PERRY, Maine — Stuart the mini-Sicilian donkey will do his part to help raise funds for First Light Farm Equine Shelter during its Have a Heart for a Horse event, 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at the New Friendly Restaurant, Route 1. For the third year, the restaurant will donate 10 percent of the day’s proceeds to the shelter.
Local author JT Brown will be on hand 1-3 p.m. with her book “Gypsy’s Meadow,” which she co-wrote with her daughter Madison. The story is about taking a horse that nobody wanted and giving it a home. Brown has pledged a portion of proceeds from book sales to the shelter. The remaining amount will go toward building additional stalls at her residence to house horses the shelter currently has no room for.
The book signing is where Stuart the donkey will do his share to aid the effort — he will “sign” books by leaving his hoof print on a page. Stuart, 33 inches tall, was destined for slaughter and purchased to spare his life, said Andrea Barstow, founder and managing director at the shelter.
“I thought he should be at the book signing because he’s an ambassador for the shelter — a very loud one. But everyone loves him and he loves attention,” she said.
First Light Farm Equine Shelter, licensed by Maine Animal Welfare Program, is a nonprofit shelter for horses that have been abused, abandoned or neglected or whose owners no longer can care for them due to financial constraints or other circumstances. Barstow said that it costs, on average, about $30 a week to feed a horse in addition to veterinary care. Currently, the shelter has five horses, and Stuart, waiting to be adopted. Last week, Barstow said, the horse Mariah was adopted after more than two years at the shelter. She will live in Blue Hill to be a companion to a horse that lost its stablemate.
“She used to have an illustrious show career and we’re excited she’s going to have a home where she will get lots of attention. We certainly will miss her,“ Barstow said. Mariah was given up by a family faced with a medical crisis.
For information or to volunteer at the shelter, visit firstlightfarm.org, call Barstow at 925-0325 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The farm is located at 576 Shore Road in Perry. Visitors are welcome, but by appointment only.