Until recently, the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in Windham was struggling financially, according to Maine Public. Within the last few years, New England's largest horse rescue has accomplished great gains. After struggling to maintain their facilities with too many horses and having to lay off staff, the Maine State Society initiated a program in which volunteer female inmates from Maine Correctional Center across the street. Thanks to the volunteer inmates, the rescue has managed to finish a major renovation, now has a budget on the rebound.

Some horses come to the Maine State Society in pretty bad shape, such as a handful that were recently rehabilitated.

“All four horses, when they came in, were pretty much skeletons with fur. Really, really shockingly thin and one needed a medical procedure and had to be shipped out of state for an abdominal hernia, which was quite painful. These horses, I think, without intervention, probably would have been dead within a fairly short time, within weeks,” Bickford says.

Thanks in large part to the volunteers, the horses have all recovered and are ready for adoption. One such volunteer is Sarah Fuchswanz, whose minimum custody sentence on drug charges won’t be up for two more years. Although she didn’t have much experience working with horses when she first showed up at the barn, she's found that taking care of the horses has been more rewarding than she ever would have expected.

“It just feels so good to give back. It’s something that I never really did in my spare time and I never knew how good it felt and it’s something I want to continue doing. I do know that,” Fuchswanz says.