Sallis Ranch Large Animal Rescue has provided hope and given life to neglected horses and other large animals for more than eight years. The ranch started in Greenbrier and now is based out of Rose Bud and Rabbit Ridge.
Greg Sallis has a love for horses.
"It makes zero business sense, what he does," board member Ricky Reynolds said. "[Greg] does this 100% out of his heart. He worked his butt off at night [at one point] to fund this [initiative]."
But for Sallis, it's all about making sure neglected and malnourished horses find better lives, he said.
Sallis Ranch was founded in February 2011. Formerly located on Burgess Lane in Greenbrier, the rescue operates on a 56-acre farm in Rose Bud and also makes use of 94 acres in Rabbit Ridge, which is located in the Barnett Township near Damascus in Van Buren County.
Sallis Ranch Large Animal Rescue, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Volunteers pay for rescued horses' health care as well as feeding and pick-up costs strictly from donations and fundraising means.
One 14-year-old girl from Springfield has taken it upon herself to help raise donations for the rescue ranch.
Karissa Kanati can be found waiting tables at the Pizza Hut in Morrilton on the second Thursday of each month. Kanati said every tip she makes goes toward supporting the horses rescued by Sallis and other volunteers.
The teen's mother, Kimberly Kanati, is the general manager at the Morrilton restaurant. Because of support programs offered by Pizza Hut, the two are also able to donate 20% of customers' purchases to the ranch's efforts if the customer is able to show a Sallis Ranch flyer on the second Thursdays of each month.
Raising funds for Sallis Ranch is important to Karissa, she said.
Karissa adopted a horse of her own from Sallis Ranch. In learning what the ranch's mission is all about — helping neglected and starved animals reach their full potential again while aiming to find them a forever home — Karissa said she wanted to help in any way she could. The 14-year-old works hard to raise the funds she helps provide to the ranch.
The girl's father, Billy, said he is proud of his teenage daughter's drive to support a good cause.
"I've very proud of her," he told the Log Cabin Democrat. "She's proven that she has will. She's very diligent about this."
One woman who helped rehabilitate a horse that likely would have died without the efforts of Sallis Ranch said it was an incredible feeling to see a frail horse regain its strength and begin to make a difference in someone else's life.
DonnAnn Crumbly lives in Cabot and attends the Cowboy Church in El Paso, where she met Sallis.
As a young girl, Crumbly always wanted a horse. However, as a preacher's daughter, she was always on the move.
Two years ago, the 38-year-old adopted a Paint mare from the ranch.
The adoption process and learning of what goes into rehabilitating large animals opened up Crumbly's eyes to the work that goes on behind the picture, she said.
"Honestly, I couldn't see going about this any other way now," she told the Log Cabin.
The mare is now named Daisy and has found a forever home with Braydie Davis, a 10-year-old girl who attends church with Crumbly.
The Cowboy Church offers a number of evening activities. On one of those occasions, Davis was introduced to Daisy, and the two fell in love.
"It was immediate," Crumbly said of the bond formed between young Davis and Daisy. "From the moment she got on [Daisy], they were inseparable. It's amazing to watch them grow together."
Daisy was not expected to be the inspirational story she has become, Sallis admitted.
After picking her up, Sallis said the mare "didn't get off the trailer for two days."
"She was done, her body had shut down and she was going to die," Sallis said.
But with the proper care, the young horse began to show progress.
On the fateful day Crumbly stopped by the ranch to pick out a horse, she expected to leave with a different horse. However, she said when she saw the poor, frail horse she now calls Daisy, she couldn't walk away. Daisy had yet been rehabilitated. Sallis had been working with the mare for about six months when Crumbly decided to take over. It took at least another six months before Daisy was strong again.
The experience was well worth the work, Crumbly said.
"I learned more about being a horse person rather than just being a horse rider," she said. "I learned that it takes a lot."
Sallis jumps into action to save horses upon being alerted by area sheriff's departments that his aide is needed. Sallis Ranch Large Animal Rescue is livestock-rescue oriented and responds across the state, sometimes to neighboring states.
Once the malnourished animals have been picked up or surrendered by those who no longer are able to care for their animals, Sallis will immediately evaluate the horse's (or other large animal's) health needs. At that point, the horse is wormed, vaccinated and the rehabilitation process begins.
On a not-so-drastic case, it costs $450-$500 to rehabilitate a horse for adoption.
However, many of the animals that find their way to Sallis Ranch often cost around $2,500 before they're ready to be adopted, Sallis said.
The "best-case" scenario horses that cost less than $500 make up for about 10% of the ranch's rescues, Sallis said.
Board members and volunteers are currently working toward getting a barn constructed at the rescue operation's Rose Bud location. However, the nonprofit needs $25,000 before it can begin work and is looking for fundraising opportunities said, volunteers said.
Sallis said he is thankful for the board that supports the ranch and also four area residents such as David Phelen, who often helps out when the ranch is in need of feed for the animals.
"We're grateful for all the support we're given," Sallis said.
To learn about adopting a horse, volunteering time or fundraising efforts or to donate to Sallis Ranch Large Animal Rescue, call Sallis directly at 501-581-7592 or contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.