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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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: “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.”
There will be a message a day from November 22 – December 31st. This is our gift to you to stay focused on all of the things in life to be grateful for. Animal Communicator and Co-founder, Dawn Hayman asks 40 of the Spring Farm CARES animals what they are most grateful for and what they would like humans to know.
From Leo – “I think we all tend to forget or take for granted the most basic things in life that provide us with life and nurturing. The sun, the rain, the soil are all giving us so much all the time. We need to show our appreciation and gratitude. I am grateful to share all of this with my friends in a home that provides us with constant love and care. I am forever grateful to be loved.”
“I am most grateful to be alive. Every breath I take is a gift. I am grateful for my eyesight which I may not always have. I like to watch everything there is in the one eye I have left. The sunrise, sunset, moon and stars. The grass, the rainbow, the faces of my human friends. I take it all in and I savor it and I bank it. Because someday, if I lose my vision, I will always still have my memory. I wish humans would learn to appreciate the little everyday things more. If they did, they’d take care of them better.”
Hi everyone, I’m Dawn’s dog Jessie. My mom is busily preparing for the next 40 days of messages coming from our home to yours. In case you don’t know about this, my mom asked me to tell you. It’s our tradition here at the farm on Thanksgiving to go around and say what we are most grateful for. Many years ago, someone asked Dawn to speak for the animals as well. I can tell you that it is very special. Check back here each day, starting tomorrow, for a message from one of our animals.
I just want to say one thing, and I made my mom write this down. I am grateful for her and for all that she does for me and all of the animals. She works hard and I am the one who has to calm her down at the end of the day. So, I know what I’m talking about. I help her of course with all of this. We really hope you enjoy this from all of us. It is from our hearts to yours through the end of the year.
We lost our beloved dog Jake on November 1st. We write memorials for our animals to share with you, not the sadness of our loss, but the celebration of their lives.
Today ended a nearly 14-year journey with a dog who was found at 8 months old sitting on our manure pile and who came into our lives and made a tremendous impact on so many people. Jake was a lab/chow mix with the most fantastic heart. I’m not going to go into all the reasons Jake ended up spending is life here with us. Many people would have labeled him a “problem” dog. But to us, Jake was just a dog who had a problem. And it wasn’t really a “problem” to Jake. For good reason, Jake did not like men in uniforms of any kind and he would grab and bite them whenever he could. For that reason, he could not be adopted out. But for us, it just meant being vigilant to keep him away from men in uniforms. Because with everyone else, Jake was a most kind-hearted and loving soul.
To be loved by Jake was a gift. And there are many people out there in the world who received that gift. Jake was special to all of his caretakers, and, they were special to him. He loved unconditionally. He expressed his love freely. And he had that special knack of knowing when someone needed a little more of his love and support than the normal day’s worth. For those of us who were loved by Jake, our hearts are filled today with that love and the many memories we shared over the years, but our bodies are missing the ability to reach out and touch him.
In recent months, Jake’s health started to decline. We watched him start to fade and we all knew this day was drawing near. But Jake just kept on loving. He appreciated every effort by his caretakers to make his life more comfortable. Our hearts ached to watch him slow and have trouble walking. But the light in his eyes never dimmed. The love in his heart only grew stronger. And Jake walked all of us through the process of saying good-bye.
You see, that was Jake’s message in life. It was his lesson that he taught often. He taught us that one should never close their heart to loving someone even if it means it would hurt to say good-bye. He believed that love came for a reason and when it blessed your life, it was a gift that was to be opened and not stored away or pushed aside for fear that it would one day be gone. Because Jake understood that love indeed never is wrong. And that love never dies. He understood that when two hearts connect there is a powerful force that is formed, grows, and lives eternally. Jake spent 13 years teaching us that we really never needed to say good-bye at all. And he left us knowing that it was far better to have loved and lost him then to never have loved him at all. Thank you, Jake. You touched more hearts than you will ever know. And we shall miss you.
It is our annual tradition and gift to all of you for the holiday season. Each day from Thanksgiving through New Years we will post a message and photo from one of the Spring Farm CARES animals. The animals will remind us of what it is they are most grateful for in life. Visit daily for a dose of inspiration.