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On Sunday, November 14, someone callously and cruelty abandoned a dog in our parking lot. The person has since been found, and the case has been turned over to law enforcement for investigation. The dog is safe. But before we knew all of that, Dawn posted an open letter on behalf of the dog on our Facebook Page. That letter has circulated around the world having been shared nearly 16,000 times as of this writing. We have been asked to share the letter on our blog as well.
Thank you to all who care!
I’m asking for a few minutes of your time for a deeply personal message from me (Dawn Hayman, Co-founder).
Halloween always has a deep emotional charge for us here at Spring Farm CARES. October 31, 1993 was a day like any other day here on the farm. Except it was a day that changed the course of our lives and altered our path forever. There was a freak snow storm that night that dumped over 14 inches of wet heavy snow. We tucked our 30 small animals in for the night and prepared ourselves for a morning of contending with shoveling snow and getting to the barn to care for our 35 horses. But at 11:45pm, a car hit a telephone pole a few miles down the road from us and sent a power spike up the line. It stopped at the end of the line which was our old dairy barn that was renovated into offices, small animal quarters, and our living quarters. We lost everything in a mere 20 minutes. The fire was so intense that it melted our refrigerator into oblivion. We lost 27 dear animal souls that night. Thank God the firefighters were able to save our horse barn. We evacuated the 35 horses into the snowy night and they all survived. Bonnie and I got out with the clothes on our backs and nothing else. All but three of our beloved dogs, cats, and parakeets were gone. I cannot possibly express the devastating loss this was.
But the sun rose again the next morning and Bonnie and I were suddenly faced with a major decision. We could call it quits. Or we could start all over. Both of us knew the answer from deep within our hearts and souls. We would move forward and start again. Only, this time, we were wiser. We had an opportunity to grow from our mistakes. We would build again but we would do so from a strength we didn’t even understand we had at the time.
None of this could have happened without the enormous outpouring of support from our supporters and our community. To this day, we hold that deep gratitude in all that we do. There is amazing generosity and kindness in this world. I know because I see it all the time. People began to show up the next day with donations of clothing and daily items that you don’t even think about until you suddenly don’t have them. And people began to send donations. But as importantly, people started sending us letters and messages to not give up. Sometimes it is hard to find hope. But hope is always there underneath the ash. And we began digging through that ash with all our might. And hope was there. At first it was just a little spark, but it began to grow. We have nurtured that hope over the years and it has made us so much stronger.
I felt it was time to honor the memory of those we lost 28 years ago today, and to take a moment and remember the depth of gratitude we have for all of you. Spring Farm CARES would not be the place we are today without having gone through that very difficult tragedy. But out of the flames, we rose like the Phoenix.
Please do not lose heart in this world. We are going through tough times… all of us. But we can come together and rise together. We can come together out of kindness and compassion and love. We can join together in peace and forgiveness. And we can transform this Earth into the deep healing that is needed. We all have the power and ability to do this. All of us have a choice all the time…. Give up and call it quits…. Or move on, stronger and better. Please don’t give up.
I hope you will join us in moving forward, just as we know we can do. Because life is precious. Every single moment is a blessing. And it is up to each of us to make that moment the kindest and most loving that we can.
Please don’t give up on hope.
Thank you for listening. And thank you for being here with us. We are beyond grateful.
There are many ways you can help on our mission. Lucy is just one example of an animal whose lived was saved but who also then reaches out to help heal the human hearts around her as well. These are precious stories. All made possible by you.
As of today, June 16th, New York State has lifted most of the Covid restrictions. We are constantly monitoring the situation and carefully assessing the risk level of our staff as to when to fully reopen to visitors. There is nothing we look forward to more than to welcoming visitors back. We have missed you! The animals miss you!
We have eased restrictions with our own staff as per NYS guidelines as of today. We will be reassessing welcoming visitors and volunteers at the end of the month. We will keep you posted!
For the past 18 months, we have been doing all we possibly could to keep our staff healthy and safe so that they could continue to come in to care for the animals each day. We could not do any of this without them. They have done an outstanding job through very difficult and challenging times.
We will update you soon as to when we will finally be open for visitors again.
Happy New Year!
But it is important to take a deep breath and also look at 2020 with gratitude and appreciation. Yes, there was great strife and turmoil and so much loss for so many. We need to deeply honor that and hold a healing in our hearts for all who need healing and compassion. We need to hold a deep space of compassion in all of our hearts for those of us feeling lost, alone, and wounded. The animals teach us that being in our hearts and simply being present is the greatest healing and gift of compassion that we can give. And all of us can do that.
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that we are indeed not alone. We are so interconnected on this planet that it has never been more obvious. We need each other. We need to look out for one another. We need to be here for one another. In fact, we can’t do it any other way.
We also learned in 2020 that we have the incredible ability to help our planet in ways that many believed were too far gone and hopeless. 2020 shows us that there is much hope and so much we can do to help our environment in major ways. Mother Earth felt us reconnect. We must carry that connection forward and let it deepen.
2020 reminded us how much we value the ones we love. We need one another and we need to stay connected. Sometimes we don’t realize how we take things for granted until we miss having them. 2020 reminded us of all we have to be grateful for in our lives.
So, let’s walk into 2021 now with hope and gratitude and love and compassion. It is time for humanity to realize the love that we are so capable of giving and sharing. Let’s remember to breathe with the Earth and take a moment each day to connect with our own hearts. We have been shown a new opportunity. It’s up to us now to dream a new way into being. We hold the vision of the future in our hearts.
We wish you all the best for the new year. We will be connecting with you in new ways this year. And, most of all, we look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Blessings from all of the creatures, animal and human, of Spring Farm CARES
This year has been a challenging year for most everyone. The animals of Spring Farm CARES have really missed their visitors so they decided to come find you for themselves. This special edition of our December 2020 newsletter is written by the animals themselves. We hope you enjoy it. Please use the link below to open and download your pdf version.
For those of you who are on our mailing list to get your hard copy version, like everything else this year, things are moving slower due to Covid. We are told the delivery will take longer. Hopefully, you will see them next week. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this pdf version.
We are preparing for our 30th Anniversary in 2021 and going through some archive newsletters and publications etc. Here is a flashback moment to share with all of you. In 2000, an independent film maker named Kathy High, made a wonderful 60 minute film about Dawn’s animal communication and Spring Farm CARES. The film was shown at the prestigious Guggenheim Museum as well as the Virginia Film Festival. It was also shown on PBS in New York City where it got rave reviews. Although filmed and produced 20 years ago, it still is a wonderful representation of what Spring Farm CARES is all about.
All but one of the animals in this film have all passed into spirit as have several of the humans who participated. We also use this as a tribute and thanks to all of them for having enriched our lives and for helping to get us to where we are today.
We are having an art contest for ages K-12 for Posters, Poetry, & Photography categories. The winning artist in each age category will receive an animal sponsorship for a Spring Farm CARES animal of their choice ($100 value). We have supporters from all over the world. Let’s make this an event from around the world in honor of how connected we really all are and how much we need one another and the animals and planet. Click the link below for contest rules and to download an entry form!
In Memory and with gratitude we pay tribute to a very special human –
Are you experiencing a barrage of COVID-19 emails, news broadcasts, articles, and posts? Like us, are you starting to go on overload? Well, we have pleasant breaks to offer you.
Our newsletters over the years have occasionally mentioned our 250-acre Nature Sanctuary. It is as much a part of our mission as is the Animal Sanctuary. But we never really did justice to that extraordinary place. Thus, several months ago, we decided that, once a year, we would send out a newsletter devoted entirely to the Nature Sanctuary. The first issue was in the works with our printer before we really knew much about the Covid-19 virus, or comprehended how much it would upend the lives of all of us – physically, mentally, financially – and spiritually. That first issue went out just last week. Some of you might already have received a hard copy, and we have attached a link to your newsletter copy below. We are happy to be able to offer this newsletter at this time. We believe that it will be a balm to aching minds.
By the way, some who got the hard copy were alarmed, thinking that we were no longer operating our Animal Sanctuary, or that our mission has changed.
No way. We proceed as usual. Our staff is considered essential, so that everyone can still come to work and nothing has changed in the care of our animals. We are closed to volunteers and visitors, and some planned events have had to be cancelled or put on hold, but we are following a rigorous protocol of hygiene, are all so far healthy, and the Spring Farm CARES mission holds fast. We will have challenges ahead. Once we are through the health crisis, we will all come together to deal with the economic fallout.
Our mission is needed more than ever right now. Because humanity needs to be reminded of the true core of our world. Peace, beauty, and love. We believe that, as the entire world goes through this crisis together, we will become stronger and more connected with one another and with our planet and with all of nature. That is indeed what the Spring Farm CARES mission is all about.
There will be tragedies aplenty. Yet something amazing will come out of this. And, while this is going on, we are posting an uplifting animal message, with photos and videos, on our Facebook page and website each day. We hope that you will share your newsletter and the links to Facebook and our website with those who might need some sunshine in their days.
Our best wishes are with you, as well as gratitude and appreciation for your continued support. Do a lot of deep breathing. That reduces stress and protects your immune system!
Blessings to you all,
Bonnie, Dawn, and Margot – Directors
Spring Farm CARES was featured in an episode of More to The Story from WPBS in Watertown. This episode features animal sanctuaries in their viewing area. Please click on the link below to view the show.
People have been asking what we are doing for the animals during the quarantine in New York State. Rest assured, the animals are being cared for as normal. As an animal sanctuary, our staff are considered essential personnel and they are reporting to work. It is critical that they are healthy and able to come in to care for the animals. In keeping with that, we closed our facility a week ago to volunteers and visitors. We do extra cleaning and disinfecting of the areas where our staff work. We already are operating on minimal staff needed. We are all observing social distancing and hand washing.
We are doing the best we can to keep life as normal as possible for the animals. Right now, they follow the same daily routines as they have been. As always, their care comes first and foremost and we continue day by day. Right now we need to get through the public health crisis. After that, like everyone else, we will need to face the economic impact.
We especially want to say how grateful we are to our staff as well as all of the essential personnel out there keeping our communities going as best they can. People are giving a lot to help our communities and we all owe them our deepest gratitude and appreciation.
We thank you for your support and thoughts and prayers as we send ours to you as well.
Announcement for our volunteers, visitors, and those looking for tours –
We know with the schools closed now especially, that people are looking for tours to come visit the animals. However, we are temporarily suspending all tours, visits, and volunteers for two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. The greatest responsibility we have is to the care of our animals. And the greatest way we can care for them is to ensure the health and safety of their human caretakers. We need them all here to care for the animals 7 days a week.
We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. We will reassess the situation April 1st.
Thank you to Broadway Utica for your support!
A huge thank you to all of our donors and supporters! We did reach the $30,000 goal for our matching donation! We are so grateful to all of you!
It is not just your financial support that helps us. Your words of support and encouragement and energy and prayers all help us to keep going, even on the hardest of days. We cannot do this without you.
We look forward to doing so much more together.
With our heartfelt thanks and best wishes for the new year,
Bonnie, Dawn, Margot and the staff of Spring Farm CARES.