Lauren Koenig’s passion for animals most likely began at birth. Evidence of that likelihood is born out by signs that were obvious before she could even say the words “dog” or “cat.”
“My mom always told me I dragged home every animal that looked as if it might need help,” Lauren said with a chuckle. “It must be true because I still do it, and it includes
No one was surprised when she founded Hodgepodge Rescue in 2008. She was single at the time, with one child, and dozens of thoughts in her brain about what to do with Hodgepodge. An opportunity to buy a piece of property in Argyle presented itself in 2012. Lauren looked at the two horses, two goats, dogs, and cats she already had and decided it was a godsend.
A neglected, starved, elderly horse joined the crew soon after the move. Unfortunately, he didn’t get along well with the established equine residents, so Lauren brought in a miniature horse as his companion.
To get the true picture of Hodgepodge, it’s necessary to understand it doesn’t follow the strict definition of a traditional animal rescue. Yes, it is a registered 501©3 but it’s based on a far-reaching, multi-pronged plan.
“It’s not my intention to simply collect animals,” Lauren stressed. “Most of the ones I have now are results of people calling me and telling me about an abandoned or mistreated animal. They ask me if I’m willing to help and, of course, I don’t think I’ve ever refused.
“My goal is to rescue the animal, feed it, love it, fix whatever is wrong with it, and find it a new home, where the people will cover it with the care and respect
That brings us to Ivy.
“We received a call on Christmas Eve last year, asking if I could take in another goat for bottle feeding,” Lauren related. “The caller said it was about five weeks old and in one of her neighbor’s backyards. When the neighbor was asked what he intended to do with the baby goat, he announced his plans to cook it for Christmas dinner.”
There would be no baby goat cooked for dinner on Lauren’s watch!
“I flew around, getting ready to leave,” Lauren continued. “My 15-year-old son, Alex, said he was coming with me. We got there and discovered it was a lamb, not a goat. Its umbilical cord was still attached. We loaded her up, went home, and she’s been in the house with us ever since.
“Alex assumed most of the caretaking duties. He named her Ivy for the Christmas song The Holly and the Ivy. He feeds her and plays his guitar for her. She’s now five weeks old and sleeps in his room.”
Lauren’s Hodgepodge will launch another prong this spring.
“I’m calling it our Outreach Team,” she said. “I want to take animals such as Ivy to schools and other public venues where we can encourage people to engage with us in non-threatening conversations. We want to encourage the kids and the adults to listen and to learn about animals. We want them to understand animals share many of our emotions – they think, fear, hurt, love, and much more.
“I certainly don’t intend on doing a Super Woman routine, telling everyone how much they need to become vegan. But I do think they deserve to know their food doesn’t actually come from Kroger or Walmart. I want them to understand there’s a beginning point long before the grocery store.”
Lauren is praying that, at some point, she’ll connect with enough people and her efforts will coalesce with other organizations to bring about the final eradication of slaughter, especially the cruel and inhumane exportation of horses to Mexico and Canada.
Lauren and her husband Jack work toward a day when Lauren will leave corporate America and work only for Hodgepodge. Their arms are open to others who may want to donate time, money, ideas, contacts, and connections to the Hodgepodge mission.