Did you see that timeless movie they show every year at
Christmas with those imperfect toys that nobody wants? Where through no
fault of their own, these rejected defects of toy land are discarded and
subsequently go to live in the Land of Misfits? It’s a heartbreaking
concept. The good news however, is that these poor souls really don’t
mind, and they don’t need much looking after either, being that they’re,
I do know of a real place that reminds me a lot of The
Land of Misfits. Except it’s not on the North Pole, it’s right here on
Long Island, in Manorville. And its name isn’t Land of Misfits, it’s
Double D Bar Ranch, affectionately dubbed The Second Chance Ranch. And
rather than objects that reside in our imagination, this place is for
real. What they do have in common is that all residents were, at one time,
unwanted. And the only thing at Double D Bar Ranch that seems more endless
than the once neglected and abused farm animals is the unwavering
dedication of two amazing seniors who care for every last one of them.
If you’re thinking they’re probably retired with lots
spare time and money to spend, you are terribly wrong. Gay Devoe, a
60-year-old grandmother, still works a full time job over 50 miles away.
Her husband Rich, 66, cares for the animals with unbelievable
determination. Recent rains have turned the ground into ankle deep mud.
But this added burden doesn’t slow him down. In the winter he tirelessly
breaks up the frozen ice in the big water buckets all over the property.
And by the time he gets to the last one, the first one has already
refrozen. So, he begins again.
There are as many stories at Double D Bar Ranch as there
are rescued animals. There’s a bull that was rescued from becoming
someone’s veal dinner who now “thinks he’s a puppy,” reports Gay. Then
there’s Porky, the once underfed pig who was found knee deep in, well, not
mud. Rescued from another abusive situation are two undernourished horses
that have gained back hundreds of needed pounds. Dozens of sheep and goats
rescued from abandoned petting zoos, and three deer saved from a canned
hunt also call this place home. Other residents include cranky pot belly
pigs, one eyed rabbits, and a one legged pheasant. There are also sleepy
cats, fluffy puppies, and most of all, compassion.
As we walked the muddy grounds, dozens of ducks waddled
feverishly over to us. Ducks are a common example of animal abuse. At
Easter, both ducks and chicks are purchased by family members as cute
gifts for children. Most people don’t realize these are messy animals that
love to splash around in water. Fact is most folks are not prepared to
care for them beyond the holiday. Many others started out as school
projects for children to learn how a hatched egg becomes a duckling. At
the end of the school year, most ducks are abandoned or brought to petting
But love won’t pay the bills. And it’s no easy task to
feed all these hungry animals. The animals eat over 2.5 tons of hay per
week and between 70 and 75 bags of feed per month. The average feed bill
is $4,500 a month and vet bills are approximately $1000 per month. The
ranch implements several different programs to help cover costs. For
between $5 and $100 per month, you can join the Sponsor a Pet Program.
They welcome everything from hands-on help to construction work. They are
in need of large amounts of vegetables. (Anything but iceberg lettuce and
Unlike some of the more popular organizations, Double D
Bar Ranch isn’t backed by any celebrity names; they don’t put a cap on the
number of animals they take in; and incredibly, 100 percent of the
donations they receive are spent on caring for the animals. Some
organizations spend up to 80 percent of donations on administration costs,
which can legally cover car expenses and salaries. Not here. One month
their electric was actually shut off in their home. “The animal feed was
more important, so we went without. It wasn’t so bad” Gay Devoe said
without hesitation as she zipped up her jacket and walked around a mud
puddle. Not even Santa can compete with that.
You Can Help:
From school age children to senior programs, there are
opportunities for everyone to get involved. Donations of all kinds are
needed. From the ranch’s Sponsor a Pet Program to offering your time or
donations of food, you can help the Devoes continue their amazing effort
at Double D Bar Ranch.
For more information, visit their website at
www.doubledbarranch.org or call Gay or Rich Devoe at 631-878-4106.
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