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
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.
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