Sponsor: ConnectiCare, Inc. & Affiliates
The Brousseau family of Portland adopted a shelter dog several years ago. When they took Duke into their family, they thought he’d make a nice addition, but never imagined he would someday repay their kindness by saving a life.
Duke had been with the Brousseaus for six years when they welcomed their baby, Harper into the family. Harper was only nine weeks old when Duke came into the Brousseaus’ bedroom one Sunday night, jumped on the bed and was shaking uncontrollably.
Jenna Brousseau told a television reporter from WFSB that Duke is “insanely obedient” and would never do something like that. Acknowledging something was wrong to cause this behavior in Duke, Jenna and her husband got up to check things out.
When they looked in on nine-week-old Harper, they found her in her bassinet unresponsive and not breathing. Jenna’s husband called 911. Emergency medical responders were able to revive Harper. Jenna Brousseau told reporters, “My husband called 911 and the ambulance came here and it was because of our Dukie dog, who alerted us. If Duke hadn’t… been so scared, then we would have just gone to sleep.”
Jenna Brousseau believes that, had they not been alarmed by Duke’s unusual behavior, they might not have checked on their daughter in time to save her. Jenna told the reporter, “He’s the perfect dog. He was meant to be ours, and meant to be hers,” referring to Harper. “I tell him all the time, ‘You were born in mommy’s heart,’ just because he was so meant to be ours. He’s heaven. He’s a good boy.”
Sponsor: Mohegan Sun
Stacey Golub, an equine veterinarian from East Hampton, did not set out to become a hero. The work she has undertaken to save draft horses from slaughter and which led to the creation of Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue came upon her gradually.
While a veterinary student at Cornell, Stacey Golub got her first “rescue” horse. But, she writes, it was a rescued Clydesdale she encountered some years later that truly won her heart to the cause of neglected and unwanted draft horses. Golub says that draft horses, a term applied to large, heavy framed breeds designed for work, are the “gentle giants of the horse world” with sweet natures comparable to lap dogs.
Golub, in addition to her veterinary practice, breeds and raises Shire horses, a draft breed. In 2010, she learned of a Shire in the hands of a slaughter broker in Pennsylvania. Unwanted horses often end up with such brokers, who sell to slaughterhouses, primarily in Canada and Mexico.
Moved by her personal connection to these animals and her belief that slaughterhouses are not humane euthanasia of unwanted animals, Golub mobilized along with friends to find quarantine space, a means of transport and donated funds to buy the horse from the broker. Soon, an adoptive home was found for the horse. After a few similar rescues, Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue was born.
Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue works to save draft horses bound for slaughter, as well as horses that are victims of starvation, neglect or abuse, or whose owners are no longer able to provide for their needs. The group not only rescues horses, but helps to prevent future slaughters and abuse with adoption services; gelding clinics to reduce “backyard breeding;” and driving clinics to spread the sport and hobby of cart driving.
Since incorporating as a nonprofit in early 2011, Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue has helped to save, adopt or humanely euthanize many horses and to geld several more. The all-volunteer group founded by Golub now houses horses at a donated farm and continues to support programs that help reduce the population of unwanted and neglected horses and to help those in need of care.