Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dare To Dream

When your reality seems less than what you want it to be,
When fatigue seems to seep down deep within your bones,
When you think that its time to give up –
Dare to dream.

When the world seems darker than the day before,
When the path isn’t so clearly marked,
When the obstacles are all you can see –
Dare to dream.

It is the dream that becomes the reality you seek.
It will replenish your soul, and bring clarity to your heart.
And nothing will get in your way to following your path.
Dare to dream! The time is now.

Deeteza, Arabian mare

From Dawn:

Over the years, I have been accused of being overly optimistic or a dreamer. I truly have a belief that humanity can and will rise above itself and our image of ourselves. We are bigger than who we think we are. That is true for each one of us. I have watched countless animals over the years aspire to overcome obstacles that they came into life with or that were dealt to them by the hands of careless humans. And I have had a front row seat to miracle after miracle. Follow our website page on Miracles to read first hand about some of these amazing beings. The miracles are coming more and more frequently now. Just when we think an animal has come in and set the bar for miracles on this farm, another one comes and raises the bar higher. There’s Ramone, a cat with a broken spine and 90% impaired spinal cord, who came to us totally paralyzed in his back end and bowel and bladder incontinent, who now runs and leaps and climbs 6 ft. high cat trees, is totally continent, and is making great use of the 10% of his spinal cord he has left. And Mack, a 5 yr. old Border Collie with a broken spine at his tail causing total bowel and bladder incontinence when he first came here, and who now is regaining control again. And then there’s Rachel, a cat who was found collapsed on the side of a highway, so emaciated we didn’t think she’d survive, but she proved us all wrong, defied all odds, even when her liver was shutting down. This is something that cats frequently cannot overcome. But now she is the picture of health and as happy as can be.

But this story is about Grace. For the full story of how Grace came in to our lives, please see the website about Tucker and Grace. Grace came to us with her brother Tucker at just 4 and a half weeks old. Not even able to eat on her own without help, we soon noticed that she had something very wrong with her. She couldn’t walk well, would fall over, and was very uncoordinated in general. We found out that she had a problem with her cerebellum. This was an irreversible birth defect and potentially could get worse until she would die. Now, at 6 months old, we are happy to say that Grace is not only still with us, but has dramatically improved in her coordination. Although still not normal, she can live a normal lifestyle. This is a story about how Grace dared to dream and how that dream became her reality.

Ever since Grace was old enough to go up the hill with our 9 dogs for their daily run, she would watch our Border Collie, Shayna, run and she’d say to me.... "Someday, I'm going to run like that with her."

I'd always feel a lump in my throat when she said that. She couldn't even walk more than 3 steps without falling over, let alone run. But almost every day she would say that to me when she watched Shayna take off and run like the wind. Shayna is one of the fastest dogs I've ever seen. She is incredible to watch. It brings tears to my eyes some days to watch her do a loop around the whole fenced in field where we let them run twice a day. There is no one who can catch her, or keep up with her.

A few weeks ago, I saw something amazing. Grace just idolizes Shayna. She is her hero. And I caught an interaction with Shayna that stunned me. As Shayna bolted out the gate and ran into the field, she slowed way down, turned her head over her shoulder toward Grace and said, "Ok, kid, if you're going to run like the wind you've got to start learning."

Grace leaped in the air for joy and bounded after Shayna. There was no way she came close to keeping up. But Shayna circled back and got her going again. I couldn't believe my eyes. Shayna understood totally what Grace's dream was and she started to help her. Every morning for the past few weeks, she has done the same thing with Grace. And every morning I quietly tell Shayna what a magnificent being she is and how much I admire and love her for what she is doing.

Grace gets faster each day. She never falls over anymore. She can do sharp turns, leap in the air, etc and not fall down. Her run is not like the other dogs. She looks like a large cat running full out, legs extended to their max. She is gorgeous when she runs. And the joy that fills her being comes bouncing out in a bold, joyous bark as she runs. Yesterday morning Grace was ready to go at the gate, standing next to Shayna for the big take off and run. Usually, she makes it about half way through the loop that Shayna does. But I'd noticed the past few days that her stamina was incredibly improving. Shayna tore out of the gate as I opened it. And like always, she looked over her shoulder to be sure she was just slow enough to lead Grace on but not slow enough for her to catch up. But not far out of the gate, Tucker crossed Grace's path and she bumped into him and fell. Shayna saw it and immediately came running back and circled around Grace in a loop.

"Come on kid, get up and let’s go!" she chided her.

Grace, undeterred, jumped to her feet and took off into the fastest most incredible run I've ever seen. Shayna noticed and gunned it. Grace was right behind her as Shayna started her big loop. About half way through, I couldn't believe my eyes when Grace was still going strong, and then, tears started from my eyes when I watched the most gracious gesture of all.

Shayna knew that Grace was tiring, so she slowed up a bit and continued at a pace that Grace could handle. Grace was right behind her at her heels, giving it all she had, and she completed the whole loop with Shayna. Shayna brought her up to me and stopped. Grace came to a halt, looked up at me with the most phenomenal look of joy on her face.

"I did it!!!! I flew just like Shayna."

Shayna walked over to her and said, "You did great kid, see!"

Grace leaped into Shayna’s space and licked and licked her entire face. And uncharacteristically Shayna let her do it. Then Shayna looked at me with a look of total joy and contentment.

These dogs totally understood what just happened. They totally got it. And I witnessed the strength, brilliance, and heart of the Border collie right before me. Every step of that run was calculated and planned to help another being achieve something she wanted so badly in her life. The shift in Grace that day was enormous. There is nothing this dog can't do and she knows that now. It was like I watched her find her heart and her purpose right before my teary eyes.

The dog who couldn't walk, couldn't eat normally, and was so uncoordinated, understood that she could dream. When she couldn’t make her body move in order to run, she did it in her mind and in her dreams; until with a little help from her friend, she achieved what we all thought would be the impossible. She was now flying like the wind, totally coordinated and in control of her body.

Dare to dream!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Messages from the Animals

Each year it is a tradition here to ask several of the animals what they are most thankful for. We humans do the same, and invite any of our animals who want to chime in to share what they would like to share. Here are this years quotes. We hope you all enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

The question posed to each animal was: What are you thankful for?

Amber Donkey: The sun. I am thankful for the sun because it warms my joints, fills my heart, and makes me dance with joy. The other fine thing about the sun is you can be sure it will be there each day. Even on days when dreariness prevails, you can know that above those clouds of despair, is the sun. If you doubt that, just ask the birds to fly high enough for you and let you know what they see. Above all clouds is blue sky warmed by the sun.

Mack: (Border Collie, recovering from a broken spine at his tail and bowel and bladder incontinence.) I have so much to be grateful for that I would not be able to list it all. The people who love me are valued by me beyond all else in my life. Second to that would be the wind. I love the wind. It brings great news and reassures me of my place on the earth. The wind is my friend. My toys. I am grateful for all toys, mostly because attached to them is usually a human friend ready to laugh with me as I play with them. Over the past year, I have found many treasures, and healed several things. The one that is most meaningful to me is my tail. I have not been able to wag it for many months. But now, it is starting to move when I want it to. I want my human friends to understand that I am happy. And I am most happy when they share with me the parts of them I love most, so that we can dance together in laughter. And my hope is that they will hear this.

Merlin: (African Grey Parrot) – My friends and the ability to remember them and feel them even after they are gone. I most miss my friend Phoebe duck. She and I shared many thanksgiving messages together. We both understood life in similar terms. Neither of us could fly in the wild, both of us started from and egg, and we love the humans who care for us. Phoebe lived to be very old. Although she is not here this year, I am grateful that she is still my friend.

Barak: (semi-feral cat badly injured when brought to us and now fully, miraculously recovered) I am thankful for the help I received to know a body filled with life again. I am grateful to be offered a different life now with so much more to learn and grow.

Jeremy: (Arab gelding, mid 20’s) I am very grateful to know love and feel peace. I love my barn, the space I am given to be a horse on the earth, and my friends. I miss my friends who have left before, but I am blessed to know they are still here and to feel them in my heart, AND in my barn. And I am grateful to an old donkey lady (Amber Donkey) who has breathed her wisdom into our herd. She may be loud, but at least she has wise things to say.

Ducati: (rabbit) I am grateful for my life and the ability to share that with those who need me. I just love to share all of who I am. I am not complicated. Life need not be so. Just live it. That’s what I say. Live and give. The rest just hops into place.

Dinah: (36 year old Quarter Horse mare) These days I am happy to discover each morning that I am breathing! Life is precious. I am grateful and thankful for each second. And that is the truth. I am also grateful to all who help me get up when I’m down and to know I don’t have to worry about that. My friend Chops has stood by me for years and I am grateful for her strength and caring. She is a gentle soul.

Addie: (Quarter horse mare – mid 20’s, new here this year) I am grateful to be asked this question! I am particularly thankful for my entire life. I love my new herd and for the people who are new to me as well as the ones who have looked after me my entire life. I am very blessed. For this I am thankful. Oh, and my peppermints. I am eternally grateful for peppermints, just had to add that.

Sage: (goat abandoned with 2 female kids and a young male goat and brought to the farm this year.) I am thankful for a home. I am most grateful to know safety. It was hard to believe at first, but now I understand it. We have a home. We never had one of those before.

Grace: (Border collie/golden retriever mix, 5 months old, born with brain abnormality) This is an easy question. I am grateful for my brother Tucker who brought me here. I have leaned on him when I couldn’t stand. Eaten with him when I didn’t know how to do it. Played with him when I felt joy. And beat him up when he needed it. He brought me to my home where I know love like I couldn’t have dreamed of. They have given me certain footsteps when I couldn’t find them. They have given me direction when I couldn’t find it. They fed me when I didn’t know how to eat. And now, they have given me the chance to think and to grow soundly. They love me for how I am. They allow me to bark with joy when I have to. And they love to see me run as fast as the wind. Just like Tucker told me they would. Life has turned out to be something I want to live and for which I am very grateful.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ask Amber - November 2009

Once again I have to apologize for the delay in a post. Things are very busy on the farm and those of you on our mailing list, should be getting a newsletter in the next 2-4 weeks. It is at the printers now. In the meantime, here are two questions submitted from a supporter in Denmark.

Dear Amber,
I was very happy to read on the website that you have moved to the smaller stable where it is warmer in the winter. And I was even happier to learn that you enjoy being with new friends and still keep in touch with your old friends.

Your blog means a lot to me. Thank you for your patience with us humans. I feel there is so much to learn and understand about how you animals look at and understand the world. Lately, I have become quite interested in understanding how everyone (human) is conditioned – socially, biologically, culturally – all these conditionings influences our way of thinking and perceiving the world. And I understand that – in relation to you animals – my thinking is conditioned by being human. But I find this last point hard to explain to other humans, as many don’t acknowledge that there is only one consciousness – which manifests in both animals, humans, plants and everything. So all your answers are very precious to me, as they help me to broaden my understanding, and break up my conditioned way of thinking.

I hope you will help me with these two questions.

1. I live with my 4 cats on the countryside. They are all very good hunters, and I understand that it is their nature to hunt, even though they are fed by me with plenty of food. However, when they “play” with mice, frogs, and birds, I always wonder if they really don’t care about how the mouse, the frog, or bird feels. Don’t they care about the fear, or pain of a fellow creature? I must admit that my ability to communicate fails at that point because I get very involved emotionally. I would like to understand my cats, and I would like them to stop playing with their prey and causing more fear and pain.

Amber Donkey: This is a very interesting question. First, let me tell you that the answer lies within your very question. Just as you said above, there are many factors that come into play and influence our way of thinking and perceiving the world. That is not just true for humans, it is also true for animals. Animals also can become separated or more distanced from their nature. In fact, the more we are around the energy of humans and the culture and social structure of humans, the more affected we are by that. That is not a negative statement about humans now either. It is just a statement of fact. You could say, the more domesticated we become, the further from our natural instincts we get. So your cats have all the instincts to hunt but they don’t need to for their survival so their actions become tainted or skewed. They are not deliberately torturing the prey animal. But they are also not wholly honoring their relationship either. You see? Its not totally balanced as it would be if they were in the wild and they were hunting for food. In the wild state, they would remember the quick release of their prey is important. But when their lives don’t depend on hunting, and food is handed to them, they lose that part of the relationship, just like humans. There is no easy way to work around that. It is their state of current awareness and relationship. Their intention isn’t to harm or torture, it is to play. They have been numbed in a way to the emotions of their prey. It is no different for humans and their food. Or humans who watch a lot of violence and then seem indifferent to violence when they see it for real.

2. I often tell other people about Spring Farm CARES, about you and Dawn and everyone else I’ve met or heard of on the farm. Some humans become very inspired; some find it hard to believe what I tell them. When I told a friend that you animals are very well informed about what is going on in the world, she wondered, “what does a horse (or donkey, or any other animal) do with this information? They don’t take action, they don’t vote, they are dependent on our actions and decisions. So why should they know about what is going on in the world?”


Amber Donkey: Now there is a very human response. Imagine how it would be if we animals asked, “what does a human do with the information we give them? What do they do with all the information that nature provides them? They don’t seem to take action and just keep making the same choices over and over again, even when it is obvious it doesn’t work?

You see, Anne, it just depends on what side of the coin you are looking at. By the way, I have often told other animals about Spring Farm and the humans here and they have found it hard to believe at first too! But I digress.

The truth is that all living beings strive to find out what is happening in the world around us. Because we understand that what affects one, affects all. What is happening thousands of miles away from this farm, can and does, affect this farm. Humans think they have the monopoly on communication. They just have a piece of communication technology. But where you rely on technology, we animals understand it is simply about listening. We don’t require technology to communicate. You don’t either, but you have forgotten that. Its ok. Eventually your technology will come back around full circle and catch you up to what you already knew how to do anyway, if you hadn’t separated yourselves out of nature.

I thank you for your wonderful questions!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Joy of Retirement

By Amber Donkey

It is now official, I have retired from my duties of head greeter in the big barn. However, my role has merely shifted, not gone away. I have actually moved closer to Dawn’s computer now, so there is sure to be more writing activity going on!

Last winter was really hard on my old bones. My teeth have seen better days as well. I have enjoyed an incredible summer with all the great care my human friends have added to make me even more comfortable. However, the cooler nights and the thought of winter chill, admittedly began to worry me. Dawn told me there was a second option but it would require moving to another smaller barn attached to her house. I was a little skeptical at first, as I truly love all my friends in the big barn and they need me. My goat herd needs me the most. But Dawn informed me that I could still go out with my goats on nice days and it wouldn’t be any more of a walk than I already manage. And Dawn and Margot both promised me that I would still see all my human friends and could still greet visitors, although it is by appointment now.

I thought that whole idea sounded dignified. I mean, being seen by appointment is kind of special actually. But the most important thing is that I am not without a job. That is not what retirement is all about. Retirement isn’t a time for doing nothing. It’s a time to reassess what it is we are here to do and to spend more time doing that, rather than being distracted by work and other busy kind of things. It’s a time to look inside ourselves. At least for me, that is what I’m doing.

My new job is a big one. First of all, my new friends now consist of a herd of geldings. As soon as I stepped into that barn, I knew my work was cut out for me. They are badly in need of a female to help guide them. There is young Shawnee, a 4 year old paint gelding, who seems to be quite smitten with me actually. He breathed new life into this old sagging body. Then there is Jeremy who is the leader of this band of orphans. I call him Prince Charming. He is quite magnificent actually and I find his energy to be very refreshing. He is strong and noble and very gentle and soft spoken. I like him very much. And he welcomed me to his barn. And then we have the two donkey boys. I have heard them on the farm for years now, yet we have never met. They call me the wise donkey. And I now call them the wise guys. They are badly in need of donkey supervision. Its not their fault. Neither of them had their mothers with them for long and they did the best they could by relying on the wisdom of the horses. But donkey wisdom is different. They are for sure my project.

I also have another herd of goats now to tend to. There are three of them, and one of them has a special stall at night right next to mine. I find great comfort in goats. They bring with them the calmness of the earth and the laughter of the wind. There is nothing as good as a goat to lift your spirits on a dreary day. They demand laughter from their friends and I am the first one to sign up to be their friend.

So, although I have retired, I have a new found purpose. I have actually always wanted my own little barn. They tell me I will be so much warmer for the winter and I have to say that is very appealing to me. I still have all the same staff caring for me which is great, because I care for them too and I would have not opted to move up here if I had to leave everyone. And then there is the writing. Now that I’m retired, I think we’ll have much more time to write. I’m just trying to explain to Dawn now how that all works. She still gets caught up in this time thing. Stay tuned, there is more to come about all that I will now learn from my new friends and family.

Please come see me anytime, but by appointment only!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Season of Change

It is incredibly hard to believe that it is already September 1st today.
Here, in upstate NY, there is already a scent of fall in the air. The nights have been chilly, the days fairly cool, and the apple trees are starting to bear their fruit. Soon the leaves will be changing color and the magnificence of fall in upstate NY will be out in full force.

Fall is my favorite time of year. It brings with it the promise of slowing down and settling in for the upcoming winter. Right? That always seems the way it should be. The rest of nature seems to abide by that cycle. But humans somehow don’t necessarily fit in that routine. I laugh each year as I think winter means a slower time. A time to hibernate and rest and reflect on all that has occurred the seasons before. Yet, instead, we find ourselves wearing layer upon layer of heavy clothing so that each time we go out to do anything, it takes 5 minutes of gearing up before we even go outside. Then we have to continuously move snow around. Either by the shovel full or the tractor bucket full. The snow falls and we move it. Only to have the wind come up and put it back where we moved it from. It becomes an endless cycle of moving piles back and forth. That is winter in upstate NY. Gorgeous, but labor intensive.

But winter reminds us that spring is not far ahead. Days start getting longer ever so slightly and by February we are all eager for warmer days and green grass. We forget though that it will be May before we see flowers blooming and the world turning green before our eyes. And then summer once again comes our way.

I was thinking about this as I walked into the barn last night to check on all the equines, goats, sheep, ducks, and chickens, and of course the two barn cats Bella and Izzy. It seems I have slipped into this routine of being the weather person in the barn each night. The animals are so quickly affected by the weather conditions. Our horses with asthma do not do well with high pollen counts and heat and humidity. The older horses don’t do well with the rain and the cold. And none of them do well when the weather is such that they cannot get out and enjoy their day in the pasture. When its too hot, the flies bother them. Too windy and they get nervous and want to come in. Weather is a constant part of our days on the farm and something that can dramatically affect the lives of the barn animals. If we have too much rain or not enough rain, we can have a bad hay crop and the food supply is immediately affected. So much depends on the weather.

So when we have several hot days in a row (which only happened once this summer but it was difficult), I go down to the barn and reassure the animals there that cooler weather is coming soon. When its been raining, I let them know when its supposed to be dry. When its windy, I let them know when things will quiet down. And when its cold, I let them know when it will get warmer. But this week, we have been blessed with absolute perfect weather. The days are 70-75 degrees, and the nights 45-55. And we have abundant sunshine with bright blue skies. When I came into the barn last night, the weather wasn’t on my mind, because it didn’t have to be. And that’s when it was called to my attention about my role in the barn with the animals. I was met by Amber Donkey who had the following to say to me.

Amber: Well, Miss weather forecaster, what say you today? What’s it going to be tomorrow? More of today? Less of today? Today all over again?
I’ve noticed that when things are calm, you never tell us that its going to change soon. Yet, you know it always does. The world was not meant to be without change. Perfection is not to be without change. Perfection is to understand that change happens moment by moment, but perfection is also staying present in each moment. You are always looking to see what is going to be in the next moment. We just smile and know you gain comfort in knowing what the next day will be like. We like to share that with you each night because it is what you do. But the fact is that nothing ever stays the same for long. If it did, we would never learn anything. We’d never be able to find out anything about ourselves. We’d be like a white spot on a white wall, never to differentiate ourselves from what is around us. You see, change is perfection itself. Because in change, you can always find permanence. In change, you can always rely on forward movement. It is change that brings you all the wondrous, miraculous things in your life. Change makes the caterpillar into a butterfly. Change makes the rain turn into the rainbow. Change makes my hair go from short to long and then to short again. It makes me look out my door here and know that soon it will look different. It is never the same two days in a row. Change lets us know we are alive and that we are a part of this creation.

So each night you come in here and tell us the weather forecast, we honor that because we know it is change. Even though you don’t realize it as the gift for which it is. The success of any being is to stay present in each moment of change. Because the very idea of a moment, is all about change. One moment is never permanent. It simply morphs into the next moment, is built upon the last moment, and only can be experienced in the present. That is what life is all about.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Testiomonial of Growth

Running a website and maintaining a blog sometimes becomes a busy task in the bustling days of the Farm. Being in charge of 250-300 animals daily, 30 human employees, and all of the other desk work that comes with all of that, as well as doing animal communication consultations can many times be challenging enough. So when Amber Donkey suggested we start a blog I was not all that excited to start with. She actually requested a "forum where people could write in to me and we could answer their questions." I of course then determined that sounded like a blog.

Opening the daily lives of the animals and my relationship with them up to the public was a difficult decision. Its sort of like inviting a whole lot of people into your living room and saying to them, "hey, ask me anything you want." It can be exhausting, and as you see, I don't always keep up with it as frequently as I'd like. And there are days I have wondered if we are even reaching anyone. Is anyone out there? Does anyone really care? Sometimes, it is just dead silence in the ethers of the blog space. Friends tell me it is because people are thinking about what the animals are sharing. They are processing things. But sometimes even that would be helpful to hear. I don't have time for Twitter tweeting. I don't have time to do daily blog posts. But I have always intended for this blog to be a window for the wisdom of the animals to flow through and to get many of you to see things from a slightly different perspective.

Recently we got this letter in our email box from one of the people who submitted a question for Amber and whose life has changed from Amber's response. Amber was so touched, that she asked me if she could respond to her. That person has given me permission to share her experience and Amber's response to her with all of you. We thank you Anna!

Dear Dawn & Amber

Can you pass this on to Amber.

I just want to thank both of you and everything you are doing to help all these beautiful animals. Several months ago -April 2009, I wrote to Amber regarding how can I send someone love and pass no judgment for doing horrific things to animals.

She explained to stop the wheel of hatred and judgment. Back then, I couldn't understand why I would want to do this, because I felt so bad about these animals being abused and hated and judged the person or persons doing such a thing.

Not too long ago, it finally hit me! I don't know what happened, but something came over me that this is the way I should feel from now on. To this day I don't judge, hate or dislike anyone that does this. I actually send them love, compassion and bless them AND the animals that are involved.

Thank you for helping me be a better human and to stop the wheel of hate.


Amber's Response:

Hi Anna,
I just wanted to thank you for all that you are doing in this world to end the wheel of hatred and judgment. What a fine human being you are! Because of you and the conscious shift you have made, many more humans will benefit and grow, and many more animals will find peace in this world. Mark my words, it is how it all works. It is great to know you are out there.
Amber Donkey

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Animal Wisdom

Ever notice how time just seems to be getting faster and faster? We started this blog to keep up with news on the farm, yet we often spend our days just keeping up with the farm itself. Managing the care of the 250-300 animals on the farm, plus the 30 member staff who care for them and run our programs, can be an incredible endeavor. The challenges we all face in our daily lives also affect the farm and all her inhabitants. This is a time of great growth and change for the planet as a whole, and certainly the farm reflects that as a microcosm of the larger whole. As with all change, it has its moments of wonder, its triumphs and joy, as well as its challenges and sometimes hardships.

Currently, we have the challenge of orphan kitten season in full swing. Adoptions are down and the need of so many helpless animals is increasing. All of us here feel the strain, not just of the 50 orphaned kittens we currently care for, but also for the ones we cannot help. Our phone rings off the hook continuously with people asking us to take in their animals that they no longer can keep, or about the stray they just found on the side of the road, or in their garages and gardens. We have to say no to most of them, and try to offer what we can to help. Each year we look for that ray of hope that lets us know that maybe, just maybe, our spay/neuter program is working. We look for that sign that shows us that humans are starting to take more responsibility for their actions and for the welfare of the animals in their care. We look for any sign of hope that we can. There are signs out there, but some days they are very hard to find.

As I was closing down the barn last night, making sure that all the horses, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens were settled in and safe for the night, I was consumed by my own thoughts of calling in the angels to help find wonderful homes for these kittens, and some other things on my wish list for the farm. My routine is to stop at each animal and just be with them for a short check in for the day. They all felt my weariness and as they are wont to do, they began feeding my heart and soul with their love and wisdom. One of the horses said to me, “Look around you in this barn and see what hope has given us. Your belief that it could be better created all of this, and in turn gave each of us a place to rest and be alive and safe. If you hadn’t believed, then we wouldn’t be here. We’d all be dead.”

Each horse came to their stall door as I approached, as if to underscore what the first one had said. Then, each one, shared with me something personal of what they experienced with me and the farm as a whole. It occurred to me that they often take time out of their day and out of their lives to thank us for what we have given them. They have thanked me for what we share together and for communicating this with others. And I began to notice how often I come into their space, their home, their sanctuary, with my own thoughts of doubts and misgivings, without stopping to thank them for all they have given to me. So, last night, as I went around to each one of them, I paused just for a moment and felt my love for each one as I stood with them. I thanked them for what they brought to the farm, what they brought to the many visitors who come to see them, and for what they continuously give to me. Life hasn’t been easy for them. Their path here, for many, was troubled and difficult and painful. I have watched them unravel layers of pain received at the hands of humans who were supposed to look out for them, and I have witnessed their journeys of healing. And I learned from them as I saw each of them unplug from a life of tragedy, to sign on to teach about a life of hope. If you knew their stories like I do, you’d be amazed that some of them could find a life of hope. Yet, each of them has. From each of them, I daily can feel their gratitude, appreciation, and love for what they now have and for where they now are, and I realized that if all of us did the same thing, no one would ever give up on hope. We’d all realize that hope is all around us all of the time. And no one would ever treat an animal the way that so many of these animals have been treated. How ironic from the human perspective. The “victims” are the deliverers of the healing. They stand here and show us daily a better way to live and a more sacred way to be.

As I left the barn, I stopped at the gate and said “I’ll see you all tomorrow.” And Amber Donkey gave me one last look and said, “Yep, we’ll see you tomorrow, just like we saw you today. The question is, will you see yourself tomorrow? We’ll see.”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ask Amber Donkey - June 2009

Here are three questions for this month's posting of Ask Amber Donkey. Thanks to all who submitted questions. Anyone wanting to submit questions should do so at .

Question: I noticed when my husband and I travel we see more and more people traveling with their pets. The animals are treated as part of the humans’ family and sometimes the animals have clothes on. When I talk to my dog I refer to her as my baby. I even say she calls me "Mommy" and my husband "Daddy. Is this the balance the animals are looking for or has the human race gone the wrong way? Another part of this question is to do with research. (This part is new). When I was young I remember animals being used in labs for testing of products. Through the years I thought research found other options to provide them with the results they needed. In my current job I am finding this is not true. We sell products that could be used in a laboratory setting. Because the labs need to discuss the usage they sometime reveal how our product will be used. I was surprised to hear chimpanzee's are still being used. The first thing that comes to my mind is the lady in the news that had a chip that attacked her friend. She even stated when she was stabbing him with the knife he looked at her and asked, "what are you doing?" I know directly this is not what I am doing to these animals yet I feel I am not doing them justice by selling these labs our products. Are these animals where they choose or did humans put them in jeopardy?

Amber: At first these two parts of your question seem to be two different things, but they are not at all. Problems arise when humans try to make animals fit into their own image. While both humans and animals live on the same planet, we are vastly different in many ways. We all have feelings, emotions, thoughts, souls, hearts, and we form relationships. But what we do within those things are quite different. You could say that we come from different cultures. But when you try to make us into humans, then you are denying us our true being, and denying yours as well. When animals are treated by humans as humans, then they start to lose their own identities and take on those that are assigned to them by the humans. Yet, the two worlds don’t easily mesh at times and trouble can occur. The animals then start to take on all the same troubles of the human psyche and culture. They are not prepared or fit to deal with those things and they become imbalanced. This is true whether we are talking about your pets, lab animals, or any other situation. Animals are animals and humans are humans.

It is quite the human experience to try to justify treatment of others by making them different from yourselves. You often dehumanize other humans to justify treating them less than equal. Then you will try to humanize non-human friends to justify feeling for them or being in relationship with them. Your relationships with animals will not be the same as your relationship with humans. In fact, I dare say, that most of you let animals in your hearts far deeper than other humans.

How does this answer your question? It is my opinion that humans don’t even treat each other with respect of your differences let alone those of the animal world. Animals usually accept others with all their differences, even our human companions. You do not see us dressing you up to look like donkeys now do you? Yet, to justify loving your animals, you frequently try to make us look like you. Its just something humans should think about. If you treated all of Life with complete respect, the answers to how you treat each other, and how you treat all animals would become very clear to you.

Question: I have read and heard that we all came here on earth for a reason, because we have something to accomplish. How do we know why we came here? Do all the living things except most humans know what their path is? Thanks a lot for your answer.

Amber: Thanks for your question! It is true that all beings come into the physical realm for a reason and to accomplish something. But not all of us know what that path is on a conscious level. Many animals do understand their paths and very consciously know what they are here to do. And so do many humans. Many humans are not at all conscious of their paths or what they are here to do. And the same is true for many animals. Sometimes, finding that conscious awareness, is the all important step on our path and what we are here to do. Some of us (and I use the word “us” to mean all living beings) find our purpose and some seemingly do not. Some of us find our true greatness near the end of our lives, some in the middle, and some come into this physical plane with their true greatness in tact and ready to roll. It just all depends on our spiritual awareness and what we are here to do. Some of us come to teach, some come to learn, but no matter what side of that equation you are on, you always learn from and teach others. That is the sharing of life. In the physical realm, our purpose is never as clear to us as it is in the spiritual realm. It is just the nature of the two realms.

Question: I’m not sure how to phrase this, but are some animals more empathetic than others? One litter of pups born here more than three years ago now, and I can only describe the majority of them as empaths. Not just soft dogs, but aware of the energy around them in a different and more profound way. Can you help me understand this a bit more?

Amber: Just like as with humans, animals also come in with various degrees of awareness. Some are very sensitive to energy and some not so sensitive. It is probably true that animals on the surface seem to many humans to be more sensitive to energy and shifts in energy. However, it is not that humans do not have the same abilities to do so. It is true though that humans have many more distractions that they have created and surrounded themselves with and that is what gets in the way. Animals in general are less cluttered.

Many animals are very tuned in to the emotions of humans and have signed on to work closely with them. Dogs are one such species that has chosen to work very closely with humans. Horses, or shall we say equines so that we include our pony friends, and of course, donkeys too, also work very closely with humans. We resonate well with the human heart and strive to help humans find their own hearts through ours. Some animals are also healers as well. Just like with humans, there are all sorts of variations and skill levels.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Coversation with Dawn and Gypsy

Amber Donkey suggested that in this blog I should periodically interview one of the animals because it would be insightful to how they see their lives. I set out to interview Gypsy, one of our horses, only to have her start interviewing me. So, it became a conversation instead.

Dawn’s Conversation with Gypsy, Thoroughbred mare, age 27 years.

D: What means the most to you in your life?

G: My friends. I have always cherished my friends. I watched my best friend Babe die when her leg broke running up the hill in our pasture. None of us could believe what happened and we all forever remember that tragic day. We had been together since yearlings and then came to SFC together. I also had my friend Bo with me. She was already here at SFC when Babe and I got here, but she was with us as yearlings as well. It was kind of funny that we all ended up spending our lives together. But now I am the last one left. I had a daughter, Mariah, who lived her whole life with me. We were together for 18 years until something went wrong inside of her and she suddenly died. Bo and I took care of Mariah when she went blind a few years before that. We were very good friends. And, now sadly, I have lost my best friend Bo two weeks ago.

Bo left me in charge of taking care of Smiley who also is blind. He now is in Bo’s old stall right next to me and I find comfort with him there. Together, we remember our old friends and also cherish the ones we still have with us. The solidity of our herd is very important to me.

D: What is most enjoyable for you in your life?

G: I love being outside in the sun on a cool day with no flies. That is the absolute best. I love to roll in the grass and roll back and forth over and over again and feel the earth against my back. I love to run with my friends. And I also appreciate my stall in the barn too. When I’m tired, I find safety and peace there.

D: What do you dream about?

G: About anything that comes up I guess. I dream of all different things. Not just things like running. I don’t dream about racing. I dream a lot about eating. And I also dream of being with my friends.

D: What is your purpose in life?

G: To live each day looking to see what its about. Its not very complicated really. What is yours?

D: Cute. How about to live each day to see what it is about.

G: That’s too easy, you just copied me.

D: Whose interviewing whom here?

G: Well, I think after all these years together that you know me pretty well. So these questions aren’t very exciting. We’ve explored a lot over the years together. When I first met you, you were still young and head strong. Now you are graying and more calm and centered.

D: Thanks, I can say the same about you too!

G: Yes, you can. So let me tell you what I learned about our purpose in life. Because we both came to the farm around the same time. We’ve kind of grown up together in a way. We’ve shared a lot. You are part of the herd you know. Its not just horses we acknowledge in our group. Sometimes you didn’t own your place in the herd. Sometimes you did. But you’ve always been kind and you’ve always been honest. We like that about you. All of us always trust you to not just care for us but to listen to us. I would say we each learned to listen to our own hearts by hearing one another. The best way to hear your own heart beat is to feel it against anothers’, don’t you think?

D: Wow, that is profound. Yes, that is so true isn’t it?

G: It is what life is all about. When you were young you had a restless heart. You never let it get out for a good gallop. I, on the other hand, galloped a bit too much and didn’t take things seriously enough. I also didn’t want anyone too close to me. You showed me a different way of being. You taught me to coexist with my friends and to open my heart more. You’ve given that to many of us. And as you did so, we watched you set your heart free. The spirit of the horse is to fly in the wind. You don’t need to be on our backs to fly with us. You learned to fly with us in spirit and there isn’t a one of us who holds back in taking you there. That’s what I like about being here. You were going to ask me that question eventually so I thought I’d just answer it. This is a great farm. It is the seat of the heart of the horse. Think about that. That is what you invited in. That is why you can feel the horse spirits gather here sometimes. It is the magic we all created in a space you help hold. You are my friend too, a herd mate, just like Bo. Bo found a wisdom that was very deep within her. She found it by being here on the farm and by being recognized for who she was and nurtured to grow. You helped with that. And now she is helping you too. I feel her around you each night you come to the barn to check on us. You walk with a herd of spirit horses when you come into the barn. They are all working with you, walking with you, and you are flying with them. So, to answer your question, I guess today, part of my purpose was to tell you that.

D: And, today, part of my purpose is to thank you for all you give.

G: All of us on this planet share in this journey. It doesn’t belong to just one of any of us.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ask Amber Donkey - April 2009

Editor’s Note: Ask Amber was a page on our website where Amber Donkey would answer a couple of questions a month. We are moving this monthly feature to this blog now instead, giving others a chance to comment on topics. Normally, we will choose about 2 questions per month. Seeing that Dawn was out of commission with a surgery and recovery for several months, this column has not been updated since August 2008. For this month, we have chosen 4 questions to make up for lost time. Plus, Amber seemed to have a lot to say after a long hard winter! To submit questions for consideration, please send them in an email to .

1. Dear Amber,
One of our dear cats passed on a few months ago; we were extremely close to him. We still had four cats, but the house just didn't feel right. We realized that no one could ever fill our dear one's pawprints, but we can care for five kitties quite easily and so many are homeless, so last week we adopted another cat. In the past, even though I always take great care with introductions, it has always taken quite a while for the household to adjust to a newcomer. This time it's like magic: the new little girl has been accepted wholeheartedly from the very first, and acts completely at ease—as if she's always lived with us. At first I thought she might actually "be" our lost cat, but I don't really think so. I'm wondering if perhaps he sent her to us. Have you ever known passed-on animals to do that sweet favor for their families?

Amber: It is sweet to feel the gifts from old friends isn’t it? Yes, we have seen that here at the farm a lot too. Frequently our ghost brigade of horses will send someone our way who they just know we would love to have with us. Many times your beloved animal friends who pass into spirit want to be sure you are taken care of send in help. It is a loving gesture and a special gift to receive.

2. Dear Amber,
Please help me with this. I've read your responses on different issues regarding abuse, neglect, etc. How can I forgive and send love to the people in Korea that skin dogs alive and torture them for food. How do I send someone forgiveness regarding a hog farm in Iowa where little piglets were thrown against the wall and the mother pigs were tortured to no end and on and on. Animals are so helpless, they depend on us to take care of them.

I just cannot feel good about this, let alone send love to these people or any person that tortures animals or other humans. I can't get myself to send love and forgiveness to someone that does such a horrific act. I think it's about time not to make excuses for humans anymore. I feel it's about time that people take responsibility for their actions. They have to know that this is so wrong what they are doing.

My other question is: Why do these poor animals keep reincarnating to these horrible conditions? Why would they choose this?

Amber: This is not a simple question and one that I could take an entire book to answer and still not completely fulfill all the questions that people have on this topic. The answer is complexly simple. It is because it is literally a circle. I am not suggesting that anyone feel good about this sort of abuse, neglect, or torture. And that is what it is in many cases – torture. There is a difference in intent when an animal is maltreated out of ignorance and when it is thought and planned out in advance, or for when ignorance is replaced by knowing it is inappropriate, but continuing to do it anyway. The intention of the human is completely what drives the answer to this question.

But I ask you to look at the circle of repercussion that comes from judging others in general. You see, I’m not saying you should go out and love the people who do heinous acts against anyone. But what I am saying is that if those people had felt loved in the first place, they’d have found a place inside of themselves that would have never allowed for the torture and mistreatment of any other living being. A cycle of judgment just keeps moving round and round and round. If humans could understand truly loving who they are, loving one another for who you are, and judging nothing, then there would literally be no abuse. Judgment perpetuates judgment perpetuates self-doubt, perpetuates lack of self-worth, perpetuates dominance over something lesser than you feel, perpetuates abuse, which then comes back to being judged and finding the exact validation that you started with. It’s a big wheel. Somewhere this wheel needs to stop turning. Somewhere it needs to stop perpetuating violence and hatred and judgment. Somewhere every being needs to understand the love that they are and the love that exists in every thing around them. Can’t happen you say? That’s what we hear all the time. Until enough of you think it can, it won’t. Its time to stop making excuses for why this can’t be so. It is the way of all nature to be loving and forgiving. Anything else has been created by man.

The last part of your question about why an animal would choose to come back in to horrible conditions such as these is one that I cannot really answer. The reason is that the choices that each soul makes is solely dependant on what it is choosing to experience, or learn, or teach. To an onlooker, many times these choices do not make sense. In our physical experience, we cannot always make sense of soul choices because we cannot put them into the overall framework and experience at the level of the soul.

3. Dear Amber,
I wonder how you and the other animals respond to Allergies. Both my husband and I are allergic to cats; yet we live with 6 of them (the allergist says we have developed immunity to ours). I have a hard time understanding how people dump or get rid of animals (cats, dogs, gerbils, rabbits, etc.) because they say they are allergic. I understand the severity of allergies and asthma and have had trips to the hospital to help me breathe. But I won’t give up on the love I share with my feline companions. I am also allergic to trees, grass, pretty much everything outside, and I refuse to live in a bubble, but rather work on why I have these allergies and how I can overcome them.

But can you and the other animals help me with my feelings towards others who say they are allergic? How does a cat feel who is dumped because their ‘family’ is now allergic? Does the cat understand?

And how can I answer other humans when I know they are using the ‘allergy’ as an excuse really not share love and not to open their hearts?

Amber: Not everyone is ready to open their hearts as you have. Again, we cannot judge others for the choices they are making. We have many cats here at the farm who have come because their people are allergic. Many of them are devastated at first, but some of them view it as a means of moving on to their next thing in life. Imagine if animals would be allergic to humans! And whose to say we are not? Each situation is unique to each human and each animal involved. I cannot answer this question other than in general terms because of that. Achoo!

4. Hi Amber,
It is my understanding that we are all spiritual beings and that each of us comes here for a specific purpose. Whether it is to experience something, learn or share something or to help others and so on.

What I want to know is even though we may not know what our purpose is, when we have fulfilled it what happens? Do we spend the rest of the time in our physical bodies on a ‘spiritual vacation’ or do we leave soon afterwards?

Amber: Whatever you wish.

Editors Note: I asked Amber if she wished to elaborate on her answer at all. She replied, “what more can I possibly elaborate on? There is nothing more to say. Those three words precisely answer the question in a most profound way!”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


From Dawn:

With great sadness we have to announce that Moose was only with us for 4 short days. His injury/illness had caused him severe neurological issues that he could not recover from. Although only with us for such a short time, we are all grieving as if we had known him his whole life. He left an incredible hoof print in our lives and in our hearts.

To view a memorial for Moose on our website, please go to

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Circle Completes - An Old Friend Leaves and a New One Arrives

From Amber Donkey:

This week we are all saddened in the barn to have lost one of our dearest friends – Yoda. Yoda was an amazing goat with a love of life that was so vast and deep that you couldn’t be around him without feeling it. He and 3 other goats were my pasture mates. He was the head goat and I was the head donkey. As a donkey, one of my jobs is to be a shepherd and to watch over and protect my flock. I never really had a flock before though until the past few years when I was put out to graze with these goofy goats. They really didn’t need me to guard them of course. But I did keep an eye on them and watch after them. On certain days, I was even known to play with them.

Yoda was a first rate clown. He was the tallest of all of the goats and he would climb up on the trees and pull the branches down and hold them for the smaller ones to nibble on the best leaves. He could make us all laugh, humans and animals alike, with his large ears and his ability to move them around when he needed to. But most of all, Yoda was kind. His heart was as big as his soul and he held all of us within it. He never was mean or took advantage of his height or stature over the smaller or younger goats. He had spent a lot of time with the llamas when they were still alive and was mentored by Gulliver in particular. He loved to make people laugh, especially when they were taking themselves too seriously. He also had an opinion on just about everything.

We all will miss him greatly. But I think I will miss him most of all for the joy he brought to my day. This was a difficult winter and many of us started to have trouble. Old bones ached a little more than usual, old joints seemed stiffer, and it was hard sometimes to remember that spring would indeed be coming. We had all hoped that Yoda could taste the spring grass again, but his body couldn’t make it. The people here tried everything and took great care of him as always. I love the folks here that care for us. They have been taking care of my old teeth and old bones too.

But just as our sadness came for the passing of Yoda and our feeling of loss for his large presence, we welcomed a new friend into our family. He arrived today and in the same way that Yoda had a big presence, this horse is the goat equivalent of huge. His name is Moose, if that doesn’t tell you something right there. He is magnificent. We all could feel his presence before he even came to the farm. He also has a physical problem right now but we are all hoping that he can heal and live with us for a long time to come. He is a gentle and quiet soul and we welcome him to our home.

If we have learned anything here at this farm, it is that faith can indeed be the bringer of miracles. We have enough faith here in our barn to go around many times. We have seen miracles happen and have helped them to happen. We recognize each being that walks into our barn as a brother or sister of spirit. We may never have met before, but we will now know each other forever. That is the excitement in welcoming someone new. And it is the same knowledge that allows us to move on when one of us leaves. We know in our hearts that we will forever share their love and energy in our lives and beyond. Today, while we are still sad for our loss of Yoda, we can also rejoice for the arrival of Moose. We can know the sadness of a parting and recognize the chance for a new friendship in the making. It is the circle complete. It is life being lived. And it is hearts being shared. It is what makes me realize how lucky I am to be here in this place and to rejoice once more in the circle of Life.

See you later Yoda! And welcome home Moose!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Winds of Change

From Amber Donkey:

Today on the farm, we are experiencing another weather system moving through. The wind is lashing at the barn as it stands resolute in its being our home, our energy holding it strong. The trees outside the barn are dancing lightly in the wind, knowing when to bend, when to give, and understanding that change is simply a movement and neither an ending nor beginning. It is winter in this great land we call home. It has been a cold winter and one with lots of snow, and yet, we weather this with the understanding and gratitude that we may feel the energy of the earth moving across her great expanse. The wind that comes today brings with it the energy from far west. The snow forms uniquely from our own water sources, but the wind brings with it a history. It is both old and new combined into one system. It is earth and sky. It is past and future.

In places before us, this same wind brought damage as things broke beneath its force. People died. Animals died. Trees died. Yet, the wind is not the bringer of havoc. It is simply the force of life moving. When that force meets constraints and gets bottled up, or bunched up, the force turns inward, spinning on its own energy, yet still seeking to move forward. All of life, every energy, every force, strives to move forward. Movement is the natural force of life. When energy ceases to move, it no longer lives on the earth plane. Constrained wind force then becomes very powerful on its path. Once it finds its way to move free again, it spreads out in its enormity and weakens in its focus. The more open focused we all can become, the less we will see these bottled up weather patterns emerge with ferocity. Whether they be over land or sea, the effect is still the same. Energy is energy and it will always flow. The conditions for which it moves though can be affected by all of us. As we expand our awareness, and as we encompass the rest of life within our circle, we will see these weather patterns follow suit and spread out as well. The more they spread out, the weaker the force that hits the ground. Violence is always the gift of beauty turned inside out until the force becomes unrecognizable and the effect the polar opposite of its natural expression. It is the same force that turns the gentleness of a breeze into the force of a deadly tornado. Be aware. Your energy affects everything around you.

Talk to the wind and become friends with the force for which the wind travels. Embrace the energy of the life force and that force will comfort your heart. Let the wind move the change you yearn for into or out of your life. We can look at the snow fall and feel great coldness and the still of winter. Or we can look at the flakes for the unique beauty that each one brings as it creates itself anew from a water droplet. We can wrap ourselves in that beauty or we can curse the cold until the warmth of spring. Every season is a breath of the Earth herself. Each breath brings life and a moment for the Earth to take what she needs for nourishment. Curse neither the season nor the gifts each brings. Welcome them and you will reunite your heartbeat with that of the Earth.

This is living life awake and as a participant. It is being a part of the family of the Earth.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keeping The Vision for 2009

As we look to this new year of 2009, we take another look at the vision of Spring Farm CARES.
(From our website, )
By Dawn Hayman

We welcome this new year and this new season of Hope for humanity! We are looking forward with eager anticipation to all the changes and opportunities that lay ahead, not just us at the farm, but for all of mankind. This is perhaps the grandest opportunity for greatness that man has ever faced. We have crossed the threshold into a vision of a new world. And we, all of us, are the keepers of that vision. We are the creators of that experience. We are the dreamers creating the dream and bringing it into reality as we awaken. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for to save us, and our earth, from destruction. That moment is now. The heroes are right within each one of us.

At Spring Farm CARES, we realized the importance of reaffirming our vision for the work we are carrying forward. A vision that began forming 18 years ago and has not dimmed but has grown brighter, stronger, and more resilient over the years. Someone once told us on our ten year anniversary that they remembered talking to us with a group of leaders of other non-profit groups and asking us what our goals were back in our first year of operation. She told us that when they walked away from the meeting they all felt sorry for us at how delusional we were. “A couple of dreamers,” they said, “wait until reality hits them. They won’t last more than a year.” Ten years later, that person said to us, “Ladies, not only are you still here but do you realize that you have accomplished every goal on your list at that time? We once felt sorry for you, now we are asking how you did it.”

This is a powerful reminder about the importance of believing, trusting, having faith, but most of all never giving up on the vision coming from our hearts. It is not just about the farm. Not just about the organization we founded. This is about all of humanity. From the beginning, our grandest vision was to help reconnect mankind with all of nature. It was to be a part of the Oneness of Life. Yes, certainly it is about helping animals. But it is also about helping people. Because the animals taught us very quickly that humans were the ones that most needed to shift and that is what they wanted to do and who they wanted to reach. We then wanted to give the animals a place to work their magic and then we wanted to reach more than just those of you who could come to the farm. Our vision is so much larger than any one of us. It is greater than the combined efforts of the humans and animals who call this farm home. It comes from our hearts, human and animal alike, and it comes from the sacred land of this farm. The greatest compliment given to us is that we are a group of dreamers. Because dreaming is the language of the heart and soul. It is the power behind every vision and the secret of every visionary. And if we do this right, the dream will forever be new and fresh and recreated in all that we do.

We are in hard times right now. But adversity is always dimmed by hope. In spite of the current economy, the decrease in our income, the increase in expenses, we chose to continue to hold on to the vision. We are looking at our budget and cutting back where we can. We see now even more than before the importance of our being as self-sufficient and as light on the Earth as we can be. We will continue to pursue that way of life.

We strive to continue the services and programs we have in place to help so many animals in need. We have helped pay for the spay/neuter of nearly 65,000 dogs and cats in our area and still we are experiencing the pain of animal overpopulation. Over 100 orphaned kittens came to us in 2008 alone. But we must keep the vision and the hope and faith that this will change.

We strive to continue to offer sanctuary to the 250 animals in our care. Animals who are reaching out to thousands of people every year with their hearts and wisdom. We will give them the best care we have to offer, as they give back so much to all of us.

We strive to continue the magnificent work of our Nature Sanctuary, a 200 acre microcosm of the Earth, and a working example of the healing that can be done if only we listen to nature around us.

We strive to continue to reach out through education to the children in our area to teach them about what the animals have to say. The children get this information readily. They have been reaching out to us in record numbers offering all kinds of help and assistance. It is one of the most heartwarming things we have experienced. The children get it. They are our future.

We strive to continue to network with other organizations who are also working on the issues we deal with. It is through networking that the web of life operates. People are starting to realize this more and more. We see the miracles and magic of many hearts linking up with a common goal here all the time. Whether it is to help just one animal in need or a whole community, the power of joining together cannot be under estimated.

And we strive to keep the communication lines open between animals, nature, and humanity. We hope to continue to be the source of inspiration that many of you have found. We want to keep the connection between spirit and heart alive and flowing. And we want to share all we can.

The reality is that it costs us about $2,800 per day to keep our operation going. The 250 animals in our care depend on us to be here. But more than that, are the many thousands more we help each year through our outreach programs. It is enormous the number of lives we touch each year. Our education program reached well over 5,000 children in 2008 and is growing each year. Our office fields endless calls each day with animals in need. Horrendous stories that rip our hearts out. We can’t always solve the problem but every one of those phone calls gets help from us in some way. Help has never been denied to anyone, even though we often can’t take another animal in. We are also the employer of 28 people who depend on us to be here for their livelihood.

We want to continue to be here and do all the things that help us toward our ever evolving vision. We understand that no dream is too great. No mountain is too high to climb. No matter what it may look like on the outside, the strength of our destiny is the vision we each hold within our hearts. We hold tight to that vision no matter what. And we also know that the strength we have, the secret weapon that makes the miracles become reality, and breathes life into the dreams – is all of you who believe with us and join us with your help. Each of your thoughts sent our way or hearing the messages that the animals are sending out, moves us one more step down that road. Your thoughts, prayers, volunteer hours, and donations sustain us through the toughest of times and remind us of the largest truth of all – that we are all One, and we are all in this together.

Blessings to everyone for the new year ahead of us. Keep your visions. Dream your dreams. And NEVER give up hope.