PLYMOUTH (CBS) – Plymouth is known as “America’s Hometown.” Away from Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II, into the woods, you’ll find Black Feather Horse Rescue.

It’s currently home to 18 horses, donkeys, a pig and one very loud rooster, all rescued by Darlene Nickerson.

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“I like to take the older, broken animals that maybe someone else doesn’t want,” Nickerson told WBZ-TV.

The 137-acre property has been in Nickerson’s family since 1912 and started as a trout hatchery.

“In 2004 is when I realized when that sick horse came what I wanted to do,” Nickerson explained.

Nickerson takes in abused, neglected or sick horses, like Murphy, who was training to become a Park Ranger when he became so ill, he couldn’t swallow.

“He leaned into me and it was like, ‘If they let me take you, I’ll give you everything I got,” she recalled.

Nickerson tube fed the horse a special diet three times a day for a year until he could swallow on his own. His story is the subject of a children’s book Murphy’s New Home, which is read to kids who are also on feeding tubes.

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But Black Feather isn’t just a safe haven for animals.

“It’s so peaceful here and when you leave you just feel contentment. That’s what you feel. You just feel so at peace, like all your stress just leaves you. These horses just snuggle up to you, they nuzzle with you. They realize you’re here to help them,” said Peter DiMarzio, a weekly volunteer.

Volunteers from Launch, a Cohasset based program for developmentally challenged adults, have volunteered at the rescue weekly for two years.

“We get a big support system,” Launch member Jack Skordinski told WBZ.

Nickerson has also opened the rescue to sick and special needs children who can relate to the recovering animals.

“This is the way I can give back. If we’re able to keep this place going, I can offer this place and the animals to people that are going through stuff and that means a lot to me because I know this place is healing,” she said.

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Black Feather is a non-profit organization. If you’d like to support their effort, you can purchase books, apparel and hay for the horses at Morrison’s Home and Garden in Plymouth. One-hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to the rescue. If you’d like to visit the farm, contact Nickerson at blackfeatherhorserescue.org to set up an appointment.

Breana Pitts