(WXTX) - When many of us think of charity -- animals don't always come to mind. When a horse or some other farm animal finds itself falling on hard times, who can they depend on?
Fred Hunter introduces us to a place with them in mind -- and it's Absolutely Alabama.
Along with her husband Orland, her neighbor Diane and a few volunteers, Brenda Westphal runs the Circle 8 Rescue Ranch in Ralph, Ala.
"You hafta put the animals ahead of anything else and then you hafta learn to make decisions based on on their well being and it and it's not always it's not always a joy," Brenda says. "It's an emotional roller coaster but you hafta be able to handle that and you hafta be able to make decisions on what's the best thing to do."
The day starts early here, although sometimes it's hard to tell when one day ends and the next one begins.
"It's a, you know, 24/7 every day type deal," said Brenda. "You're not gone a get a vacation you know? Unless you've got awesome people can come in that you can rely on to do everything that you do."
"And you don't have to be a hands-on person to be a volunteer," Brenda continued. "I need help with secretarial work, I need a social media director. I don't have time to sit down and do a lot of that stuff. I'm usually ending up doing it late at night and I'll be up till midnight, one-two o'clock in the morning and then I'm really tired and I've got to get up at six the next mornin'. And I have a handful of volunteers."
University of Alabama student Victoria Sheehan is one of those who goes the extra mile. In fact, she's getting ready for her first marathon in Talladega but in her spare time she runs down to Ralph to lend a helping hand. Victoria started riding when she was three.
"I heard about this place and I remember I called her, called Brenda, and just said is there any way that I can just come out there? I can do whatever you need, and just right from then it was just absolutely what can you do?" Victoria recalled. "And I just came out and I never worked with rescue horses before and it's a whole different game from horse shows and you know? Any other real horse world really I mean you can just tell by you know? His ribs and some the condition that you get horses in and they're just, they're really good horses."
"When you decide to run a rescue it's somethin' that you really have to put your heart and soul into," Brenda said.
"I mean it's such a Godsend that I found this place, really," said Victoria. "And I'm so much happier now that I'm doing this and horses are back in my life and honestly I couldn't see going back to just like the horse show world. I would have to come do something like this."
Sometimes we all need a little help, and that extends to our animals, and now the folks at the Circle 8 Ranch could use a little help from you.