Memorial to Waylon

It is with great sadness that we share the news that we lost our horse Waylon. Waylon was thought to be around 20 years old, but no one knew for sure his exact age. He came to us with his friend Mia after they were rescued from a horrific neglect situation. When Waylon walked in the door, we knew that it was even questionable if he’d be able to survive. His physical condition was extremely poor and his prognosis very guarded. Mia, was just a little bit better than he was. They always remained together here as they were obviously very bonded friends. Mia always watched over Waylon.

Waylon came through amazing odds and recovered. He was now the picture of health. Where once he was just a living skeleton, he now was thriving and gorgeous. He enjoyed going out to pasture with Mia every day and he loved and appreciated all the care that he received from his human caretakers. He was a gentle soul. Waylon was easy going, trusting, a partner to whomever he was working with. He loved his new life, and he made that obvious to all.

Waylon approached each day with joy and gratitude. For two years, we have been humbled to spend that healing time with him and watch him shine. We could walk out to the barn or look up at him grazing with Mia on the hillside and always be reminded of why we are here doing the work we do. He loved his life here. And he was deeply loved.

Due to bad weather on the 27th, the horses stayed in the barn. It was noticed that Waylon was not acting like his usual self. He was still eating but he seemed more tired. And then he began showing symptoms of digestive issues. Again, nothing was alarming and our veterinary team began treating him for his symptoms. He went out to pasture the morning of the 28th. He and Mia spent time on their favorite hillside pasture. He seemed better. But now we understand that there was something more serious going on than we realized. He came back in to the barn at the usual time. But when he was fed, it was noticed immediately that he wouldn’t eat. He quickly deteriorated within a few hours. And before we could even wrap our heads around things, it was obvious that whatever was wrong, we could not fix it. What we first thought was something simple, turned out to be something life-ending. We had to make the painful choice to help him out of his suffering.

Our hearts go out to Mia as she now adjusts to life without her best friend. She played a key role in his survival. She busted through a fence where they were to get him help. And she did great! She was Waylon’s true hero and she never left his side.

It is never easy saying good-bye and we had hoped to have him with us so much longer. But what we do know is that he had overcome great odds. And he left this lifetime knowing he was loved and cherished. Rest easy Waylon, we will continue to watch over Mia just as you asked us to do.

Welcome Freddie

Today we welcomed a new horse in our sanctuary. Freddie came to us from the Susquehanna SPCA where he had been rescued from a neglect situation. Freddie is not only emaciated but also has a severe laceration on his cheek, which is why he has that big bandage on his head. Freddie is thought to be in his mid-20’s.
Freddie will stay with us for the remainder of his life. He has a lot of healing to do and is not out of the woods yet. In addition to his poor condition, he also has Lyme Disease and Cushings Disease. Freddie will need a lot of intensive care and loving.
Thanks to your support, we were able to give Freddie a soft place to land, all the medical care he needs, and most of all – a place where he is loved. He is the most gentle and loving horse.
It is never easy to see animals come here in such bad condition. But we set our sights forward with Freddie now, knowing he is safe and loved, and we will walk with him through his healing and watch him evolve into the beautiful soul that he is.
Please send him your love and encouragement. He needs all the help he can get!

Memorial to Ziek

Today we had the incredibly difficult task to say goodbye to our Quarter Horse friend Ziek. Ziek was 24 years old, which is still young by Spring Farm CARES standards. He arrived here seven years ago, with a donkey we renamed Noah, after their owners could no longer care for them.

Ziek and Noah were very bonded because they only had each other. But once they arrived here at the farm, they each took up friendships with their own kind. Noah was overjoyed to be accepted into our donkey herd and became the wise mentor for our young donkey Murfee. While Ziek was thrilled to be in a herd of horses again.

Ziek had several medical issues that he was dealing with over the years. He had bad environmental allergies and Cushings Disease. More recently, Ziek started to show what we initially thought were lameness issues. However, these worsened and obviously showed themselves to be neurological in nature. Sadly, we discovered that Ziek most likely had a tumor that was affecting his spine. This past week, he deteriorated rapidly. And suddenly we woke up today to find that he could barely even walk around in his stall. Every movement became a monumental struggle as the messages just couldn’t get from his brain to his body, but his will was still so strong. Sheer will and determination were keeping him up and eating. But it was a challenge for him just to stand.

There was not a single thing anyone could do to help. Nothing we could offer but to help him leave this body behind. Ziek loved his life here. In fact, he loved it so much that he just didn’t want to leave. And while he knew and understood that he could not go on and he was only moments away from not even being able to stand up, he fought to stand and take in every last sight and sound that he could until his very last breath.

“I’m taking it all in,” he told Dawn. “Savoring every last taste of what you all mean to me. I thought I’d have so much longer, but I don’t. I trust you to help me now. But I need you to know I never would have wanted to go. So a part of me now will stay with you. Right in your heart. I need you to hold me there so that a part my energy will remain here safe with you. This farm is sacred to the heart of the horse. I think that you still don’t truly understand that. But we animals do. Every single day I spent here was a gift. From the minute the sun came up and the rooster began to crow and the donkeys announced the arrival of our human friends to feed us, I would face each day with knowing it was all going to be good. From the sounds of the birds and the breeze through the barn and the sound of the gentle creek flowing through the pastures. And oh how I love my horse friends. It is here that I found people who truly understood me. The first part of my life I couldn’t find that. I was never good enough to be what people wanted me to be. But here …. Here is where I learned that I only had to be me. I could breathe. And I could just be. I could spend lifetimes here with you and it would never be enough. But, and this is so important, as you help me to leave this body, I want you to know how grateful I am for it all. I will leave here filled with gratitude. My heart full. My body spent. And my spirit grateful to know the grace and love from all of you. No, I would never want to leave. But I know I must now go. Hold space for me. You’ll still feel me here. Of that I’m sure. Thank you for all you’ve done and for all you are. Now let’s be still and breathe together. Love. Gratitude. Peace.”

Ziek left us with dignity and grace, surrounded by love and all of his caretakers, as well as his horse companion Brandy. He left knowing he was treasured and that he would be missed as much as he’d miss being here.  He left with a flood of our tears. And the very last words he heard were of our Veterinarian Dr. Christine saying, “Good boy Ziek. Good boy!”

And a horse who walked into this farm feeling lost and uncertain of who he was, left here filled with the knowing of who he was, that he was loved and cherished just for being himself, and that he could rest on a job very well done. Indeed, he was a very good boy.

Graze easy in that big pasture with your friends now Ziek. We will always hold you here. Forever in our hearts and history. Until we see you again…..

Eternal Connections

Every time we lose a horse here, it feels like a monumental event. Today, after losing Lizzie just two days ago, I was out on my walk and walked past the gravesites of so many of our horses, including the freshly covered grave of Lizzie. As I looked up at the sky on this incredible day, a song started streaming through my inner thoughts. These lyrics rang so true…
On a painted sky
Where the clouds are hung
For the poet’s eye
You may find him
If you may find him
(Be – by Neal Diamond from the soundtrack of Jonathan Livingston Seagull)
What a fitting song. I’ve walked this land and called this farm home for nearly 35 years now. And as I stood beneath those clouds today, I could feel our beloved ghost brigade in spirit still looking out after us all. Blessing us with the energy from their hearts. Gone from our sight but never far from our hearts and the ground they called their final home.
For anyone missing a loved one …. look inside your heart and your love for them and you’ll feel them loving you right back. That connection never dies.

Memorial to Lizzie – April 14, 2023

Today we sadly said good-bye to Lizzie, a dear soul, who came to us rather lost and lonely but who left surrounded by friends and with lots of love around her.

Lizzie was rather stoic and somewhat withdrawn. She came here in 2019 and in the four years we shared with her, we saw that shell start to crack a bit. When she came here she was depressed, had severe stomach ulcers, and (as we found out in short order) she had untreated Cushing’s Disease as well. We had to start addressing these issues one at a time. At first, Lizzie seemed like a fairly grumpy mare. But most of that was because she just didn’t feel good. As the medications began to make her feel better, and she realized she was being helped, Lizzie began to soften.

Although she was not a fan of being turned out with other horses, she did appreciate her equine family and settled in as part of the herd. She had very serious ligament and joint problems in her lower hind legs that sadly necessitated that she could only go out on flat land. For those of you familiar with Spring Farm CARES, everything here is on a hill. She also could not go out on grass due to her Cushing’s Disease and the threat of foundering. So we built Lizzie her own little paddock behind the barn where she could see all of her friends and still stand or roll out in the sun and fresh air.

Like all of the animals here, Lizzie found her way into people’s hearts and we watched her work magic every so often when she found a heart that needed mending. One day we watched as a young girl came to visit on a tour. Lizzie usually was not interested in participating in tours and letting people pet her. She generally preferred to stand back in her stall and observe. So it was striking on this day when the young girl approached Lizzie’s stall and Lizzie immediately walked over, stuck her head out, and began nuzzling the young girl’s shoulder. This gentle communion between these two hearts and souls lasted about 15 minutes. Those of us who knew Lizzie stood in wonder as we watched how gentle she was with this girl. And we could see that the girl was totally wrapped up in Lizzie’s energy as well. Two hearts melding in a very special moment. Later, we learned that the girl had just suffered a tragic loss in her family and her heart was hurting. Lizzie understood that pain and reached out to let her know she was not alone.

Lizzie was 28 years old. Recently, we discovered that she had a mass in her sinus area which was inoperable. None of us were prepared for how quickly it spread to her lungs. Today, she very rapidly progressed to having respiratory distress and we knew it was time to let her go. We know that Lizzie left us feeling loved and appreciated for who she was. We know she touched many hearts in her time here with us. And we know that Lizzie has now found the peace and rest she so deserves.

Thank you Lizzie for letting us in through the crack in the wall. We felt your heart expand and breathe and you will always be a part of this farm forever. Fly free.

Ginny Homecoming

Last Saturday, our horse Ginny was found with a bad colic. It was determined that she would need surgery or euthanasia. We sent her for surgery where it was determined she had a strangulating lipoma that had entrapped 6 feet of her intestines. Luckily, her intestines were still ok and they were able to remove the lipoma and free her intestines.

One week later, she is home. She has a long recovery ahead but she is doing well. This is a video of her homecoming with her best friend Nell and all of the others in our smaller barn that Ginny calls home.

Donkeys Spring Fling

After spending months in our larger barn and arena area for the winter, the seven mini-donkeys got to go back to their spring/summer/fall location with their small barn and paddocks where they enjoy the good weather together. As you can see, they were very excited. Enjoy!

Animal Message of the Day: Piper

From Piper:  “If you ever meet me in person you will notice one very big thing about me. I never let anything get me down. I was born without eyes, yet I see more profoundly than most others. My world is rich with sounds and smells and sensitivities to everything. I can play with toys. I can run to the top of the cat trees with great agility and accuracy. Nothing can stop me. You might think I’m limited because I can’t see. But it has never once limited me at all. But that kind of thinking limits whoever is thinking it. Please don’t put your limitations on me. I’m free without them. And you’d be free without them too!”




Animal Message of the Day: Nell

From Nell:  “I only have one eye. I am grateful to still have vision in that one eye. However, it is likely that I will eventually go blind. I don’t live my life in fear of what I will no longer be able to see. Instead, I try to take stock in watching everything I can with this one eye and pairing it up with sounds and smells so that I can always remember what this is like. Yesterday, I watched leaves rolling through my pasture in the wind. I could smell them. I could hear them. And I realized it was a joy to watch them and not take them for granted. Each moment in our lives is a gift to be grateful for. No matter if it is big or small, nothing is inconsequential to the whole of life. Nothing. Remember that so that you never forget that.”





Animal Message of the Day: Clark

From Clark: “The thing I really like to do is to make people laugh. Being a goat is a blast. Our bodies are made just right. It gives me great joy to be a goat because it is the way I can be the best me that I can be. I feel I live a life of purpose. I love playing. I love being funny. And I can also be quite serious too. But right now, there is way too much seriousness going on. Maybe the world needs more goats. Or maybe people need to listen to goats more. I’m grateful for every single day I get to be me.”




Animal Message of the Day: Noah

From Noah: “I am most grateful to share friendships with such a variety of wonderful beings. I have donkey friends and horse friends and human friends. Each of them are so unique. No two of them are alike. I love meeting visitors as well. What I have learned is that when I approach them with kindness, then they open up and share their kindness with me. I love that! Every day is an opportunity to learn something new and to be kind. Let’s see what you can do with your opportunities today!”







Animal Message of the Day: Varunie

From Varunie:  “I love life. Life is by itself enough reason to be grateful. But I also love my friends. I prefer doing my own thing most of the time. But I am a part of the bigger world around me by watching and participating in my very own way. From my porch, I see so much of what goes on at the farm. I see more than my human friends really understand. I see and feel the energy of this place. And I ground myself in that. There is peace. There is kindness. There is love. Yet, many of the humans I see just walk right past it and never notice. The funny thing is that they are looking for those very things in their lives. They are looking for peace. Looking for kindness. Looking for love. You humans are not very observant if I may say so. You can be standing right within the very thing you are yearning for and you do not see it. Instead you keep telling yourselves that it is not there. You are missing it. You don’t deserve it. It will never happen. You just need to let it happen! I try screaming that over and over again. Just let yourself be ok! You are ok! I’m grateful to know this truth.”


Animal Message of the Day: Molly

From Molly:  “Don’t be fooled by the fact I no longer have eyes. Do not for a second think I live in darkness. My life is full of light. In fact, I see more than when I had my eyesight. Before I had sight. But now I have vision. I feel more deeply. I smell things more clearly. And I can sense a heavy heart a mile away. If you come stand with me filled with pity, you will not find me to be too forthcoming to share with you. But if you come to me with curiosity of who I am, I will share with you all you want to know. Because I may not have eyes, but I can see you for who you are. Can you?”




Animal Message of the Day: Romeo

From Romeo:  “Being a rabbit is in itself enough to be grateful for. To be able to smell things so exquisitely and to have a body that can leap for joy at the smell of a good carrot is simply amazing. To have ears that can hear the tiniest of movements around me and the ability to run fast if I have to brings me great comfort. Being handsome of course also has its benefits. I am grateful for the opportunity life has given me to live my life to the fullest as a rabbit. Life is good. Life is precious.”






Animal Message of the Day: Libby

From Libby: “This may sound funny coming from a donkey but I am grateful for quiet times. People sometimes move too fast. They are always in a hurry. Even when they come up to feed us in the morning, they are focused on what they have to do next and not what they are doing now. Everyone runs from here to there. Or zooms around in motorized things. I appreciate when someone comes to see me who doesn’t mind just standing still without any idea of what we will do. Let’s just be in the moment. That would be something wouldn’t it? Yep, I’m grateful for the silent shared moments. And I’m always open for more.”





Animal Message of the Day: Misty Mew

From Misty Mew:  “One of my favorite things to do is to get to know people. I like to try to help people understand that they are important. Some people don’t even recognize that I am here. And then there are others who have become my friends. I don’t think humans are very trusting. There was a time that I didn’t trust too well either. Not everyone was kind to me. But then I ended up here where I find kindness every day. I am grateful to know that trust and friendship exist and that I can be the friend that somebody needs. It is a really great feeling. I am grateful to people who like to stop and share with me.”





Animal Message of the Day: Charlie

From Charlie:  “I have so many things that I love and am grateful for. Sometimes my life is limited when I cannot go out and eat all the grass that I smell and see outside my paddock. I have problems with my feet that get very painful if I eat grass. While that is frustrating at times, I still am grateful to go outside in the sun and fresh air. I love smelling the air. The wind will tell you about things to come if you listen. I love the smell after it rains and everything is nourished by the water. And I love the sound of my human friends coming to feed us. I can always tell when they are about to walk in and I love to celebrate their arrival. There is so much in a day that seems little but is actually huge at providing joy. I hope you are grateful for the little things in your day as well.”



Animal Message of the Day: Eloise

From Eloise:  “As a pig, I am lucky to have the life that I do, and I am acutely aware of that fact. I am grateful for the freedom to be me. I am grateful for the opportunity to live out my life the way I am wanting to. I am grateful to lie in the mud and feel the warm sun on my back. I am grateful for all the food that is brought to me every day. I am grateful for people who love me for being me and who take the time to get to know me. I am also grateful to have been able to have my children here and know they are safe. But most importantly, I am grateful to be loved.”




Animal Message of the Day: Mabel

From Mabel: “Seriously, when you get to be my age, you are just grateful for every breath you take. But aside from that, I think it’s funny that you ask us this question every year. What it indicates to me is that humans forget to take stock of what they are grateful for in their lives. And that explains a lot to me. So many humans come to visit here with so much heaviness in their hearts. Their minds are dulled. Their hearts are aching. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Donkeys are used to carrying heavy loads all the time. But nothing compares to the load of stress that you humans put on yourselves. So…. I suggest you start where I did when you asked me this question. If you are not sure of what you have to be grateful for in your life, then be grateful for each and every breath you take. Because I am grateful that you are breathing!”



Animal Message of the Day: Sylvester

From Sylvester:  “Life is just amazing! All of it! I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve been lost. I’ve been found. I’ve been sick. I’ve been healthy. I’ve been stupid. I’ve been smart. And…. I also know that I’ve been lucky. When I was most down and out, someone brought me here to safety. And what I never saw coming was how much I would fall in love with my new world. I am the happiest ever in my life. I never would have dreamed this could happen. My favorite thing in the world to do is just to hang out and be loved. And I get a lot of that around here! Never give up hope. Never. I am grateful for love. And I will never let go of that.”



Animal Message of the Day: Lucy Goose

From Lucy Goose:  “I am grateful for being old. If you think that sounds strange, then I’d like to tell you that the alternative to that is pretty grim. I’ve learned a lot in my life. I’ve done a lot of things. And I’d like to think I’m a lot wiser than the little cute gosling that hatched over two decades ago. The world looks sweeter to me. I appreciate things more deeply. And I am grateful for it all. I watch these younger beings around me that think they know a lot. But they have forgotten that learning never stops. And if it does, you are not going to be in such a brilliant place. But this old goose isn’t fooled by youthful exuberance. I once was over confident too. I once thought I was owed a lot. But the truth is that this old goose understands that you are only self-made. And if you don’t pay attention to learning and bettering yourself, there isn’t anyone else who can do it for you. I am a grateful goose.”




Animal Message of the Day: Ginny

From Ginny:  “I greatly appreciate the different seasons. Winter can sometimes get boring when we have to stay in the barn for long periods of time. But I know that our humans are looking out for us when they leave us in. It can get very icy here. But winter offers a different kind of quiet that doesn’t come in any of the other seasons. I love the quiet when you can hear the snowflakes hitting the ground. I love the crisp air and the pure white of the land all around us. I also love spring and the smells of new grass and buds and flowers. And the return of the birds. I love that too. And summer has all the grass we can eat. I love standing in a summer rain. I love standing outside under the stars. I deliberately do not have a favorite season so that I can enjoy each one for the specialness each offers. Seasons remind us that all things change and that change doesn’t have to be bad.”





Animal Message of the Day: Buster

From Buster:  “I am grateful for my friends. I’m honestly grateful for lots of things. But to know and feel love is a true blessing. My life did not start out like that. I faced a lot of darkness and hard times. Sometimes I didn’t think I’d even survive. But I did. I am proof that love can heal a lot of things. If you are in a place of hopelessness, please know that it can totally change and life can become beautiful for you. I know this for sure. And I am grateful for it all.”






Animal Message of the Day: Mary

From Mary:  “Oh my goodness, in some ways this is a silly question I think. It is a good question for sure. But it is silly that you have to be reminded to be grateful. Being a sheep can be challenging. The world is not made for sheep. You all move to fast and recklessly. We sheep prefer to take it easy and be orderly. We know how to be a community. We understand that when one is strong, all is strong. So we help raise each other up to be strong. It doesn’t mean we all like each other. We don’t. We have squabbles too. But we don’t spend our lives tearing each other down. We try to boost each other up. If we don’t, then we stand to all lose to a predator. I watch humans all the time. I confess that I don’t always understand your ways. You think that you have no natural predators. Yet you continue to prey upon each other. No sheep would ever betray the trust of the flock. It is most unkind and unfortunate that you humans do not stand united and look out for one another. In watching you, I am even more grateful to be a sheep and to learn and know how to stand strong together. That is what I am grateful for – the strength and love of community.”