THE BLESSINGS OF MIRACLES
We are forever grateful for the many miracles we have seen occur on this farm. Miraculous stories of amazing healings and of lives that have forever touched ours. We may be the human caretakers for these incredible beings, but they are the teachers. We have learned so much about faith and hope and never giving up. Below are some of those stories. We hope they touch your heart the way they have touched ours.
- Barak - The story of a feral cat finding his way to a new life - Updated from the previous miracle story of Barak!
- Hannah - A heart-warming story about a Pit mix and her healing and growth.
- Bella - 2 year old Rat Terrier with severely broken leg - A Miracle in Progress.
- Barak - seriously injured cat with a miraculous recovery
- Mack - Border Collie of Glen Highland Farm - A Miracle in Progress - Spinal Fracture with bowel and bladder incontinence.
- Calico - Calico cat with paralysis and bowel and bladder
- Ramone - Cat with broken back - unable to walk, bladder and bowel incontinent, and now lives a completely normal life.
(If you've read this story before, please see the new update at the end!)
Barak was a barn cat at a local farm. One day in May, he wandered into the barn in horrific shape. Something had attacked him, badly cutting his neck open from ear to ear, as well as many other puncture wounds all over his body. The wounds were not fresh and were probably several days old. Infection and decay had set in. He was brought to SFC as part of a feral cat spay/neuter program. Barak was semi-feral. He would come around people but not let anyone touch him. An immediate decision had to be made whether to euthanize him or to try to treat him. Dawn was called in to see what Barak wanted to do, and two vets began to try to at least examine the extent of his injuries. He was first sedated, and then they began clipping around his wounds so that they could determine how bad he was injured. It was bad. Not only was the wound to his neck severe, but he had many others all over his body and infection and necrotic tissue was already setting in. But even with all of that, Barak told Dawn that he wanted to give it a try and he wasn't ready to end his life just yet. We knew it would be a long haul if he were to recover and we would need his full cooperation to treat him. He signed on so we did too.
The veterinarians cleaned him up as best they could. He was put on antibiotics and pain meds, and he was also put on a 6 month rabies watch, as we did not know what had attacked him. The rabies watch added an additional level of concern. He would have to live in isolation with only our senior staff members handling him. Again, we went to Barak, and again he still wanted to try. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.
Barak did not want to be handled. But his neck wound needed to be treated and examined daily. The vets thought that he would require plastic surgery to eventually close the wound. But first we needed to see if we could stop the infection. Our staff treated him by using a long flexible "wand" with a gauze pad taped to the end. Barak would let them do that and amazingly it worked. But a few days into treatment, it was clear that things were not looking good. We changed course and began treating his wounds with a homeopathic regimen. The effect was almost immediate. Daily we could see the wound changing from dead tissue to new living tissue. And soon, right before our eyes, the wound began to close. When the veterinarians examined him 2 weeks later, they could not believe their eyes. The remarkable healing journey of Barak was well on its way. The photos tell it all.
Six months later, a healthy and gorgeous Barak, was taken off of rabies watch and integrated into our feral cat room. He spent the first couple of weeks hiding but today he is starting to come out and move about the room. We have seen him lounging on the top of a cat tree, and spending time with his new cat companions. He clearly is happy and content and very happy that he made the decision to stay. We are amazed and honored to have helped him. To many, he was just a feral cat that should have been euthanized. But to the veterinarians who wanted to give it a go, to our staff who dedicated so much time to treating him, and to all of us here at the farm, he is a wonder and a precious being, as deserving as any other being for a chance to live his life.
Here is Barak the day he arrived at Spring Farm.
(We will not show you pictures of the wound on his neck as they are far too graphic.)
This is Barak,6 months later, living in our feral cat room.
And, yes, we are sure its the same cat!
And the photo below is Barak today! The once feral cat that we'd only see streaking across the room and hiding at all costs, suddenly has become one of the most loving cats you can imagine. He follows us around the room begging for attention. He loves to be picked up and held and snuggled. We know that just the right person is going to fall in love with him and take him home. A cat that was nearly dead, who wanted nothing to do with people, stretched and grew to an amazing degree. We are so proud of this guy and how he faced his fears and learned to trust again. Everyone here is in love with Barak. The photo says it all!
Hannah's story is not a miracle that happened quickly, but her's is a story of a miraculous turn-around and healing for a dog who had very little hope to make it in this world. Hannah's story represents what Spring Farm CARES is all about. But it didn't just happen by accident or luck. An enormous amount of work by several humans and most especially the work of Hannah herself made this all a success. This is the story of a dog who reached far outside of her comfort zone, who learned to trust in a way she never had to trust, and who bravely walked into a new experience and made it her own. This is a happy tale.
Hannah is a pit bull/beagle mix who arrived at our farm in May 2003 at less than one year old. She was a live wire who was very energetic, very confused, and very chaotic. She wasn't supposed to stay with us. We had picked her up from a lot where she was tied to the bumper of a junked car and left there. It was Memorial Day and nothing could be done but she was supposed to be transferred the next day to a rescue group who dealt exclusively with pit bulls. Unfortunately, as we went to transfer her, they informed us they couldn't take her. In fact, no one wanted her. So she stayed. Her stay soon turned into a nightmare when we discovered she was dog aggressive and had a very high prey drive and wanted to go after the cats. Handling her safely began to be really difficult. Yet, under the chaos of a constantly hyper-active, off the wall, unthinking dog, was a heart of gold. All of us knew that dog was in there, but it was buried under a lot of rubble. A local humane investigator thought he may have traced her origins back but could never confirm it. It appeared though that the rest of her littermates met their demise at a shelter after they had bite incidents. We realized in short order that Hannah would be staying with us. In fact, the question arose more than once if we'd have to euthanize her if her behavior became dangerous.
There was no other way around it. Hannah was a difficult dog. She shredded anything we gave her in her room. She stole things and then would growl if anyone came near her. She would spring at her door growling and snarling when anyone walked by. Then one of our staff members took a real liking to her and began working with her. Hannah adored him and did anything for him. She began to get some manners and began to learn about life outside her room. She got to spend days at his desk with him, go for rides in the car with him, and even meet people at humane education events. A new Hannah began to emerge.
Unfortunately, when another job took that staff person away, Hannah no longer had that special person in her life she could trust. Our staff moved into action and began working with her. Slowly, over many years, she became more reliable. But for several years, there were only 2 or 3 people who handled her. No one else liked her. And no one else trusted her. And it began to eat away at her psyche. Again we began to ask the question just what kind of life did she have here?
But something happened that changed Hannah's life forever. We moved a big Newfoundland/Chow mix named Prince into the room next to hers. They could touch noses and socialize through their wire wall. She loved him. It was clear that her Prince had come. The friendship that followed for these two dogs was enormous. Prince who was so thunder phobic that he chewed through walls, calmed down being next to Hannah's strong presence. And Hannah who seemed so difficult and "hard", watched how everyone was with Prince and began to soften.
In the last couple of years, we have learned that Hannah is slowly going blind. We weren't sure how she was going to deal with that. But during this same time, people have watched how Hannah has changed. They began treating her differently. Now she has several human friends who walk her, sit with her, play with her, and trust her. It is a trust she has earned. It is a love she deserves. And it is a story that just keeps getting better. Sadly, Prince died this summer. Again, we worried as to how Hannah would handle this. But Hannah reached out through her grief to the people she had come to trust and love.
This Christmas we witnessed the culmination of an incredible miracle. It took over 7 years, but we stood with tears in our eyes as the real Hannah emerged. One of our small animal caretakers, Caitlin, has been especially good with Hannah. Every Friday, when she cashes her paycheck on her lunch break, she takes Hannah with her. Hannah goes to the bank drive-thru where she is quite well-known now and gets her weekly cookie. And then its off to whatever fast food place they are going, and its lunch with Caitlin. Many times she is given a toy from the fast food place and Caitlin brings those back to the farm with her where they are put in Hannah's window, like the trophies that they are. Trophies of a champion who beat the odds and ended up with an amazing life. Each toy signifying the trust that now surrounds her and that she has earned each and every step of the way.
On Christmas morning, Caitlin arrived with a huge wrapped gift for Hannah. It was a huge package filled with stuffed toys and treats - all of Hannah's favorite things. We stood at the door and watched an amazed Hannah. At first, she didn't know what to do. Then Caitlin showed her how to push on it with her foot and open it. Hannah took the first toy out and ran to her chair with it. Caitlin showed her there was more. She couldn't believe it. "More? You brought this all for ME?" Hannah was beside herself with joy.
I cannot tell you what it felt like to witness this transformed dog. A dog who has grown past her own fears, her own insecurities, to become a dog who is loved, adored, and cherished. Seven years ago, we'd never have thought this possible. What this dog has learned in this lifetime and how she has grown as a being is incredible. It wasn't easy, for us or for her, but to see the happiness she has found in her life is a miracle. To see how much she is loved by so many people now touches our hearts deeply. To understand the role that Prince played in all of this is also very touching.
A life that was once filled only with chaos now finally makes sense to her. It is a transformation we are proud to be a part of and witness.
Update: 1/8/11 - We are happy to share that after months of special care, Bella made a full recovery and is now adopted into a most loving home where she is adored.
Update: 2/13/10 - Bella's surgery went very well and we are hoping that she will have a full recovery. But there is a long road ahead of her with rehab first. The next 12 weeks will be critical to be sure these bones will porperly heal. She is on a very restricted activity level, difficult for a young terrier! But she is doing well and is in very good spirits.
Bella arrived at our facility the last week in January. She is a 2 yr. old Rat Terrier who had the tragic misfortune of having one of her front legs slammed in a door. The injury is a complete break of both radius and ulna. She is going to an orthopedic surgeon to see if the leg can be saved. Our bills will easily reach over $2,000 when all is done. But the hardest effort is still to be made by Bella herself as she heals. We will post updates as to how she is doing. Donations toward her care are greatly appreciated. With a dog this young, she has her whole life still ahead of her and we want to be sure to give her the very best care we can.
This story is a work in progress. It is the story of how many hearts came together to help one in need. It is a story of cooperation, of combined effort, of working for a common goal. But mostly it is the story of how one dog is touching many lives and offering healing to us while we are trying to help him to heal as well. Above all, this is a story of love and hope.
Update 1/8/12 - Although Mack has made a lot of progress, he is still bowel and bladder incontinent. However, he has found his place living with us and we feel blessed to have him be a part of our farm. He is a normally active Border Collie in every other way and enjoys playing and running and leaping and making up games with our staff. He continues to get regular acupuncture treatments as well as chiropractic care, massage, and energy work.
MACK UPDATE - APRIL 13, 2009
As it turns out, Mack has found his home. (See his story below.) Mack let us know in no uncertain terms, that he found his work and his mission in life, and he found it here at Spring Farm CARES. Together with Glen Highland Farm, we will construct a living area for him that will be conducive to his special needs. We also hope to continue to see Mack's physical condition improve. In fact, it has improved tremendously already but is still far from normal, making a "normal" household setting not suitable for his needs. At Spring Farm, he has a whole staff of caretakers who look after him and make sure he is always comfortable, occupied, and clean. He has fallen in love with them and they with him. All of us taken by the special heart of this amazing being.
For us, we watched with tears in our eyes as Mack discovered his "work". We had a tour of 100 kindergartners and brought Mack out to meet them. He took one look at them and went right to work, walking among them, letting them pet him, and stopping to give them a piece of his loving energy. He was most incredibly attentive to a group of special needs youngsters. As soon as he saw them, he put himself in the center of their little group, lay down, and just stayed with them. It was an amazing sight to behold.
Mack will continue to do work with our Humane Education program as well as participating in the Kid's Camp at Glen Highland Farm. But its not just kids Mack works his magic on. We also have groups of teen-age girl scouts who volunteer their time at the farm. On many a nice day, you can find Mack out in the dog yard playing soccer with "the girls" as he refers to them. He also has a fan club of college volunteers who come on weekends and have play sessions with Mack as well as more serious sit down belly rub sessions too. Mack has a fairly busy social calendar. For "down time" Mack also gets to run, play, and hangout with Dawn and Margot's rescued Border Collies. He is pictured below with friend Faith who also has had a myriad of health problems that she has overcome.
We want to especially thank our small animal staff, his caretakers, who work exceptionally hard at tending to Mack's special needs. They continue to make it possible for him not just to have a life, but to have a full life, working on a mission he came to work on, and a life that he loves. All beings are deserving of such care, but when you meet Mack, understand his story of what he's been through, and see the group effort that sustains him from Glen Highland Farm to Spring Farm CARES, you can't help but feel his gratitude, and mostly his love for what he has, just radiate from and around him. Welcome home Mack!
Mack is an approximately 4 year old Border Collie. He is temporarily staying at Spring Farm CARES, under the auspices, love and guidance of Lillie Goodrich of Glen Highland Farm, Border Collie Rescue. Glen Highland Farm took Mack in after someone found him running as a stray. As it turned out, Mack had sustained a spinal fracture just above his tail, rendering him bowel and bladder incontinent. In fact, it is amazing he is able to walk. No one is certain how long ago the injury occurred, but the folks at Glen Highland have since learned that Mack had been spotted running lost for at least 6 months before someone was able to catch him. Many rescues or shelters simply would not have been able to care for the needs of a dog like Mack. There is no guarantee even that he could ever recover any bowel or bladder control. But Glen Highland Farm, and their supporters, knew that Mack deserved a shot. Knowing we had worked successfully with spinal injuries before, Glen Highland Farm asked if we could work with Mack for a month or so to see if we could do anything for him. Mack has been seen by the best orthopedic surgeon in our area, as well as a team of veterinarians at Cornell University. Glen Highland Farm saw that he got the best care available to him.
Mack has been with us now for one month. We are doing a combination of things with him. Besides the treatment from the Pain Management team at Cornell, he is getting acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, TTouch, energy work, and a lot of TLC and specially designed exercises for him to make the connection between his brain and his bowel and bladder. He also has animal communicators Lillie Goodrich and Dawn Hayman helping with his emotional healing as he deals with his recovery, and the effects of having been out looking for the person he was lost from for so long. We are seeing successful results. In the past month, he has regained 1/3 of the feeling in his tail. His tail tone and rectal tone have dramatically increased. He is starting to have awareness of when and where he poops and we are now seeing improvements in his bladder control as well. He is far from normal, but, he is further along than what he originally came with. The progress appears to be steady and continual.
Mack is an amazing dog. He is a normal active Border Collie with a heart of gold. Everyone who meets him is mesmerized by his loving nature, his sense of play, and his wanting to just share with all who come to him. He equally loves to chase and run and play with his toys, as much as, sitting and cuddling in someone’s lap. He is a dog on a heart mission for sure. And he has a team of humans cheering him on. From everyone at Glen Highland Farm and their angel donors who sent money to help support Mack’s care, to our staff, and volunteers, Mack is receiving the kind of support that can only be given from the heart. The results are undeniable and even scientifically measurable. It is hard to measure the strength or greatness of a miracle. Each and every miracle is huge to the being who receives it.
Mack is where he is on his path today because many people got together and said, “Let’s give the guy a chance.” Organizations who joined up together on a common mission, offering the best of what both had to offer, to help this one dog who in turn is helping so many people to understand what loving and heart connections can do. He is grateful for everything he receives and always lets all of us know it.
If you are interested in joining Mack’s angel support team to help cover the high medical costs of Mack’s recovery, please go to the Glen Highland Farm website for more information.
The following photos show a little of Mack's progress over the past few weeks. The one on the left was taken on January 31, 2009. At that time he had very little tail tone or movement. The one on the right was taken 3 weeks later and you can see that his tail has more tone and lift.
Calico is another miracle story. Her first major miracle happened when she was just a wee kitten, on a dairy farm, where she was found very ill and taken in by a former SFC animal care worker. It didn’t look like Calico was going to make it but she pulled through against amazing odds. The lady ended up keeping her and she became an indoor/outdoor cat at a small farm with horses. Calico was a healthy and vibrant girl until one morning when her person came out to the barn and found Calico dragging her hind end. Fearing she had been stepped on by a horse, she took Calico to her vet. It was determined after a day that Calico could not stand or walk and she was bowel and bladder incontinent. She would either need to be euthanized or a place found for her where she could be possibly be outfitted with a wheel chair and taken care of for the rest of her life.
We agreed to take Calico in to evaluate her, to see the extent of just what her injuries were, and to see what she herself wanted to do. Two vets felt that she most likely had a broken spine. However, Calico proved to have something altogether different. We took her to an orthopedic surgeon and radiographs showed that there were no visible injuries at all to her spine. While this sounded like excellent news, the ramifications were sobering. There is a very high chance that she has lymphosarcoma and that a tumor is pressing somewhere on her spinal cord. The only way to confirm that diagnosis is with a MRI. The cost of that was nearly $2,000 and we would not have done any different treatment than what we were about to try. So we decided to treat Calico with a steroid injection to see if we could buy her some time and possibly regain some use of her legs at least.
We didn’t give up there however. We had worked with spinal injuries before with cats and knew that there could be things we could do to help, regardless of the cause. Our staff moved into high gear with their ingenious ways of helping Calico to balance with enough weight off of her legs to walk. Calico took to the regimen right away. Margot started working with Calico using TTouch. We employed some homeopathy and energy work. And most of all, she got high doses of TLC. She also had one more thing, a job.
Just a couple weeks after Calico arrived here, we took in an 8 week old kitten found freezing to death in a snow bank. He was frightened and scared and Calico wanted to comfort him. We put them together and she mothered that little baby back to health. He also gave her more to fight for. Within 2 weeks, Calico began to stand on her own. Then, shortly after, she began to walk. Within the following 2 weeks she also began to regain control of bowel and bladder. And then eventually, she also was able to raise her tail in the air when she walked. She had recovered. She played and played and played with her new kitten friend. But after a month of that, it was time for the kitten to be adopted. It was bitter sweet as we thanked Calico for having helped him overcome so much, and by doing so, she also overcame the huge obstacle in her own life. But her job was done with him and it was time to move on. Calico was lucky to have a home to go back to. A place where she is loved and cherished and for where she lived for all but a few weeks of her life. She has recovered enough to go home and soon she will go back to her other cat and human friends. The circle is complete. We watched one heart heal the other and give the gifts they had to one another.
Update: Ramone lived 4 wonderful years with us as a normally functioning happy cat. And then, he began a slow decline of the use of his legs again and unexpectedly died in January 2012. Please see his memorial in honor of this magnificent cat.
Just as we were closing down one night, we got a call from one of our adoptors who found a cat that dragged himself into his gas station. He didn’t know what to do. The cat was not in good shape. Our staff waited for him to get here and found a cat who was unable to walk and was seriously matted to the point of almost not being able to urinate or defecate. They stayed late and cleaned him up. Our first assumption was that he had been hit by a car although we saw no other injuries. But he clearly could not walk. Our next suspicion was that he had a stroke. But we could only stabilize him for the night until we could get him to a specialist in the morning. He was in good weight and clearly must have been someone’s beloved friend. Radiographs confirmed the diagnosis without a doubt and the news was not good. But it also left us with a huge mystery.
Ramone, as we named him, had a broken back. His spinal cord was impaired 90%. The veterinarian also was able to tell that this was not a fresh injury. Ramone had been this way for a while. He was bladder and bowel incontinent and could not walk, although he seemed to have deep pain sensation in his legs, he did not respond at all to lighter touch. This was not good news. We knew we had to try to find his person, surely someone had to be looking for him. How could he have been out in the dead of winter in deep snow and the freezing temps and survived if this had been an older injury which clearly it was? Did someone have Ramone in their house and then realized they could no longer care for him and drop him off at the gas station? We had lots of questions but no answers. From a traditional medical standpoint there was nothing to do for him. It was a major quality of life issue. Would he want to live that way, unable to walk and to have to be cleaned regularly from his urine? Would we be able to care for him properly? We posed these questions to Ramone and to our staff. It was unanimous that Ramone clearly was not ready to die. And he seemed to be pretty confident and determined to survive. That’s all we needed to know. We would do whatever was needed to let him see what he could do.
Our staff became incredibly creative. They noticed that Ramone could indeed tell when he had to use his litter box because he would try to drag himself over to it. This meant that he had some kind of sensation. We began using homeopathy, TTouch, laser treatments, and a whole lot of TLC. Our staff created a litter box with an open end so that he could pull himself in. He began to use it. We couldn’t believe it. We had worked with paralyzed cats before and knew what we were up against. Then they began to see him try to lift himself onto his back legs but he couldn’t balance himself properly. One of our staff members had the brilliant idea to take a pair of long johns and cut holes for his back legs, creating a very long sling that they could put him in while they stood next to him. It took him only a couple of days to figure that out and he got up on his feet and he began to walk. He walked and walked and walked. And one day, much to everyone’s absolute amazement, he climbed up on one of the sofas. Then he began doing a small set of stairs that we had set up. Our staff began in earnest to start him on a course of rehabilitation that was ingenious. They basically followed Ramone’s lead. Soon he was walking in his pen without the sling. He was able to walk into his litter box and was no longer incontinent. Daily he continued improving and getting better balance and more strength. He had a fierce determination and a temper to boot. Ramone was not going to be a paralyzed cat.
Today, less than a year later, Ramone is living in the foster room at Dawn at Margot’s house. If you were to see him, other than a somewhat odd gait in the back end, he is a completely functional, normal cat. He climbs 5 foot cat trees and jumps down. He zooms around the room chasing the other cats. He is completely continent. All this, and we know that his spinal cord is 90% impaired. Obviously Ramone had other plans in life. No one told him that recovery would be impossible. He owes his life to our staff who listened to him and worked with him. These are the same people he now routinely terrorizes. We will never know what his history is or how he came to be at that gas station. But Ramone charted a course of a miraculous journey. He has been an inspiration to all of us. And he also has been an incredible nuisance (said affectionately). He darts out doors faster than you can blink. And if he doesn’t want to go back in, he feels free to use his nails or teeth or whatever he can. He hates kids, is not fond of men, and basically feels that he is here to do exactly whatever it is that he wants to do, whenever he wants to do it. And there is not a single one of us that will take that away from him. He will most likely be a permanent resident, running the farm for years to come.