For one British Columbia native, a cancer diagnosis meant not only a personal battle with the disease, but the challenge of keeping his horses fed along the way.

Dan Franklin got the news of his cancer – a fast-growing, terminal bone cancer – in October 2020, and the Cariboo-area man was struggling to keep his dozen horses. But when word got out, the community rallied to support him, including some people he’d not spoken to or seen in over three decades.

Franklin’s friends launched a GoFundMe  for him to raise money to cover costs of hay until the spring when he hopes to sell some of the horses. To date, $1,970 has been raised of the $10,000 goal – the estimated cost of keeping his horses fed over the winter.

“It’s brought them to my doorstep asking how they can help,” Franklin told the Maple Ridge News from his property in Horsefly known as Misty Meadow Ranch.

Franklin, who is 66 and has two adult sons and a 12-year-old daughter, worked in the mining industry for over 30 years. When he stepped down from that industry, he made plans to semi-retire and become a horse therapist. Franklin calls his business The Quest of the Horse and is considered one of the world’s top five horse behaviourists. He has been working in equine therapy, including with special needs children, for decades, not only in the Cariboo area but also in England, Switzerland and South Africa. Unfortunately, due to his diagnosis and current COVID-19 travel restrictions, Dan is unable to earn an income and support his horses.

Adopted as an infant by a couple in Maple Ridge, BC, Franklin was first introduced to horses when he was a child with a paper route. While delivering papers to one customer on a horse farm, the owner saw the boy looking at the horses and invited him to take a closer look. From there, the young Franklin was hired to muck stalls on the weekend.

“He was instrumental in my involvement with horses,” Franklin said in an interview. He added that it was easy for him to sort out troubled horses, noting horses have a language all of their own – as horse people the world over have discovered.

His 12 therapy horses have been a major comfort to him since his terminal cancer diagnosis, and he hopes to stay on his ranch and keep them for as long as possible. “I have my horses that are guiding me and my own intuition.”