LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Being deployed overseas can be a tough transition for a soldier and his or her family, but for those who must give up their family to fight for our country, it can be heart wrenching.
Often soldiers must leave their families behind and for some, their pets are their families. Deployment for horse owners means selling their best friends but one non-profit is working to keep those families together.
Shelby Rowe is a horse lover at heart. Brushing, feeding, walking and loving is what she does every day for horses not her own.
"A horse takes a lot more active care than a dog or a cat and it just breaks my heart to think that there are soldiers out there that feel that to serve our country, they have to sacrifice their own relationship with their best friend," says Rowe, founder and president of Almost Home Ranch.
"We've got horses here that belong to soldiers that are deployed. We have JT and Sarge and they belong to Morgan Hundley who is a specialist with the U.S. army," says Rowe.
While their owner is deployed to Afghanistan, JT and Sarge will stay here at the ranch and have all of their physical, medical and emotional needs taken care of.
"It costs us about $400 a month to properly care for a soldier's horse," says Rowe.
However, with the help of fundraisers, donations and volunteers, their owner won't pay a dime.
"Our soldiers, if their horse is in our program, we want to honor them by covering everything that horse needs," says Rowe.
A home that is almost as good as their own.
"The horse picks the person. They have matching spirits matching personalities and they pick that human that has as much courage as they do," says Rowe.
Veterans are encouraged to come out and volunteer with the horses. Rowe says spending time on the ranch can be very therapeutic for troops returning home from war.