch, you can get involved by donating, sponsoring, or adopting.


For more information, visit their website at www.sweetmerciesrescueranch.org and follow them on Instagram and Facebook at @SweetMerciesRescueRanch.


Rufus, Opal, and Goose


"He redeems your life from destruction, He crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies." Psalms 103:4



















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