You know the “Real Deal” when you see it. Something that is absolutely, unequivocally, 100% real.

Nancy Nunke with reclining zebra

Nancy with Surprize

Nancy Nunke is the Real Deal. I need to tell you about her and about her Hearts & Hands Animal Rescue program ( Her facebook page is

Nancy is an animal rescuer, a most unique animal rescuer. She has a gift. As a three-year-old child, Nancy was communicating with animals in a way noticed by everyone. As an adult she has perfected several animal languages. “To become the animal to understand and train the animal,” she explains.

Among the languages she presumably speaks and the animals she has rescued and trained are: a wild Przewalski horse (believed to be untrainable), mountain lions, a Bengal tiger, black bears, zebras, deer, wolves, donkeys, alpacas, goats, camels, exotic birds, tortoises, cats, dogs, rabbits and pigs. Her work with zebras earned her the nickname of, “Zebra Whisperer.” Zoo Keepers throughout the world seek her advice to help them better understand and keep their zebras.

At Hearts & Hands, Nancy takes in animals of any species that need her care.

Nancy Nunke

Nancy with a rare Przewalski Horse.

In his book, Passion For Horses & Artistic Talent, Robert M. Miller, D.V.M., describes Nancy as follows: “In the course of my veterinary career I have known many incredibly talented animal trainers. Included were circus stars, movie and TV trainers and world-class horse trainers in every conceivable discipline. My clients have included trainers of dolphins, elephants, lions, tigers, chimpanzees, birds, dogs and everything else you can name. But, I have never known a person with greater inborn animal training aptitude than Nancy Nunke.”

Nancy needs help. When California wildfires claimed her ranch, Nancy lost her home, all outbuildings, a twenty-stall barn, all equipment and most of her tack. Intentionally under-insured to conserve badly needed funds to care for the animals, Nancy was left with little money to rebuild. She lives now in a travel trailer on the property and uses what’s left of her own money to rebuild, and care for the animals. She can’t continue to do this alone.

Nancy and two other Directors formed the Community Benefit Organization, Hearts & Hands Animal Rescue ( several years ago, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit. She has just two employees and volunteers help as they can.

If you can help Nancy as a volunteer, or better yet, as a donor to Hearts & Hands I hope you will.

Wouldn’t a donation in a loved one’s name make a gift that’s the Real Deal to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or any other special day?

Follow Hearts and Hands on Facebook.

lady riding a zebra

A student tries out one of Nancy’s trained zebras.

lady with mini and zebra

Nancy with 2 black and white friends


young zebra learning the pedestal

Nancy pedestal training a young zebra