Lucinda Dyer, author of Eco-Horsekeeping: Over 100 Budget-Friendly Ways You and Your Horse Can Save the Planet (, reminds us that you don’t need an empty stall or extra paddock to help an animal in need.

When it comes to animals in need, you can’t find a group of people with bigger hearts than horse people. Most of our horses have been “recycled” from a previous job or owner—and when have you ever been to a barn without at least one dog or cat that “just showed up one day” and was promptly given a loving home?

Sadly, there does come a time when most of us are simply “full up” and unable to bring yet another four-legged creature into our life. But this doesn’t mean you can’t still help an animal in need. For just a few dollars a month, you can “sponsor” an animal at one of the many sanctuaries around the country. Here are three of my favorites:

The mission of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation ( in Saratoga Springs, New York, is to save Thoroughbreds no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse, and slaughter. You can sponsor a horse like Highblast, who made 114 career starts and continued racing until age 13, or Native Ivory, who lost his tail in the starting gate during one race and still finished third!

If you’ve watched “Dog Town” on the National Geographic channel (and if not, it’s time to put the series at the top of your Netflix queue) you know about Best Friends Animal Society ( Located at Angel Canyon, a 33,000-acre ranch outside Kanab, Utah, it’s a shelter of last resort for some 1,700 abused and abandoned animals. At Best Friends, you can sponsor a horse, mule, burro, cat, guinea pig, or bird. Or, become a “Guardian Angel” and help animals with special physical or emotional needs.

And how about sponsoring something on a slightly grander scale? The Elephant Sanctuary ( in Hohenwald, Tennessee, is the country’s largest natural-habitat refuge for endangered elephants. After decades confined in small zoos or traveling circuses, the elephants now roam free over 2,700 acres of gently rolling hills. The sanctuary web site is filled with amazing videos and a detailed biography of each elephant. A must-watch video features Tarra (an Asian elephant) and her constant companion, Bella (a stray dog who found a home at the sanctuary). Be forewarned, before visiting this web site, grab a box of Kleenex—the stories are both heart-warming and heart-breaking.