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.
A Guiding Force
Founded in 2008 by Michele Bolinger, Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary (FAAAS) has operated for nearly 10 years. We provide refuge, rehabilitation, and permanent retirement for horses impacted by negligence and abuse. Our founder’s vision to one day provide Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) will officially become a reality as the organization prepares to launch our V.E.T.S. (Veteran’s Equine Therapy Services) program using the EAGALA therapy model www.eagala.org/military, beginning Spring 2018! The current equine residents and animals will continue to assist military veterans, children, and families suffering from emotional and physical challenges. Our organization operates for charitable purposes. We also collaborate with other organizations that share common goals such as:
- Advocating for the prevention of cruelty to equines and other animals, as well as 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. We have successfully raised funds and rescued many horses. Often they were bound for slaughter and export to Canada, Mexico and Europe. After rescue, we rehabilitate them, sometimes placing them up for adoption or permanently retire them to our sanctuary.
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. Losing access to the farm where the two horses were boarded, in 2008 Michele purchased 11.5 acres of blank farm land in Medina, Ohio. From that land Forever Amber Acres, funded by Michele for nearly five years, was born.
Who We Are Today
Forever Amber Acres Animal Sanctuary (FAAAS) gained 501(c)(3) status in 2013. It is currently home to many special needs animals, including: 6 horses, once-feral cats, two dogs and some rescued hens who all call this sanctuary “home.” Some of our rescues don’t reside at the sanctuary though. Through our stringent First Right of Refusal (FRR), some animals have been adopted to other no kill facilities and private homes. Our rescued friends have protection under our FRR contract. This allows us to continue to track these animals after placement. It also ensures their safety and security. FAAAS has the right to take them back if their adoptive homes don’t work out.
Michele’s efforts have led to more than 45 horses being rescued and placed. Most of them previous off-track thoroughbred race horses. Countless dogs, cats, and other wildlife also have homes thanks to our founder. She has also helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for other nonprofit organizations. Through hard work and passion, Michele continues to expand Forever Amber Acres, a lifelong dream. She is the voice for suffering creatures and as well as the proud founder of our organization.