This is part of a series highlighting Lady Freethinker’s Urgent Need Fund 2023 grant program recipients. The program was created to help nonprofit organizations with animal rescue, care, and awareness projects improving the treatment of animals. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.

“Life in the Pacific Northwest can be harsh,” Christina Thomas, former board member of River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary, told Lady Freethinker. “But the well-being of the animals is always paramount at the sanctuary.” 

The volunteer-run River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary in Spokane, Washington, has over 120 farmed animals and promotes that every animal should be appreciated and respected as an individual. 

When the organization applied for Lady Freethinker’s (LFT) 2023 Urgent Need Fund, we got to know two of these special individuals — Pancho and Phoebe. 

white sheep with vet techs

Pancho the Sheep (Courtesy of River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary)

Pancho was born at the sanctuary shortly after his mother and father were rescued from an abuse and neglect case. After his birth, River’s Wish quickly discovered that Pancho was in agony from bladder stones. 

Also coming from a case of neglect, a miniature horse named Phoebe was suffering from severe hoof issues and in desperate need of ongoing care and rehabilitation. 

Thanks to our generous supporters, LFT was able to pay for the entire cost of both Phoebe and Pancho’s medical bills — which totaled over $7,000. Both animals are doing well, especially considering the severity of their conditions.

Phoebe is closely monitored and provided pain management medication when she needs it. She has her own private barn stall and takes regular strolls on the property with her two donkey friends.

Pancho recovered well after having his bladder stones removed, returning for vet checkups every three to four months. Meanwhile, he enjoys spending time with his family.

mini horse in blue blanket

Phoebe the Mini Horse (Courtesy of River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary)

Both Phoebe and Poncho, along with all of the sanctuary’s animals, receive love and attention from their pool of over 30 volunteers, ranging from 18 to 80 years old. They pride themselves on the level of care provided for the sanctuary’s animals and regularly host groups of students and Boy Scouts for educational visits. 

The sanctuary’s animals are always the top priority, according to Thomas. 

“Trudging through mud and muck, breaking through half-frozen surfaces, foot-high snow, rainstorms, and sideways winds are never barriers to their care,” Thomas explained.

We are proud to support River’s Wish in their loving care for these abused and neglected animals. 

Without our supporters, the Urgent Need Fund would not be available to animals like Pancho and Phoebe. 

It is because of you that we were able to cover their medical bills enabling these two amazing animals to live the rest of their lives in good care at the sanctuary. 

If you’d like to learn more or support River’s Wish Animal Sanctuary, we encourage you to visit their website and their Facebook page.