Happy Little Hooves: Saskatchewan Sanctuary Saves Special Needs Equine


Nestled just beyond the outskirts of Estevan, a sanctuary named Happy Little Hooves has become a beacon of hope for some of Saskatchewan’s smallest members of the equine family dealing with unique medical or behavioural conditions. The remarkable haven primarily caters to providing a nurturing environment to special needs donkeys and ponies, many of whom have been unfortunate victims of maltreatment and neglect.

Happy Little Hooves opened its loving arms to these noble creatures in 2018, thanks to the compassionate souls of sisters Laura and Rhonda Stock. The sisters who started off catering to a handful of equines are currently operating at full throttle, housing as many as 40 equines from across Saskatchewan.

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Rhonda Stock remarks on the overwhelming requirement for sanctuaries like theirs, stating, “We didn’t foresee the extent of the demand; within the first year, we housed a staggering number of equines that surpassed our expectations.”

By the dawn of 2019, the sister duo saw their sanctuary’s name officially registered and witnessed their extended ten-year plan remarkably transform into reality in just two weeks. “Our 10-year plan morphed into a two-week plan as we welcomed our first residents,” adds Laura.

Saber Dodd, a pre-veterinary student and volunteer at the sanctuary for over four years, attests to the gratification of working at the sanctuary and the enrichment it has brought to his life. The sanctuary’s work is a strong affirmation, he finds, that there persists a significant amount of good in the world.

The compassionate Stock sisters are now looking at further improving the sanctuary’s infrastructure such as shelters and fencing. They are also planning to invest more time in debunking common misconceptions regarding donkeys and ponies. Laura debunks one such stereotype, saying, “It’s a common misconception that donkeys are stubborn and mini horses are mischievous. But once you get to know them and witness their unique, distinctive personalities, you realize how incredibly enriching they can be.”

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