Spring Farm CARES Animal and Nature Sanctuary
Amber Donkey

A Unique Question and Answer Forum

Amber Donkey


Ask Amber Donkey

Please note that we are no longer running this feature as Amber Donkey since has passed into Spirit in 2011 at the amazing age of 50 years. However, her teachings are her legacy and we share these here in memory of a most amazing donkey.


After Amber Donkey's column in our newsletter, Ask Amber D, was such a hit, she suggested that we could do this on the website. So, here we go!

Each month, we will select at least 2 questions from you, and Amber will answer them. Your questions can be about any topic. Believe us when we tell you that Amber has not just vast knowledge, but many opinions, about many things. We are sure her answers will not just be informative but will be answered with her unique wit and humor as well. So, go ahead, Ask Amber Donkey! (Note: All answers are being given through Animal Communicator Dawn Hayman, co-founder of Spring Farm CARES.)


August 2008

Q: I really love learning about how to respect and honor life forms other than humans. My perspective has changed so much in the past few years, at least partly due to a workshop I attended at Spring Farm CARES. I am very grateful for that. I see now that humans are “human-centric” and am learning every day how to see things from the point of view of others. It’s exciting and fun. However, once I start acknowledging and communicating with life, I find it hard to do some of the normal human things I have to do. I find myself questioning everything and this makes life so much more complicated! Every thing needs to have its boundaries, and while I admit humans have been very selfish in applying ours (myself included) – I still need to have some boundaries too. I am having some trouble knowing when it’s ok for me as a human to set my own “space” and keep others out of it. Examples: Grain moths taking over my pantry - I tell them to go elsewhere but they don’t listen. Weeds in my garden: I know that weeds have a place and sometimes weeds are just as tasty and nutritious as the vegetables I’m growing, and many have medicinal qualities too, but sometimes I need to say “enough is enough, give me space to grow the food I am trying to grow” . Bunnies in my garden. Wasps and hornets. Fleas and ticks on my pets. These are just some of many examples.

So basically, my question to you is: Where do I draw the line? And why does that line keep moving? And when have I gone off the deep end? What will happen next? Will I befriend viruses and deadly bacteria? Who knows?!

Amber Donkey: This is a very good question that people come to as their awareness increases. Just like last month's question about meat eating, this is yet another example of how humans have fallen out of relationship with all around them. Actually, the truth is, that if you all did learn to befriend viruses and deadly bacteria, then they would fall back into balance. Instead, humans think of them as their enemies and start an all out war on them. Same is true with bugs that pester them, rodents who are coming into their territories, and even animals who share their yards with them. Yes, most definitely yes, you are entitled to your boundaries. And of course you are free to protect your food sources from others. That all happens in nature as well. However, once again, it comes down to relationship.

Is it logical to think that you can talk to fleas and ticks and tell them to stay off your pets and all animals? Of course not. Fleas and ticks are parasites and as such they need blood to survive. That would be like asking a few people who annoy you if they wouldn't mind starving themselves to death. I doubt you will find much cooperation there. However, as soon as mankind stepped away from all of the rest of nature, they went to war with anything that annoyed them. By doing this, you all created a massive imbalance. Entire ecosystems have been or are being wiped out. Animals and plants within those boundaries are being forced out for their own survival. Things then suddenly become more "unnatural". Many of the rodents and other animals that so many humans find repulsive have multiplied out of control due to humans themselves. Their balance is gone. Animals such as rabbits come closer to your gardens because you have moved into their territories and taken a lot of their safe food sources away. And looking in your garden may be safer than other places they can go. Its just all about balance.

By going to war with viruses and bacteria and everything else that is "natural" but that you have decided doesn't belong there, you have created super bugs resistant to all the chemical warfare you thrust upon them. It is called survival and all beings will try to find ways to survive.

This is a question that doesn't have an easy fix because the neighborhoods you now live in and that have been created by mankind are no longer natural. When my horse friends and I are outside, we swish our tails and kill flies that have landed on us. When we walk in the grass and run on the hills, there are insects who meet their demise. I am not saying you should all suddenly become paranoid about the very nature of nature. If grain moths are eating your food, you have a right to protect your food. But the larger picture is that if all would come back into balance, you would find a lot more peace for yourselves at every level.

Q: Do animals ever get bored? I have the privilege of living with 3 retired racing greyhounds and often wonder if they are bored. Maybe being bored is a human concept? I worry that living in a house situation is not a natural or joyful existence for them. I do take them for walks, and they have the run of our back yard, but I always wonder if this is enough for them or any domestic animal?

Amber Donkey: Yes, of course animals do sometimes get bored. When a donkey gets bored we just figure out how to take things apart and watch our human friends try to put them back together again. Or we make up little donkey games. When dogs get bored, they too try to find something to do. They either make up games or find things to chew on or whatever they can come up with. When cats get bored they also make up interesting things. Frequently they just start running as if their tails are on fire for no reason at all. I've seen our barn cats do that too when they just want a quick thrill. The problem comes for domestic animals when there is no longer an outlet for their boredom. It is not living in houses that automatically makes them bored. Its when they can no longer use their skills and talents. In the case of your greyhounds, that doesn't mean they need to be racing to not be bored. But it does mean that they need to have stimulation of some sort. Your relationship with them could be exactly that stimulation. They can be perfectly content as long as they know they are contributing something to your relationship with them. We all like to know we have a purpose and that someone appreciates that. Boredom is not about physical activity. It is about spiritual contentment and fulfillment. There is one for a lot of you to think about when you yourselves start to feel bored.

Q: I have read that humans have guardian angels or guides or whatever you want to call them. Do animals have guardian angels as well? It seems to me that some animals act in this capacity for some humans.

Amber Donkey: I love this question so I told Dawn she had to add a third one for this month. Yes, we all have guardian angels and guides. It is true that some animals act in the role of guides for humans but I must tell you that it is also true that there are humans out there who are guides and guardian angels for other humans and for animals as well. I happen to know this for sure. I've heard Dawn say to people that when you have an animal guide in your life you always know it. But let me also assure you that we animals also know when we have a human guardian angel walking with us too. None of us ever walk this life alone. There are angels and guides keeping us safe and holding us near. I have sometimes seen the angels watching over our farm here. And I have always felt the guides and angels of our beloved friends come to be with them as they pass from physical into spirit. If you just look for them you can feel them. Just remember, your angels like you to ask them for help. Angels should never be bored!

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July 2008

(Note from Dawn: Another two very substantial questions were submitted this month and have been answered by Amber Donkey below. Thanks to all who have commented on last months questions. Amber's column is getting a lot of response and she appreciates that.)

Q: I am wondering if being a vegetarian is most appropriate for an animal lover like me. I have done this before, but currently I eat meat. I certainly do not like supporting the cruelty of the meat industry -- especially the factory farms. At the same time, I look at the animal world, and see meat eaters everywhere. So, what say you?

Amber Donkey: This is a question for which each and every one of you must answer for yourselves. Your choices that you make for your well-being and your body are yours alone to make. That basic guideline being stated, I can give you my opinion and the opinion of the animals I live with, some of whom would be eaten if they were not here. This is a question that immediately raises lots of emotion and judgment for many people. I would like to say emphatically, that whatever your choice, it should never be judged by anyone. Many feel they do not want to eat meat to honor the animals, and then they condemn and judge those who have made different choices. This does not honor the animals at all. Your question is actually 2 separate issues however. And I will answer it in two parts to make it more clear.

The first issue is to eat meat or not and how do animals feel about it. I can tell you this. Animals understand being eaten. Animals understand the predator/prey relationship. Humans do not understand this. Many look to animals and say that they eat each other so it must be ok to be eaten. But what you fail to see is that those animals who eat other animals to live, do so in relationship to those other animals. In that relationship there is respect, honor, appreciation, and love of Life that is passed between the animal being eaten and the one eating of it's flesh. Every animal eaten by another animal is taken with regards to their spiritual connection with all of Life. It is never taken unjustly. It is never taken lightly. It is never taken for granted. And no life is ever wasted. That is the essence of the predator/prey relationship. It is based on honor and respect. Animals are not upset that humans eat meat. In fact, in our own barn we have heard visitors say that those who eat meat are not spiritual. We believe this is not correct. These are not mutually exclusive.

However, most humans are not even aware of what they are eating. They do not eat with spiritual awareness. If you did, you would be in relationship to all you eat, plant and animal alike. You would be conscious of the fact that for you to live, something lends it's life to you to nourish you. You would thank each and every thing that nourishes you. And in that respect, that life would live on through you. When you are out of relationship with what you eat, then you do not honor what is being given to you. That is equally true for plant life as well as animal life. There is no difference. Life is life. Plants do have conscious awareness. It just looks different to you. Herbivores are in relationship to what they eat. I am always thankful to the grasses and grains that have given their lives for me. That thankfulness is a part of who I am, as it is for each and every one of the beings who live with me on this farm. We have a relationship with grass and plants.

What we see in humans is a lot of ingratitude for what you are given. Do you ever thank your food? Do you thank the apple for the nourishment it brings you? Do you thank the leaf of lettuce? The tomato? The chicken or the cow? So many people do not even have awareness of what kind of animal they are eating. So the travesty is the lack of awareness and relationship with what nourishes you. Animals understand that in the end we all are eaten. Our bodies are consumed by another or insects or earth. It is part of the cycle. Humans have removed themselves completely from that cycle. You may be on the top of the food chain, but you have no understanding of the relationship of every living thing around you. And while you may not be eaten by other animals, you are certainly eaten by your own misgivings.

The second part of your question is actually about factory farming. Because while animals understand being eaten and that relationship, it doesn't mean we understand living lives of hell and dying in panic and pain. That also is not part of the natural way of things. And it is a direct product of humans not being in relationship with their food. If you were in relationship with all you ate, you would never mistreat an animal in the food chain. You would never kill your vegetables with poisons. You would treat ALL living things with love, respect, and honor. Because you would understand that the life you treat well will nourish you. Instead, you have walled off all relationship with your food and thus have treated the living beings who give their lives to you with complete disrespect, dishonor, and total lack of compassion. And this you then feed to yourselves and your children. If humans for one minute felt the anguish and pain of the animals you hold captive and kill for your food, the practice you call factory farming would come to a screeching halt. Yet you blindly consume that anguish daily. What you do to them goes into you.

Is it possible then to eat meat and be spiritual? Absolutely yes. To do so you simply need to make your choice to be aware and thankful of each and every thing you eat and that nourishes you. When you have done that, you will have honored the life of that being who will then live on through your flesh. This is true for the grass I eat. It is true for the carrots and apples people bring me. It is true for the chickens and ducks who live with me. All of us understand this as such a basic and simple truth.

Q: I am interested in being able to communicate with animals. I have had some limited success with my own dogs, as well as other animals, including one of the donkeys at Spring Farm Cares. I know I can do it, because I have done it occasionally in the past, yet I have not experienced a communication in over a year. Why do humans have such a hard time hearing animals, even when we are trying? I've been told that to communicate, you need to open your heart. Can you give me any advise on how to open my heart?

Amber Donkey: I hate to be presumptuous but I assume that donkey you talked to was none other than myself! The thing is that I am sure you are communicating and not even knowing it. The statement you make that you haven't experienced a communication in over a year is kind of like saying, I'm not aware that I have taken a breath in over a year. Now of course it is obvious that we can deduce that you have indeed been breathing for the past year, as evidenced by the fact that you are still alive! But the same logic holds true for communication. If you are in relationship to ANYTHING in your life then you are communicating with it. You can not be in a relationship and not communicate, although I admit that you humans do come pretty close sometimes.

You communicate in many different ways. The trouble comes when you are expecting it to be a verbal communication. Humans get really hung up on that aspect of communication. You know that inner voice you have that keeps talking to you? Your own inner voice. That is where you get your communications. I'll bet you that you get so many of them that you are tuning them out, looking past them, and are not realizing the force that is within you. To communicate all you need to do is to start listening more. You humans are sure great at talking. Its really simple. Just listen.

As for opening your heart. Let me share with you the trade secret on that. Are you ready? Write this down somewhere where you can see it often. To open your heart: Love someone. That's it. Just love someone. Your heart opens naturally then and you don't even have to think about it.

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June 2008

(Note from Dawn: This month we have two very meaty questions that have been submitted to Amber Donkey. This makes up for the 2 months where no one submitted any questions! The first question is a bit unusual in that Amber has asked me to help her with examples that I have received from other animals. It has been intriguing to me and very interesting to Amber that most of the questions submitted to her revolve around the question of forgiveness and unconditional love. She asked me recently, "Why are these the most popular questions we animals get here at the farm? I think you should look into this." While these answers may be long, Amber requested that we truly take the time to answer them, since it seems to be so much larger than we understand.)

Question: There is one thing I always have trouble with and that's the notion of unconditional love. I think humans (myself not excluded) are mostly so narcissistic, that the thought of being loved by animals no matter what a huge egomaniac one is, might not necessarily be a healthy concept. (If I use an extreme example - Hitler was very fond of his dog, but I find it difficult to imagine that the dog found Hitler to be a wonderful person? if the dog had any idea what was going on because of his/her human, which I assume he/she had.) I think it often is absolutely OK and necessary to judge - when values and ethics are involved. What do you think? Do animals judge? Do they judge AND love - and could you explain what animals think about this.

Amber Donkey: This is probably the most popular question I, and other animals at Spring Farm, are asked by people coming to the farm to learn from us. We don't always understand why this is such a difficult thing for humans to grasp or understand. But I think it is because you have become separated from the notion, the ideal, the principle, and the understanding of unconditional love and forgiveness. To think that unconditional love could be "unhealthy" speaks volumes for why so many of our human friends are sick all of the time. Unconditional love is pure health and vitality and oneness and it is nothing short of being universal truth. I have asked Dawn to share a story that she experienced first hand with an animal and a human who did less than right by them. This story is a prime example of how animals operate within the understanding of forgiveness and unconditional love. I will tell you that this same principle applies to the example you used above regarding Hitler. But that example is so heavily charged by the magnitude of the atrocities that this entails, that the human heart and mind cannot wrap itself around the understanding of it. This is why I asked Dawn to share her experience as it will be easier to understand where we are coming from.

From Dawn: I often have the privilege of working with my colleague Lillie Goodrich, Animal Communicator and Co-Founder of Glen Highland Farm, a Border Collie rescue, quite a bit on more challenging cases. We have learned a ton of information from animals who we have worked with together. One of the most outstanding and memorable topics is about unconditional love and being nonjudgmental. This is an exact real life example of what Amber Donkey refers to above.

Lillie contacted me to help work with a dog she had just brought into her rescue. The history on this dog provided all the answers as to why she was very skittish. She was relinquished to a humane society by a person who arrived drunk and told the shelter personnel that he routinely punched her in the face when she annoyed him. A couple of days later, after sobering up, he tried to adopt her back from the shelter. Instead, she was already on her way to a new life at Glen Highland Farm and to find a person who would adopt her and love her forever. Lillie excels at helping Border Collies who have come through some of the most extreme and sad situations you can imagine. The farm is very healing for them and they get to experience life as a Border Collie. But this dog needed a little extra help. I had worked with Lillie on several occasions with this dog and she was gradually improving in her self-confidence. Dogs give so much to humans and it is beyond sad to see that life force dimmed by things humans do to them. This dog was one such case. Within a few months, Lillie was contacted by the humane society who sent her this dog with some interesting news. It seems that the man who had abused and then dumped her had found himself another dog from someplace else. He had just been found dead in his home and his dog had been eating on his corpse. Our reaction, of course, was probably the same as some of yours. He got his just desserts. But then, as quickly as the thought came in, the dog came through for a message for Lillie and for me. Both Lillie and the dog have given permission to use this story and for you to hear what the dog had to say about the fate of this person who tormented and abused her.

From the dog: If you find yourselves feeling that justice was served, then you are not looking from your heart. This is a story of a life....lost. A mission.... incomplete. A heart.... still closed. A soul....still playing out this troubling aspect of itself. It is also the story of two healers whose missions were not effective. It is of a hope lost. Of a rescue never fulfilled. You know the feeling.... when you just have to console yourself with the realization that you can't save them all.

This was a man whose heart was so closed that he lost his own sense of direction and purpose. Instead of love and joy.... he could only feel pain. Instead of knowing success... he could only realize failure. Only one thing could change that for him and that was for him to open his heart. But he forgot that in his pain and his entire focus became one of hiding from the light at all costs. Yet his soul knew its journey. His soul yearned for the love from his heart. And his soul asked for help and help was granted.... as it always is for all who ask. Again, the quickest way to his heart was chosen. A being who could love him in spite of all the darkness he could muster. A being who would still welcome him home although he brought nothing but pain. Because that being was guided by the one truth that all living beings are born with into the physical realm - that all hearts can open, no one is truly lost, and nothing is ever hopeless. I arrived.

I tried to open his heart the easy way -with love. But he couldn't accept it. I never gave up. Until out of a last attempt to save him from himself, I tried to take some of his darkness away. This dimmed my own light by giving up my own trust in my own life. I knew he needed strength.... so I gave him mine.... the ultimate sacrifice. Now I am left to find my own strength once again - for which I will because I am willing to receive.

Sadly, the man did not find that strength I left him, yet he knew something was there and he tried to find it again. A second friend entered the fray. This friend too, could not reach the depths of the emptiness in this man's heart. We ask you now to give light to his soul. The task he came here to complete, went unfulfilled and uncompleted. He will need to try it again. With help, we can all send him light, love, and strength.... exactly what I and the second dog tried to do, so that our missions to help him were not in vain. Our thoughts for his journey to find the light of an open heart - like you so richly have in your own lives - will ease his journey the next time. No one is ever left behind without help.

Also understand that the second dog meant no revenge, had no anger, no false motives other than to help this lost person find his way. Send your thoughts to this dog who is feeling the remorse of a lost mission, and whose only thoughts in chewing on this human's body was first to wake him up, and then as a last attempt at survival for its own body. Revenge was never part of the plot. Send that dog the comfort of knowing it did all it could do and did not fail. Send that dog the light it will need for itself, as it also chose to give up some of its own light as a last attempt to bring the man to his own heart. And last..... remember that your own soul evolved through darkness just like this man. Your journey to your own open heart was not always filled with the light you now have. You too once took baby steps in darkness..... and made mistakes. Someone was there for you .... to show you the way. Because of your willingness to live in your heart, and truly feel your feelings... you have been chosen to teach with the teachers. We can't save them all ..... but we can send them love and light to ease them through their journeys the next time around. You are blessed.

From Dawn: This is not an isolated communication. I have received many just like this from animals who have suffered untold pain and abuse at the hands of humans. Yet I have seen them move on with forgiveness, non-judgment, and unconditional love. Unhealthy? I think that judgment is one of the biggest man made illnesses to plague us.

From Amber Donkey: Thanks Dawn. To further add to the last part of the question: Do animals judge and love? I will say that you can not do both at the same time. To love unconditionally is to do so without judgment. It is to understand that we are all one. To understand that the "dark" side you see and judge in others is also a part of yourself. That no one is beyond loving. No one is beyond forgiveness. And no one has the right to take away someone else's hope. That is what we are trying to say.


QUESTION: Can you tell me where animals go when they die, and what it's like for them there? Also, how do they find the people or situations they want to be in for their next life on earth, and how do they get there? And like many, we were very upset when Eight Belles died, so I'd love to hear Amber's take, and the animals' thoughts and knowledge on that. Also, I read a story recently where a young boy had a near death experience, and he described it as animals being in one part of 'heaven' and people being in another. So that just got me thinking... I figured we all just went to the same places, but maybe not. Anyway, it'd be great to hear anything Amber wants to say on this. Thank you, Amber!

Amber Donkey: Now here is a light weight question! Of course, I cannot possibly fully answer this question in the remainder of my lifetime. This is a book in itself. (Editors note: The person asking this question will understand and appreciate the Amber humor in that last sentence!) However, this is also a question we are often asked. First of all, let me say that I do not have all the answers in the universe. But I do have a lot of experience with life. Death is a part of life. Many of you insist on it being the opposite of life and therein sets up your dilemma of not understanding. Spirit is Life but expressing itself in a way you can't physically feel it. In your reality then, it is not a real place. If you can't see it, then it can't be real right? Yet all of you have had experiences with spirit reaching out and touching you. All of you! Whether it happens while you are dreaming or while you are walking down the street.... or simply because you find yourself thinking about someone you love who has died and you suddenly feel filled with your love for them and their love for you and you can feel yourself surrounded by their essence. That is spirit touching you. And you experience it in many other ways as well. Spirit is not a physical place. Naturally, however, we can only describe things in physical terms as that is our perspective when in physical form.

So I cannot tell you what it "looks" like and where we go when we leave our bodies. I can tell you that it can be different for everybody. That your expectations of what you will find will be the experience you have. That everyone's experience will be unique and according to your own beliefs and understandings. That you literally create the "heaven" you go to. So the young man who had the near death experience of animals in one place and humans in another is HIS experience. But it doesn't mean it will be YOUR experience. Our heart connections are eternal. So whether one is in physical or in spirit, we can connect with anyone or anyplace we want to simply by thinking of that being or that place and in an instant we go there. It is the same in physical form really, only you travel without a body, much like you can travel with your thoughts now. There is no great mystery except in the minds of those who feel separate from life or who separate life from death. It is a false made separation you have all created.

As for Eight Belles, we were all aware of her story here at the farm. Many of my horse friends are retired race horses and understand the rigors of racing. I can tell you that we all acknowledged her life and her spirit and wished her well on her continued journey. Our human friends here went through all sorts of emotions and anger and many other feelings that she died unnecessarily. This may be true. But she may have lived to do what she needed to do. She may have experienced all she came to experience. If we all learn something from that life than that is the highest honor we can bestow upon her. If it makes humans want to change things for race horses than that is a wonderful thing. But if we even only simply acknowledge a life brilliantly lived, than that is also enough for that soul to know she touched us all.

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March 2008

Question: Do animals believe in reincarnation? If so, how do you understand it? Are you aware of any of your past lives?

Amber Donkey: This is a question that is really quite simple. It is interesting to me actually that humans even have a word for reincarnation as if it is some strange phenomenon. I am asked about this a lot though. Yes, in your terms, animals believe in reincarnation. But to truly explain this, I must first say that there really is nothing to believe in. It would be sort of like me asking you if people believe in life. Now there may be a far more interesting question!

Life is a continuum. There really is no stop and start. I can be Amber, a donkey, and then stop being Amber a donkey and start being something else all in one breath. I can be Amber in spirit and then Amber in body. There is nothing to it really. There is not some sort of hierarchy either. People ask me that all the time. Life doesn't start out as a flower and then move on to an insect and then maybe a bird and the upgrade to a cat or dog or something. And the ultimate, of course, must be to be a human. People ask me all the time if I've ever been a human. I won't answer that question actually because it really doesn't matter. No matter what my answer to that would be, you would put a spin on that in your mind. I'd either be lesser than what you thought if I haven't been human, or you'd think I was crazy if I said I have been a human. The bigger question there is .... why are you a human? Its my responsibility to ask why am I a donkey. Then its also my responsibility to find out what I am choosing to do in this lifetime as THIS donkey. And then I can set out to be the most of THIS donkey that I possibly can be. And that is ME!

But, for the edification of all those reading this, I do have some awareness of other lifetimes I have lived. I have predominantly been equines because that form suits me most perfectly for what I am here to do. I will tell you this though. I have once lived as an elephant as well and that was a supreme experience indeed. My advice to you humans though is to stop worrying about your past lives and start figuring out your present one. That is what makes most sense to me.

Question: When at your barn I notice that there are a lot of birds in the rafters. Do they communicate with you, and what kinds of news do they bring to you?

Amber Donkey: It just so happens that I adore birds. You may have noticed when you visit me that I frequently have a lot of ducks in my stall and around me. They feel safe with me. And, it is true that we chat a lot. I happen to be a donkey of the world you know. I love to know what is going on outside the farm. You may call me nosy but it is important for me to get a feel for what is happening in the world. The birds are the news gatherers. They have connections from far away. In fact, we get the most of our distant news during the change of the seasons. When migrating birds come through, we get an instant news feed. I am not the only one here in the barn who likes to hear the news. Many of us do. And the birds love to tell us all they see and all they have heard.

Birds are very connected to many things on the planet. They are sensitive to energy shifts that you don't notice at all. They are also sensitive to weather shifts and patterns as well as upheaval and activity in your community. This won't be news to you but there is lots of upheaval in your human world right now. And it is deeply affecting the planet as a whole. The planet is also shifting, separately from what you are doing to it. The birds monitor all of this. The water birds bring us messages from the oceans as well. So we get to hear news from the whales and dolphins and other sea animals. We also get news from the jungles as to what is happening there. That news is more generalized by the time we hear it.

We get very specific news too from off the farm but from our immediate area. We know, for example, all the movements of the bird man in the sanctuary. (Editors note: That would be Matt Perry, our Director of Conservation for our Nature Sanctuary, who I'm sure would love to know he is known as the bird man.) We know about the deer and squirrels and raccoons and all of the life around the farm. We know, in advance of you by the way, what the weather will be like. And we are also aware that the weather is more rapidly changing and harder to predict. It is not following the usual norms that we have come to know.

The birds are special and they love to have a place to stay here at the farm as well. Some live here all year. Some just pass through. Some are frequent visitors but don't stay. But all of them share what knowledge they have with us and we with them. I tell them a lot about the humans of the farm and the ones that visit. And they go back to their other connections and share those stories with them as well. So it would be good for you to know that even the whales and dolphins and elephants know about what we do here. If you have a hard time believing that then you'd better take a better look at how connected things are on this planet. The earth is smaller than you think. It just seems bigger to you because you humans are not as tuned in.

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February 2008

Question: When I see an animal that is mistreated or abused or neglected I really try to do something about it. I feel so helpless knowing that these animals deserve so much better. For example: We live in the country and there's a house near by that has a horse and three dogs. The dogs are always penned up in a barn. Needless to say, it's not very clean place. I just feel terrible that these poor animals have to live this way. I worry about them in the freezing cold if they are warm enough and have food. I can't call animal control, because we don't have one and if I call the sheriff, they really don't care. Should I be sending this kind of message to these animals the pain how I feel? Am I making it worse for them? My heart just aches for these animals and I need somehow to deal with this. --Anna

Amber Donkey: It is often hard to understand why individuals choose the paths that they do in life. I know this is hard to believe, but many times animals that you think are living lives of trouble, are actually not as bad off as you think. This is not to say that abuse doesn't exist. It absolutely does. (See my response to this question in January 2008.) Obviously if you think an animal is in trouble, it is always good to call for help to see if help is needed. But in the meantime, take into consideration that you can help in a situation by sending love and light to those animals for them to gain some strength from. To send them the pain that you are feeling only adds to their own plight. Sometimes the thing we need most from humans is compassion, understanding, and hope. That goes a long way and is something that everyone can do. Sometimes, the physical condition of a place does not match the love and care the animals actually do receive and feel. It is important to be clear with this and sort this out. Until you actually check in with the animals and understand what is happening you cannot know what their truth is. Many times people come into our farm here and see an older horse or one of our special needs animals and they instantly think the animal is suffering or miserable when, in fact, if they checked with the animal themselves, they'd realize something much different. It is important to know the difference between animals truly suffering from abuse and neglect and animals who are just living different lives than you are comfortable seeing.

Question: Do you have any tips or suggestions that will help me hear animals speaking more clearly? I have taken some classes on animal communication, but I don't always "hear" the animal I am trying to communicate with. Thanks for any advice you can offer! -- A.W.

Amber Donkey: Well, now this is a question we get a lot of around here. So let me tell it to you like it is. There are only two things you need to do. You need to believe you can hear us. And then you need to practice, practice, practice. Also, it would be helpful to understand that there is a difference between hearing and listening. You need only look to the human experience to understand this principle. Humans hear a lot of things, but they don't listen all that well. So practice not just listening to animals, but to your fellow humans as well. Then you will see that there is no difference at all. Trust in your ability to listen. And hang in there. Its not as difficult as you all make it out to be! We know you hear us.

Question: I have read many books about the different jobs that animals do for the Earth. Such as whales sing for the ocean, elephants tone to the Earth, etc. Can you give a list of what other animals do for the healing/well-being of planet Earth. Is there a song humans can sing to help? ---W.G.

Amber Donkey: I appreciate your question. It would be impossible to list various animals and what they do for the planet, so I will answer this more generally than specifically. But you have come to the right being with this question. The donkey voice is one of the strongest on the planet! And we donkeys love to hear ourselves sing out and wake up those around us to pay attention. We had a dog here on the farm who was very much like a donkey and I truly loved to hear her sing out. (Editor's note: That dog was a beagle and Amber is right.... she was almost as loud as the donkeys.) But the truth is that all creatures on this planet have a specific purpose and part in the healing and well-being of the planet. Every one of us, and all you humans included, have something important to say. Each of us carries a piece of knowledge that is specifically ours to share. It is when we start a grand conversation with one another that we each contribute our piece of information and we each learn and grow from and with one another. We animals have been trying to engage you in this conversation for some time, and it looks like its starting to happen. All of us need to understand that we are all a part of a grand symphony. Yes, there is still a song being played when just one musician drops out, but the song is ever so more enhanced with the addition of each new instrument and each new musician to play. So pick up your instruments, find your voices, and join the conversation. The planet needs all of us to sing to her.

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January 2008

Question: I would like to know why animals are experiencing so many 'human diseases' currently. - J.B.

Amber Donkey: This is a somewhat difficult question to answer since it really has many parts to it. From the physical level, animals are exposed to many of the same environmental factors that you are. This means we face the same exposure to toxins in our air, food, and water, just as you do. These things account for a lot of illnesses and diseases. Our body systems are enough alike that we respond in the same way that you do. Those of us who have more access to the earth, do not succumb as easily to toxins. Many humans just don't have enough contact with the earth and it affects their health in negative ways.

From a spiritual and energetic level, many animals have signed on to be closer to humans for the purpose of healing and enlightenment. In some cases, the animals then are exposed to and taking on tremendous amounts of unhealthy energy that humans tend to surround themselves with. Some animals are actively taking those on to help their humans and to try to give the humans in their lives some balance. And others, are not purposefully taking on the energy but are weakened by it nonetheless.

Animals, in general, are much more in tune with the natural energy emanating around them. When in situations where they can remove themselves from such harmful energy, they will. Humans sometimes marvel at how animals sense danger many times before it arrives. It is just being tuned in to the energy around us. Other animals feel the unhealthy energy but stay to be with the humans they chose to come to be with. In any case, it would serve all of humankind and the animal kingdom well if humans would become more aware of the mess they are creating with the environment both in and around themselves. Awareness is the first step to health.

Question: I am someone who worked in the field of animal welfare for many years. Though still extremely passionate about the subject, my confusion has mounted right along with my expanded understanding as I have attended animal communication workshops. How can humans, who are not yet adept at telepathic communication, know when animals desire their assistance (for example, if the animal is stray/injured/mistreated) as opposed to well-meaning "help" being perceived more as interference? Also, with animals' nature of being so loving and forgiving, is there a general consensus on the topic of humans being prosecuted on charges of cruelty to animals? - B. E.

Amber Donkey: What a wonderful question to be given the chance to answer! Let me first say that I have lived a good life and have not been exposed to neglect or abandonment or even worse. However, so many of my friends on this farm are from situations exactly like that. Some came from abuse situations that were deliberate, some from neglect situations out of ignorance but not malice, and some were just abandoned and left to fend for themselves. In all cases, there is one thing I can assure you of, and that is that they have never given up on loving again. They have never held a grudge. And they do not seek revenge. This is a powerful statement.

Animals understand forgiveness. They understand that when they have been treated badly by someone blind to their own heart, separated from kindness, and filled with hatred inside of themselves, that this does not mean that all humans will be like that. They heal when they find safety. They trust when they feel an open heart. And they give all they have to continue to live lovingly, AND to forgive those who have blocked their hearts and did these things so that they too may heal and find their own freedom from their pain. Animals understand that revenge comes out of anger. And anger is a poison to the heart that must always be set free. I am not saying that animals do not know anger, despair, sadness, and hopelessness. We do experience all of those. But we don't like to dwell there once we find freedom to be open again. We seek healing, not revenge or justice.

I have known some of my animal friends here to have gone through horrific abuse, nearly dying at the hands of humans. And, yet, here at our farm, knowing they are safe, they welcome the touch of the human hand. They welcome the connection of the human heart. And once safe and renewed again, do you know what they do? They ask us all to send healing energy to those humans who did these things to them so that they too may find peace. We understand that if that human heals their heart, that they could never do anything to cause another pain again. We ask the humans here to join us in our wishes and healing. We ask them to give up their anger and put it aside. Their anger about what happened to us only keeps us and them in the darkness of the abuse that happened. It just perpetuates the dark energy. The humans that did these things would learn far more from kindness than from punishment. But that is just our view on things. Humans do tend to like to hold on to things much longer and mull them over and over and over again. Until the darkness that was done to them is now within them. That is what we notice.

While it is true that we do need protection at times, it is also true that humans often perceive situations animals are in without understanding why an animal is there. Frequently, dogs come to children in abusive situations to let them know they are still loved. All to often, that dog is the only thing keeping that child's heart open. So, before judging anyone for anything, we ask that you look carefully at all situations to understand what is going on. And we ask that you do not judge on our behalf. That you do not hate on our behalf. But we ask that you learn forgiveness in our name. That you learn to let go of hatred and angers that serve no one well. And that you join us in loving unconditionally. If that were the case, there wouldn't be any abuse, because all life would be honored and treasured for what it is. And so it is.


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December 2007

The following are questions submitted by readers, answers by Amber Donkey or others when noted:

1. Amber, Do you dream? What do you dream about? -A.W.

This is such a favorite question of mine. I very much dream and I dream a lot. Sometimes I can catch a little dream in a good nap during the day, but mostly I dream deeply when it is most quiet in the barn, which is generally at night. I dream about so many things. Since I was young, I have had a dream about a place which has now become a favorite place of mine to go to in dreams. I go to a big field with lots of green grass and a huge rock. The rock is like a big boulder really. Almost a rock wall, it is so large. I call it the donkey rock. On that rock, I can find the history and memories of all donkeys. It is like a sacred donkey place. I love the donkey rock dream.

I also dream of old friends who are not with me anymore. Friends who I knew and who have died. Most of them animals but a human who I cared about as well. And, of course, I dream about food. Lots of food. I love to eat.

There are many ducks in our barn that sleep with me in my stall at night. They can come and go but they like to sleep with me. Sometimes we all dream together too. But their dreams are very busy. Too busy for me!

2. Amber, I have heard conflicting things about what animals are currently experiencing and perceiving regarding current circumstances and energies. I want to know your perspective on the "Great Shift" or earth changes we are in the midst of. - J.B.

I'm glad to hear you ask about the changes we are in the midst of. Many people keep asking me when the shift is going to start. I say, whoa! Hello there, where have you been? Things are changing and shifting all around us. Nothing is the way it used to be and it is going to be like nothing we've known before. The problem that I notice is that people are really frightened by the global changes and shifting of consciousness. It is because the picture is scary.

The picture you conjure up is scary. And for some people, it will be wrought with peril, if that is what they so choose. You cannot possibly picture what this will be like, because none of us have experienced anything like this before. Its all new. New to you, new to me, new to the Earth herself. Don't bog yourself down with worrying about what will happen. Just start being a part of the hope and wonder of the most magnificent healing to ever occur. Focus on the healing. Focus on the joy. Focus on the hope of a new day. That is what we animals are doing. Its not just wishful thinking. It is understanding the shift at its very core.

A river moves very fast. If all you concentrate on is the whirling current then you will get bounced around. But if you concentrate on the fact that you can float in water, then you will float. If you fight it, you will drown. In that same river, it is good to note that if you go with the flow of the river, you simply float along. But if you try to cling to the bank, you will get slammed into the rocks and the current will rip you apart. All good things for you to remember about the shift we are in. Its kind of funny really because all of us are really always shifting. The Earth in her billions of years has never known stagnation. If she did, she would have died. Growth always involves movement. Healing always involves movement. Nothing ever stays still or it withers in its own lack of motion.

3. Dear Amber, We are five cats and we live with two humans. They communicate with us very well, but not with each other -- at least not all the time. Can you give our humans some tips for communicating on the deep level that we animals are used to? I feel as if they are missing out on some good stuff! -Cherry Pie, Ziggy Stardust, Romeow, Ginsberg, and Iris

I love cats and am grateful for your question. Yes, I understand your dilemma completely. I live with 2 cats and a whole lot of humans. I must tell you that the cats listen a whole lot better. What I notice about humans is that they miss the best part of the conversation with each other. That is the part that is within the silences. Have you noticed that too? They jabber so much sometimes that they don't even hear what they are saying let alone what the other person is communicating. The thing is that people confuse hearing with listening. And they confuse listening with understanding. To truly understand each other, they need to just be quiet with one another and just be together. When two humans just sit together, no words said, just sitting and being and being aware of one another.... now that is communication. As cats, I know you understand this. And I'll bet you've had the experience that just as you get quiet and get your humans quiet too, and you sit there and connect with them, they immediately think something is wrong. I'll bet the human suddenly gets up and asks you what's wrong. Do you want something? Are you hungry again? What could it be?

Dawn gets a lot of calls like that from people. They want to know what their animal is trying so hard to tell them and, when she checks with the animal, they tell her they are simply connecting and being. People don't easily understand that concept though. They are too used to motion, movement, and confusion. When they feel something pure, simple, and quiet.... it freaks them out. You five cats just keep showing them how its done and hopefully they will get it. Good luck!

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November 2007

To start the ball rolling, I asked my two co-directors to ask Amber D the first two questions.

1. Amber, are animals aware of Christmas and, if so, what does it mean to you? (submitted by Margot.)

Answer: This is a wonderful question because as you know, I have been the Santa Donkey here at the farm for the past several years. Children in particular get a kick out of me in my santa outfit. Then, of course, every year someone manages to call here to see if I can be rented for a live nativity scene. This donkey, however, is not for rent.

Yes, we animals are completely aware of Christmas but not for the reasons you might think. Christmas to us is more than the carrots and apples we get as gifts, (although that is a very nice tradition indeed!). It is certainly not about being the Santa Donkey. And it is not about shopping which is what we hear you all stress about every season.

Christmas to us is about an energy of peace, love, and giving. That energy is universal around the planet. In spite of all the Santa regalia, the lights and decorations, and the shopping, humans deep down do feel the energy of the Christmas season much like we animals do. But I don't think they are so aware of it as we are. Christmas Eve is a special time. Its a very special night energetically on this planet. Same is said for New Year's Eve by the way. On those two nights, there is much focus on a common event or moment on this planet by the vast majority of humans. It is not a religious event necessarily but it is an event of great focus. I might like to suggest to you that if large numbers of humans got together on those two nights of the year to pray for a common event, you would not believe the outcome. There is great power in the energy of all that focus. We feel it. We feel the lead up to Christmas as well because its all many of you humans think about. But its time for you to think about how you think about it.

Are you just stressing about the family obligations? Worrying about the shopping and buying just the right thing? Worrying about the money to pay for the shopping? Worrying about if you were naughty or nice? Notice the common theme of worry? That is how we animals know every year when Christmas is coming. The stress level increases dramatically of humans everywhere. Now if you all approached it knowing that you were sitting on an opportunity of love, peace, and unity.... you'd never get worried or stressed. And the world would change in an instant. We animals believe in the miracle of Christmas. Why? Because on that day, we feel so many of you unite for a common cause and we realize that you truly can do that.... and it fills us all with hope.

2. Amber, somehow mice have gotten into Bonnie's room and she live traps them and releases them in the barn next to your stall. She worries for their welfare. Have you ever met any of them and how are they doing? (submitted by Bonnie)

Answer: Have I ever met them? Let me tell you.... these are some well educated mice you have there. I have been chatting with them. You do realize don't you that you keep catching some of the same ones over and over again? We laugh about it when they come down for the third or fourth time and you let them out and wish them well.... again. They hang out in the barn for awhile and then find their way back to your place. They actually have something for you. They are coming in droves to help you. They tell me that you have been trying to call in some good help for yourself and they have answered the call. They are not your average mice either. They come with data. Now you will think I'm making this up but I assure you its true. Some of them are true philosophers. When they are down here with me, I warn them about the cats during the day. But they don't stay long down here because they want to get back up there to help you. If you don't want them in your room, you really must focus more on what kind of help you need. If you need it in human form, then request that specifically. But you sure have called in some highly specialized mice.

Always remember, if you call them, they will come.

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