April 2015 ABLE Kids Camp

True-Blue-Animal-Rescue_2014_Kids-Camp-AltonTrue Blue Animal Rescue had some small visitors over from Alton elementary school to view some T-bar horses and learn about animal health care on April 10th. Even though the clouds threatened to drop rain that Friday, the kids and T-bar volunteers managed to complete the whole day of planned activities and treated the kids to a great deal of fun before the sky finally opened up.

The day started with True Blue Animal Rescue founder and president, Melanie Deaeth, teaching the class the proper way to behave around horses. Rules like those about not patting noses, or walking behind horses were taught. As the children were learning about horse care, the T-bar mascot, Willie the barn cat, decided to sit in and listen to the lesson. Willie, who adopted T-bar as his home many years ago, is always a huge hit with visitors, big and small, that come to T-bar.

Once the lesson on horse care was done, the group of kids were split up; a few stayed with Melanie while the rest of the children were treated to a famous Dale Deaeth hay ride! Though it was cold, Mr. Dale, as the kids call him, had blankets to keep the kids nice and warm and they took off on an adventure.

While one group was off enjoying the countryside, the other set of students had the pleasure of meeting camp horse Jasmine. Jasmine is a very special horse that was struck by lightning as a pony. Somehow she survived but she lost her gift of sight. Still, when the kids first meet the horse they have no clue she cannot see as she gets around so well and is very trusting with T-bar volunteers. Jasmine loves when she hears kids on the grounds because they give her treats from the treat bowls at the barn.

New to the T-bar ranch is Roman, a beautiful black Percheron that was taken in just two months ago. The Percheron breed is in league with draft horses, or warm bloods, which are typically large horse breeds. If you wonder at how big these horses can be, I always tell people to think of the Clydesdale horses used in Budweiser commercials. The reaction of the kids as Roman was pulled from his stall was priceless. The kids were excited and a few were a little nervous. But as with most draft horses, Roman was gentle and sweet as pie. He too was treated to horse cookies and then the kids even took turns brushing him.

Once Roman was put away, the kids formed a line to see miniature donkeys, Dolly and Madison. They too were given treats and the kids enjoyed their small stature. At times, the tour led the class away from the barn, but Willie the barn cat always made sure to stay nearby! After looking at the donkeys, the class then headed over to look at the big pasture of horses. All the kids loved seeing Zelda, the zebra/horse hybrid, and the many other horses at T-bar ranch that need homes.

Just as the day was winding up with some craft time, the rain started to fall. And all too soon it was time for the kids to head back to school. Kid camp days are personal favorites of many T-bar volunteers like Amy Hemsell. “It puts a smile on my face to see the innocent children having a wonderful time with no worries when they’re around the animals.”

True Blue Animal rescue would like to thank all volunteers that helped make this camp day possible. From those that came the night before to groom horses and clean the barn, to those that came to help the kids and handled the horses. Without you, days like this one would have been impossible. Thank you!

Foster Feature: Oliver and Opal

opalImagine being an animal waiting for a foster or forever home. Just for a moment, think about seeing so many nice smelling people come and go and yet, it’s not your turn. Finally one day you think salvation is in your paws. Someone points to not only you, but your friend that you are fond of. Both of you are going to be together in a real home. A safe place were the elements cannot touch you, a quiet place where other dogs or cats crying will not unsettle you. A place where you have your own bowl, bed, spot to nap and yard.

Oliver and Opal in early February believed that they had that kind of salvation, as they waited in Amarillo, Texas, for a special person to find them. But what happened to these two dogs was unbelievable and part of a sad person’s attempt for attention. The dogs were sent to a woman that swore she wanted to foster to adopt. So with hopes high on the rescuer’s part and the dogs, off they went to what was believed to be a fresh start and a happy ever after.

After the woman, that claimed she wanted Oliver and Opal, posted pictures of herself on Facebook of welcoming the dogs into her life, she ran out of use for them. After just one day she placed a call to her local dog pound and claimed that both the dogs, that thought they hit the jackpot, were strays! To add insult to injury, she did this knowing full well the rescuers that she got the two dogs from would have gladly taken them back.

opal3Opal and Oliver could not explain to the animal control officer that responded to the call that it was all a horrible turn of events. They had been saved already once, but now they were heading to a pound as forgotten souls while the woman, that said she wanted them, went looking for more animals to adopt. But thankfully Oliver and Opal, in their own way, could speak. They could tell the animal control people that they were not strays, that they were in fact registered. Opal and Oliver were scanned for a microchip and with that new device their life story was played out.

The dogs were registered to Rhonda Tatum who supports the Amarillo Shelter where these two dogs had been living. Since Oliver and Opal were now in Bryan, Texas, Rhonda and her group now faced the task of getting the dogs back and to safety. Thankfully, Rhonda is very resourceful and found out that the woman who had these dogs had also contacted True Blue Animal Rescue (TBAR). Rhonda contacted Melanie DeAeth and explained the whole story. At that point everyone agreed that these dogs needed to be rescued again! With a lot of team work and networking it was decided the dogs would be placed in TBARs care.

Planning for getting the dogs was a group effort. Transport for the dogs from Bryan to Brenham, Texas, was provided by TBAR volunteer Ellen Spahni. Opal and Oliver came into TBAR care at a time when our foster homes were full. But rather than turn the dogs away, TBAR raised funds to have the dogs housed at K’s Mutt Hut in Brenham. Run by fellow animal lover and rescuer, Kathryn Eyster-Kwiatkowski, K’s Mutt Hut works with rescue groups all year round with a special discount rate for dogs that need a place to go in a hurry. Once Ellen dropped the dogs off, Jason and myself were able to meet the duo and take their pictures. Oliver and Opal were a little shy at first, but once toys were thrown around and we ran around the big play yard at K’s Mutt Hut, they soon got into the swing of things. Oliver is a sweet Shepard mix that loves to run off with toys, while Opal likes to catch a toy and just chew on it. Opal has a beautiful personality and is very calm, yet happy to play. The dogs got extra play time with the photographers because they were too awesome to leave too early.opal2

While Opal and Oliver are now safe, their story could have turned out very differently. With a simple microchip, a dog has a voice that no one can take away. While all rescue groups do their absolute best with screening people that try to find a way to beat the system, every group has been burned; every rescuer has had a person do something that has made them jaded. With the microchip system, dogs and cats are given more security and rescue workers have more peace of mind. It’s why True Blue Animal Rescue will now be microchipping their animals upon intake starting March the first of 2015. It gives them footprints, much like a baby, and it will always lead them home, even when people stack the odds against them.

Oliver and Opal are miracle dogs. Dogs that were saved not once, but twice. Special dogs that were meant to be saved to find their perfect family. If you would like to learn more about Opal and Oliver you can visit them at K’s Mutt Hut. Please call to make an appointment at 979-661-0840

Recap: Chili Cookoff 2015

True Blue Animal Rescue, with the help of the Independence Harley Davidson dealership in College Station, hosted the Iron Horses Chili Cook off on January 24, 2015, to help raise money for their mission of saving hooves, paws and claws. After three days of solid rain the sky finally decided to cut the Brazos Valley a break and the event went off to be a hit.

TBAR volunteers had to quickly regroup once the field we normally use for the cook off was found to be flooded and too muddy. With some fast thinking from Heather Beran the event started on-time with TBAR setting up the silent auction, raffle table, sales area and the dogs that were up for adoption. New things added this year were the kissing booth featuring TBARS’ favorite pup, Stumpy (sometimes called Moose) with our latest volunteer, Kalvin Doyle. We also had wonderful face painting done by volunteer Ellen Spahni! While the cook off was underway TV station KBTX came out and spoke to TBAR president and founder, Melanie Deaeth.

Thanks to many donations the sales table was also a hit selling a number of dog beds, collars and cute dog and cat outfits. While the event helps raise money, it is also a great time to meet potential new volunteers, new fosters or just get the message out about what the TBAR mission is all about.

Not only that but people could eat chili or buy the BBQ sandwiches that TBAR was also selling to raise funds for animals in need. Wonderful live music was provided by the band Leannasaurus Rex, that is a TBAR favorite to have playing. Thanks to all the TBAR volunteers, new and old, this year’s chili cook off was a smashing success. We want to thank all of the people that help us make this happen and thank those who showed up to help support our cause by opening your wallets and hearts.

Everyone’s hard work and time will go a long way for many animals in our care. We hope to see you all again next year.

TBAR Foster Feature: Kassy Part 2

TBAR Foster Feature Dog Kassy (3)

On day three I was outside with the dogs because I wanted to make sure Kassy used the potty so she could be loose for an hour before crating her again. I admit I was sleepy; it was 7:30 and too hot for coffee. I heard Jack make a funny noise. I looked to see Jack and Kassy playing with each other. It was amazing! What was even more shocking was she was instigating the play. She happily bounced over to Jack, raised a front leg, smacked him in the face and then began to run around him. Her tail wagging, she then bowed with her front legs stretched out and her hind quarters still up. This is the classic body language that my dogs use with each other meaning, “Let’s play!” Jack, who for some time I always have thought of as a puppy, looked at her like she was crazy. He barked once at her and I sat up and took notice. But Jack’s bark did not stop Kassy from her quest to play.

TBAR Foster Feature Dog Kassy (1)

In fact she wanted Jack to bark. His bark triggered in her the desire to run in circles around him and then come back and smack him again. Jack had a new best friend and he wasn’t sure what to do about it. He acted like a gentleman and played as long as he could stand, but once done he headed for the back door and then sat down.  Still, watching Kassy play was huge. Seeing a dog that was so full of fear when I first got her that she messed herself twice, now have a big doggy smile on her face was staggering. I began to understand that Kassy had no clue how to be a dog and now more than ever I was going to be relying on my pack to help this dog in need. I just wasn’t sure they were up to helping sort out such a backward little girl.

Day seven I was in for a surprise yet again. Kassy at this point still wanted to only be in her kennel. It was her safety spot. The cat’s basket that was in the same room as her crate also became a “safe zone.” Kassy enjoyed cramming herself into the beautiful Garden Ridge Pottery basket my mother had gotten the cats. For days our foster dog would transfer herself from the kennel to the basket, non-stop. Almost like she had no control over her actions. Then day seven happened.

TBAR Foster Feature Dog Kassy (2)

I should point out that at this time we also took in another Corgi mix named Bacon, from a rescue group in Nixon, Texas. Call me crazy, but when I saw her picture and plea for an adoption for a special needs dog I just had a hard time saying no!  My dogs before this have always been solid colors. I am not sure if that was by choice or fate. But Bacon was a black and white Corgi mix and she looks a lot like Kassy, only a bit shorter. But back to day seven. On the seventh day, I was on the couch and I saw a dog sleeping in the middle of the room I was in. At first glance I thought it was Bacon, who came to us a very socialized dog that slid into our home with ease, now asleep. I then looked at my feet and saw Bacon napping there. (She is like my shadow and I love it!) Kassy was sleeping in the middle of the room. Not under something, or in something, but in the middle of the room with nothing to shield her from me! Not only was she napping but she seemed to be at peace. I was so excited I started to cry a little. I didn’t think the dog would grow this fast but things were looking up. Her accidents when we touched her had started to disappear. Everything seemed to be going so well.  But then week two knocked us for a loop and we had major steps backwards.

To Be Continued…

We hope our “Foster Features” help to inspire others to open their homes to animals in need. If you are interested in becoming a foster home for a Texas animal rescue, please visit our info page, email [email protected] or call (936) 878-2349. It is because of foster homes like Casie that TBAR is able to save more lives!

Foster Blog: Kassy

Kassy1 As you know, dear readers, Jason and I took in our first foster dog on St. Patrick’s Day this year (and we even named him Patrick)! He was with us for three months, and when he left Jason and I felt like the house was a little quieter. It had been four years since we had worked with a puppy and our dogs are now at that blissful stage in life where sleeping is the main goal for about sixty five percent of the day (unless there is a yard man near by!)

Another Tbar member, Casie Cooper, brought to my attention a group of dogs that needed to be saved or they faced certain doom. Rescued from a hoarding situation, these dogs were moved into the Sealy pound. Casie shared pictures of the dogs in need and my heart strings were tugged on by the image of a dog cowering in the corner with a hand holding up her little face. I was nervous about taking on another dog as I remembered how bringing Patrick home caused a stir (to say the least) with my corgi mix, Jack. It took about a month until all was well and my dogs became a happy pack. Did I want to do that again? And so soon? I confess when Patrick left I had a good cry but that feeling of helping a dog and a family find each other was such a good feeling it overpowered the sadness. In the end Jason and I knew we wanted to do that again, so I decided to take Kassy.

Kassy was only 30 lbs, smaller than Jack, but by height only, and being female I knew Jack would have less of an issue with her since she was not any competition. Casie and her wonderful husband Cody went to give Kassy her freedom ride. The dog smelled terrible and was so scared she was messing herself and the crate she was in. I have never seen a dog so full of fear. I would liken her fear state to that of a spooked horse. To be safe we carried her in the crate from the truck into our back yard. I could see this new dog bolting and since she didn’t know us the chances of us catching her if she got loose were slim. That alone made me a tad nervous, but  we got her into the yard and gave her a bath. It was hard for her to be bathed, and believe me it was for Jason and myself as well, but it had to be done. Not to be too graphic, but she was covered in her own messes. Once inside the house our dogs smelled the cage (now cleaned) that Kassy was in, but they were pretty bored about her arrival into the house. Lucia, our oldest, really could have cared less. Chloe, our middle dog, once again behaved the way she did when Patrick came into the house (Kassy could be a table for all she noticed). Jack, after his experience with Patrick, did so well; no growling, no sizing up, he just smelled her and moved on. I was impressed and so proud of him (I may have sprouted off a few tears). Kassy3 Kassy’s first days with us were surprising calm. At first the new dog made no sounds at all and always wanted to be in her crate. Making her go outside to potty was hard and often resulted in accidents when we would touch her. No eye contact was ever made and she even refused to point her nose in our direction. If we walked near her kennel she would shake uncontrollably and ram herself into the corner as far away from us as possible. All the while Kassy was too afraid to point her body or head at us. I started to sing around the house to get her used to my voice and Jason would talk to her non stop once he got home. Kassy2 Still things were tense, and basic things that many take for granted were hard. Feeding time was a nightmare because she would pee as soon as I went to put her food into the crate. Not wanting her to get used to the smell I would have to get her out of the crate and get her a new towel and wash the crate floor out. Then the struggle of putting her back in the crate started. All the while my other dogs are starting to unravel while waiting for their food. Getting her outside was a chore and I am sure each time I went to let her out I was grinding my teeth. She started to pee the moment I opened her kennel and peed all the way to the door. We had to move all the furniture around in the kitchen to get her cage right by the back door. Success! The new system worked for her and made her feel more in control of her movements but most of all she seemed to feel safe. I started to get a little tense when it was potty time for the pack. Once outside she ran around non stop. I mean she was always moving. Only when she was exhausted would she finally go potty and then she would lay down far away. My dog seemed to sense she was scared and gave her space but I wanted her to have more of a life. I fretted as I watched her on the third day. She held herself differently something had changed. Jason and I were in for a surprise…. To Be Continued!

Carnival at the Dog Park 2014


True Blue Animal Rescue and many other organizations were asked to take part in the Carnival at the Dog Park event hosted by Animal Friends of Washington County. The fun started off at 10am and didn’t let up until 3 in the afternoon. T-bar was at the event with face painting, kids’ games, dogs up for adoption and an agility area.

If you missed out on the day’ events here are just a few things you missed out on. At the event was the Vida Nueva Ranch with two Texas Longhorns that were saddle broken. People were allowed to sit on a longhorn and have their picture snapped. A few T-bar volunteers had some fun with that! Also on hand for the festivities was the Reptile Hospice and Sanctuary of Texas. They brought some of their friends like an african tortoise that was 14 years old named Calvin. He was huge, tipping the scales at 170 pounds! Also with them were snakes, lizards and a few more turtles. Some of the reptiles were even rescues. The T-bar crew could not pass up looking at their booth!

Even the Brenham Police Department’s K-9 Patrol Division stopped by to demonstrate how a Police Officer and his four legged partner work together. Officer Seth Klehm and his K-9 coworker Ronny let the crowd see why it’s never really a good idea to run away from the police. They did this demo with the help of fellow officer Lance Wiess. The crowd was really interested in the information given, and everyone was impressed, of course, with Ronny the German Sheppard K-9 Officer.


Many other groups were on hand and the crowd could even register for door prizes. What made the event really special was the fact that families were encouraged to bring their own dogs, provided they were current on shots and were on a leash. There was even a pet parade that took place at noon that many proud dog owners and their four-legged companions took part in.
A special surprise was in store for True Blue Animal Rescue president and founder, Melanie Deaeth. As she worked away painting kids’ faces a family brought a dog by the tent where she was working and suddenly Melanie had tears in her eyes. It was a T-bar rescue dog now named Trooper who T-bar rescued not once, but twice. The dog was instantly recognized by long time members Lauren Lee Sarlya and Teresa Gaskamp. Melanie, after she finished painting a little girl’s face, dropped to the ground and hugged Trooper, who has one of the best families around.
But the surprises did not stop there. Teresa decided that Melanie could not pass up the chance of sitting on a Longhorn (and I may have prodded too!) So after throwing her up on a beautiful Vida Nueva Ranch steer we started walking back to the T-bar area and then Melanie stopped in her tracks. Before her was another couple with a T-bar rescue dog that was adopted almost five years ago. A dog that Teresa also knew that was named Skip. Melanie was so excited to see another dog in such a happy mood. These little updates mean the world to people in rescue, because you never forget where an animal came from and it’s battle. Once they find a home they are out of sight but NEVER out of mind.

If you missed out on this year’s event you will want to go to the next one. It’s a great way to spend some time with your whole family. T-bar wants to thank all the volunteers that showed up and to all our friends that dropped by, made a donation and said hello. We cannot do our mission without you.




Foster Feature: Sage


Late in May True Blue Animal Rescue received a call that a dog was living at a rest area in Washington County. Melanie, the founder and president of T-bar, went to pick the dog up. What she found was upsetting. The Staffordshire Terrier mix was a senior dog in poor health and in need of food. More upsetting was the lack of concern people nearby seemed to have to an animal in need.

Melanie had to load the dog by herself and it wasn’t hard because the dog, later named Sage, was eager to leave her harsh surroundings. Once at True Blue Animal Rescue the dog was given shots and a dewormer pill to set her on the path to being sound. However, on closer inspection, poor Sage was missing hair, had skin growths, had many small cuts and had a serious eye infection that needs antibiotics.

Sage’s case is one that is sad because she is a senior pet, close to ten years old, that must have had a family at one point, but they decided to let her go. Melanie stated the dog had a lot of health issues but the answer is never throwing an animal away. Aside from the eye infection it is obvious that somehow Sage had injured her hip or her leg and it healed incorrectly. When standing in front of her looking her head on her right leg sticks out farther than her left. Surprisingly, Sage tested negative for heartworms.

Sage is a very shy dog and in dire need of a lot of TLC. Her recovery will be long and costly. If you would like to help Sage out with a donation, no matter what size please visit the T-bar web site at www.T-bar.org and hit the “Donate Now” button. No matter how big or small your donation will mean everything to this older dog’s recovery.

(Warning, images below may be too graphic for some viewers)




This month law enforcement officers were informed about a donkey alone and wandering around. After being held to see if anyone would step forward for the male donkey he was classified as a stray and placed into the care of True Blue Animal Rescue. The donkey, named Colonel in honor of the up coming Memorial day, was fixed and given a stall while he recovers.

Colonel is what is known as a Jerusalem Donkey. So called due to the dark cross on it’s back. The story of the Jerusalem donkey is that it was the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and also followed him to Calvary out of pure love. Appalled by the sight of Jesus on the cross, the donkey turned away but could not leave his master. The shadow of the cross fell upon his shoulders and back, forever marking him and all of his descendants.


Colonel is a very friendly donkey, and not only is he halter broken, but he leads well! Everyone so far that has come into contact with him is taken with his gentle eyes and kind nature. For those not familiar with donkeys they make great guard creatures and companion animals for cattle, horses and even sheep. Donkeys are very brave and bray loudly when someone or something new is nearby that they feel does not belong, much like a guard dog.

Many people with herds will tell you a donkey will protect their animals from things like stray dogs or coyotes. This past “horse day” Colonel took his job of braying seriously, announcing two cars pulling up to the T-bar barn. Once Colonel has recovered from his surgery he will be up for adoption to a good home.


TBAR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit no-kill animal rescue organization. If you would like to help animals such as this one, please consider donating to TBAR, volunteering, fostering, or adopting. Donations go directly toward care, feed, and veterinary care of the rescued animals and every little bit helps us to help another animal in need of safety and rehabilitation. Rescue a pet: adopt instead of shop and spay or neuter your pets!

ABLE Field Trip May 2014

Field Trip May 2014 (5)On May 9th 2014 True Blue Animal Rescue had some visitors from Alton Elementary School. Second grade classes were invited to T-bar as a field trip to learn more about animal care and rescue. While the forecast called for a lot of rain the skies mercifully held off hours after the kids left.

Field Trip May 2014 (9)

While on their tour of True Blue Animal Rescue the kids learned about dog and horse care. Melanie DeAeth made sure to explain to kids the difference between a healthy animal and one that is in need of care or even food. Having kids at T-bar is one of the core missions of the rescue group because as a teacher Melanie understands that education is the key to stopping animal abuse and neglect towards animals. Teaching kids how to help animals that may need help is a lesson close to the T-bar founder’s heart. The children saw the steps to helping animals, which were to tell an adult or call T-bar for help. The kids were then read a story about a horse that is in need only to be saved by one brave little girl.

Field Trip May 2014 (1)

Once the lesson on how to help animals was covered the kids got to meet a few of the T-bar camp horses. First to say hello to the kids was Jasmine. Jasmine is a horse that can no longer see due to being hit by lightning. Melanie let the kids observe the horse before letting them know she was blind. As always the children were in awe of her condition and how beautiful Jasmine is. Not to mention they had the joy of feeding her some treats! The next camp horse to make an appearance was Noel. Volunteer Teresa Gaskamp told the children that Noel was a horse that was rescued around Christmas time and that was why she was named Noel! The kids not only have Noel treats but also learned how to brush a horse. Each taking a turn and learning the safe places to stand near a horse and how to hold the brush against the animal.

Field Trip May 2014 (3)

After the grooming the kids had craft time, making Rhythm Beads. Melanie explained to the kids that the beads were a Native American tool used to keep the horses calm. The string of beads had tiny bells that would jungle as the horses walked. Rhythm was believed by the Indians to keep evil spirits and misfortune away, but are still used today used because the sound of the bells helps a horse keep a good pace. As they made their craft each Alton student got once piece of candy but the fun was not over just yet.

Field Trip May 2014 (8)

Dale DeAeth took the kids on a hay ride around the True Blue Animal Rescue farm showing them the sights while they had fun bouncing along. After the ride Dale took the kids to meet the horses that are kept in the large pasture since the herd had come up to the fence to see what was going on. He pointed out to the kids each horse and told them their names. By the time the day was over the thunder and rain started as the last group of kids boarded the bus back to the school.

Field Trip May 2014 (7)

Days when children come out to learn and see about the animals of T-bar are special days to the volunteers. Teaching kids that it is ok to care about animals and each other is a life lesson that Melanie and the rest of the staff hope they will carry in their hearts and minds for years to come.

Field Trip May 2014 (6)

If you are interested in bringing a group to TBAR to learn about the importance of animal care and compassion, you can contact [email protected] or call (936) 878-2349. Please also remember that we have our Summer ABLE Read-to-Ride program now accepting registration if you would like to bring a child or two out for a 30-minute ride or experience this July! Click here for the poster.

*Update* The Alton field trip kids sent Thank You cards to TBAR and have expressed how much they loved meeting the animals and learning at TBAR!