For many, approaching retirement also means big planning. Some couples choose to invest in RVs and cruise the country. Others may build that cabin in the mountains they’ve always dreamt about. For one Georgia couple, their retirement plan was to get a place in the quiet countryside of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They accomplished that, but it didn’t go exactly as planned.
Lester and Diane Aradi recently purchased Horse Creek Stable in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, but it’s not just the two of them, as their plans might have called for. Lester, a retired Florida police chief, is a big fan of horses. That’s why after moving to the farm he and his wife took in a neglected racehorse to live in their stables. From there it didn’t stop. More and more ailing horses made their way to the farm, and soon it wasn’t just the horses that found new homes.
The Aradis started partnerships with many animal organizations. One of those organizations is “Adopt a Golden Atlanta,” and that’s how Tricycle, a three-legged Golden Retriever, made it to the farm. Today, Tricycle acts as the welcoming committee for all the new animals that show up. The pooch even inspired Lester to write a children’s book called “Tricycle and Friends.”
Tricycle certainly wouldn’t be the last dog to show up on the farm. Many others arrived after being hit by cars and losing limbs or being abused in their past lives.
The Aradis have had quite a few animals pass away on their farm, some of which had to be euthanized. But Lester buried them all on the property so that their spirits could live on with the other animals. The Aradis pride themselves on taking in the animals that nobody else wants, whether they’re disabled or just considered too old.
The farm also has alpacas and llamas, as well as a miniature donkey named Buckaroo. Buckaroo is actually a therapy animal who makes frequent rounds at assisted-care facilities and often greets school children when they visit the farm.
It’s free to visit the farm, but you can also pay to spend the night in a guest house converted from an old carriage house. Not surprisingly, the Aradis put all of the proceeds toward the care of the animals.