June 12 2019
Stories From USFS Nine Mile the “Face of Adoption”
Frenchtown, Montana (June 12, 2019) In a special awards ceremony earlier this spring, the United States Forest Service recognized Janet Rose for her dedication and success in safely placing mules and horses retired from USFS Ranger Station duty into safe and permanent adoptive homes.
Rose works with Horse Haven Montana, which since its inception in 2007 has assisted federal and county agencies including US Forest Service and Border Patrol in ensuring the present and future welfare of its pack and riding animals that have fulfilled their service. Rose founded the Equus International Film Festival© in 2011as a benefit event for Horse Haven Montana.
EIFF19 included ‘The History of the Historic Nine Mile Ranger Station Equine Program,’ a special presentation with Nine Mile Ranger Station Livestock Manager Casey Burns, and Nine Mile Ranger Station Resources Assistant Laura Johnson, who shared stories of the working horses and mules of Nine Mile, one of the oldest federal equine programs still operating in the United States.
“When horses and mules are retired from the USFS, Horse Haven Montana, the parent organization of EIFF, places its senior geldings and mules in permanent adoptive homes,” says Rose.
Those retiree success stories include USFS horse Rocko, and mules Cooper (aka Farmer) and Duchess, once a lead mule on the famous Nine Mile pack string, who found her retirement home with a family and became the first love of its little boy. Another Horse Haven happy ending is Jezzy, who came from a private owner who could no longer afford to keep her, and was adopted into a family full of small children with big hearts.
“This is the face of adoption,” Rose says. “The Forest Service folks were telling me at the awards ceremony that in the past, they were usually required to take the animals to auction. Sometimes they ended up with an outfitter, but that meant more work for horses and mules well beyond their working years. They were being retired because they had done their service! And if they didn’t go to an outfitter, then too often they might go on to an unimaginable fate.”
“I have never thought of my work with them or with adoption as being that big a deal but now it is a real alternative to slaughter or working senior animals beyond their years. And I know that animals such as Cooper have gone on to incredible homes, and are incredible animals for the people who receive them. Often these are families: A child learning to ride, or a teenager needing a friend, or a beginner rider who needs his or her first, reliable horse.
“The Forest Service has been so incredibly appreciative that we can take these animals, that they have loved and cared for and worked with for years, and find them the great retirement homes they deserve.”
Janet Rose is available for interviews and to share her stories of the mules and horses writing the next chapters in the history of the American West. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more at www.horsehavenmt.org.