The connection I made with this whole farm is indescribable. I met “Babe” who I felt an immediate connection with and she trusted me immediately. These giant animals are so trusting and willing to connect with complete strangers and have the ability to bond, connect and heal with us women Veterans. They can show us all how to truly show unconditional love to all other human beings, animals and even the “invisible soldier” aka woman veteran. Thank you for the life changing experience and I hope to come and visit soon!! Hopefully with my family!!
In response to the review that smyhes wrote, it is concerning that people with bad experiences are able to trash a non-profit without giving the least bit of documentation for their claims.
I currently volunteer at Serenity and have not once been treated badly at the facility. Patricia has very set ways of wanting the facility cleaned and taken care of, and has no qualms about voicing that. As she has every right to be, at the end of the day it is her that is responsible for the horses. Each day the stalls are mucked out, fresh bedding is laid, waters are scrubbed and filled, and the appropriate feeding is given. The paddocks additionally are cleaned out daily.
The benefit for 'Raising the Barn' is not being done to benefit anyone but the horses, at the command of the city per their statutes. There is only 1 barn on the property and all horses are housed there. Make no doubt, it is a barn and not the Waldorf. However during the rainy season, the heat of summer, or during the snowfall - I have not once been drenched while working in the barn. The horses hooves keep dry and their feed is placed on the inside of the stall so moisture impacts it.
Serenity might not be the most fancy rescue around, but it is filled with love, kindness, and care of neglected and abused animals. That is what the foundation of any rescue is. If Patricia was rolling around in a brand new Escalade instead of her old pickup, I would be the first to raise questions. But I have no doubt that Patricia and the volunteers there are doing this labor of love simply for that - love for the horses.
A quiet place…and a healing one.
I am so thankful to have discovered Patricia and her beautiful rescue. I have been privileged to see the incredible process of healing and loving care of horses, along with the sometimes lengthy journey of finding these precious creatures “forever homes”. I have learned so much from Patricia, and have been able to observe closely the painstaking individualized care that goes into each horse that has arrived there… some under terrible circumstances and near their end. One thing that I feel is important to note. Not only is this a place of healing for horses. It has also been a place of healing for me.
I lost my son in Afghanistan in January of 2012 in a negligent soldier on soldier homicide. My world was torn apart. There is really no describing here what the loss of a child is like and what it does to a family. I will say, though, that when I came as a volunteer almost a year ago…it was with uncertainty as to why I was even doing it. I knew in my heart, that I had to find some sort of place to start healing. I have always loved horses.
When I arrived and took Patricia’s horsemanship classes…I was a broken person. It was difficult to speak to anyone due to the fact that I had crawled into a black hole inside of myself for many months. Her classes were interesting and informative. Patricia was easy and approachable, and I felt welcome and valued from the start. I started volunteering four days a week and will say honestly, that from the beginning, it was purely for my own healing. Many mornings, I awoke with my heart so shattered that I could barely get up from my bed. I pushed myself to dress and get to my car and drive the 30 miles to Serenity. The horses, the rescue, never failed me. At first, it was a pure burning off of grief. Cleaning the barn and paddocks, laying out feed and soon bringing out the horses in the morning (after I had gained Patricia’s trust with them). I rarely spoke to other volunteers. It just hurt too much.
But the horses….
I felt peace and acceptance whenever they were near. Just a simple few minutes with “Dante”, and suddenly the world didn't look quite so harsh and scary. To observe their quiet simplicity, acceptance and trust of whatever lot or blow life had dealt them, this beautiful virtue I have learned from these horses. To see the perfection of these horses… helped me to remember the perfection of their creator. It has gone a long way in healing my relationship with God, one that had been wildly shattered by me at the death of my son. Dante… has seen me cry. And now… I know, when I head down to the lower fields after working for a few hours….Dante sees me and always heads over for some stroking and love. As I have touched, held and talked to the horses, grief has lifted, and purpose and value have entered into my spirit again..
Patricia originally bought and built the stable for her own horses and to take in a few boarders to help her in her retirement years. During the sudden event of a shutdown of an operation some years ago, she took in many horses and so the rescue began. The horses that are owned by Patricia were the original occupants. These horses, play an important role of providing stability to the rescues that come to the ranch. I find it amazing, that in all the skilled and heartfelt care that Patricia has put into the horses that have been fortunate enough to end up at her ranch, I don’t think she realizes the healing that is happening among-st some of us who are volunteers.
Serenity is a wonderful place to volunteer. Patricia has a genuine heart for the care of every horse that lands there. Coupled with her vast equine knowledge and willingness to teach, this truly is a worthy non-profit and a very special, healing place.
I gladly sign my name to this post. It is easy to criticize and hide behind the anonymity of the internet. Easy to stab quickly, and then retreat without giving the victim the benefit of a face to face discussion. It is easy for one to cause unwarranted damage and hurt to others when hidden in the vast frontier of those that post bitter blogs, but don’t have the courage to openly discuss and learn the truth before spewing irreversible, unwarranted “reviews”.
Serenity Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation Volunteer
Someone seriously needs to look carefully into Patricia's "rescue" program. The majority of the horses on the property are hers, not rescues. Many rescues are returned as they are not safe, sound or trained as advertised. The current plea seen on TV recently was for Patricia's gain, not the rescues. The barn which needs "work" rarely if at anytime houses rescue horses, but her own horses. The drainage near/in the barn is poor. Paddocks are rocky and muddy. Gotta hand it to Patricia, somehow she sold this "rescue" bit and is not only having her personal horses taken care of by volunteers but her home and property well taken care of from the pockets of innocent decent people trying to help a supposed "rescue" operation. Shame on you Patricia. Now if only one of the local TV stations would really look into this sham of a rescue vs. letting her go on camera and cry about needing her barn worked on. Skip volunteering at this "rescue" and put hours towards real therapy programs such as Lil Bit etc. Gee, if everyone could get away with hiding financials as well as Patricia we would all have our 11+ personal horses (oh, and pigs too) taken care of with free labor and not a dime of our own money.
Serenity was visited this past year by two directors from the ASPCA. One from New York and the other from Philadelphia. They spent hours on-site visiting with the horses and touring our facility. They also reviewed our financials, bylaws and grant application. As a result, Serenity was approved and given a grant . We are open to the public and our board is open to answering any questions that visitors or volunteers have. We tried to contact the Smythes but were unable to find them in our visitors or volunteer database.It is unfortunate that this person chose to write a false review instead of communicating their concerns to the proper people at Serenity.
I started volunteering with Serenity towards the end of the summer and it has honestly been life changing. Patricia and the staff (Brenda, Loreana, and many others) truly give 110% to this great cause and it's infectious. As another reviewer has mentioned, it is not only a sanctuary for horses but for people, as being around these beautiful creatures and seeing and hearing about all the success stories works its way into your heart.
I have been a volunteer with SERR since 2007/2008 until present. I have personally witnessed numerous success stories as Patricia Clark the sole proprietor of SERR nurtured and healed the broken bodies and souls of numerous horses lucky enough to find their way to SERR. Patricia leaves no stone unturned as she seeks to restore these beautiful animals. She oversees the entire operation of the farm, from feeding, treatments, to fence building. SERR has held on during times of economic downturn, and turmoil, because Patricia never gives up. Today, SERR provides communitywide education and wellness clinics to the public, offers weekly classes for new volunteers and continues to promote responsible equine ownership through stringent adoption processes. Through the years I have spent with SERR I have gained valuable knowledge and skills that have allowed me to adopt through SERR and reach my personal goal of a horse of my own.
Serenity has become an amazing home and sanctuary for everyone involved. This facility provides not only a rescue for the amazing horses, but a place for me to go and work on being more connected with myself and others. While I have been working here, I have seen amazing acts of kindness and passion towards these creatures. This only furthers my love for the people and animals which call Serenity Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation home. Its places like this that restore my faith in human kind, and make it possible to re-connect with ourselves and these amazing animals.
I currently work two days a week, primarily upkeep and feeding, as well as spending time with the horses. Each of them have different personalities, and I have truly enjoyed getting to know each and every horse. I look forward to continuing to work here, as it has made a huge impact on my life.
I would like to thank Patricia for having such an amazing sanctuary, and being so incredibly knowledgeable and kind towards every creature that walks through her gate.
I have been to several horse rescues and Serenity is definitely one of the best. They are well organized and the farm is very, very clean. Every horse is given the best of care. Each has a nutrition plan, regular veterinary and farrier care and is given lots of attention.
The volunteer program is wonderful. Everyone works hard and enjoys each other and the opportuity to spend time with the horses. Great therapy!
The education program gives everyone an opportunity to learn about horse behavior, nutrition, and handling, and a number of different holistic approaches to health care.
Serenity Equine rescue is a truly an inspirational place. I am a regular volunteer and spend about 4 days a week working there. Ever since my first day I have felt nothing but welcome and gratitude for me being there. Patricia the founder and owner has taught me so much in the short time I have been there.
All the horses are in amazing health and they have never had an animal become ill due to sanitary reasons. Everyone works extremely hard to make sure everything is the best it can be.
I have recently adopted one of the horses from the rescue and would not keep my horse anywhere but at the rescue. I have been in the equestrian scene for many years and this is by far of the most amazing facility I have ever seen. Everyone is fully committed to the work done here and genuinely want to and are making a difference in the community and the lives of these animals. They give the animals a fighting chance in a fight they would have lost on their own.
My daughter is a volunteer and her participation has allowed me to see what a great service Serenity provides. Animals that would otherwise be destroyed are rescued and given new opportunities. These animals bring awareness to everyone who comes into contact with them. They are well cared for and have a great life
Serenity equine rescue and rehabilitation has raised my awareness about race horses and the damage it can do to young horses. Their facilities are clean and the horses a taken care of by wonderful volunteers who genuinely care about the well being of the horses.
They are incredible! The volunteers are so hardworking and so thoughtful and take such good care of each individual horse. They are part of the community and are making such a difference in the lives of these horses.
My husband and I have been volunteering at Serenity for almost 2mnths and have enjoyed every moment. He was laid off from his construction job, we found Serenity online and found it to be ran only by volunteers. This was only one thing of many that we found good about this setup. Everyone is hard working and works together. There is a system that everyone follows. The people volunteering there are from all different backgrounds and there for different reasons ranging from the love of horses and wanting to be around them to boarding them, trying to fill some sort of void, being active and exercise to the person having to give hours to the community with some community service. Nobody is there to judge and there are no certain clicks. I have a full time job but find myself there every morning on my day off to clean stalls, such comraderie and friendliness. You will make friends for life. Our son who is 16 even joins in from time to time. Now he can put it on his resume that he has done volunteer work. You can come and go as your schedule allows. All it takes is one Saturday morning to get oriented and you are set for work from fixing fences to cleaning stalls. From working with marketing or the volunteer organization team. Please come join us at Serenity, we welcome you and look forward to your help with these horses who have either been abandoned or abused.
I have volunteered with Serenity on and off over the years due to surgeries related to age and not work done with horses. I have found this work to be rewarding and others at the farm to be a dedicated and a breath of fresh air. Patricia, the founder of Serenity is knowledgeable about horses and is very passionate about each horse and it's well being.
Like any organization there are those that stand behind everything and then those that find fault in everything. Politics are everywhere and unfortunately they can tarnish even the best intentions. I like, respect, and believe in what Serenity does on a daily basis and there is no doubt in my mind that there is sacrifice made at every level at Serenity, but when it comes down to it the goal is the same: animals and their welfare.
I encourage each reader to come to the farm for a tour and decide for yourself. You may even feel a calling to come and help out the horses with your smile, pets, or other gifts you may bring. This rescue makes a difference and it is evolving and doing great things every day.
I volunteered with Serenity every week for four years. I also fostered a couple of their rescues and ended up adopting one. The long term volunteers were the most dedicated group of big-hearted people I ever met, and Patricia, the Executive Director, is one of the most passionate and committed people I know. The welfare of the horses in her care is paramount and the horses have always been taken care of no matter what. Educating the community is also very important, as that is where problems can be averted or nipped in the bud. The rescue has suffered from the economic downturn and has had to limit the number of horses in its care as a result, but I would like nothing more than to see them thrive through a timely injection of funds and/or resources. The only reason I am not still volunteering there is because I moved out of state.
I am in my 40's, and had only been with out a horse in my life for about two years when I heard of Serenity from a friend who was helping out as a volunteer. Owning a horse just didn't fit into my situation at the time, as my husband experienced a catastrophic health event that devastated our finances.
Horses had been my escape and therapy since I was a child, not having that bond in my life created a void I desperately needed to fill, especially after tirelessly coping with my husbands illness and rehabilitation.
Serenity is not only a place where abandoned, abused or neglected horses can peacefully live and rehabilitate, but it is also a healing sanctuary for us horse loving humans to reconnect with the beauty that these amazing animals bring into our hectic lives.
After working as a volunteer at Serenity for a few months, I decided to get involved further and accept a seat on the Board of Directors. Working on the mission of Serenity has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It warms my heart to know that I have been directly involved in protecting and re-homing about twenty displaced horses that otherwise would have probably been sent to slaughter or unnecessarily put down.
The high standards of consistent cleanliness and compassionate care are evident on a daily basis, and obvious as all the horses appear and act healthy and at peace. Rescue work is often a thankless job, but thanks to our incredible volunteers , we push through each day as it comes and try hard to show appreciation for all who contribute to this cause. Like most non-profits, not all has been perfect; making a few mistakes and learning from them is how most organizations learn to thrive. We strive to constantly improve our operations while continuing to focus on our mission and goals.
The unfortunate state of the US economy has forced many horse owners to abandon their equine friends, some tried to hold out as long as possible, usually leaving the horses in poor health and condition. Serenity was founded for these exact types of situations, as well as others. We are 100% dependent on charitable contributions to continue harboring and healing horses in need of a safe place to live until we can find them a loving forever home.
I ask that anyone who has a passion for horses, and their well being, to please find it in your heart to help Serenity continue our mission. Every contribution helps no matter how big or small, and is greatly appreciated.
Michelle Cherewatenko, M-LMP
Review from Guidestar
Serenity equine rescue is an amazing place. Its filled with hard workers that always put the horses first. The people there are very helpful, and the horses are well taken care of. Owning a rescue is a tasking job and I feel Patrice Clark does an amazing job with it, as well as all the volunteers that help keep it going. Overall serenity is a great place with fun, family, and mostly horses.
Really dedicated to the welfare of the horses. All are well fed and the place is kept clean. The horses have the company of other herd members. They have space to move around and are not left in a stall all day long unless medically necessary. There are even two delightful pigs. The other volunteers range in age from the young and not so young, a fun group to work with.
Review from Guidestar
Given my recent personal experience with Serenity and its purpose I'm disappointed in those people placing negative comments here. I'm more disappointed in those individuals hiding behind pseudonyms; kind of like showing up at a protest in masked costume. I really don't put a lot of trust in negative reviews from people who don't use their real name and conceal their identity. In a way, it epitomizes what is wrong worldwide and is just another false flag of sorts; in this case cloaked provocation on a worthy cause with intent to harm. I wrote a blog,"Dr. Jekll and Mr. Hyde", recently on this type of attack, which you can read on the following website: http://amusingcommunityperspective.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-are-pseudonyms/
I am a current volunteer at Serenity and enjoy my time supporting their needs and programs. I have watched several horses be placed for adoption in just the last two months! I have participated in educational events, viewing firsthand the outreach and education that SERR offers to the community. It has been impressive to see the out pouring of volunteer support for farm improvements, equine development and the financial donations from our local community and sponsors. This organization is supported by dedicated volunteers willing to go above and beyond to help rescue and rehabilitate horses in need. I feel lucky I have found this group and will continue to support them for years to come.
Review from Guidestar
Completely agree with all those who said steer clear of Serenity. To clarify why the Board Members were not "doing their jobs", Patricia does not listen to or consult the board when making decisions. Most board members last around 6 months before jumping ship. Once they realize that they are partially responsible for the the wrong doing in the organization, they get out as fast as they can. People are treated poorly, there is no communication, horses are not cared for properly, and a lot of the "dirty secrets" are swept under the rug. Patricia uses money and resources for her own personal gain. She also spends rescue money on animals that are not rescues and never needed to be rescued. She and her breeding buddy have horses listed on the rescue page that are their own broodmares/foals that were bred by Patricia.
Furthermore, Patricia has had horses euthanized without consulting with the board. Some of them were healthy and were just gone one day. There are lots of secrets that will probably go to the grave with her. In addition, she gives adoptable horses way to family and friends, while charing ridiculous adoption fees for horses with health and behavioral problems or conformation defects.
The financials posted on Guidestar are another mystery. There are large sums of donated money that do not appear anywhere. Also, unless you are paying your mortgage and feeding you own 12 horses with the money, there is no way SERR could use up the funds on the small number of rescues they have on site. It seems Patricia pulled the amounts out of her hat.
The best part is when someone starts to ask innocent questions about legitimate SERR business. Patricia starts throwing insults and verbally abusing people. She also loves so send her "attorney" after the people who are there to help her.
Review from Guidestar
As a former volunteer and board member, I must advise anyone looking for a place to make a difference by donated money or time to steer clear of Serenity Equine Rescue. Just to start with, check their form 990 on this site. It says 2009, but is dated 2008 at the top right corner of the form. The top of the form claims to be Feb 2008 through Dec 2009, but it was signed in August of 2009 and the information is from 2008. Notice that now, at the beginning of 2011, there is still no sign of financial data for 2010.
Check out the details on this site - there are no financials disclosed aside from the 990 form.
There is no record of who the active board members are, which is no surprise as the board of directors for this rescue is a revolving door.
The place looks lovely on the surface and if you are just helping with chores, things seem okay. Once I got on the board, I started seeing how deep the issues went. They have great explanations for all the questionable bits. "We've already addressed that" or "it just happened" or "we need money".
Volunteers are expected to help care for privately owned horses in addition to the rescues and there are no provisions for separate storage of supplies for private and rescue horses. During my tenure on the board (seven months), I only ever saw one financial statement, and it was incomplete.
There were multiple oops pregnancies because a supposedly experienced horse woman did not have proper containment for the stallions on her property and allowed some mares to wander freely. Two horses sustained damage from barbed wire that was supposedly not on the property. An experienced horse woman to have put two lame mares with foals in the turnout closest to dogs that had previously come onto the property and threatened the horses. While the mares were in that turnout, the dogs attacked, driving the mares into the barbed wire.
Their website rarely changes and is never fully up-to-date. You have no idea how many horses are really at the facility, nor their condition. There is no listing of board members, no information about who is training these horses, etc. There are no financial reports to check.
Serenity has been investigated, they participate in deceptive practices, and best to steer clear. I purchased a pony from Serenity. The pony had a previous fractured hip. It was not discovered until after we started him under saddle. The vet said he is a pasture pony. I returned him to Serenity with the EXPRESSED UNDERSTANDING that he would do more than that. I didn't ask for a refund. Now the pony is listed as "trained dressage pony" and is being sold under saddle with xrays. This was not the agreement I had with Serenity, and this pony should never be ridden. They do not keep promises and have deceptive practices.
Review from Guidestar
I visited SERR with a friend who volunteers there. I found the owner to be very passionate about the horses there and all animals. The facility was very clean and well maintained. I came away with a very positive experience and hope for the future of the horses who were lucky enough to be there.
Review from Guidestar
I came accross SERR in December of 2008 by visiting the King County Animal Control site. I was greeted at the barn the following Saturday by Patricia the owner of the property. She gave me a tour of the property and we discussed the basic daily care of the horses. I was looking for a way to reconnect with horses since I gave mine up after moving to Seattle in 1987. I have continued to work at the farm most every Saturday since. It is not only benificial to the welfare of the horses but it is also a peaceful time for me after my busy work week. I enjoy interacting with the other volunteers. I also enjoy being at the facility because of the maticulous way things are kept. I will continue to volunteer at this organization for the foreseeable future.
Review from Guidestar
I have volunteered at SERR within the last month. I really enjoyed the people here and the horses are really wonderful. The horses love the attention paid to them by all of the people here.
Review from Guidestar
I have known of Serenity since it started it's existance. SERR has a reputation of being willing to step in where others will not. They are very willing to do whatever it takes to help the horses. Their horses all look wonderful and the before/after pictures are outstanding. This rescue fulfills it's mission of "Rescue and Rehabilition" with amazing results. Good job!
Review from Guidestar
I have assisted many small rescue groups, helping some mature into 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. (During this growth it is not unusual for a group to struggle with the new administrative and legal requirements, and sometimes volatile personal conflicts, as most members prefer to focus on the actual "rescue work.") While not advising SERR, I have followed SERR's work since it initially took on a huge burden of extremely neglected horses seized by the County, and did a magnificent job of saving them. I was unaware until recently that some of the earlier Directors and/or Officers apparently lacked the administrative experience and knowledge to handle the conflicts and issues that are common in new charities. Unfortunately, instead of using their authority to resolve any problems, these individuals simply left. (Then one or more actively worked to damage SERR's reputation in as many venues as possible.) Fortunately, SERR's founder sought, and has now found, dedicated professionals willing to step in, with a plan of action that will work. SERR continues to rescue and place horses in need, and with a mature and dedicated Board, this excellent facility, and the horses it takes in, will continue to thrive.
Review from Guidestar
I work with this charity on a daily basis. I provide proffessional services on a pro bono basis and I also volunteer. I wonder why former board members critisize the director when it is the board member who is responsible for the organization. Sounds like a very naive young woman unfamiliar with her role on a non profit board. Too bad she is unaware of her own responsibility. Experiences and opinions of those who have not seen or been to Serenity in over a year should take a second look at the agengy they served.
Review from Guidestar
This rescue totally has missappropriated donor funds to feed her own horses. She has allowed rescue horses to breed. Many horses have died due to lack of vet care. There is never enough food for the horses and meds are not given. One good thing. The money and grants given has sure made her house and property look nice. Financials are not given when requested!
Review from Guidestar
I've volunteered at Serenity for almost 2 years now - mucking out stalls, picking paddocks, grooming & socializing horses, riding when we have time. I also do new volunteer orientation, fundraising and outreach. Serenity is a young rescue, only 3 years old, and has done a remarkable job with limited resources. They have rescued over 75 horses, as well as some pigs. The farm is run without pesticides and chemicals, to honor the environment as well as the animals' health, and every horse gets regular personal attention - from loving and grooming to vet, dental and farrier care. Everyone I know who is currently involved with Serenity takes their responsibility to the horses seriously, and does everything they can to keep the horses happy and healthy while we look for new homes for them. When I first volunteered, I had no idea what to expect, knowing that most of the horses had been rescued from abusive or neglectful situations and therefore they would have every reason to distrust humans and be unpredictable or dangerous. I found the exact opposite - the horses know they have found sanctuary at Serenity, and are generally calm, trusting and sweet. I have been volunteering at least weekly and I think sometimes it's as healing for me as it is for the horses! I trust the horses and they trust Serenity - to me, that is a strong endorsement.