Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Passing of Holly - "I Will Miss It Here."

From Dawn:

On September 27, 2008 at 2pm, we had to help our dear horse friend Holly on her way. Cancer had ravaged her body slowly over the past several months and we knew her time with us was drawing to a close. Holly was a 28 year old Morgan/Quarter Horse mare. She had been with us for over 20 years.

Holly came to Spring Farm when her beloved human companion, Carol, passed away unexpectedly. Some of you may remember reading about Carol's visits to Holly in spirit form shortly after Holly arrived at the farm, in our book IF ONLY THEY COULD TALK: The Miracles of Spring Farm. There were several occassions where I would see Carol standing at the fence line reaching over and grooming Holly. These were such clear experiences and not dreams or visions. About 3 weeks ago I happened to look out one of the windows from my house/office looking over the farm and saw a woman sitting on our fence holding a halter and lead rope. I saw her out of the corner of my eye and thought - "oh, there's Margot sitting on the fence." Except I couldn't figure out why Margot would be sitting on the fence and when I looked again, no one was there. This happened more than once. The third time I saw this, a chill went down my spine. I realized it wasn't Margot I was seeing at all, but it was Holly's old companion Carol. Carol and Margot have very similar phyiscal features. I knew then that Holly's time was drawing near. I connected with Carol and asked her if she had anything to say. She said, "You've taken great care of my girl all these years and now soon I will take her back from you again. Once again it can be my turn to care for her. She will be fine with me. Its not time yet, but when it is, I'll be here."

We knew Saturday morning that the day had come to help Holly leave this body. She told us that as long as she could eat, enjoy time in her pasture, and still be seen as the beautiful being that she was that she wanted to stay every second that she could. Although she still could eat some, she could no longer eat enough to support her body and we prepared all of her animal family that the time had come. We knew Carol would come and get her, of that we had no doubts. I couldn't be with Holly as I have been laid up for several weeks and am recuperating from minor surgery on Friday. It bothered me not to be able to be with Holly physically to say good-bye, even though I knew our hearts could still connect "long distance." As I was told the vet had arrived, I connected with my friend and very clearly got one strong communication from her. "I will miss it here!" she said. I immediately began to cry. "Don't be sad for me. Just know I will miss it here. There is no greater message I could leave you with at this moment."

And then Holly gave me the following message as she peacefully passed from our embrace back to Carol's loving care.

From Holly:
I will miss it here.
I always wanted to be able to say on the day I died “I will miss it here.”
For to reach a statement as simple, as pure, and as profound as that, is proof that a good life has been lived.
Indeed, I will miss it here.
Today it rains. Some may say what a dreary day to die. However, this morning I got to stand out in the rain and know that I will miss it here.
All last week it was sunny. It was warm but not too hot; it was cool but not cold. And I felt blessed to be alive.
I have never feared and do not fear now where it is I’m going when I leave this place. But to be able to love this life so much that I can say from my heart that I will miss it, is far more important to me than the spirit home I know for sure I will find when I leave.
I have no fear, no remorse, and no sadness. I simply leave with a longing to return. And the knowledge that I can and will be back.

In this body, I was loved not for what I did but simply for who I was. Unrideable from a very young age, it would have been easy to find hardship, strife, misuse, and turmoil. But instead I found a heart who saw me as a beauty and loved and treasured me. When that kind human moved on into spirit, once again I was bound for possible trouble. Yet, this farm was then found where once again I could live my life to just be me. I could live my passion – to be a horse and love the land. That is what you let me do and helped me to achieve. For 20 years I was a part of your lives. Even for a time when I lived off this farm, loved and cared for by another as my friend, you were always here watching over me. It is not with sadness that I leave. For I know that my friend Carol is waiting for me on the other side. The place I go is back into her loving embrace and back to a home I will welcome in an instant. But I leave here wanting you, who loved me and saw my beauty of truly being who I am, to know this one last message to all of you as I now go.
I will miss it here.
Keep a space for me in your hearts where you will find me to be with you again.

For more information on Holly: Visit our the Memorial Page on our website.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

On Petting Zoos and Game Farms - New Arrivals to the farm

Amber Donkey: Oh did we have some excitement around here this last week! The barn was a swarm of activity when we unexpectedly became a refuge to 8 pygmy goats and 6 hair sheep. Now I had never seen either of these species before, although we do have goats and sheep here, these guys were different. And boy were they scared. It took all of us horses at least 2 days to reassure them that they were safe with us. We felt so sorry for them as their lives were turned upside down. Their family had gotten separated and split up and they were sad, scared, and in shock. But we told them all about the farm here and what we do. Just as things were quieting down a bit, someone came and took 3 of the goats. We know not all of them will stay here but we also told them that even if they leave, they would be going to safe places. The sheep can't stay here as they are known to jump fences and we are on a highway here that would be very deadly if they jumped a fence. But our folks will be sure they all stay together and go to a very nice place.

Then on Monday a miracle occurred. All of us were so excited. One of the little goats gave birth to the teeny tiniest little goat baby I had ever seen. It was about the size of our barn cats here. Unbelievable. For now, the goats have been moved to the smaller barn where they can be safe and have a pasture all to their own. Plus, they have two other donkeys looking after them so I know for sure all will be fine. The reason these guys were suddenly homeless is a very sad story indeed. One I had never heard of before. And this old donkey has heard about a lot of things. We'll let Dawn take it from here.

From Dawn:

Last week we became sanctuary to 8 pygmy goats and 6 hair sheep all of whom were headed from auction to the meat truck. Each one of these animals was sent to auction by a game farm/petting zoo. So many of us have fond memories as children of being taken to a petting zoo or game farm and being able to see and touch all the cute animals, many of them babies. Maybe some of you still take your children and grandchildren to such places. For sure, not all of them are bad. However, most people have no clue that a great majority of these tourist attractions exist not for the welfare of the animals but for our entertainment and for the profit of those who run them. By far, the biggest attractions are the baby animals. To have baby animals in abundance, many of these places over breed or allow indiscriminate breeding so that they are assured a nice supply of cute cuddly young ones when the crowds arrive to greet them each summer. Have you ever wondered though what happens to these babies? You can go back the next year and lo and behold there are all those cute babies again. But few stop to wonder where the babies from last year went. What most people do not know is that many of these petting zoos and game farms liquidate their “assets” each fall after Labor Day and when the crowds are gone. Now these same babies that you all loved and touched, and fed in some cases, are no longer an asset but a liability for the winter. Off they go to auction where they are largely sold for meat or for canned hunts.

For those of you who are not familiar with canned hunts, these are places where animals, mostly exotic types that have been hand raised at game farms and the like, are set loose in a completely fenced in area and then shot by people who pay to come and shoot them. Like a petting zoo only with guns. But instead of getting their heads petted, they get to be mounted on someone’s wall as a trophy. Canned hunts are legal in many states. And they love to buy the liquidated assets of game farms and zoos from auctions because they are generally extremely tame.

The sheep and goats that have found sanctuary with us will be assured that they will not end up in the meat truck or in the hands of the canned hunt people. A group of animal lovers and rescues bought up those hand raised animals that were certain to go for meat from the auction and they are being placed in homes by various sanctuaries and rescue groups. Spring Farm only took in a few. Just to be clear, there were over 40 pygmy goats and over 40 hair sheep that were just among some of the animals that were liquidated that day by one game farm at this one auction. There was even a baby camel, a couple of tortoises, 35 pot bellied pigs and many more, all from the same game farm. Many of the goats and sheep are pregnant. So many more lives were being auctioned off at the end of this tourist season than we will know. We will be placing the herd of sheep all together soon at another facility where they will be safe. Some of the goats have been placed and some will stay here with us. Some of the goats were ill so we are giving them time to settle in, to be sure they are healthy, and to see who is pregnant and who may not be. But just this week, one of the goats delivered an amazingly cute little kid. At less than one week old, she is out bouncing around with the other 5 remaining adults and learning about life. Born on a full moon, we named her Luna. She is feisty, determined, and very smart. And she hopefully will never have to feel the sting of betrayal of being born to get to know, love, and trust people, only to then be discarded with the trash at the end of a tourist season. She will know she is not a commodity but that she is a treasured being for her entire life and not just for when she is a cute youngster.

Our intention is to keep some of the goats to use in our humane education programs and to just let them be goats. I just wish though that the same tourists that spent their summer feeding and petting these adorable beings could have seen the look of terror and confusion in the pens at the auction, waiting for their uncertain fate, and being separated from their friends and families. And if you think they don’t care about those connections, if you think that they don’t understand where they are being sent off to and understand what the kill pens are, then I wish you could have seen it for yourselves. The look of fear and terror, the screams to each other as they were divided up and separated, and then their gradually learning trust that they have found safety again. Little Luna only knows that the sun feels good, people are friendly, and that Life is waiting for her to explore. She has the complete innocence and trust of all newborn beings. It is up to us now never to betray that.

When animals are used for our entertainment, it is up to us to be sure how their lives are being spent and what happens to them when the doors close for the season and the show is over. Are they just a seasonal commodity, bred to make a few bucks while people gather to see their beauty, only then to be discarded as a worthless liability? Or, are they truly loved, honored, and cared for, even when times are tough and the doors are closed? It is up to all of us as “consumers” to find out the answers to these questions before we promote them with our dollars. There are probably not many of you who would get a baby animal for your child or grandchild just so they can see it be young and vibrant and then send it off to a meat auction when fall comes, yet that is what we all unknowingly promote and condone when we financially support these operations. Ask questions. Life is too precious to waste. Ask Luna.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Amber Donkey: Last week was a very sad week here in the barn because we said good-bye to two of our good friends. I personally knew them both. First was Angel, a wonderful sheep and mother to Michael and Gabriel. And then there was Orion, a very handsome horse. Orion lived directly across from me and I spent many hours everyday with him. I knew him very well and we had many conversations over the years that I’ve been here. Orion was here long before I got here. But he was the first one to greet me when I walked in the door of our barn. The first thing he said to me was, “Wow! Look at your ears!” Evidently he had never seen a donkey before. And when I let out a loud bray right next to his stall, he almost jumped backward. Never before had he heard a sound like that! Orion was a guy with a lot of gumption and character. I adored him actually. Our friends are important to us. Friendships are as much a part of our lives as they are of yours. I’ve asked a few animals here if they wanted to talk about friends and a couple of them have asked to be included. The first one was Orion’s best friend TJ. TJ is blind and Orion was his eyes for him when they went outside together. They trusted one another and that is the greatest bond any two hearts can share.

TJ: (Quarter Horse gelding – mid20’s) I may not have been able to see my friend Orion, but I knew him at the level of his heart. I understood him probably more than anyone else. He was a beautiful soul and a great friend to me. I always felt safe when I was with him, even though I can’t see. He was solid, always letting me know he was there not just for me but WITH me. I needed him and he always showed up to answer that need. He understood that I just needed to know he was there with me. That’s all. But that is the greatest gift one being can give to another. Just being there, steady and solid and trustworthy. It is also true that he is no longer standing beside me. But before he left, he also understood that I have another friend now to help me. And he understood that I would always carry him within my heart. He didn’t need guidance where he was going. But we all know that someone was there to greet him on his journey. And I know that someday when its my turn to make that same travel, he will be there just as I always knew him to be when I couldn’t see but could only feel him there. For me, I almost have it easier than those who miss him because they can no longer see him. I never could see him, could only feel him, and know that I still can. Sometimes vision is an impediment to the ways of the heart.

Hero: (male cat with Spina Bifida) I was so thrilled to have had my most special friend Helen of Troy. Helen was a wonderful kitten who had spinal problems just like me. However, our condition kept neither of us from romping and playing and snuggling and cuddling together. She was not here for long with us but my heart will be forever filled with her laughter. Helen understood about having fun. She helped me to get to play more. She helped other people to see that although our bodies are different than “normal”, we still can enjoy life and be thankful for each other. I knew she wasn’t going to be here for long. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t the length of time we had together but the heart bond that we formed that truly mattered. She taught me to love life anew. What a gift her friendship was to me. I see people everyday here just plain ignore each other or be less than kind to one another sometimes. I feel their judgment that they carry. It is far more crippling to their souls than my condition is to my body. My body may not be as agile, but my heart is very fit. Helen helped me to better understand that. And now I can share the gifts she gave to me with everyone I meet, and she will still be touching them with her spirit, even though her body is no longer here. Friendship is the greatest need we have from our souls. And when freely given and shared, it is the most healing power of all. Be a friend, a true friend. And your heart will know the greatest healing of all.

To read more about the lives of Orion, Angel, and Helen of Troy, visit the Memorials Page on the Spring Farm CARES website. To read more about Amber, TJ, and the other barn animals of the farm, visit them on our Horses Page.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Welcome, welcome, welcome! All of us animals here at Spring Farm CARES are so excited about this blog. I am Amber Donkey and I will be the main editor for this endeavor. This will be our forum to talk about different observations we may have about life on the farm or Life in general. We also will look forward to hearing your comments. No, I don’t have a computer in my stall nor do we have internet access in the barn. So let’s make sure you understand that this is real life and not make believe. Dawn will be doing all the typing and translating and filling us in on what you have to say.

All of life converses all of the time. Horses talk to ducks who talk to frogs etc. We communicate freely with all there is around us. This includes the plants and trees and all of the elements of the Earth. Humans have the ability to do this as well but many of you have forgotten. At Spring Farm CARES, we have Dawn Hayman who teaches animal communication and has done so for years. She has talked to more animals than I have! So we may even call on Dawn for some anecdotes from time to time. Let me just be sure that you understand then that the entries in this blog are not our human friends making this up for fun. This is work that our human friends are doing to listen and convey our messages to you. This is our reality. You have the choice to believe it or not. Let your heart be open to what you hear and let the wisdoms that are meant for you to understand be yours to know. Some of what we say may be very educational. Some may seem to be a stretch for you. Some will leave you laughing. Some will leave you crying. And some will leave you thinking and looking for more truths. But our sole purpose is to start a conversation. These are messages and observations to be shared. You are not separate from us. We are all one and we are all part of the same Earth. We are friends and we look forward to sharing many things together as we go. We look forward to hearing from you too!