Lassen Phunny Pharm
By Michel Fike
For many of us, one of the joys of mountain valley living is our animals. Pets in the country include more than the traditional dog, cat or goldfish, and children have the opportunity to learn compassion and responsibility while raising everything from rabbits to horses. But what happens to those animals when the kids grow up and move away or the family’s economic circumstances change?
If they are lucky, some find new homes in a place like the Phunny Pharm located in Doyle, California. Founded by Glenn and Jackie Flanary in 2009, The Phunny Pharm is a private non-profit, farm animal rescue. Here they strive to provide a loving home, care and rehabilitation for the aged, injured and abused animals that come to them. Currently, the Flanarys care for 10 horses, 3 donkeys, a mule, a goat, and a very friendly llama.
Stewardship for animals has always been a way of life for Glenn and Jackie. Both have also been actively involved with horses as riders and trainers throughout their lives. Proverbs 12:10, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel“ is a simple statement of Glenn’s reason for what he does. If you ask Glenn how he got started, he will tell you that it was so long ago that he cannot remember; however, he knows he was “less than 5 years old”. But, he traces the birth of the Phunny Pharm Rescue to two more current events, the changes in the laws regulating slaughtering horses and the economic downturn of 2008.
Prior to the changes in the law, many senior horses were sold for slaughter. Horses and other equines can live into their late 20’s and early 30’s. Since slaughtering has been curbed, more old horses have been turned out to fend for themselves or died neglected by owners who can no longer deal with mounting veterinary issues. Lost jobs and foreclosed homes have also affected farm animals, particularly those nearing the end of their working careers.
Other problems can arise when first- time horse owners are unaware of or unprepared for the health care and training needs of their newly acquired animal. Every animal has its unique needs and personality; even a cute billy goat can quickly become too much for its owner.
The stories of many of the residents at the Phunny Pharm illustrate the importance of truly understanding the responsibilities of owning animals. Here are a few of their stories. Two of the burros, Brandy and Buddy, lost their home when their owners lost theirs. Sugar, a 14 year old quarter horse, was given to Glenn and Jackie because she backed up whenever her inexperienced rider hauled on the reins. John, the mule, arrived striped with whip marks. Summer Rain, an Arab mare, went over backwards on her rider, who did not realize that the horse’s teeth were too sharp and painful to handle a bit. Some stories, like that of Orphan Annie, an old half-starved mustang, dropped at the Phunny Farm’s gate in the middle of the night remain more of a mystery. Happily, some of the stories are also joyous, like that of Liberty and Belle (miniature horse and miniature donkey, respectively), who were adopted, and are teaching a new young rider.
All of the animals who come here receive as much care, love and rehabilitation as Glenn and Jackie can give them. But contributions of time, money and materials are crucial to the Rescue’s continued success. The Phunny Pharm is a registered 501c3 non-profit. They are always in need of materials like fencing panels and materials for shelters, feed, and tack. Contributions toward the vet bills are always appreciated. But you can also give of your time, whether actual labor, or just time “caretaking”- spending time learning and spending time with the animals. Time to rehabilitate and train is always in short supply. Glenn still works 4 days a week to support the needs of the Pharm’s displaced animals.
To learn more, you can visit the Flanarys and the Phunny Pharm at Phunny Farm Equine Rescue on Facebook.