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Collapsed roof, two broken arms and back surgery are latest hurdles for operators of West Fargo rescue – InForum

WEST FARGO — Today, when Rob Faulkner walks through the barn that once housed the family’s animals, the only sound he hears is the creaking of metal and the wind whistling through the cavernous hole where a roof used to be was.

“It sounds like an abandoned western town. It’s awful,” says Rob, who runs the Pride and Joy Rescue northwest of West Fargo with his wife Connie.

Last weekend the roof of their barn collapsed under the weight of this winter’s heavy snowfall, leaving countless rescued goats, horses, ponies, chickens, cats and other miscellaneous animals literally homeless.

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Rob Faulkner, co-founder of Pride and Joy, stands in the rescue barn after two-thirds of the roof collapsed from 13 inches of wet, heavy snow on February 28.

Post / Pride and Joy Rescue

But this is just the latest in a series of tragedies that have afflicted her family over the past six months.

The Faulkners appeared on the forum in September when I presented their efforts to provide a sanctuary for horses who were about to be slaughtered because of age, injury or because their owners no longer wanted them.

Unfortunately, some recent health issues have complicated the physical demands of their rescue work. After years of physical labor taking a toll on his back, Rob required surgery on two discs and a compressed nerve. He was stuck for weeks after that, so Connie had to make up some of the gap.

This is especially noticeable when you realize that Connie is recovering from two broken arms. Earlier in the fall, the family conducted fall cleans on their farm. They had just uprooted a few bushes when Conny tripped over one of the roots.

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“I did a flying ride, and basically our truck stopped us. I hit our truck,” she says. “Everyone thinks I’m clumsy, but I think the problem is that I’m always moving. If you’re always doing something, then you’re more prone to something happening.”

She broke the elbow and wrist of her right hand and completely shattered her left hand. Connie underwent nearly four hours of surgery, implanting a temporary metal spacer and a permanent metal plate in her hand. She is still in physical therapy.

“I can move my fingers, but I still can’t make a complete fist. I don’t know if I ever will,” she says.

And now one more hit. The barn, which the Faulkners estimate was built in the 1960s or 1970s, includes a riding arena, tool room and several animal stalls. After spending Thursday tending to a colicky horse, they learned Friday that two-thirds of their barn’s roof had collapsed, likely under 13 inches of wet, heavy snow from the Feb. 28 storm.

“The building is so big that there is no way to get up to clear the snow. The roof on the thing is 20 to 30 feet high,” says Connie.

No one was hurt, but the accident upset just about everything – from the farm’s usual training schedule to feeding logs to horseback riding lessons.

Another rescue, It’s a Dream, near Glyndon, stepped forward after hearing of their misfortune to provide the goats with a temporary home.

“They are very, very, very, very great,” says Rob.

But riding lessons for children have been postponed, says Conny. The horses can no longer be led into their stalls for their nightly grain ration. The Faulkners rescued eight wild colts from Kansas in February and can’t bring them to the stables for halter training. Connie says she’d rather not chase them across the paddock to put halters on them because they’re already shy around humans and chasing after them “makes a stressful workout.”

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Though it’s been a tough week, Connie’s sense of humor is still intact.

“We have a friend who lives here and his name is Murphy. And we don’t like him and we try to stop him, and I think the more we try to stop him, the angrier he gets,” she jokes.

For now, the Faulkners are in limbo while awaiting their insurance carrier’s verdict. After that, they will know if the building can be repaired or needs to be replaced entirely.

In the meantime, the shelter is accepting donations to help pay for the insurance deductible, as well as the many vet, food, and hay costs. You can donate through venmo, @prideandjoyrescue, or through PayPal at [email protected].

Connie says there will also be a benefit taco dinner at the Harwood Community Center in April. Details are still pending.

Despite the many recent setbacks, both say they would never consider closing the rescue.

“We’ll manage,” says Connie. “We have too many young children who come here who have difficult lives and I don’t want to take that away from them. That’s a thing for Rob and me. One of the reasons we opened this place was not just to save the horses, but to help people understand what horses can do for them.”

Tammy Swift

Tammy has been a storyteller for most of her life. Before she learned the alphabet, she told stories by drawing pictures and then dictated the narration to her ever patient mother. A graduate of North Dakota State University, she has served as a Dickinson, ND office reporter, a feature writer/columnist for the Bismarck Tribune, a reporter, columnist, and editor for the Forum, a writer for NDSU’s Publications Services, and a marketing/ Social media specialist, educational assistant in public broadcasting and communication specialist in a non-profit organization.

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