Rancho Relaxo is a 501(c)(3) animal rescue farm and organization. The rescue has been running since 2013 privately – and, just last year, celebrated becoming an official tax exempt nonprofit.
Rancho Relaxo’s sole mission is to help every animal possible and we will not stop until every animal is heard. To date, we have rescued over 300 animals – large and small, all deserving of being free of abuse and neglect.
My name is Caitlin Stewart and I am the founder and owner of Rancho Relaxo. I want to bring you all back to the beginning, especially since some of you have not been following our journey since day one.
One day, in late September, years ago, I decided to rescue a mustang – who I named Halona (translated: beautiful choice) – from the United States government on a whim with one of my fellow animal advocates, Amy. We were diving headfirst into this – without really thinking about it, which was unlike the both of us. I suppose one would say that fate is not held back by natural human instinct in most cases! I eventually began searching for a farm so Halona could live in my backyard.
After looking at over 50 properties with no success, I decided to take a break from it all. That was when I figured I would start looking at horses in need of rescue or adoption, so Halona would not be alone once I did find my perfect farm. I came across a beautiful gelding who was rescued from being sent to slaughter after being retired early from racing. I contacted his owner, Lisa, and drove out to see him shortly after. I never wanted a Thoroughbred. Come on! Who seeks out a Thoroughbred?! They are not easy keepers. I will leave it at that. My fellow horse people will understand this lingo! I introduced myself to Jake, the Thoroughbred, by gently touching his muzzle and offering him a smile. He looked at me so deeply – there are no words to explain the overwhelming feeling I got in those three seconds. Without thinking, I said, “I would love to give him a home. Please. Yes.” Lisa laughed and said, “Great.” I then explained to her that I was still in the process of buying a farm in the area and I might have to keep Jake with her a tad longer. “We can work out the details. You are looking for a farm? You should buy mine!” I looked around her property and laughed because I already knew it was out of my price range and I honestly thought she was kidding.
That evening, there was a makeshift real estate flyer e-mailed to me from Lisa – listing all of the attributes of her farm and such. To make a very long story short, … I bought her farm and adopted her Thoroughbred.
After moving in and becoming acquainted with the farm life, I began learning more about slaughter bound horses and animals in general. I was then gifted three old hens as a housewarming gift from my fantastic neighbors, Donna and Clarence, and learned very quickly how nurturing and instinctual chickens were. From there, I began helping with transports and networking for other rescues. I also began fostering kill shelter puppies and kittens before they landed forever homes. My mission was clear the day I drove out to a man’s home who had two potbellied piglets listed on Craigslist, headed to an auction – advertised as food for exotic animals. When I arrived, his children were throwing rocks at the babies – laughing about it as if it were normal to behave that way toward innocent creatures. I realized that the only reason these pigs were going to end up in a better place was because their owner was greedy and wanted to get more money for them through a private sale than through auction. I sobbed my entire ride home, just thinking about how scared they were. That was it for me. Animals needed a voice somehow – and I was going to be the one to give it to them … until the day I die. That was what I was going to do.
After a few years, hundreds of abuse and neglect cases, thousands of tears and millions of little heartbeats that will go on and on, Rancho Relaxo is a fully functioning animal advocacy nonprofit and every year we spend all of our efforts turning that volume up for anyone in earshot to hear their voices.
Today, we have the sudden and unexpected opportunity to purchase a 10 acre property right down the street from our existing farm. If we are able to make it happen, this property would eventually act as our adoption and volunteer center. We would conduct public tours here and offer educational programs. Currently, the property acts as a bull riding training facility – so we would be shutting that down and creating the most positive sanctuary anyone has ever seen. I get choked up just thinking about the number of animals we could rescue with this additional location.
This is where you all jump in. To all of our Rancho Relaxers, our loyal supporters, our friends, our families, our dedicated followers … and to all of those who just learned about us by reading this blurb, I am asking you personally to help us expand and save more lives. If you can spare anything, please do so. You will be taking part in the next chapter of my heart and soul which is the rescue, Rancho Relaxo.
P.S. To all of our Rancho Relaxers … Sherman thanks you in advance.
Note: ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE, BEING THAT WE ARE A 501(c)(3).