From Charlie

From Charlie: “Sunshine. I am most grateful for sunshine. When I feel the sun warm my body, especially on a cold day, it reminds me how connected I feel to everything around me. My cells soak up the sunshine and then I store that within my body. When my human friends come in at night, I then spread my sunshine to them to help brighten the end of their day. I like making people feel joyful. Then I know I have done a good job and it’s been a good day.”

 

 

 

 

From Eloise

From Eloise: “My list of things to be grateful for is so long that you don’t have time to read it. People need to make more time to be grateful. I’m finding this to be a trend. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. You don’t take time to enjoy what you are doing. For example, when my food comes, I savor every single bite. I bet you that you don’t even remember what you just ate or what it tasted like. I know what each and every morsel tasted like. I know when it smells like it’s going to rain outside or snow. I know when the flowers are going to open. I can even tell different grasses apart simply because I know what it smells like around me. When you are truly grateful for the little everyday things that sustain you, you will start to feel great joy over the smallest parts of your daily life. That is true gratitude. I know I have found mine!”

 

 

 

From Dusty

From Dusty: “I am grateful for times when it is quiet. Sometimes humans make an awful lot of noise. I wonder how they keep functioning like that actually. I like it when it gets really quiet. I love hearing the breeze in the trees or the rain on a quiet day. I love the stillness of the nighttime and the softness of the winter. Actually, when it is really quiet, I also can hear the gentle breathing of my other cat friends in our room. There is something about that simple sound that brings such peace to me. There is peace in knowing others are breathing with you in the same quiet and that together we are creating a simple kind of peace in the world. I wish that people could find more quiet and stillness in their day. I think they’d be a lot happier.”

 

 

 

From Belle

From Belle: “I am grateful for my freedom to live life the way I wanted to live it. Most people would have decided I was quite useless and would have ended my life as I would have become an inconvenience. I am grateful to live in a place where I can grow old and frail and not have to be the perfect horse or to have ever had to perform to ideals that I could not achieve. I was simply allowed to be me. I am grateful for every opportunity of kindness that has ever been shown to me. I am grateful for the patience that has been given my way. But mostly, I am grateful for the chance to live my life looking for the good in each day – and to have found so much of it.”

 

 

From Carley

From Carley: “I may be tiny, but I am not insignificant. If you think I’m small, you’ll second guess that when you hear my huge voice! I am bigger inside than I look. And I want people to know that just because some of us are little, doesn’t mean that we matter less. I think people need to stop looking at things as if some are greater than others and that those who are lesser should be scorned. Life is too precious to waste on such things. I don’t understand it myself. I think each one of us has something special to offer. I love reaching out to touch people. And I love it even more when they appreciate that I do that. That means they care enough to know more about me. I am grateful to have a chance to be seen for being me.”

 

 

 

 

From Minnie

From Minnie: “This has been a year of learning for me. I moved here to a new home away from my original flock of sheep. Life here is different. I just kind of hid out in the flock and was fine. But here, I live with one other sheep, Daisy. Suddenly, I couldn’t just hide anymore. And I had to find a way to participate with others. I am just learning how to be calm in my body and to think before I leap. That hasn’t been easy for me. But I’m grateful to Daisy for helping me see that not everything in life has to be challenging or frightening. And I’m learning to trust more and have fun. I’m grateful to be here. And I’m grateful to learn about friendship.”

 

 

 

 

 

From Izzy

From Izzy: “Having just one eye does not mean that I see only half of the world. It says instead that I have to see twice as much with the one I have. You can spend your life thinking you have less than what you wish for or you could start understanding that you can create more of what you wish for when you are already grateful for what you have. That is what I see from my one eye. And I think it is pretty amazingly powerful.”

 

 

 

From Felix

From Felix: “Sometimes I like to stand outside in the sun and close my eyes and take in all that I can around me. When I can be still enough inside to hear the wings of birds flapping in the air as they pass by me, then I know I am truly focused in the moment. I am grateful for every minute I am here and for the ability to share with everyone around me. I am also grateful for hugs from my human friends. I love giving hugs as it makes us all remember how to be focused on what is important in life. I am blessed.”

 

 

 

From Mack

From Mack: “I am most grateful to have found my purpose in life. If you talk to the humans who have known me, they would tell you that my history was that I was lost in the woods and mountains for over six months – lost. And it is indeed a true story and an event in my life. But the truth is, I was actually lost before that. But during that dark period of my life, left alone, abandoned and unwilling to reach out, is when I was actually finding myself in the grandest way. Because I learned eventually that the only way I could heal was indeed to reach out. I reached out a paw and found a hand reaching back. And I began to understand that I had a purpose. That purpose turned into helping other lost souls find their own strength to reach out for what they need to heal in their lives. I will continue to reach out a paw to those who I feel are lost in the same wilderness that I was. And together, we will come down from the mountains, out of the woods and we will find their purpose together. For this, I am forever grateful.”

 

From Chance

From Chance: “Hey everyone! I am new here! I don’t even know how to do this message thing but I wanted to give it a shot. I have a lot to be grateful for. I love my new home and all of my friends. Companionship is my favorite thing. I like every person. I like every horse. And the goats too. I have a new little friend named Frankie. He is blind. He has no clue what I look like even though I know what he looks like. I was thinking a lot about this. He has to trust that I’ll be kind to him because he can’t see what I’m doing. Yet, he tells me he likes me. That made me feel so good. Because he doesn’t like me because I look handsome. He sees me for how I am on the inside. I am grateful for that. And lots of other things too. It’s easy to be grateful around here. I’m glad to be here.”

 

From Hillary

From Hillary: “I may be old. I may be deaf. And my vision is not as acute as it once was. But I have a different view of life from where I am. I have traveled a winding road. It has had its ups and downs. It has seen sun and rain. It has known darkness and light. But it is my path and to get where I am now and look back upon the journey, I am grateful to have worn my pawprints into the path and called it my own. I am more tired now. I move a lot slower. But the memories of where I have been all come together as I look back. I am grateful for the journey. I am honored for the friends I’ve met along the way. And I am grateful to see the sunrise every single day. Because I understand every sunrise gives me another pawprint to put on the path of my life. And at the end of the journey, when I look back, I will be blessed with knowing that I made each one of those marks myself. And I will feel joy and comfort and peace.”

From Viva

From Viva: “Every year for more than half my life I have done this message thing. And you know what, it never gets old. I don’t mind each year stopping to tell you what I am most grateful for. I’ve lived on this farm my whole life. I’m the first horse! The kid who started it all. I can look around at what we’ve created here and who we have become with great pride. We worked hard to get here. Sometimes days were really tough. Sometimes things looked really grim. We’ve faced some tough things. And we’ve seen so many miracles. When I started into my adulthood here, I had three friends. The four of us made up our own herd. And now, it’s just me and Belle. Neither of us are particularly the picture of health. Both of us are old. Neither of us have enough teeth left to eat hay. Yet, both of us are grateful for every single day. What more could I have asked for in my life. Nothing. And that is a wonderful thing to say. Each year, if they are honest, my human friends think that this will be my last annual message. And each year, I surprise them and stay a little longer. I don’t live my life thinking this is my last message. I look to the next one. Because it is the only way to live well. I have found that you need to be most grateful when you feel the least grateful. You do that, and you will find your miracles. That is how it works.”

 

 

From Merlin

From Merlin: “I see so many people come and go through our facility here. I love to watch the various types of folks who come to say hello. Humans are sort of intriguing to me. There is a sign on my cage that reads, “Please don’t stick your fingers in my cage. I might get scared and bite.” I hate to say this but I then get to see several things about people. Some read the sign out loud and then put their fingers in the cage to see if I’ll bite. Some don’t read the sign and try to get me to talk to them. Some insist that they can prevent me from biting in the first place and set out to “tame” me. And then there are my favorite visitors who come to the cage to learn who I am. They are the ones who I interact with because if you are truly interested in what’s underneath all my feathers, you would never try to put your fingers in to see if I would bite you, and you’d never think to try to fix me. You would just understand who I am.”

 

From Rhoda

From Rhoda: “Today could be the start of something new. I say that every day when I wake up to a new day. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new, to try something different, and to achieve new goals. Each day I have an opportunity to help someone else and to be kind. I have a chance to forgive someone else’s missteps or ignorance. And I have another opportunity to learn tolerance. That is most true for me when other cats annoy me. Each day, I have a new opportunity to grow more patient and to be more loving. I am grateful for each and every day.”

 

 

 

From Mary Beth

From Mary Beth: “Many people could look at me and just see a crippled little donkey. But they would be missing the most important things about me. They’d be missing the light in my eye that now is there thanks to the love that surrounds me. They’d be missing how I like to nuzzle up with the people who turned my world around and to whom I thank every day for their kindness. They’d be missing the most important thing about me. My body may be twisted and malformed. But my heart is as full and healthy and large as a heart can be. I am the most happy donkey in the world. Because I know what it is like to have had nothing to believe in and suddenly have everything in the world to hold dear. I am grateful for every breath I take and every single beat of my heart.”

 

 

 

From Chipper

From Chipper: “A lot of people probably don’t stop and consider what I have to be grateful for in life. But actually, I think I understand life better than a lot of people! People rush by my pen here as if they are always in a hurry. Well, let me say, that if you all wouldn’t be in such a rush, you might appreciate a lot more things in life. Simple things are usually the most important factors in our lives. Yet, humans, from what I see, always look for something dramatic. You need to stop looking for the screams and start listening to the whispers. Because life is really what is happening in the whispers. And your heart longingly tries to listen to those whispers if only you’d let it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Toby

From Toby: “Life is about playing. If we all could just go out and play together, we’d stop being so serious about everything. Sometimes my friend Cashew and I disagree on things. We can each get a little grumpy at times. But we know how to solve it. One of us will go get our ball and the other will run over and we’ll play together. We carry it together. We toss it to one another. And in the end, we forget why we were grumpy in the first place. Humans do not play enough. Come on! Forget your differences. Get a ball out and toss it around. Have fun. Lighten up. Move on. Believe me, it works.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Piper

From Piper:  “I was born into this life without ever having seen a single thing, yet I know more about my environment than most. People have mistakenly felt sorry for me because I have no eyes. Please don’t feel sorry for me at all. Because I have the most magnificent view of life. I can climb and jump and play and chase toys. I can snuggle with my other cat friends. I can be impish when I want to be. And I can even climb higher than most the other cats and not be afraid of how I will get down. I may not have eyes. But I have a trust in life that many never find. I have to trust what I can never see.  And I have to believe that what I feel is real. And for that, I am extremely grateful.”

 

 

From Ginny

From Ginny: “I am grateful for my new friend Nell. When she first came to my barn, I liked her but I didn’t really know her yet. She was afraid of a lot of things. She had seen some really hard times. She is missing one eye, so I realized that I needed to help her to see life a little better. We became friends. I think I would tell humans that they should try this exercise. Try showing another human how life is beautiful through your own eyes. I think if everyone did that, the world would look completely different.”

 

 

 

From Daisy

From Daisy: “I am very happy to have friends. Early in the year, I lost my companion who happened to be a goat. Just because we were different didn’t mean we couldn’t respect one another and be friends. We actually really like one another. And when she died, I was very sad to lose her and once again be alone. I now have another friend who happens to be a sheep. She is a very different kind of sheep than I am and she may not live a long time because she has a problem. But, I am happy to be her friend for as long as I can. Friendship is something to never take for granted. I know I am grateful to my friends as they have helped brighten my life and find who I really am.”

 

 

 

 

From Noah

From Noah: “To know the love of friends is by far the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. For most of my life, no one truly saw me for who I am or what I have to offer. I shut down because what else was there for me to do. But, then, someone took notice of me and saw something underneath all of the walls. They saw my heart and I knew I had been discovered. I got braver and braver and learned to walk into my own truth and light. And now, I want to help others find that same thing within them. I am grateful for every heart in any form who comes to share with me. That is why I’m here and what I want to do.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Luna

From Luna: “I know that people think I can be a little pushy but actually that is just a game I like to play. I am very grateful for my human friends. This year I got sick and really didn’t feel well and they all came together and helped me. I now feel better thanks to them. But what I am most grateful for is how much they obviously care about me. I think life is a very special gift and we need to say thank you sometimes and be grateful for everything we have. Because life is an opportunity and we need to not waste that gift that is given to us.”

 

 

 

From Nemo

From Nemo: “I am grateful for being given the chance to be who I am surrounded by the friends I am with and being cared for by the people who have been gracious enough to love me. There is not greater thing that I could be grateful for. No other need that I have. No other wish that is not being fulfilled. I can only ask you in return, what are you most grateful for? And if you don’t have an answer, you need to find one.”