Animal advocate Kristine Krolczyk is giving back to four-legged—and two-legged—friends in need through Happy Hooves Healing Hearts.
By Sabrina LeBoeuf
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, thousands of people lost their homes. So did two pigs. Wilbur was one pig in need of lodging after the Category 4 hurricane made landfall in 2017. While driving through the affected areas and distributing pet supplies, Kristine Krolczyk came upon Wilbur and the story of how he was pulled onto a boat before the hurricane-generated flood waters swept him away.
“I just couldn’t get…little Wilbur out of my mind because he was living in the backyard of this home,” Krolczyk says. “He was a rescue, you know, from the waters. And so, then we drove and drove, and then I said to my friend, ‘You know what? I’d really like to start a sanctuary.’ ’”
Before driving back to Austin, Krolczyk lifted Wilbur and another pig named Pork Chop into the back of her van by her own strength. This was only the beginning of what would become Krolczyk’s recuse-driven, nonprofit animal sanctuary.
Krolczyk continued to give farm animals the home they needed. Between rescuing miniature horses from a slaughterhouse and taking in an array of goats, she was able to create Happy Hooves Healing Hearts, a sizable animal sanctuary next to her for-profit pet-care business, My Love Fur Paws.
So far, the Happy Hooves Healing Hearts gang includes three pigs, five nanny goats, two rabbits, one rooster, two hens, two horses and several farm cats. The animal sanctuary’s name is directly in line with Krolczyk’s mission to heal and give back to those around her, no matter how many legs they have.
“To me, it’s just about building a community of believing and giving back and doing good in the world and creating more positivity,” Krolczyk says.
In the Austin area alone, Krolczyk gives back by organizing multiple projects related to her animal sanctuary. She and her furry friends have helped people with autism and PTSD by working with volunteer therapists. She’s also organizing a free pet-vaccines event in November for low-income families in the area.
Her work extends beyond Texas. When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, Krolczyk made her way there to volunteer at a spay-and-neuter clinic. Going above and beyond, when she found several dogs in need there, she even flew them off the island and found them new forever homes.
“We just do a lot of different things that a normal animal sanctuary wouldn’t do,” Krolczyk says. “I call it travel with a purpose. And so, you travel the world and you give back. And there’s actually a purpose to your travel other than just for oneself.”
Krolczyk traveled with a purpose to Peru in November 2017. There, she donated her time at an all-girls orphanage in the Andes mountains, helping celebrate the girls’ birthdays with a special dinner.
“I didn’t realize chicken was a treat to them. … It wasn’t something they get every day. It was a luxury,” Krolczyk says. “And they wanted to take what chicken was left on the bones and wrap it in napkins and put it under the pillow to share with one another at night before bed.”
After learning about this heart-rending wish, Krolczyk applied her talent with animals yet again. By the end of her trip, she made sure the orphanage had a chicken coop and each girl had her very own hen, which meant the girls would have access to a sustainable food source with the eggs and learn the merits of caring for a community of animals.
Heartened by the impact one birthday celebration had, Krolczyk headed back to Peru in September. She says the chicken coop she established years ago is thriving. And she was able to give back to three other homes for girls in the country.
During her visit to one particular girls’ home in Huancarama, Peru, Krolczyk learned the girls were in need of computers for their schoolwork, mattresses, a water tank, first-aid supplies and clothes. Beyond necessities, Krolczyk hopes to provide them with comforters, board games and other items to make their living space “a happy place to call home.”
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are going to make this happen, as this is no way to live,” Krolczyk says.
To raise funds for its many projects, Happy Hooves Healing Hearts will host its annual Haunts for Hounds masquerade gala this month.
HAPPY HOOVES HEALING HEARTS’ HAUNTS FOR HOUNDS GALA
Oct. 27, 5 to 8 p.m., Hudson Bend Ranch, 5102 Doss Road
To learn more about Happy Hooves Healing Hearts and purchase tickets for the upcoming gala, visit happyhooveshealinghearts.org.