By Tracy Dietlin

What brings rock stars to The Living Free Animal Sanctuary? How about 101 cats and kittens, 43 dogs and puppies, 4 mustang horses and 3 burros, all rescues and most available for adoption. Just over an hour drive up highway 74 from the Coachella Valley and 10-15 degrees cooler then the valley, Living Free rests on 154 acres of rolling hills in the San Jacinto mountains near Idyllwild. In addition to all of the animals there are Native American historic sites with Indian grinding rocks.

Bad Company’s singer and songwriter Paul Rodgers visited with his wife Cynthia and was so moved by the beauty, serenity and the animals, that he returned five days later with Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke and his wife Maria.

When asked, what stood out? Rodgers said, “I was particularly drawn to the rescued, wild mustangs who have been ‘gentled’ not broken. Ray Barmore, the Equine Manager for War Horse Creek and Facilities Supervisor for Living Free, gave me a lesson on gentling and silent communication, so powerful. They have a brilliant program for Veterans suffering from PTSD using these amazing mustangs who are so intuitive and gifted with reading people. The four of us spent the day with the animals, touring from enclosure to cattio to enclosure, enjoying being in the silence and stillness. To say it is peaceful is an understatement.”


Simon Kirke “We spent an afternoon on the Living Free Animal Sanctuary ranch and both my wife Maria and I were moved at the love and dedication the volunteers and staff are showing there. These beautiful animals need our help whether that means adopting, fostering, sponsoring or volunteering, it all helps and it all matters.”

Paul Rodgers adds, “With all of the frenetic energy that is involved in the rock and roll world animals have the innate ability to ground you. That is probably why so many musicians have pets from Robert Plant, ACDC’s Brian Johnson, Sting, Paul McCartney and ZZTOP even have a band dog that travels with them! Animals are sentient beings we should never lose sight of that.”

I heard that Paul’s wife Cynthia had fallen in love with yet another dog. I asked Paul if he would like to comment. “It is true. She has fallen for Gage, a 10 year old senior Labrador retriever and Rottweiler mix. Am I scared? Yes indeed, since we already have 9 pets at home! Please someone reading this adopt Gage.”

Bad Company have offered to cover the adoption fees for qualified veterans, as well as a number of older animals that are often overlooked by adopters, but need loving homes as well. Remember that when you adopt from Living Free, you’re saving two lives – the one you take home and the one they can now go and rescue in their place. Contact Living Free for more information 951-659-4687 to view animals available for adoption

All Photos By Karen Alvarez