Stable Of Horses Was Bred For A Cruel Purpose Until One Woman Defies The Odds To Save Them

When you hear about people rescuing animals, you probably picture firemen retrieving cats from trees or caring neighbors who search for lost dogs in the woods. Since cats and dogs are the most common types of pets, it’s no surprise that they’re also the most-rescued.

Yet we shouldn’t forget all the other animals that often need assistance — and the people who help them! Horses, which are prone to abuse and cruelty, are no exception. That’s why Victoria Goss has spent decades dedicated to helping at-risk horses, and what she’s managed to do now is unlike anything done before.

Unlike the typical animal rescuer, Victoria Goss’s life was dedicated to only horses. But it was what she accomplished in the past 40 years that defied all odds…

Jordan Sommerlad / YouTube

In 1975, Victoria founded Last Chance Corral in Athens, Ohio. While there were animal rescue organizations all over the world, none were quite like this one.

Last Chance Corral / Facebook

That was because Victoria was determined to fight for horses threatened by the racing industry. When a nurse mare gives birth, it’s for the sole purpose of breeding a racehorse. If those foals don’t become racehorses, they are neglected, abused, or left to die.

LAWJR / Pixabay

Victoria had always been passionate about her work, but her journey really began when she was just 12 years old. Some might say it was a very young age to take on such a big responsibility, but Victoria always knew she wanted to help horses.

Last Chance Corral / Facebook

In a turning point she’d never forget, young Victoria used a her own hard-earned money to take in a horse in need, saving it from the brink of death. “It really stuck with me,” Victoria recalled. “I paid $50 for it, which is all I had in my bank account.”

Last Chance Corral / Facebook

Victoria realized that she couldn’t stop with just one horse. “[I] fattened him up, got him back where he was healthy… and sold him to a neighbor for $100. And I put that money in a coffee can for the next horse that needed help,” she said.

ShaneReinert / YouTube

Luckily for the horses that she cared for, Victoria’s determination only became stronger each day—even if she had to make sacrifices to continue her mission. It was tireless work, but she never stopped.

Jordan Sommerlad / YouTube

Victoria’s dedication always paid off whenever she saw her foals and horses thrive after being rescued. They could finally recuperate in peace and hopefully find a loving forever home once they became stronger.

Last Chance Corral / Facebook

Victoria worked with a number of kindhearted folks who would volunteer at the farm, but the visitors she really loved were the ones who adopted one of her horses! Here, a lucky mare named Daisy posed with her new owner.

Last Chance Corral would rescue and re-home between 150 and 200 nurse mare foals each year! While that number may seem staggering, there was still a lot of work to do that Victoria simply couldn’t accomplish alone.

Jordan Sommerlad / YouTube

Adoptive families were an integral part of Last Chance Corral’s success. There may not have been as many people ready or able to adopt a horse as, say, a dog, but Victoria believed that for every horse, there was somebody willing to take them in.

As passionate as Victoria was about her important work, she’d likely be the first to admit that it was no picnic. Horses require a great deal of time and energy to care for, after all, and the organization had little funding.

Jordan Sommerlad / YouTube

That was why Victoria appreciated help wherever she could get it. The organization “accept(s) volunteers seven days a week,” she said, but that was easier said than done when the job mostly involved “shoveling poop.”

Last Chance Corral / Facebook

 While there have been plenty of people willing to put the work in—and those people sometimes traveled hours to get to the farm—most of the responsibility still fell on Victoria herself. 

Last Chance Corral / Facebook

Luckily, Victoria’s tireless efforts did not go unnoticed. For example, in 2001, she received an award from the American Veterinary Medical Association for her efforts in promoting animal welfare.

Jordan Sommerlad / YouTube

Over the years, Victoria found ways to keep her life with the horses from becoming too hectic. “Being old, I need a little rest once in a while,” she explained. Yet even during those breaks, her love for horses shined through in her hobbies, like drawing!

Jordan Sommerlad / YouTube

Victoria’s efforts have saved the lives of countless horses over the years, but they’ve also taken a toll on her body. With age, her work has only become more difficult. Still, she kept doing it; her passion simply wouldn’t let her rest.

ShaneReinert / YouTube

As much as she loved them, Victoria didn’t keep every horse that stayed at the corral with her. Nothing seemed to give her more satisfaction than when they were adopted by other horse-lovers!

Last Chance Corral / Facebook

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the Last Chance Corral is that it wasn’t just a place for people to adopt horses. Victoria was literally saving lives, and it was that legacy she’d leave behind long after she was gone.

Jordan Sommerlad / YouTube

Victoria isn’t the only one taking a stand when it comes to saving animals. At a tiger rescue facility in Pittsboro, North Carolina, volunteers have dealt with just about every type of feline on the planet. However, one phone call changed all that.

Donna Hailson

It was late April 2009 when a mysterious woman phoned the tiger rescue. She didn’t provide a name or an address. She simply stated that “her friend” had a problem: she had an animal she couldn’t take care of anymore.

Stefan Kowalewski

This friend’s pet, the woman on the phone continued, was too aggressive. It wasn’t coexisting well in her friend’s household, and she wanted to donate the problem animal to the rescue. But this wasn’t such an easy offer to accept for the folks at the rescue center…

My Time to Travel

See, Carolina Tiger Rescue had just taken on two new tigers. As far as room and board went, accommodations were looking pretty tight. What was more: all donations had to be approved by the curator, who wasn’t at the facility at that time.

The Knot

Carolina Tiger Rescue’s phone operator passed along the curator’s information, but they remained skeptical that they could help this woman’s friend. That made what happened the next morning all the more unexpected…

When the rescue staff arrived the next morning, “we found [the animal] on our doorstep in a dog crate with a note attached,” Jessika Morgan, communications coordinator for the rescue, explained.

The note explained the animal’s previous home life and ended with this sign-off: “Love me tender. Elvis.” Inside the crate was the “Elvis” in question…

Elvis was a serval, a medium-sized cat indigenous to Africa that’s known for its acute sense of hearing and impressive vertical leap. Obviously, life cooped in a house was not suitable for poor Elvis – no matter how much love he received.

Simply put, Elvis “became too large and too aggressive for his owner to handle,” Jessika said. “It’s not his fault, he’s a wildcat with wildcat instincts. We found a way to make it work; we couldn’t turn him away.”

The story of Elvis the serval didn’t end at the doorstep, however. In fact, it was only just beginning. Soon, his routine medical checkups revealed some disturbing truths about his past…

First off, Elvis was malnourished. Worse, he’d been forced to wear a collar he’d long outgrown. His flesh had grown around it, embedding it into his neck, forcing veterinarians to surgically remove it. The cat bore other disturbing signs, too.

Brutal scars peppered the serval’s forehead. One team member offered a guess at their origin, writing on their website, “We believe the scars came from him constantly rubbing his face on the crate.”

For who knows how long, Elvis lived inside that tiny crate, likely because he’d become aggressive towards his owners. When Carolina Tiger Rescue first released him, he just walked in circles for hours.

With a weak, aggressive, and once-cooped up serval now in their care, the volunteers got straight to work rehabilitating the poor guy. It all started with a hearty diet, which the serval was consistently happy to scarf down.

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

With plenty of food in his system and lots of toys to play with, Elvis began to regain his strength. But an important question remained: how would he respond to the rescue’s guests? He couldn’t be kept in isolation forever…

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

Amazingly, just like his megastar namesake, people loved Elvis the serval! “Elvis can be very social,” the Carolina Tiger Rescue team wrote. “[He] will often come up to the fence to greet tour guests and volunteers.”

Carolina Tiger Rescue / Facebook

Though Elvis eventually became a favorite on tours, the cat was still a work in progress. If he felt threatened, he wasn’t afraid to hiss or growl or show his teeth. Nevertheless, all was going well for the cat… until late spring 2016.

Carolina Tiger Rescue / Facebook

At that point, Elvis was about nine years old and had been living at the rescue for seven years when caretakers realized he wasn’t putting any weight on his rear leg. Even from a distance, they could tell that he’d broken it.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

The rescue’s team loaded Elvis into the car and brought him to a Raleigh, North Carolina, veterinarian who took X-rays of the cat’s knee. Sure enough, he’d fractured it in nearly 12 different places. But how? And what was to be done?

Carolina Tiger Rescue

The news devastated his caretakers. How had this happened? They checked his enclosure and there was no evidence of an accident. Likewise, his leg bore no obvious sign of external trauma. Still, something drastic had to be done…

Carolina Tiger Rescue

And so it was that Elvis, the cat who had once mysteriously appeared on the rescue’s doorstep, became the three-legged cat. Amazingly, however, even this handicap couldn’t slow him down.

Carolina Tiger Rescue

“Elvis lives happily on our tour path,” Jessika, the communications director, said recently. He was “still able to run and jump up onto his platforms.” Still, while their serval loved attention, the rescue team believed he was the poster cat for a much larger problem…

Carolina Tiger Rescue

“Many of our servals were former pets,” Jessika said. “Elvis’ story speaks to that and what we believe: these animals should not be pets.” Carolina Tiger Rescue’s website echoed that sentiment. “Animals such as Elvis deserve to be respected as the wild animals they are.”

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

In Elvis’s adopted home state of North Carolina, it is still legal for residents to own wild animals as pets, putting other felines like him—and the families who own them—at a tremendous risk.

It’s scary to think what might have become of Elvis the serval had his owner not left him on the doorstep. In the end, at least he was able to make the best of his situation— even if he was doing it on three legs!

Carolina Tiger Rescue / YouTube

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