From Ollie: “I appreciate others who do not have agendas. I admit, I sometimes carry a bit of a grudge for things that happened in the past. No one will believe this but I was bullied a lot. I lost my home because a human entered our lives that didn’t understand me at all. Next thing you know I was out on the street. Then I got picked on by other cats. No one seemed to accept me. I was down and out and I didn’t like that at all. But then I was brought here. I’ve not always been an easy cat. I am learning about being grateful actually. But I think I have a ways to go on that. Maybe I need to soften a bit more as well. Ok, I’ve got some work to do. But I am grateful to not feel pushed to change. I am grateful for all the kindness shown to me even when I sometimes have not been as kind as I should have been. I strive to do better.”
From Leo: “I never tire of the beauty in the world. The sky can sure be beautiful as the sun sets. I love watching those colors as they change each night. I love the colors of flowers. I love to watch butterflies float across the pasture. I love watching the leaves turn colors in the fall. And I even like the sun glistening off the pure white snow in winter. I think there is much to be grateful for in every single moment. Even during sad times, if we could remember to stop and be grateful for one simple thing … a kind touch, a soothing voice, a hug. It helps us to remember that all sadness shifts into something else just as the snow melts into spring flowers. Just as the sky morphs into colors at sunrise and sunset. Just as the butterfly flies when it never could imagine that it would. All these things I am grateful for.
From Marco: “Oh happy day! I love being asked questions! I am grateful for every morsel of food that nourishes all of us. There are so many great tastes and smells in the world. The bounty is something we should never take for granted. Life nourishes each one of us. And life is within everything we eat. If your food is not alive, then you will perish. Breathe in the fragrance of nice carrot greens or a banana and your senses will be filled with delight. And you will be nourished and enriched. Be grateful for each bite.”
From Bayberry: “I know that many people see me as a little on the nutty side. I know that because I’ve heard them say it. Funny when people say things in front of animals and they think that we don’t understand what they are saying. So you may think this sounds nutty but I feel that we can never be grateful enough for the sun. If you have ever lived in darkness you know what it feels like the first day you stand in the sun knowing you are safe. It is a moment I shall never forget. It feels like the warmth of the sun sinks down through every cell and cleanses out the negative, pain, and darkness. The sun is something I will never take for granted. I hope you don’t either.”
From Alice: “I’m grateful to be here. Sometimes the road to happiness seems to take difficult twists and turns. It is hard to trust things when you can’t see where you are going. It was like that for me. Just when I was convinced things were never going to be ok, I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be. I am grateful to be happy. I also love being warm and snuggly. It is the simple things in life that mean the most. Because when I didn’t have a warm, snuggly, and safe place to be, I never knew I could possibly end up having it all. But now I do. I hope you have things to believe in too.”
From Edgar: “Being a pig is very fun. My mom says that not all pigs can say that. But I know that I can. I live with my mom and my siblings. Now to be honest, that isn’t always fun. But most of the time it is great. A couple of my sisters are really pushy though. My brother and I try to stick together. But it’s not always easy. But that is ok. My mom says that life isn’t always easy. I suppose that is the truth because it would be very boring then wouldn’t it? Let’s see, what am I most grateful for? I’d have to say, food would win. But I also love mud and sun and grass. Oh, and belly rubs from my human friends. I also love hearing people giggle. It is such a funny sound. People who have never touched a pig before find it such a joy. And that makes me happy too. I hope you find time and reason to giggle. It is one of your most charming features!”
From Chico: “My friends and I have a great life here. While the humans have been preparing for winter life, we have been enjoying the warm days and warm nights of fall. The moon was very bright this week. While we looked around in the moonlight, we could see all sorts of nightlife around us. There were our deer friends walking about quietly around our pasture. We like them. They stop and tell us of things that they know. I stood under the stars and realized how big the sky is. It is a comfort to see the stars. It means that even on nights that are really dark, there will always be light to guide us. People probably don’t realize I care about those things. But that’s because people forget about the stars. You might want to look for them again. Stars tell us that we are never alone in the dark.”
From Ned: “This is my first year here and I’m not sure what to do with this. Don’t take me wrong, I have much to be grateful about in my life. I also have had a lot of change and change is very difficult for me. Maybe it is for you too? It’s just hard when everything is different and you don’t know what to expect. I tend to worry a lot about things. I’m finding out that maybe that is not a good thing. I know I get impatient with people and even other cats sometimes. But I’m still trying to figure all of this out. Are you finding life challenging too? Let’s all focus on the things that are certain. I know that I am in a safe place. And I have friends. And, actually, that is what I will focus on for now.”
From Luna: “I’ve done this message thing for many years now. I found out that you humans really do listen to my messages. A few years ago I said I was most grateful for peppermints. Whoa, you should have seen the avalanche of peppermints that came my way. Of course I shared. But I can’t eat peppermints anymore. I’m getting older now. Have some teeth issues. And have had a few health things too. But I’ll tell you what I’m most grateful for now in my age. I’m grateful for this farm. My home. The home for so many of us who were homeless. To be able to know the love of a home is what I am stupendously grateful for. Yes, even more than I used to be grateful for peppermints. Love is a wonderful thing. My heart has a home and my heart is full. So if you’ve helped by helping the farm for being here and continuing onward, then I am doubly grateful to you for that. That’s it from me, Luna, this year. Oh, and rest assured, I am still my sassy self. And I’m also grateful for that!”
From Mia: “Being a horse is not always easy but it is always an honor. I cherish living close to the earth and to feel all the things that I feel. Yes, I have known sadness. I’ve known fear. I’ve known loneliness. But I’ve also found immense connection. I know joy. I know love. I love kindness and I have learned to trust in that kindness. People see horses as being strong and athletic. But sometimes we cannot live up to your expectations. When we can’t be a super horse, we hope you will find our hearts and compassion to be enough. I have found that in my life. I no longer need to perform to be safe. I’m now allowed to simply be me. I am grateful for every second of that opportunity.”
From Flannigan: “I love looking at colors. I am grateful for a world filled with so many wonderful colorful things. I only have one eye but I make double use of that eye. It makes me double as grateful to see things the way I do. You may think I don’t see colors. But that is a mistake. I also can feel colors. Colors fill my day with many different feelings and sensations. I hope you enjoy the colors in your life. And if you are feeling black and white on life, then I encourage you to go remind yourself how life is so full of color. It will make your heart feel good.”
From Mary Beth: “Oh my goodness, there is so much to be grateful for. Every day when the sun rises and I am breathing, I am aware that I’ve been gifted another day. Every single day of my life has been a blessing. Each breath I take is with gratitude. Having friends. Being loved. Being given a nice flake of fresh hay. Being groomed. Being hugged. Greeting people who have never been here to the farm before. Saying hello to old friends who come to visit again. All of these things, and more, I am grateful for each day.”
From Rollin: “Well, I can tell you this. Being a rooster is the best thing ever! I am grateful to have been blessed to be a rooster and to have this magnificent form to spend time in for this lifetime. I love everything about being a rooster. I love the way the grass feels under my feet. I love to catch just the right little grubs in the garden. I think the people who tend to the gardens do not appreciate that as much as I do. But they just don’t get the importance of my job. I love feeling that I am significant. You see, this is something that I feel plagues humans. Often, we animals have noticed that some of you feel totally insignificant and that is a shame. No one is insignificant. So if I can take the time in my rooster body to shine the best way I can, maybe I can be an inspiration to all of you. You are beautiful for who you are. Be grateful for that! If you could find the courage to do that, you would feel significant again. That is my hard earned rooster advice.”
From Kernel: “Nobody thinks I’m smart around here but it’s just that I like to keep my thoughts to myself. I never felt that sharing anything was even worth it. I didn’t come from a place that offered security. I know what it is like to not know which way to turn or how to think. I’ve known despair. I’ve known great fear. And I’ve known a lot of heartache. But what I have come to appreciate is what it is like to feel understood. I may not be as smart as some of the other horses around here. But I do know how to be grateful for everything I have found. If you are going through a hard time, I want you to know that it will change. It really will. Even though you don’t think so right now. It is the beautiful truth of life. It will get better. Life will show you something so deep down beautiful that you won’t even believe it is true. But it is. I hope you trust me on this. Because that is the wisdom I have learned.”
From Linus: “I love listening to the little things I can hear when it is totally silent. There are so many wonderful sounds that I hear outside the window on a summer night. And then there are different silences in the winter. I am grateful for the quiet times when peace descends upon our home. I think that humans need to appreciate silent times more. You all seem to spend your time filling up the silences instead of honoring and appreciating them. Slow down and just chill out. Enjoy the quiet and think of me when you do. I will sit here silently with you.”
From Shawnee: “There comes a day in life where we all stand at a crossroad. We can either trust that we are guided by something greater than ourselves, or we can believe that everything in our lives is just an obstacle in our way. When I was younger, I was fairly arrogant and a little too full of myself. But then I hung around all these older horses that actually were really wise. As I got all uptight about things, they just seemed to take it in stride. It was frustrating actually. But one day I asked one of them why they didn’t get upset. And he looked at me and said, “it is a waste of your time young man. While you are fidgeting around with your upset, you are totally missing the opportunities around you.” So, that wisdom changed my whole life. And I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with you.”
From Snowball: “Sometimes life can be tricky. But if you get confused, my suggestion is to go outside and find a place to sit in the grass and just be quiet for a moment. That’s what I do. It helps me clear my head. Then, I eat a little and enjoy simply chewing. Just being grateful for one tiny thing in the day can turn it all around. Now, the other thing that I find helpful is to play. You humans need to play more. And I don’t mean on those little gadgets you carry around. Throw a ball. Run around. Jump up and down. Chase a bug. Climb a tree. Ok, those are the things I do but you know what I mean. You need to become more in touch with your playful side. That would fix a lot of your human trouble. And we animals are aware of how much trouble you seem to cause for yourselves. Lighten up. Be happy. Hug a goat! That’s all.”
From Olivia: “I love doing this every year. Thank you for asking me again. I know I always volunteer but I think I have a lot to offer. You see, I am missing a leg. It happened after I got stuck in a trap that someone had put out. I didn’t see it and stepped in it. But that happened many years ago now. I have long healed and I do fine on three legs. Yet, people try to define me as a 3-legged cat. They don’t define my other cat friends as 4-legged cats. I don’t define myself by what I have that’s missing. My life is as full as it could be. I am happy right where I am and wouldn’t change a thing. So please don’t look at me and feel sorry for me. I am eternally grateful for all the help I’ve received and the new opportunities that came my way when I lost that leg.”
From Felix: “I am most grateful for my friends. It is a blessing to feel safe in another’s heart. I am super blessed because I now have a whole entire family of so many different species. My humans are the keepers of my heart. My donkey buddy Leo is the one I walk the earth with – even though his constant nagging drives me crazy sometimes. I have wonderful horse and pony friends. Charlie pony keeps me laughing. My horse friend Nell keeps me entertained. And horse friend Ginny keeps me smart by teaching me more. I have sheep companions as well. And a sassy little goat Luna who is the leader of entertainment in the barn for sure. It never gets boring with her in here. Joy cannot be measured. But the more you can be grateful for what you have around you, the more joy you will feel in your heart.”
The annual tradition of messages of gratitude from the animals is here! From November 24 (US Thanksgiving Day) through 12/31 we will post a message from an animal. All messages were received and written by animal communicator and SFC Co-founder Dawn Hayman. The question she asked each animal is:
What are you grateful for? Or is there anything you’d like to say?
Dawn’s dog Jessie has been diligently helping Dawn prepare for all of this. So it is only fair that we give him a chance to say something too.
From Jessie: “I can tell you that my mom works hard with all of the animals for these messages every year. In fact, it is sometimes hard for me to get her attention for belly rubs and things. This year has been a hard year for me. I know it is for some of you too. I lost my last two dog friends this year – both in just a week. They were very old and I know it was their time. I am the youngest and suddenly I was the last dog. It was very sad. I had never known such deep sadness. But now I have found my way through that gloom, even though I thought I never would. And now I am grateful for the wonderful memories of all my dog friends that I have had. I am a very lucky guy. I have a new dog friend now. She has seen a lot of dark times. She is young. She doesn’t listen well to me. But I have a project and renewed purpose. It may be a big project. Wish me luck. My message to all of you is to please listen to all of the animal wisdom that we come together to share with you over the next few weeks. It means a lot to us. We hope it makes you smile and think about things you have in your life to be grateful about. We all struggle. And we all can get through it together.”
At Spring Farm CARES, we always are learning from the animals. We watch these animals find safety in our sanctuary but they also find new purpose in their lives as teachers. The horses in this video all came from hardship. The human caretakers in the video all came to us originally with no horse experience. The three of them are all at different levels of handling and still learning from these magnificent animals.
Congratulations to our full-time staff veterinarian Dr. Christine Schneider, DVM, cVMA, CHPV on successfully completing her studies for certification as a Hospice & Palliative Care Veterinarian. We are very proud of Dr. Christine! This is a 100 hour intensive continuing education course that enhances all of the skills she already brings to our sanctuary animals. Another job well done Dr. Christine!
On behalf of the Directors and every single animal here:
Thank you for all you do and how well you do it. We are so proud to have you on our team!
Today we lost a giant soul in a horse body. Our dear Whisper left us unexpectedly. She was 30 years old. We had the honor of spending the last 10 years of Whisper’s life together. She was absolutely gorgeous. She was also not an easy horse. Whisper was a perfect blend of being a dignified lady with a clear mind of her own as well as being very stubborn and set in her ways. She could be ornery at times, especially if she felt she wasn’t being heard or understood. But Whisper was also a gentle soul deep within. Whisper often quietly just hung in the background. She preferred her own company rather than that of other horses. Although she loved one gelding named Buster when he was still alive and she liked sharing pasture time with him. Otherwise, she was mostly a loner, yet she never truly wanted to be alone. Her caretakers understood her and she was very loved here.
All of us will miss the special nicker when she saw us coming to the fence to see her. We will miss the gentle but excited whinny when she knew it was time for her food to arrive and the enthusiasm with which she greeted the deliverer of her meals. We will miss her cantankerous kicking in her shed – often for no understandable reason other than to make a fuss.
And oh how we will miss seeing her lying in her favorite spot outside of her shed on the hillside, flat on her side, sun bathing on even the hottest of days. She loved soaking in the heat and penetrating warmth of the sun.
Whisper had come to us with severe leg injuries from neglect. While her legs could never recover from the severity of those injuries, we kept her comfortable with medications and special foot trimming and lots of help from her veterinary team. But the deepest scars, we think, were to her heart. Whisper held that trauma deeply with a sense of betrayal that was difficult for her to heal. She carried a grudge and we understood why.
In what became her final months, Whisper became a favorite to visitors on tours. She decided to participate with visitors for the first time in 10 years. She surprised us all. She’d whinny and come plodding over to the fence and stand there and let children and adults alike pet and stroke her. She often even greeted them with that low nicker that all of her caretakers knew so well. It was the sound of a tender heart and we knew under all her gruffness, that tenderness was very much still in there.
Today, we found her not willing to eat her breakfast which was highly unusual. We quickly realized we had a sick horse and veterinary exam revealed a twist in her small intestine. She was not a surgical candidate and the only choice was to help her to go. Run free girl. And know that the love you left with is the greatest healer of all.