Friday, November 2, 2018

Community celebrates new building for horse rehabilitation at MSSPA

By Jennifer Davis

What began with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, October 26 led to a weekend long celebration at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA), welcoming guests to the farm to tour their new facility. With lots of hard work and donations throughout the past year, MSSPA was able to construct their new building. Despite the frigid temperatures, visitors flocked to MSSPA to take a look.

The new building, the Lawrence J. Keddy and Marilyn L. Goodreau Equine Rehabilitation Facility, is a $2 million expansion project, that was entitled “Help, Hope, Home”. It features a full-size indoor equine training arena together with a humane education classroom, administrative offices and infrastructure upgrades. “This is a big change for MSSPA as this is the first time the administrative offices are on campus and can be hands on to what is going on day to day,” said Meris Bickford, CEO of MSSPA. “We are all really excited.” The old administrative offices were previously held off campus on Gambo Road. building was named after Keddy and Goodreau, who dedicated their lives to MSSPA, beginning in 1972 when the organization was simply an office on Exchange Street in Portland. At that time, there were no shelters or rehabilitation centers for horses in the state, so Goodreau and Keddy set out to find the perfect location. Through their efforts and dedication, MSSPA’s current location eventually became that safe haven.

The open house offered light refreshments and giveaways as well as items for purchase to support the organization. The refreshments were held in the new building overlooking the indoor arena in the viewing room.  As people mingled, they could watch as the staff took the horses around the arena for their first time. “This is the first time the horses have visited the arena,” said Jeff Greenleaf, Barn Manager.  “The horses may be a little nervous, but this is a great spot to train the horses and prepare them for adoption.”

MSSPA is a non-profit organization that offers refuge and rehabilitation for abused or neglected horses in Maine. The hope is that the horses that arrive on the farm are adopted but some of the horses live out the remainder of the lives at the farm. The horses are cared for by a compassionate staff and a large group of volunteers. As a result, MSSPA are always accepting volunteers. 

“Volunteering at MSSPA is wonderful, said Ev Lennon, volunteer at MSSPA since January 2018.  “It is great way to help out, get exercise and be around beautiful creatures that need our help.”

Visitors this past weekend had the honor of touring the new facility as well as other areas of the property. They also got to visit with the horses currently residing at MSSPA. But if you were unable to make it to the grand opening celebration, do not despair. MSSPA is open daily for tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  For those interested in volunteering, visit and complete a volunteer registration form. 

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