The mission of Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary (“FAAAS”) is to provide safe refuge, purposeful rehabilitation and retirement aftercare for special needs horses and other animals to serve military veterans, children, families and seniors dealing with physical and emotional challenges. While our primary focus is horses, we do not discriminate against any animal or breed. All creatures in our care are treated humanely and with compassion. FAAAS is part of a national ad-hoc anti-slaughter network seeking a positive, permanent impact by advocating for animal welfare and humane treatment of equines and all animals.
Founded in 2008 by Michele Bolinger, Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary (FAAAS) operated as a private, self-funded charity before gaining 501(c)(3) status in 2014. We provide refuge, rehabilitation and permanent retirement for horses impacted by negligence and abuse.
Our all volunteer organization operates for charitable purposes, collaborating with other organizations that share common goals such as:
- Advocating for the prevention of cruelty to equines and other animals and anti-horse slaughter
- Educating the public to the injustices suffered by thousands of animals each year
- Prompting others to reach out and help animals in need
FAAAS is a driving force in a national, informal network of anti-slaughter advocates. For over ten years, we’ve worked with many other organizations across the country to assist in the rescue of horses bound for slaughter and export to Canada, Mexico and countries abroad. Some of these horses now call our sanctuary their “forever home” and others have been placed in no-kill facilities and private homes. Today, FAAAS is home to many special needs animals including 7 horses, a number of once feral cats, 2 dogs and a few hens.
Michele’s connection with animals can be traced back to her childhood. Growing up on the east end of Long Island, New York, surrounded by farms and lush open spaces full of wildlife, Michele encountered all kinds of critters. Many of these animals earned a special place in her heart. Often, Michele unsuccessfully lobbied her parents for animals and house pets, many of which she rescued herself.
In 2006, following the breakdown of Barbaro (the Kentucky Derby winner who was injured in the Preakness, and later succumbed to Laminitis) Michele began to research his racing accident. Learning that each year approximately 125,000 thoroughbred race horses either injured or no longer racing are sent to slaughter, Michele was inspired to become an advocate for these horses. At 40, following the death of her mother, Michele rescued her first horse, a thoroughbred mare, named Foreveramber. She did so in honor of Barbaro.
Having become very active with horse rescue, in August 2007, Michele once again opened her heart and her home to Cody. He was a wild mustang born in the Pryor Mountains of Montana who was later captured by the Bureau of Land Management. Eventually, he was rescued on the road to a kill shelter after countless years of abuse. In 2008 after losing access to the farm where her 2 horses were boarded, Michele purchased 11.5 acres of farm land in Medina, Ohio and Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary was born.
Over the past 12 years, Michele’s efforts have led to the rescue and rehoming of over 45 horses, many of them off-track thoroughbred race horses. Countless dogs, cats and other wildlife also have homes thanks to Michele. She has helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for other nonprofit organizations and continues to work tirelessly to be a voice for voiceless creatures in need. In 2018, Michele’s vision to one day provide an Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program became a reality with the launch of our V.E.T.S (Veteran’s Equine Therapy Services) program using the EAGALA (www.eagala.org) program model.
We regret that as a small organization, we do not have the resources to continue to assist in rehoming, adopting out or placing horses or other companion animals. Due to our commitment to being the “forever home” for our rescues, we are always at full capacity. We encourage all to seek the assistance of no-kill shelters in placing animals you may no longer be able to care for. If all options have been exhausted and you are faced with the prospect of keeping a beloved animal from auctions, kill-pens, or other abusive situations, we urge you to consider humane euthanasia. Administered by a veterinary professional, PETA, The Humane Society of the United States and The American Veterinary Medical Association all concur this is the compassionate, caring choice.