The Star-Herald

County Faces: Luetta Marley-Goodall of Smyrna

Throughout her extensive career, Luetta Marley-Goodall of Smyrna has devoted her life to helping at-risk children and families find safety and security when they were in need.

Her career path led her to serve 19 years at the Aroostook County Action Program and 12 years at the Maine Adoption Placement Service, where she founded the Stepping Stones program. The program grew, she said recently, and within 12 years she had taken the responsibility of managing nine homes for at-risk women, children and families throughout the state.

She then focused on her current occupation, running a non-profit dedicated to animal rescue.

She and her daughter, Brandie Clark, started A Life Line, which was designed to help large farm animals who have been neglected. The group’s original purpose, Marley-Goodall said, was to “help people facing death, divorce, domestic violence and hard times with their animals.”

She has since narrowed the focus of the organization to center more on assisting animals, and since 2011, more than 130 animals have gained a safe home thanks to A Life Line. The organization has assisted all types of pets and  animals, including rabbits, chickens, dogs, cats, roosters, horses, donkeys, alpaca and llamas.

Marley-Goodall said her organization does not receive state funds for such services. “But yet the need is huge,” she said.

A Life Line opens the farm up for groups to come and learn about the rescue animals and their needs, she explained. For the last two years, the organization has taken numerous rescues to schools in Aroostook and Washington County. This past year, more than 1,000 children received hands-on experiences with such animals, according to Goodall. The hope is that A Life Line could receive funding from local Rotaries or other such organizations.

In Oct. 2017, A Life Line rescued a 17-day-old donkey day from a fair in California that was being kept in a cage. The donkey, who was eventually named Joy, had a broken neck along with abscesses on the side of her neck. The infection had spread deep into the vertebrae in her neck.

Marley-Goodall and A Life Line rescued Joy, and the donkey received life-saving surgery from Dr. Barrie Grant, a board-certified surgical veterinarian specializing in cervical stabilization.

Grant flew in from California to treat the animal at his own expense. He performed the surgical procedure at New England Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Dover, New Hampshire, and Joy spent three months recuperating.  

The donkey came out of her stall a year ago, in January 2018, and Marley-Goodall said she has been improving ever since.

Still, she said, Joy’s medical bills were costly, and there is still $16,000 left to pay off.

She said that anyone who would like to assist the organization is welcome to mail payments to: A Life Line, 73 Smyrna Center Road, Smyrna, Maine 04780.

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