Spring Farm CARES Animal and Nature Sanctuary
Animal Memorials 2018
July 26, 2018

Animal Memorials 2018

Walking Through the PortalEach and every animal who resides with us on the farm is an important part of the whole family. Each one of them comes and touches our hearts and leaves memories that we cherish. Death is a part of life, a natural transition and process. Being an animal sanctuary we deal primarily with elder care and hospice care and, in that process, we are with most of our animal family as they pass from this realm into the next. It is sometimes very difficult, sometimes very hard, sometimes a shock, and sometimes it is an expected passing. But it is always an honor to be with them and to share in that most sacred moment. Here at the farm, it is an event that our whole staff shares in. Each animal who dies is given a memorial service and burial and whoever of our staff wants to participate, brings with them a parting gift to be buried with that animal. Whether it is some flowers or their favorite blanket or treat or toy, it is our way of paying them tribute. We laugh together. We cry together. But mostly we are there to share with one another the depth to which each animal has touched us. We share aloud the things they have taught us and the stories and memories we will always have. It is a chance to honor their heart and soul and a chance to thank them for sharing with us. It is an opportunity to say good-bye and to send them on their journey with our love and best wishes.

It is from this perspective that we share these memorials with all of you. These are not presented for the purpose of sharing sadness. While we do feel sad, the reason for sharing these memorials, is to impart to all of you a small piece of what we have been given as gifts from all of these animals. It is our way of thanking them for being here with us and to acknowledge them and share them with the world. It is a celebration for who they are and the mark they have left on this world.

Sawyer - July 22, 2018

Sawyer, Paint gelding

With great sadness, this week we said good-bye to Sawyer, a most amazing horse.  Sawyer’s death was very unexpected and truly a shock. He had only been here with us at the farm for two years, although it seemed like so much longer. Sawyer had been through a lot. Before coming to us, he lost an eye to an accident. He then fell on hard times. He came here severely underweight with no teeth left to eat hay and with an injury from a barbed wire fence so severe that he had trouble urinating. He was in enormous pain. Once we had enough weight on him, he underwent surgery that made it possible for him to urinate normally again. And Sawyer became a whole new horse. He thrived. He seemed to be the picture of health. He found his home and he found happiness and contentment.

Sunday night, the staff noticed as they left at the end of their shift that he was eating a little slower than normal. Sawyer loved his food and was always eager to see it coming. When the Directors came down for the final close down, it was obvious he was not feeling well. We suspected a colic brewing and called in the veterinarian as well as our veterinary technician. The four of us spent the next 4 hours trying everything possible to pull him through. But it became obvious that Sawyer was not going to be able to overcome this and we had to make the decision to euthanize him.

All of our barn animals have signs on their stalls with their information and with a message, given through co-founder and animal communicator Dawn Hayman, directly from that animal for visitors to read as they walk through our barn. As we stopped to read his message as we said our good-byes, we were struck by the words. It was as if he gave this message just for this very night. For Sawyer’s memorial, it is fitting to let the message come from him directly. For this is the message he wanted put on his sign for the world to know from him.

“The sun will come up tomorrow no matter if I am here or not. The world will keep going with or without me. But what matters most to me is how I live while I am here. People have rarely seen me for who I am. Instead, they have tried to make me who they think I should be. When I no longer could be what they thought I should, then they sent me on my way. You can say that I was lost. You can say that I was forgotten. But the pain that ate away at me was that no one saw me for me. I wish that you could start your day knowing the strength of who you are and the beauty that lives within you. Because even though the sun will come up tomorrow with or without you, the world is a different place because you are here.” 

Sawyer, the sun did indeed come up again, for us to find the world without you in it. It is hard to make sense of that really. How you could be here one minute and then gone the next. But we can also tell you that our world is a different place because you were here. And you will always be remembered. Rest easy and run free.



Harriet - April 26, 2018

Harriet, Thoroughbred mare

“As the sun comes up over the hill each morning, I look forward with hope to a new day. I listen for the first bird song. I smell the air to know the wind and what it is bringing. And I look at my friends and feel happy that we have another day. I treasure the view from my hillside. I can see the entire farm. My friends and I watch all the comings and goings. Over the years, our view has changed enormously as not just buildings popped up, but also trees and flowers grew taller and stronger. More people come than ever before and this is good. Our voices are now being heard by more visitors. Our stories can be told. And we can continue to live our lives on this Earth and know peace. We then like to share our message with all who wish to hear. Then, at the end of the day, I look over the hilltops and watch the sun slowly set. I wait for the last bird to quiet for the night. And I stand with my friends in gratitude for the day and the opportunity to have lived this day the best that I could. And I know at the end of this day that I can now rest and renew in the love that holds us all together on this farm we call home. Our home that is so dear to us and that we never take for granted. Our home where we are heard and understood and loved – not for what we can do – but for who we are. And in that knowledge, I rest. Until a new day comes again – as it always does.” – Harriet (in her own words)

Harriet closed her eyes one last time in her physical form today with all of the love she treasured surrounding her. She was 28 years old and had been with us for the past 26 years. We are grateful for all the years we were fortunate to share with her. Harriet was a very unassuming Thoroughbred mare. She lived in a herd of four horses on our hilltop pasture and little barn. They had been a herd for over 24 years. Harriet, Belle, Story, and Viva lived life the way they loved it best. Story was the lead mare and she passed away a couple of years ago. No one else took her role after she left. But Harriet was always the most solid one of the group. She was totally handlable where Belle and Story were not. She was solid in her placement and a friend to everyone. It was as if she were a silent leader in her own way. Holding space for the herd in a very unassuming way. This past fall we grew deeply concerned as both Viva and Belle had health issues where we did not expect them to live through the winter. We were already making some contingency plans on what to do for Harriet if she were left alone as the sole survivor. But Harriet had other plans, as did Viva and Belle who both lived through the winter and are now able to enjoy the first signs of spring grass.

Harriet had never been sick at all until last fall when she contracted a tick-borne disease. She made it through and recovered fine, we thought, until a few weeks later we discovered that she had laminitis as a result of her illness. Again, we treated her and she responded well. But all of a sudden in February, the tell-tale signs of foot pain started to become evident. Radiographs showed she had declined. We moved into action with many different modalities of treatment.  A few weeks ago, despite the valiant effort of the team of people helping her, she worsened. We had her on top notch pain control treatments and no matter our best efforts, we could no longer keep her comfortable. Harriet lay down and let us know her time here with us was over.

“As I hear the last bird sing and feel the wind for the last time, I leave not with sadness but with the comfort of being surrounded by those who know me and love me. I am at peace and ready to move on. I need you to know as one sun sets, the next will also rise. And I will forever hold space deep within my heart for all of you and this precious farm. Walk on.”

Harriet leaves behind her final two herd mates Viva and Belle who carry on together knowing that they have two herd mates watching over them and standing strong. May you run free and painless Harriet into the sunrise of your new day.



Magic - February 26, 2018

Magic, goat

Magic was an incredibly special little goat with a very large and vibrant soul. She had come to the farm in 2008 after literally being “liquidated” from a petting zoo with a bunch of other goats who were no longer wanted by the business. All of them were hauled off to auction, many destined for slaughter. Magic was one of the lucky ones who ended up finding a home instead – and we were the lucky recipients of spending ten amazing years with her.

When Dawn asked Magic what name she wanted for herself, it was Magic who explained to Dawn that she was an old soul and was here to do healing work – a sort of “magical goat.” So, Magic it was and over the years she indeed got to work her special magic on the hearts of many humans and animals alike.

Since her arrival, Magic was paired with one of her goat friends that arrived with her named Fern. Magic Magic and Fern, goatsand Fern were great friends and were such a dynamic duo. We shall never forget the day that Fern passed away two years ago. We knew that Fern was ill and had a disease that would eventually take her life. But she was still comfortable and doing well. We came down one morning to find that Fern had suddenly become very weak. But Magic, put herself next to her friend and propped her up so that she could sit comfortably and eat some breakfast and look around at her world. One friend holding up the other, gently supporting her with all her strength, as the other weakened and began her process of leaving this world. Magic never left her side as we helped Fern leave her failing body. Magic, the old soul, did her healing work with her friend. It touched our hearts deeply and moved us to an even deeper understanding of the power of friendship and love.

Magic was then alone and we paired her up with a sheep who had recently arrived at the farm who was also by herself. The sheep, Daisy, was pretty shy and a bit leery of most everything in life. Once again, Magic worked her charm. It took a while, but soon Daisy had a whole different outlook on life. She started to approach us for treats just as Magic did. She began to trust life a little more each day. And Daisy knew she had a friend in Magic.

Today, Daisy grieves the loss of that magical friend who helped her find that trust in life. And we are sure that Fern was waiting for Magic to arrive where she was lovingly holding a space for her just as Magic had done for Fern.

We already miss the tippy tapping of your little magic feet as well as the sound of your wagging tail beating against the wall as you knew your treats were coming. We miss your goat smile and the way you came running for dinner with such joy. And, dear Magic, we are grateful for the example you lead by with your friendship and your wise old healing spirit. We thank you for all you taught us and for the world of difference you made in the lives of your friends.




Delilah - January 17, 2018

Delilah, American Mini-Pig


Today our hearts are breaking with the unexpected loss of a most amazing little pig. Delilah walked into our lives just a few months ago and changed the course of life in our facility. She was a mini-pig with a huge persona and huge mission in life. She was a bright light who within a short time opened hearts and deepened our connection to each other, to the farm, and I daresay to the heart of humanity itself. Sounds like an exaggeration? Well, if you never met Delilah it would be hard to understand the enormity of what her heart held and how she touched people. Delilah was an angel on a mission. And we were so fortunate to have shared what little time we did together.

One could look at Delilah and feel only heartbreak and questions of why this had to happen the way it did. But to get stuck in that trap would not honor the heart and soul of Delilah herself. She would want us to reach past our sadness and ask us not to question why she left so quickly but instead she’d ask us to look at why she was here to start with. She would remind us how much she loved life and how every little nuance of life amazed and intrigued her. She would beg us to keep searching for every crumb in life and to savor each one. She would implore us to be daring and to explore all we can. She would remind us to stop periodically to meditate and reconnect with the heart of who we are – as she did when she enjoyed a good belly rub. She would tell us to run and leap and jump when we felt like it and to be happy and joyful and willing to squeal with excitement whenever the chance arises. She would demand that we do not wallow in sadness but instead bask in the warmth and appreciation of the love and light of who she is. Delilah would want us to remember her with joy and to live our lives more enriched having known her, because Delilah came with great purpose.

It is never easy to understand or make sense of a young being dying – whether animal or human – it is impossible to comprehend. It seems like an injustice to life. Yet, so many times, these are bright souls who come in to give of their abundance and take leave. It is not ours to understand or make sense of but it is ours to accept their gifts and their magic. It is ours to journey onward with all they left us with and in that way they live on as well.

Our farm will never be the same again as it was before Delilah came to live here. She was our first pig. And with all that she taught us, we are sure she will not be the last. Delilah brought the next wave of change to the farm. She ushered in a new era. In a facility dedicated to elder and hospice care, she brought in the exuberance of youth and rekindled hope and magic. We must not let those die with her. That would be a travesty. So we move on – all the more enriched by a wee little pig who came in and changed our world.

Delilah died after complications from a routine surgery. Nothing was done wrong. Nothing could have been done differently. So many people tried valiantly to save her. But Delilah seemingly had other plans. There is no blame. We are all equally saddened by her loss. From the veterinarian who performed the surgery and who was then aided by the specialists who tried to help after surgery, each of them was touched by her gentle soul. They treated her with nothing but love and kindness and we are truly grateful to all of them. We must not get lost or stuck in asking why it happened. Instead, we must be grateful for the chance to have had her with us and to know there are things we simply cannot understand – and maybe we are not meant to.




Jeremy - January 15, 2018


“To give in return what had been gifted to me was the greatest joy of my life.” – Jeremy

In 1995, Spring Farm CARES was blessed with the arrival of Margot Unkel who found her place in life along with Dawn Hayman and Bonnie Reynolds in becoming the three full-time Directors of the farm. Margot moved here from Idaho with her two horses, two dogs, and a cat. Jeremy was her rescue horse. He was stunningly gorgeous and, at the time, a pretty lost soul. But he found his home in Margot’s heart. And something significantly changed for Jeremy when he arrived at Spring Farm CARES. As Margot built her house and barn, Jeremy watched the progress daily from his pasture along with his horse buddy Tasia. We would tell him that that was HIS barn. He was stunned as he had never had his own barn before. Jeremy would spend the rest of his life taking great pride in HIS barn. Today, his barn feels empty without him. We lost Jeremy unexpectedly today. Although he was 33 years old, he had been very healthy right up until the end. Jeremy was the last of Margot’s animals that she had brought with her from Idaho and we join her both in the grief and in the celebration of Jeremy’s transformation from a rescued horse to one who rescued so many others.

Jeremy loved to share his barn with his friends. Over the years, he became Uncle Jeremy to many youngsters who had endured severe trauma. He raised two donkey babies – Felix and Leo – who are reeling at the loss of their friend/teacher/mentor. He helped neglected pony Charlie find his way back to health and wholeness. He raised orphaned foal Shawnee and helped him find his way in life. Shawnee owes a huge debt of gratitude to Jeremy for what he gave him in life. Jeremy was a huge presence and a gentle soul. He was just the right balance of feisty and wit and charm. He was solid in who he was and how he walked this earth. He was everyone’s friend. He was no one’s fool. He loved deeply. He bonded strongly. He loved this farm as much as we do and felt a part of everything this farm stands for. He was proud. He was loving. And he was steadfast in his devotion to the human who had saved him from despair and brought him not only to safety but to a world where he learned to trust again and be whole. His love for Margot was always evident and ever strong.

Words cannot express how much we already miss him. And there are no words for all the beauty and bounty he brought to our lives and to this farm over the years. He leaves behind his horse companion Ginny, pony friend Charlie, his beloved donkey boys Felix and Leo, his two goats Magic and Luna, and his sheep friend Daisy. He watched over all of them and welcomed them to his barn. We know there was a whole herd of friends waiting for him in Spirit. And we are certain that they were happy to welcome him back into their embrace even as he leaves ours.

Thank you Jeremy. Thank you for all the years we got to share and for all you gave to us. Your beauty and grace are your legacy that shall live on through all of us.

(Below left: Jeremy having winter fun. Below Right: Jeremy meeting baby Luna for the first time.)

Jeremy Jeremy and Luna First Meeting