April 26, 2021

The Ritzy Rescue Rancher

What does it mean for an animal to live the good life? Well, first he (or she) needs to feel safe: to be around humans who view him as someone, not just something; to be seen as a unique being with powerful emotions and a distinct personality; to be protected and cared for throughout his life. Beyond just being safe, another part of the good life is to be spoiled. For most farm animals that means plenty of room to roam, toys, treats, love, and meaningful relationships with other animals and humans.

The Ritzy Rescue Rancher specializes in rescuing farm animals and then making them feel as safe and as spoiled as possible. This relatively new, private farm rescue has a total of eighteen animals including horses, goats, cows, cats, and dogs who are all living the good life. We got to hang out with The Ritzy Rescue Rancher founders Kate and Chris to learn about what they are doing and what is next for their rescue.

Two brown and white horses walk across a green pasture at The Ritzy Rescue Rancher.
21 year old Chrome (left) used to be 300lbs underweight, starving, and full of worms. He still bears the scars of improper harness use. A young woman rescued and rehabilitated him. After training Chome for competitions (where he won several awards), this young woman wanted Chrome to have an amazing retirement. Chrome became fast friends with Chunk, who is spending time with The Ritzy Rescue Rancher as a foster. In contrast to Chrome, Chunk was once 300lbs overweight and was going to be sold for horse meat before he was rescued.

Animal Lovers to Activists

Like so many people who get into rescue or adopt a vegan lifestyle, Kate and Chris experienced a gradual journey to where they are today. Kate’s passion is to leave the world a better place than how she found it, and she sees helping animals as a way to give back. Always an animal lover, Kate became a member of the Board of Directors at Nuzzles and Co., an animal rescue in Park City, Utah.

During this time, Kate learned some ugly truths about how humans treated animals, and the ways animal agriculture impacts the environment. When Kate and Chris met, they were both interested in transitioning to a cruelty free lifestyle. They started by rescuing and fostering dogs, as well as volunteering at some local farms. Seeing so many animals in need inspired them to open their own rescue. They found land west of Salt Lake City and moved with four rescue dogs and two kids.

A white husky dog stands on gravel.
Avalanche is one of four rescue dogs who moved with the family to the ranch. 100% blind, Avalanche marches around the pasture like she owns it! Her confidence and abilities come from feeling safe and loved despite her physical disability.

From Rags to Riches

Every animal at The Ritzy Rescue Rancher has his or her own story. One of our favorites was Teddy. Like any male cow born on a dairy farm, Teddy was unwanted from birth. Dairy farmers impregnate female cows for the sole purpose of milk production, so baby cows like Teddy become byproducts. Male cows born to dairy moms have two possible fates: they can be raised for beef or they can be chained and confined until they are killed at a young age to become veal. The dairy farmer who first owned Teddy sold him to a goat farm. There, he drank goat’s milk and the new farmer intended to sell him for meat. The Ritzy Rescue Rancher heard about Teddy and decided to step in and Teddy has been with Kate and Chris ever since.

Once we came to the pasture on our visit, Teddy took turns going from person to person asking for attention. He loves chin scratches and made sure he got some from each of us. People who work with cows often describe them as grass puppies, meaning they have sweet personalities similar to dogs, and Teddy lived up to that nickname.

A brown cow looks at the camera. He is standing on a pasture and at his feet is a blue ball.
It was hard to tell what Teddy loved more: playing with his ball or getting chin scratches. After being rescued from a goat farm, Teddy is living the good life at the Ritzy Rescue Rancher.

Finding Teddy a Friend

Once Teddy settled in, it it was time to get him a friend. The Ritzy Rescue Rancher property is surrounded by other farms. Kate and Chris knew that a neighbor’s operation involved buying very young calves (under 48 hours old) from local dairy farms. The farmer then packs them into a trailer (with no room to sit or lay) and drives hours back to his property. From there, he sells them to other farmers at under a week old, usually for meat.  

Kate told us, “Meeting India was one of the hardest moments of my life. Chris and I saw all these calves shipped in; we always wanted to rescue one. After rescuing Teddy, we went to our neighbor’s to find a calf to save and be Ted’s forever friend.”  

Walking onto the neighbor’s lot, Kate saw over thirty calves. Deciding which calf would be saved was a heart wrenching decision that still impacts her. Kate and Chris decided that they would take the calf who approached them. Unfortunately, most of the calves had a terrible illness called scours caused by stress, heat, or diet change. Scours is common in calves and can be fatal. They were so sick that most of them could barely move.

Eventually, a black and white cow who they would later call India approached them. Her umbilical cord was still attached to her little body. She was so sweet and one of the biggest calves on the lot. They agreed to rescue her immediately.

A black cow with a pink harness looks up from eating grass to see the camera.
Beautiful India is one of the many rags to riches stories of the Ritzy Rescue Rancher. Rescued from a horrific fate, she is now a spoiled lady with plenty of toys, a Best Bovine Friend in Teddy, and humans who will love and protect her.

Trials and Triumph

Kate and Chris quickly realized that India had scours and was extremely sick. Within 24 hours, she quit moving, standing, eating, and drinking. She seemed to have lost the will to live. For two nights, they went to bed not expecting her to make it through. However, they were able to rehabilitate India using a feeding tube, medication, and a lot of love. Chris and Kate had to lift her up and help her walk as part of the rehabilitation therapy. After a couple of weeks, India was healthy again.

Today, Teddy and India are sweet, playful cows enjoying their forever home at The Ritzy Rescue Rancher. Teddy and India have their own private cow pasture – talk about the good life! With plenty of room to roam, they enjoy playing with balls and eating treats of fruits and veggies. Teddy is a soccer star and will show off his skills to visitors. Kate describes India as her best friend, “I go to her whenever I am having a bad day and she always gives me the love I need to feel better.”

Teddy and India can now graze until their hearts are content at The Ritzy Rescue Rancher. Their retirement home also features a fantastic view of the Oquirh Mountains.

A Private Sanctuary

Unlike many of the nonprofit sanctuaries that we profile, The Ritzy Rescue Rancher is currently a private rescue. With a private rescue, a founder or owner makes all the key decisions and takes care of the financial oversight of the operation (as opposed to a governing board). Private sanctuaries can take donations, but they are not tax deductible and are not subject to government oversight or regulations. Almost every rescue operation starts as a private one and then becomes an official nonprofit.

In the case of the Ritzy Rescue Rancher, the main advantage of operating a private sanctuary is that Kate and Chris have been able to make all the key decisions up to this point. The downside is that they are funding the vast majority of the operation all on their own. They work traditional jobs during the week while taking care of all the animals and running the rescue – it is a huge commitment. Kate and Chris are truly doing it for the love of the animals. A few key friends and family members have also helped, and the couple received some donations from the Salt Lake City vegan community; however, they have built this operation from the ground up mostly on their own.

A brown and white goat looks right into the camera on a green pasture with blue sky.
Scotch and his brother Whisky were dropped off at a questionable rescue operation when they were each less than one year old. It was so dirty there that they were living in a mud pit. When Kate and Chris adopted them, they were covered in lice. Now healthy and clean, Scotch follows them all over the pasture. Both Scotch and Whiskey love kids.

Get Involved with The Ritzy Rescue Rancher

There are so many benefits to getting involved in a smaller and newer sanctuary. To start, any small rescue operation really needs your help to build up a community of supporters. Second, your time and donations will make a huge impact. Finally, you will have the chance to really get to know and interact with the animals and the people at a smaller rescue. Here are some ways to get involved with The Ritzy Rescue Rancher.

Donate to The Ritzy Rescue Rancher

  • Donate Food, Medicine, and Enrichment Items on Amazon: The Ritzy Rescue Rancher has an Amazon Wish List set up. You can go to the Wish List and pick any of the dozens of items that they currently need for their residents. This works for any budget as items on the list range anywhere from $5 to $500. Each item also states the level of need, with items labeled as “Highest Need” and “High Need” being the most urgent.
  • Donate Money: The Ritzy Rescue Rancher currently uses Zelle to accept monetary donations via RitzyRescueRancher@hotmail.com.

Volunteer at The Ritzy Rescue Rancher

Starting the summer of 2021, Kate and Chris will begin welcoming volunteers to help on a weekly basis or with specific projects. Volunteering at a sanctuary is a fantastic way to learn about the sanctuary, get plenty of animal love, and help a sanctuary without making a monetary donation. If you’re interested in volunteering, email them at RitzyRescueRancher@hotmail.com.

Amplify The Ritzy Rescue Rancher on Social Media

With a newer rescue operation, one of the biggest things you can do to help is to spread the word on social media. Currently, The Ritzy Rescue Rancher uses Instagram for most of their social media presence. Follow their Instagram Account, then like, share, and comment on their posts.

Like his brother Scotch, Whisky was dropped off at a questionable rescue operation. He was neglected and living in mud pit with lice. Now, Whiskey loves being a part of the daily chores and hanging out with any kids who come to say hi.

What’s Next for The Ritzy Rescue Rancher?

In terms of animals, the next thing up for The Ritzy Rescue Rancher is to have a space for birds. Kate and Chris are in the process of building a chicken coop and fenced run; they have also added a lot of bird care items to their Amazon Wish List. Once construction is complete, they will be ready to welcome rescue birds who are in need of a loving home.

Beyond just rescuing more animals, Kate and Chris are also in the process of exploring the possibility of making the sanctuary an official nonprofit. Although this can be a laborious process, it would open up the sanctuary to more donations, publicity, grants, and tax advantages. Most rescues eventually go the nonprofit direction, and Kate and Chris see this as a potential goal for the future.

Although running a rescue can have ups and downs, Kate and Chris have the determination and positivity it will take to make it work in the long term. “There is nothing that makes us happier than giving back to those in need. We all have the power to create positive change,” they told us.

A black cow with a white spot looks into the camera on the property of The Ritzy Rescue Rancher.

Final Thoughts and Further Reading

Now that you know about The Ritzy Rescue Rancher, can you do one thing today to help them out? Follow them on Instagram, order something off their Amazon Wishlist, or send a donation on Zelle. Let us know how you helped them in the comments. If you liked this post, check out these others!

Are you interested in supporting more Sanctuary Spotlights? Donate and help us make the world a more compassionate place! Veg-X is also seeking corporate sponsors to help us spotlight more worthwhile sanctuaries across the country. If you would like to work with us, email us at info@veg-x.com or check out our Work With Us page.

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About the Author: Stephanie Mathers
Stephanie Mathers is an educator, writer, and vegan explorer. When she's not blogging or saving animals, she is snowboarding, hiking, or reading.

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7 Comments

  1. Keirsten April 26, 2021 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Geez!!! The story about India and those other babies is so heartbreaking. You’ve painted such a beautiful picture about the horrors that animals in agriculture face on a daily basis.
    Thank goodness for this sanctuary and that more and more people are opening their hearts and their eyes to this stuff.
    Thank you for sharing 🙌💜

  2. Anyka April 26, 2021 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    Avalanche is so beautiful. Teddy reminds me of Tony, another cow at a sanctuary I volunteer at! Tony searches for attention all the time person to person just like teddy. All animals are alike they just want love and a good life like us!

  3. Danielle Ardizzone April 26, 2021 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    What great stories! Best of luck to this amazing organization!

  4. Alexis Farmer April 26, 2021 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Aww, my heart is so full for these babies 🖤 What an awesome organization.

  5. Chelsea April 26, 2021 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Wow! How adorable are Teddy & India?! Those sweet faces are so cute! Thanks for sharing these rescue and sanctuary stories. I followed on IG! I’d love to volunteer at a place like this. Once things open up more in my state, I’ll have to look around my area if there are any opportunities. Thanks again for sharing their story!

  6. Tiffany April 27, 2021 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Rescues are a labor of love. So glad they are filling this need out there!

  7. Cindy Moore May 2, 2021 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    What a place of love! It’s so heartbreaking, how calves are treated. 😢

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