RVR Horse Rescue founder Shawn Jayroe may be moving on, but the facility will continue to thrive under new leadership.

It takes a special type of person to run an animal rescue facility. Someone who is compassionate, selfless and possesses a huge, strong heart. Those are just a few of the words that people use to describe RVR Horse Rescue founder Shawn Jayroe.

As a child growing up on a 1,000-acre ranch in Texas, Jayroe dreamed of creating a safe haven for abused and neglected animals where they would be rehabilitated and find forever homes. She turned that dream into reality, founding RVR Horse Rescue nearly 15 years ago.

“We will be their voice. No longer will they suffer abuse, neglect or hate. Dedicating our lives to saving theirs” became her tagline, and she lived it.

It started as a one-woman show with the goal of helping the ones that did not have a chance. When trying to juggle caring for 16 horses, running a hair salon and being present at home, Jayroe realized she needed help. She formed a 501(3)(c) corporation, handpicked a board of directors and the RVR Horse Rescue continued blossoming year after year, impacting countless lives.

Now, as she retires to focus on her health and family, she hands the reins over to fellow board member Julie Dennis, who previously served as vice president and events chair for the organization.

“It will carry on, and that makes me happy,” said Jayroe. She explained that Dennis will move the rescue to Lithia and there also will be a fork of RVR in the Bradenton area.

“RVR will always be in my heart forever,” she said, adding that the mental toll is one of the reasons that she is disconnecting from the rescue.

“To see what people do to these horses makes me angry and my entire life revolved around it for many years,” she said.

As her days winded down, Jayroe experienced something that made her know that all of her efforts were worth it. In a story chronicled on her Facebook page, she tells of a Paso Fino that had been mentally and physically abused and had no use for humans. That day, Charo, a particular ornery Paso Fino, stopped at the gate and began grooming Jayroe as a way of saying thank you.

“Horses know. They appreciate when humans are kind. From her, it will forever be ingrained in me that what I’ve done with my life was appreciated by many horses,” Jayroe said. “They just have different ways of showing it. It was an experience I won’t forget.”

“I thank everyone supporting RVR all of these years and I promise there are great things to come,” she concluded.

There are many ways to help RVR Horse Rescue, such as donating, volunteering, sponsoring a horse, adopting a horse or shopping the RVR Horse Rescue retail shop.

RVR Rescue is a 501(3)(c) tax-deductible nonprofit organization and depends entirely on volunteers. For further information about the facility, its programs and ways to get involved, visit the organization’s Facebook page, go to https://rvrhorserescue.org/ or call 813-833-6426.

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