story & photo
by Anna Truksy
Tucked away on a 14-acre parcel of land in the woods off Fishtown Road in Mystic is Beech Brook Equine Rescue, a nonprofit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and places horses, donkeys, and other animals. The organization was started by Deborah Finco of Mystic, a Pfizer scientist who initially built the barn for the two horses she and her daughter rode. Deborah has CHA (certified horse association) certification and is a member of the Connecticut Horse Council and the Connecticut Volunteer Horse Patrol.
Beech Brook is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on donations through fundraisers, sponsorships, and grants. The farm features a three-stall barn with a tackroom, a small paddock area with a run and a shed for three horses, and a couple of pastures.
Finco and her team of dedicated volunteers perform all the horse-care duties, which recently included protecting the horses from Hurricane Sandy by putting special masks on them to keep flying debris from injuring their eyes. The horses receive excellent veterinary care, which includes special diets when needed. Deborah and her team strive to find homes for the animals they rehabilitate, but those animals who are not adopted get a loving, life-long home at Beech Brook.
“We built the barn for our own horses, but then we fostered one horse, and it grew from there,” Finco explained. “Now we have not only horses but minis, donkeys, and a few other animals we well.” The animals have been rescued from situations of neglect and abuse, as well as from the auction block, where they are often sold to Canada and other countries to be turned into meat for human consumption. Recently, Beech Brook saved two beautiful female donkeys, Ashley and Matilda, who were pregnant. Ashley’s baby girl, Taco, was named through a fund-raising contest.
Beech Brook offers summer classes and programs for kids, and programs for at-risk and special-needs youth. It will be holding a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraising Event on December 7 at United Congregational Church, Pawcatuck.