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
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!!!