Dorothy Brooke – A Hero Worth Celebrating

Learn more about Dorothy Brooke, who saved WWI horses from horrible conditions after the war, and the legacy that lives on today.

Dorothy Brooke in the yard of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Cairo with some of the war horses she rescued in the 1930s, before she created The Old War Horse Memorial Hospital. Courtesy Brooke USA

War heroes on the front lines are often recognized, yet those in the background also make significant contributions to victory. Dorothy Brooke, the founder of Brooke, the world’s largest international equine welfare charity, is a hero worth celebrating on what would have been her 134th birthday, June 1st.

Upon moving to Cairo, Egypt, after World War I, Brooke was inspired to rescue abandoned warhorses that were suffering from intolerably inhumane conditions. Fueled by her love of animals, she took it upon herself to help improve the lives of equine veterans who had been sold into hard labor after the end of World War I. Mounting a campaign in 1931, she dedicated her life to working behind the scenes to save the lives and improve the living conditions of thousands of equines by providing free veterinary care to working equines and educating their owners on modern animal husbandry.

“For the sake of any animal you have ever loved, I implore you to help carry on this great and needful work for suffering animals whose lives are ones of unremitting toil,” Dorothy Brooke spoke of her time in Cairo.

As a result of Brooke’s compassion and energy, Brooke Animal Hospital was instituted in 1934 and gave rise to the world’s largest international equine welfare charity that has continued to provide care for working horses, donkeys and mules for more than 80 years. Last year alone, the assistance provided by Brooke reached more than 2 million equines, benefitting 12 million people who depend on them in some of the world’s poorest countries.

On June 1, Brooke USA celebrates Dorothy Brooke’s legacy by funding veterinary care, proper training and education programs for working equines and their owners across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central America through Brooke’s sustainable, scientifically proven equine welfare programs.

Dorothy Brooke’s first rescued war horse, Old Bill, about whom she said, “I shall never forget the shock he gave me. I stood staring at him. Heaven knows the other horses were bad enough, but somehow he was different. Obviously he had been a good horse, once. He had been happy and well fed as other horses had never been. He had been born in England; had known our green fields, had been groomed and cared for. He had moreover served in Palestine and had suffered hardships in that Campaign as few horses have endured in modern times. And then we had sold him into this.” Courtesy Brooke USA

Dorothy Brooke’s long and impressive legacy began by rescuing World War 1 horses, so in honor of this year’s centennial anniversary of the U.S. entering World War 1, Brooke USA launched Horse Heroes, a campaign with the goal of raising $1 million in honor of the one million American horses and mules who served in the war. Those animals suffered and died while carrying soldiers, medical supplies, food, water, and ammunition to the front lines through horrific conditions, difficult terrain and active battlefields.

Since January, Brooke USA’s Horse Heroes campaign, an official partner of the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, has already raised nearly $500,000 dollars to support equine welfare programs worldwide.

For more information, please contact Brooke USA, 859-296-0037,, or






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