Rescue organizations need all types of people . . . the casual followers, who volunteer occasionally.  The urgent-need donors, who send a check when the group is in the media spotlight.  The regular supporters and members, who faithfully fortify the rescue with their time and money.  And the people with a more special, more elusive quality.  Whether a rescue serves humankind or animals, all of these people are necessary.


But volunteers and supporters come and go.  It is easy to ruffle feathers when you expose as many ugly truths as Panhandle Equine Rescue does . . . in a small town, “good old boy” atmosphere you can make enemies quickly.  You soon find out who in power and the public that you can count on; more oftentimes than not, the dependable people are a minority.  And the interest in equine rescue waxes and wanes:  affected by other more headline-grabbing crimes, the economy, and the fickle nature of the public.  It is easy to get donations and support with warm-and-cuddly cases like JB’s; in spite of his terrible start in life, he is one of the lucky ones.  Thanks to PER, he will never go hungry, or cold, or unloved.  Unlike so many of our other rescues, who came to us later in their lives . . . starved, hurting, physically and mentally abused.  But they, too, will get our guarantee: Although PER’s resources are totally determined (or limited) by donations, we WILL make sure that all of the equines lucky enough to find us will remain happy and healthy for the rest of their lives.


A very gallant lady who has become a dear friend is the catalyst behind the rescue organization of JB, Two-Stripes, the Santa Rosa 13, and many others.  With the help of one other woman, she started Panhandle Equine Rescue in 2005.  She immersed herself in all things equine rescue; attended accreditation classes for cruelty investigators, studied the Florida animal statutes, and boldly introduced herself and her cause to myriad law enforcement, legal, and judicial officials.  Giving a face to equine abuse and neglect led others to join the fight.  But on occasion my friend has been forced to go it alone . . . the extra hands and emotional support needed to do this job became scarce. She has faced total burnout more than once. Yet through all of this– the highs and the lows– she has persevered. 


This elusive quality is a heart for rescue.  It requires not only heart, but a sharp mind as well.  And the balls to keep meeting the day-to-day stuff head-on.  Although we have achieved many milestones for equines, PER does not always “win”—some cases are lost, and some horses die. A heart for rescue is the gutsy drive and devotion—the PASSION– to continue on, in spite of the heartbreaks and setbacks. 


Diane Lowery has a true heart for rescue.  She has pushed her personal needs and trials to the rear so that PER can be the center of her life.  And the Equines (and all of us who know her) THANK her for it.