Published: May 27, 2010 10:24 PM EDT
Updated: May 27, 2010 7:24 PM EDT

NAPLES, Fla. -  Gracie has finally found a home. The 19-year-old thoroughbred came to Domestic Animal Services in September 2009, after being abandoned several months earlier by her previous owner. A neighbor cared for her in the interim, but eventually called DAS when it became clear no one was returning for the horse.

DAS staff and a host of dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly over the past eight months to attempt to find an appropriate home for Gracie (the brown horse in the photo; pictured meeting Poppy, the blonde horse).

As a racehorse, Gracie had 37 starts between 1996 and 1998 with no wins.  It appears from a brand (the number 100) on her left hind end that she may have been in PMU service. "PMU" is an acronym for "pregnant mare urine," from which hormone replacement pharmaceuticals are made. Gracie has some lameness and cannot be ridden, which made finding a new home for her especially challenging.

"We blanketed the horse rescue community so thoroughly with information about Gracie that one day I did an Internet search to find out more about her condition and the third or fourth hit was her flyer," said Shelter Operations Manager Nan Gerhardt, who headed up the placement effort.

Director Amanda Townsend suggested to the Collier County Museum that Gracie be considered for a living exhibit at Roberts Ranch in Immokalee. Although the ongoing expense and required care made that idea unfeasible, the suggestion brought Gracie to the attention of Roberts Ranch Museum Manager Lee Mitchell, who has a small farm and livestock of his own. Lee visited DAS and fell for Gracie. She will now reside on his 20 acres with four other horses and some goats.

"We're thrilled Gracie has finally found the permanent loving home she deserves," said DAS Director Amanda Townsend. "That she will have other horses and livestock to live with is especially gratifying. She is happiest when she has other animals around."

Each year, DAS takes in approximately 6,500 or more homeless animals.