“Once she knew she had love, affection and a purpose, she changed completely.”

This is Diane Gockel, one of our customers located right in our own backyard, talking about a horse she rescued from a kill pen last year. Diane owns Sammamish Animal Sanctuary which is a non-profit dedicated to saving abused or homeless animals.

This particular horse arrived at the sanctuary with gashes across its body and a nearly unapproachable temperament. After only a year at the sanctuary, Diane has been able to ride the mare bareback with a bitless bridal. The horse was simply transformed by the compassionate home that she has built. This is just one of many incredible rescue stories that Diane can tell you as you walk among the dozens of animals she has rescued.

As a child, she had a deep love and compassion for animals which has only grown over time into something that now impacts an entire community. She has opened her sanctuary to anybody that wants to stop by with a giant sign that says, “Come In & Look at the Animals.” Everybody from mothers with their children to people hosting a cocktail party will stop by and wander the grounds which is wonderful not just for the people, but the animals too.

Having a community aspect to her animal sanctuary is very important to Diane and that is reflected in her barn. Her and her husband Don, who is a custom home builder, purchased our pre-engineered Sierra 48 horse barn package, but made a few modifications.

The most important modification to them was moving one of the 48’ walls inward by 12’ to create a gathering space for community and events. This one modification helps to cement community at the heart of everything they do.

Diane has even managed to extend her community beyond the people that can physically visit the sanctuary with her series of children’s books written from the point of view of animals that have been rescued by the sanctuary.

She sells these books online and reads them to kids across the world via Skype in the Classroom / Microsoft in Education. This gives her rescued animals a voice that can reach across the globe to hundreds of children.

Diane was recently featured in 406bark.com, a Montana based magazine for animal lovers, because of her incredible story. You can read more about the Sammamish Animal Sanctuary and Diane’s journey in an upcoming issue or visit their website at scrsammamish.com to see the sanctuary for yourself.