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We want to start this post by saying how grateful we are to the firefighters, first responders, law enforcement, Sonoma County Animal Services, various veterinary services, and the thousands of volunteers who worked so hard to save our community during the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties. There are no words to express how much it means.

At Giant Steps, we were extremely lucky to escape the fires unharmed. On Monday, October 9th, we received word of the fire at Sonoma Raceway. Thanks to the help of volunteers and Monte Kruger at Willow Tree Stables, we had a place to evacuate our horses, which luckily wasn’t needed. In fact, Sonoma Horse Park, where we are housed, became a haven for horses evacuated from the fires.

Throughout the week, our staff assisted with animal evacuations which included horses, minis, donkeys, alpacas, goats, and even one very stubborn cow; bringing supplies to shelters (both human and animal), and; raising funds for other organizations. One staff member even adopted an evacuated horse who was in critically poor health. Although we as an organization did not lose any property, two client families, two volunteers, and two supporters lost their homes. Please contact us if you would like to assist with their recovery.

We made the decision to cancel classes the week of October 16th to allow extra time for our clients and volunteers to process, and to wait for the air quality to improve for the well-being of all. [Makeup classes for the cancelled week will be held the week of December 11th.] We have now resumed classes, and are happy that virtually all of our clients and volunteers have been able to return to us. We look forward to welcoming back the remaining clients and volunteers when they are able. As all of you know, working with our extraordinary horses is tremendously therapeutic, so we hope to play our own small part in the ongoing recovery efforts.

Below are photos taken by Giant Steps staff throughout the week.