From Toby: “I am grateful for shelter and warmth and dry bedding and food. Others may take this for granted but I never will. I have gone without all of these things and sometimes it didn’t feel so good. But the one thing I always had was friends. We went through tough times together. When things get difficult, we need to all help one another. Sometimes bad things happen that are out of our control. That is the time when we most need someone to stop and notice that we are in trouble. A kind deed, a soft word, and something that warms the soul with a glimmer of hope can be a miracle. I am grateful someone was there for me and my friends. Now I hope to do the same for others. I hope you will too.”
From Flannigan: “There is so much to love about life! What isn’t there to love? I’m busy taking it all in. Sometimes I move too fast I guess. But I just can’t get enough of everything. I’ve been kind of thinking that the older cats in here need to lighten up a bit. But I’m starting to see that maybe they also have some wisdom to offer me. Maybe I need to slow down just a little bit and listen a little more. But there is so much to do! Ok, so I am grateful for windows. I love to look out the windows. My favorite things to watch are birds and snowflakes. But I like to watch from the inside where I am warm. Life is just too good to waste time not paying attention to things.”
From Bayberry: “For the first time in my life I am finding great joy. For many years, I was passed around from place to place to place, never finding anyplace that even made sense to me. My body broke down at times. People tried to make me do things that made me feel crazy inside. I felt like I was always running down a steep hill at a full gallop and unable to stop. That was not a good feeling. Now, I’ve had to learn to slow down. No one is asking me to be someone that I am not. And that started a weird process for me, because I didn’t actually know who I was. I am grateful for this new beginning. This is a new me. And for the first time, things are starting to feel like they are making sense. And I found the place now that I never want to leave. They tell me I can stay here forever. I am most incredibly grateful for that!”
From Fozzie: “I am grateful to feel so safe that I can sleep and dream. I love to dream. I love many things. I love to be with my friends all snuggled in the straw while we all share our warmth and snore and dream. It is a gift to feel cozy. It matters to me to be dry and clean. In my dreams I run around in the sun and dig for tasty morsels in the ground. And the perfect day also includes a nice wallow in the creek for good measure. On days when it is cold and snowy, I can still dream of all my favorite things. I think memories are there for us so that in times that we don’t have our favorite things that we can always feel what it is like to have them. I am grateful to humans who have given me good memories to savor now. The sun can disappear behind the clouds but my memories of what that sun feels like are always there no matter what.”
From Leo: “I have always been fascinated with butterflies. I love to watch them fly around our pasture when I’m outside. I love how they drift up and down with the flow of air. But mostly, I think about how much butterflies undergo change. I have had a lot of change. I came from a lot of darkness and despair and now live my life with all I need and beauty all around me and hope. My hope is that all of you can find the butterfly inside of yourselves and understand that change does not have to be so hard. Change can be as light as a butterfly surfing through the breezes of a summer day. Other than that, I am grateful for food and grass and sun and a good roll in nice dirt.”
From Tom: “I am very grateful to know love even when I’ve known great loss. I lost my human companion and that was very sad. He loved me very much. I am old now too. And then I found myself alone. I didn’t know what would happen but then I was brought here. It is much different for me than where I lived before. But I cherish this place and their willingness to help an old man find comfort when I needed it most. I am grateful to have known such great love and to know that one day I will see my human friend again and he will have known that I was safe here. I know this makes him happy and it makes me happy too.”
From Daisy: “I am grateful for times that are quiet and peaceful. Humans create a lot of chaos around them. I’m sorry but it’s true. We will have the most amazingly beautiful, quiet, peaceful day here where my friend Minnie and I are grazing out in the sunshine and enjoying a quiet time when, all of a sudden, humans come in without even noticing that things were just fine before they got there. Then they come in talking and talking and running equipment and before you know it we get scared and run back inside. There went our peaceful moment. You all need to learn to slow down and breathe. You think sheep are shy or, worse yet, some say we are stupid. The truth is, we are just quiet. And to you that feels very alien. My hope is that you will find the gift of quiet and peace. You’d be much better off and wouldn’t struggle so much.”
From Charlie: “I am grateful for laughter. And I will do anything I have to in life to be sure I can hear someone laugh. The problem is that sometimes people don’t have the sense of humor I feel they should have. When I notice that, I move into action. First, I get their attention. It can be stealing their glove or unzipping their jacket, whatever it takes. And then, I show them how they are being far to serious. Be grateful to laugh. Life is about living. It is important to take a moment each day and find something that makes you smile inside. And when you find that moment, let that smile come from the inside to the outside and you will brighten someone else’s day. That is my philosophy. So next time you think I’m being naughty, take a moment to find the humor. Ok…. Well, sometimes I admit I can be just a little naughty too.”
From Luna: “When the sun comes up each day, I feel gratitude to be included in another day. I don’t like winter or being cold, but, on a cold day when I see my breath float away from my body, I am grateful to see the breath I take for granted each moment. Life is a sacred gift and opportunity. In every second and with every breath we can make a difference to someone else and even to ourselves. Moment by moment I remember this to get me through the times that are not as easy. Sometimes gratitude comes from looking at things once they are behind us. But we need to hold in our hearts the truth that in the tough times, things will move if we let them, and the sun will come up again – and we will have another chance to feel grateful.”
From Misty Mew: “I am grateful to have purpose. Someone threw me out of their car and left me on the side of the road. You can’t get much more lost than that. I didn’t know what to do. But, I saw a light and headed for it. I was lucky. It brought me here. I waited at the door. It was the only thing to do. It turns out that I was very lucky. We have a lot of cats here. All of us have different stories. But I wanted something different. I realized that this place needed a cat to greet people at the door, just like someone greeted me when I was most lost. Lots of people come in our doors who truly feel lost inside. They may not say it, but I know it, because I’ve been there. Now, I’ve made myself the greeter cat. And I let everyone know they are welcome to be here. Their hearts can rest a minute or two here with us. I am grateful to have found my purpose.”
Today starts the beginning of our annual tradition of a message a day from the animals of Spring Farm CARES, from Thanksgiving thru New Year’s Eve. All messages are through co-founder, animal communicator Dawn Hayman. We hope you enjoy them!
The animals were all asked, “What are you most grateful for or wish for the most?”
From Noah: “It is my fondest wish that Dawn will post my message first. I have so much to be grateful for that I couldn’t possibly list it all. But I’d like to take this chance to say something more. We have a lot of animals living here that were cast away because there was no space for them where they were, or they couldn’t be cared for any longer, or they were abandoned and forgotten. Some of us have seen great pain and suffering. Many of us are old. Some of us are still young and learning the basics. But all of us, every single one of us, is loved now that we are here. There is a feeling in the heart that only comes from being safe and learning to trust. I can tell you that when I walked in the door here, I hadn’t much understanding or faith in finding my place in life. But someone with a lot of patience taught me that life is learned one tiny step at a time. Step by step we can find our true selves and the meaning and wonder of all of life. I learned to walk beside another by being valued for who I am. No one pushed me. No one tried to “break me” into pieces to mold me the way they wanted me to be. Instead, they looked to me and asked me who I am. And they listened. All of us here on this farm want to share this gift with you. We are grateful for each of you. And we hope you can find peace and love and gratitude for being who you are. Thank you for letting me say this. You are perfect the way you are and you need to know that. Now go start your day with gratitude and love and forgiveness. Whatever it takes, just take one tiny step to start and your journey will begin.”
It’s that time of the year again! Back by popular demand, we will once again be bringing you our traditional holiday offering to all of you. From Thanksgiving, 11/ 28 – 12/31/19 we will daily post a message from an animal along with their photo. Dawn Hayman, Animal Communicator and co-founder of Spring Farm CARES, will be asking the animals of SFC what they are most grateful for in life. You won’t want to miss their messages. To start things off as a preview, Dawn’s dog Jessie weighs in:
From Jessie: ““Hi Everyone! This is Jessie and I am the dog that looks after Dawn. I wanted you all to know that I am helping her prepare for the messages from the animals here coming up soon. It’s a full-time job for me to help her. It’s not always easy, especially when she worries all the time. So, we are going to be sending you all a lot of messages about gratitude and kindness and love – you know, the real important stuff that we don’t want to forget. I’ll do my best to keep her on track. I’m very sure that you won’t want to miss this, so stay tuned. And when it’s all done, you can thank me for keeping her on track.”
Tonight, we were shocked by the loss of one of our younger residents. Frankie was born in 2009 and came to the farm in 2016. He was already blind when he arrived here and came to our sanctuary to live out his days. Although his time with us was much shorter than expected, we know that Frankie felt safe with us and was loved and adored by all of us.
Frankie was a pony with lots of personality and spunk. It is indeed what gave him great strength. This afternoon he suddenly had a colic episode. At first, we thought it was something mild, but as the hours went on, he did not respond to treatment. With our veterinarians we tried for several hours to pull him through, but it was not to be. The only help left to give him was to release him from the body that could no longer heal.
For those of you who may not know, Spring Farm CARES is co-founded by professional animal communicator Dawn Hayman. We think it is fitting to let Frankie’s message to Dawn speak for itself. Because in the end, Frankie let us know that although we feel his life was cut short, he feels differently about that.
“I don’t want you all feeling sad for me now. It was time for me to go. When I lost my eyesight, my world drastically changed and became very challenging. Although you made my world safe for me, it became a world with too many limitations and my desire for running free became stronger than my will to stay. I was grateful for all that you did. But when my darkness began to dim my inner light, I knew I had done enough in this lifetime. Do not be sad for me. I lived to the fullest in this little pony body. But life became more questions than answers and I needed to find the answers somewhere else. Thank you for understanding and letting me go on. To be able to find the joy of running free again was delightful. I’m not afraid of moving forward anymore. Your love gave me strength and hope and I now carry that with me always. I’ve now graduated on to something so much bigger. You gave me the best of all you could and I’ve taken every ounce of that with me. I am grateful to call your hearts my home. And with that, I shall gallop off, no longer a prisoner to darkness, and running fully into the light.”
Happy journey Frankie. Thank you for all you taught us and for touching all of our hearts.
Today we unexpectedly said good-bye to Chance. Animals come to our sanctuary from various situations and for various reasons, some come to stay for many years and some for just a short time. Chance had only been here since November 2018. He came here to live out his days as he was not doing well in the herd where he had been living. He arrived here thin and very difficult to put weight on. But over the past several months, Chance thrived here. He became the picture of health. So, today, we didn’t expect that we’d be having to make the decision to help him out of a body that suddenly failed. While it was a shock to us, it actually was in keeping with how Chance wanted things to go. He didn’t want a big fuss made over him and he wouldn’t have been a fan of lots of nursing care.
Chance was his own man. He did things his way and had things the way he wanted them. We kept trying to buddy him up with several of our other horses but he wanted no part in that. He just really didn’t care for other horses. He liked being in a barn full of horses and clearly got comfort from that. But any kind of one on one activities with another horse was clearly not his thing. When we’d turn him out in our arena to walk around, he would cause trouble with each and every horse he could over their stall doors. He took a certain delight in doing that. There was this quiet side to Chance but he liked to stir up a little trouble when he could. Otherwise, he was a very nice horse and was good with people.
Chance suddenly had a colic this morning that at first seemed rather benign. We called our veterinarian anyway because Chance also had a cardiac issue and we wanted to be sure he was ok. But Chance actually was hiding from us the severity of what was happening inside of his body. He had a twisted gut and we couldn’t do anything to help him other than to help him out of his body. Moments before we said good-bye, Chance took one more walk around the arena to cause a little trouble with all of the horses just one last time.
We are blessed to have had the opportunity to know and love this one of a kind horse, even though it was for a short time. Chance needed a safe place to live out his final days and he found just that in our sanctuary. He made sure life was just the way he liked it and we are honored to have given him that final opportunity in his last months.
I’m sure as he passed into Spirit that things lined up for him just the way he wanted them to be. He left his body as quietly and unassumingly as he did when he walked in our door. While sad to see him go, we were honored to have given him a place to call his own.
Today is a milestone in the history of Spring Farm CARES. Today we said good-bye to Viva, the horse responsible for starting this all. Viva was born March 20, 1985 after co-founder Bonnie bought her very first horse, Kazinka, only to find out later that she was pregnant. Viva arrived 3 weeks late as Bonnie slept beside Kazinka in the barn in sub-zero weather awaiting his arrival. His birth changed the course of Bonnie’s life and planted the seed that became Spring Farm CARES. Viva and Dawn arrived at the farm exactly at the same time. Destiny brought all of the ingredients together, and 34 years later it is amazing to see where we are and who we’ve become. And one stubborn, obstinate magnificent horse set the course and loved this farm as much as anyone ever could.
Viva lived his whole life here on this farm. He was loved since the day he was born. And he lived a life that very few horses get to live. By all accounts, Viva should have died two years ago when we discovered that he had a huge mass in his abdomen. He later had other medical complications on top of that. But, he made it clear it was not his time to go. He pulled through enormous odds and kept on trucking. Each winter, we thought it would be his last. But he lived for spring and the hope of green grass. In the end, it was his legs that gave out. He squeezed every ounce of usefulness out of the body he was born into.
It was clear that Viva never actually really wanted to go. He loved his life and this farm with all his heart and soul. From the hilltop on which he resided for the past 34 years, he could look over the entire farm. He watched enormous changes and growth over the years. He was proud of what we have become. He felt he was a part of it all and indeed he was.
Viva lived with three mares for over 20 years. Two of them, Story and Harriett, both passed in the last few years. That left Viva and Belle as the last of the hilltop herd. Sadly, Belle now finds herself the sole survivor. Our hearts ache for Belle today as she said good-bye to her last companion, the pesky gelding who the mares constantly had to keep in line, but who was her friend and companion nonetheless.
Just after Viva was euthanized, Belle came close to pay her last respects. As she fully understood that he was gone, she suddenly spun around and looked up the hill to the pasture on the hilltop. Ears perked, nostrils flaring, and watching with wonder at something we couldn’t see. It was then that we realized, the ghost herd had come to pick him up. She knew they were there. She could feel them. Belle herself is not in good health. We will find a new buddy to join her on the hillside. We know it won’t be the same. And we also know that Viva and friends will be watching over her, and the entire farm that he helped create.
He told Dawn before he left, “Look, it’s gonna have to be up to you now to carry this forward. Don’t drop the ball now. My energy will still be here forever with you. But don’t mess this up.” No pressure there. The dream will continue. The mission will move on. And the stubborn gelding that always from day one did things in his own way on his own time, will always be a part of the very heart of this mission.
Today, most unexpectedly, we lost one of our beloved horse friends. TLC was born here on the farm in 1991, before Spring Farm CARES was officially founded. We consider him one of our founding horses. It is always hard to say good-bye, but to have him with us for all of his 28 years was an honor. He watched SFC be birthed and he knew he was a part of that process.
TLC or “T” as he was most often called was not an easy horse. But he was a horse who taught us much and who was a favorite among many of his caretakers over the years. TLC spent his whole life with another gelding named Meloudee. They were born just a couple of weeks apart and spent their time playing as foals together and were stall neighbors and pasture mates their entire life. Meloudee has had many health problems and TLC always stuck by his side. Any time that TLC had any issues or concerns, Meloudee stood watch over him. They were half-brothers by breeding and best friends without question. The two of them lived in their own little world together. In the pasture they would go off together from the rest of the herd and do their own thing. They stayed out of trouble that way. But they also didn’t really connect with people all that much. They weren’t mean or nasty. But they had no particular interest in buddying up with people either.
In the past couple of years, both of them started allowing themselves to work more with their caretakers. And both of them became more connected and participated more with grooming and handling. As a result, they developed stronger and more meaningful relationships with their human friends. It was great to watch them grow and expand their worlds.
Our hearts go out to Meloudee today who lost his best friend and herd mate. We understand that no one can replace the love he had for TLC. As TLC took suddenly ill this morning, Meloudee stood in his stall with his head hanging over to his friend trying to let him know he was there. TLC had a twisted intestine and nothing more could be done for him. He was not a surgical candidate for many reasons.
TLC was not one for mushiness. He was generally more reserved and matter of fact. But he was also very grateful for his life here at SFC and for the love he received from his caretakers. And mostly, he would like to thank his friend Meloudee for all the years of friendship and companionship. He will run ahead now, but he will wait for his friend to one day join him and once again they will run off through the fields and do their own thing – together.
Rest easy T and thank you for all you taught us and shared with us over the years. You will forever be a part of the miracle of Spring Farm CARES.
Dawn Hayman is now offering some limited animal communication consultations specifically for helping people who want to connect to animals and human loved ones in Spirit. Please follow the link below for more information.
One of the things we are reminded of everyday in our Spring Farm CARES Sanctuary is how precious all of life is and how each and every life has meaning and purpose. To live among all of the animals in our sanctuary as well as to walk among the plants, trees, and wildlife in our nature sanctuary is a daily privilege. We are reminded to look at each and every life form as an individual but also to step back and see all of it as a larger community. And sometimes the need of the individual comes at odds with the needs of the community as a whole. These are often hard to reconcile and understand. Nature has a way of coming into balance – even when mankind interferes with the natural state of things.
One such example of this is with the many pigeons who have taken up residence here in our horse barn. We have spent years and literally many hundreds of dollars trying to prevent pigeons from inhabiting our barn. The environment is by its very nature inviting to them. Because we have ducks, chickens, and a goose, there is a source of food down for them to feed throughout the day. The wild birds also love to fly in and help themselves. Back before we installed the new ceiling in the barn, they had many rafters to perch on and build their nests. It was a totally safe and protected environment – so what was not to like about that?
Believe us when we say we have tried everything to discourage them. We bought and installed special curtains to put over the large doorways so that air and light could get through but the birds could not get in. These proved to not work as our staff still had to get in and out with vehicles as did our free roaming ducks, chickens, goose, and barn cats. Thus, the curtains were put in such that a gap was left at the bottom. It of course didn’t take the pigeons long to figure out they could walk in under the curtain.
We’ve spent large sums of money blocking access to nesting and perching places. We’ve used decoys and laser lights and all sorts of fancy ideas. But nothing worked. The pigeons we have here now were all born here. There is no way they are going to leave. They know no other way of life. Yet, they are a nuisance to our horses, and a potential danger with their droppings etc. In an effort to live with them symbiotically, we have tried to designate areas that are more user friendly to them. We take down some of their nests and swap their eggs with fake pigeon eggs. Having them in the barn makes a lot of work. And it is easy to curse their existence on the farm. Yet we strive for that balance of respecting all of life and also looking out for the community as a whole.
By the same token, we have Pat, a pigeon who lives in the small animal facility. Pat came to us from an animal cruelty case. No one knows why Pat was living in the house in a cage, but there he was. While we were there picking up seven mini-donkeys and other shelters and rescues were taking the dogs and pigs, no one was able to offer a place to the pigeon.
It is sort of ironic in a way. But we knew we had to say yes because there was no other option for him. We didn’t know if he was injured or ill but apparently, he had been living in the house for some time. He was not a pigeon who could be released. We named him Pat and he now has a room of his own where he can fly around from perch to perch. He is pampered by his caretakers and he is loved for who he is. Pat reminds us that, although we need to try to find a balance within the needs of the community, every individual is as special as the next. Each life is precious and to that individual has great meaning. It’s all about the balance.
In the meantime, we continue to strive for that balance and peace in the barn – respecting each and every life, and trying to blend the needs of one species with the needs of the other to achieve harmony.
On New Year’s Eve 2018, Spring Farm CARES was called upon to help with a group of pigs in dire need of help. Our staff helped law enforcement officials on the scene where five pigs had already died and one had to be euthanized on the scene. It was a dangerous situation and the 7 remaining pigs had to be gotten out of there that night. These are large farm pigs and we did not have room available for them. But they had to get out and no one else could help. We set into action and made a temporary living area for them in our barn. We are attempting to place these pigs in pig sanctuaries where they will live out their lives. However, it looks like it will be well into spring before places are available for them.
For the time being, we have made room here. However, they are utilizing space that will be needed for the animals already in our care by spring. With their enormous appetites, debilitated conditions, and extra time in care and cleaning, as well as the modifications we had to make to house them, it has put an unanticipated strain on our budget.
These pigs are very grateful to be here and let us know that each and every day. They are wonderful, sweet, loving souls. But we do not have room to keep them all here with us. They are already taking up a substantial part of the pig area we have made for Eloise and her piglets. As well as a shed where one of our horses needs to go in the spring. Any donations would be greatly appreciated towards their continued care.
As always, we thank you. It is because of your support that we were able to save these pigs in the knick of time.
From Frankie: “I have lost my vision but I have never lost sight of who I am. Nor have I forgotten that life is beautiful. I am most grateful for my companions. And my companions come in many shapes and sizes and forms. I learn from all of them. No one should ever feel sorry for me for being blind because if you cannot see the hope and joy I have found in my life even without vision, then you are the one who is blind. Limitations are what you make of them. You can either see them for what they are, learn from them, and grow. Or you can let those limitations shut you down from living. I am very much alive. And I am grateful for every moment I have to live this life for which I have been gifted.”
From Joy: “I have a unique view on life because I nearly died – twice. For me, when I came to that instant to decide to stay or not, the very thing that drew me back to fight to stay alive was what I was grateful for in life. I have learned a lot of things about the world. I have learned that even though humans scare me, I can be brave to step forward and open up a new perspective to have them in my world. I have learned that safety is something I can nurture by learning to trust. When I trust more, my world becomes safer. I used to think I had to find safety and then learn how to trust. But actually, it is the other way around. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn this valuable lesson. I am grateful to be alive.”
From Lindy: “I am grateful for being allowed to grow old. Some of you may think that is an odd thing to be grateful for. But if you were a goat, you’d understand that not all goats grow old. Many are not given that opportunity. I think humans need to look at the fact that life is a gift. Every single day you are alive, you are blessed. I watch so many curse that they are growing old. When you should be celebrating your right to do so. Every day is an opportunity for all of us to discover why it is we are alive on this very day. That is what I like to do.”
From Lorinda: “I believe that we should never have to look too far to find things to be grateful for. If we can’t find anything close by, then for sure we need to move to where the scenery is better. The smallest things in my world can bring me the most gratitude. A loving hand. A gentle touch. The sun. Food. My friends. All of these things make my life enriched with joy and love. I try to share this with people when they come to visit me. Many times, people feel sorry for me because I have crippled legs. But, there is absolutely nothing to feel sorry about for me. I am grateful to be alive.”