SHAWNEE, Okla. - Animal abuse is nothing to take lightly.
It can come in so many forms, from pets to wildlife to farm animals.
But abused farm animals often are forgotten.
Luckily, forgetting about animals in need is not something Paige Hare can do, even for animals many people would overlook.
“Goats, squirrels, donkeys,” Liz Morgan said as she went down the long list of animals Paige Hare helps out.
“She has it in her heart to help out,” Liz said. “What I’ve seen is animals being dropped off near death. They’re harmed by an accident or by someone not being able to take care of them, and Paige nurses them back to health.”
A horse that arrived at Paige’s Animal Sanctuary in Shawnee represents one example of what Paige does.
It arrived so badly malnourished that its bones were showing, and it even had a large wound that had been left to fester.
Paige nursed it back to good health, and now it’s doing fine.
That open heart and the commitment to serve those without a voice is why Liz Morgan nominated Paige Hare for the First Fidelity Bank Pay It 4ward Award.
First Fidelity Bank heard about Paige’s work, branch manager Billy Reinhart agreed on the spot that Paige deserves some recognition for what she does.
“We’re excited to hear the work that she’s done and thrilled being animal lovers ourselves,” Billy explained. “So we just want to present this $400 to Pay It 4Ward to Paige.”
Paige thinks she’s meeting Liz for lunch at The Manhattan in Downtown Oklahoma City, and just as Billy presents Liz with the $400 prize to give Paige, she texts saying she’s about to arrive.
As soon as she walks inside the restaurant, she realizes there’s more on her plate than just lunch.
Our crew comes out from a side door to surprise her with the award, and she’s so moved she doesn’t quite know what to say.
“Ok… thank you,” Paige says, holding back emotion.
“Paige, I’ve got $400 from Channel 4 Pay It 4Ward for your animal rescue,” Liz said as she presented Paige with her prize.
Paige doesn’t make a big deal about the award, maybe because the situation many animals come to her in is heart-breaking.
“Some of them,” Paige said, “I’m surprised they make it, honestly. I mean they’re very malnourished. They’ve been beaten. They’ve…”
“Left for dead,” Liz chimed in.
“Yes, basically, I mean that’s… left for dead,” Paige said as she struggled for words.
The money Paige received was sorely needed.
It turns out Paige pays for all of the feed, transport and vet bills out of her own pocket.
With winter not far away, it’s time to stock up on feed for the long, dark months ahead.
“With winter coming, that’s one thing I’m worried about,” Paige said. “So I said, ‘Yay! We can go buy some hay!’ because the hay that we’re actually going to go through is going to be astronomical.”
We wanted to talk with Paige a bit longer, but it turns out she has work to do. Today looks like another busy afternoon taking care of animals in need.
“As soon as I get done here, I actually have to pick a squirrel up,” Paige explained.
The call came in just a short time earlier that a friend had found a baby squirrel lying on the ground, clearly facing a life or death situation.
But because of Paige, he’ll get whatever help he needs to recover.
To Paige Hare, we say ‘thank you’ for making our world just a little bit better for the forgotten.
Taking care of so many animals doesn’t come cheaply.
Paige has to pay about $500 every week just to support her operation.
She always accepts donations from people who want to help.
If you’d like to donate, Paige has a GoFundMe Campaign set up here.
'Pay It 4Ward' is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.