OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Well you may not be able to hug other people right now, but here at Urban Acres Horse Rescue in North Omaha, you can hug horses.
Near 48th St. and Sorensen Parkway, you can find Gypsy and other horses.
"We've been here since 1987," said owner Carole Moss. "We took some horses in back then, and started taking care of them. Someone found out I could ride horses, and then next thing you know, I was riding horses for people, and then they didn't come back and get them, which is not unusual."
Many of these horses needed rescuing.
"When I would go to sales, I would see horses that would go to the slaughter, or people just dumped them so I'd take them, rehabilitate them, feed them, put some weight on them, ride them a little bit, and then find homes for them."
Now, Moss has eight horses left, along with other farm animals.
"We've got cats, chickens, ducks, geese, so a lot of those people don't ever get to see that," Moss said. "So it's kind of a neat place, in the middle of North Omaha."
In the last couple of years, the rescue has become a 501c3 nonprofit and invites people to visit and give them the experience of being around animals.
"If people want to bring treats, they can be apples or carrots," Moss said. "We provide treats as well. We explain how they can lose their fingers if they're not careful and just how to pet them and move quietly around them."
The rescue relies solely on donations. Due to COVID- 19, they've seen a decrease in funding.
"This is the time of year when we do our fundraising so we have money for repairs, for winter food, horse care, and I've applied for a couple of loans, and I don't think there's a spot for us," Moss said. "They just don't have disaster loans for what we do."
So now, the rescue is offering a Hug a Horse event on Sundays. You can hug, pet or even kiss a horse.
"We're asking that people stay in their group and stay at least ten feet from each other," Moss said.
Moss says they will have hand sanitizer available as well as running water and soap, and they encourage guests to wear masks.
She feels like a visit to the rescue could be what people need right now.
"If families know about horses they teach their kids," Moss said. "If not, I'll help them with little stuff, but it's just something healthy outside to do. I think animals just kind of...really soothe us, and if you're worried about something, that takes your mind off of it. If you've got to take care of something or even pay attention to it, it just eases you. I mean, a horse can just take all the bad feelings out. If you're having a bad day, hug a horse!"
Urban Acres Horse Rescue
LOCATION: 4806 Redman Ave. Omaha, NE 68104
HOURS: Sunday: 1-4PM
CURRENT SERVICES: 'Hug A Horse'