Showing posts with label animal rescue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animal rescue. Show all posts

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Where the Blind Horse Sings - Book Review

To be in a place of sanctuary is a true blessing.  To be the sanctuary that another individual needs, whether human or animal, is one of the greatest privileges in life.  To know beautiful beings who have helped transform others, and themselves in the process, is often the impetus for ordinary people to become extraordinary instigators of deep community, deep healing, deep peace, and deep joy.

Reading about Kathy Stevens, and her Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS), was more than enough to convince me that sanctuary is something that rescue animals gift to their extended human family.  Through a series of moving vignettes, Stevens illustrates the often unexpected intelligences (including emotional intelligence) that farm animals possess and use in relationship with one another and their humans.  

Who knew that an ornery, previously mean cockfighting rooster could come to crave human contact (eventually choosing to sleep in bed with his rescuer)?  Paulie knew.

And what gives with Rambo (a former sheep terrorist known for inflicting bruises on the unsuspecting)?  When and how did he become the early alert system for animals in peril?  Was this altruism in action?

You will meet a fire survivor (Dino the pony), a duck afraid of water (Petri), a goat found wandering in Manhattan (Oliver), and a blind horse afraid to move even one inch (Buddy).  There will be pigs, cows, rabbits, and a yellow lab named Murphy.

Mostly, there will be love—the kind of love that enables animals and people to live in harmony with those much different from themselves (at least on the surface).  

Where the Blind Horse Sings is a call to compassion.  It will speak to anyone who wishes to offer up sanctuary as her gift to the world.  

Reading this may change the way you see animals and your relationship with them.  It is likely to cause reflection about the sensitivities, the emotions, and the personalities of animals.  

Finally, for anyone at a crossroads in life, just as Stevens was before launching Catskill Animal Sanctuary, this book may raise the following questions: What do you love?  What do you do best?  What do you believe in?  What makes your heart sing?

Learning to move forward without fear made Buddy's spirit sing.  His story brought me to tears.  It also inspired me to move beyond those things that stood between me and my song.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Joy Unleashed Book Review

Joy Unleashed Book Review
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I have always believed that dogs find us when we need them most.  In the case of Jean Baur, that dog was Bella, a young puppy rescued off of Dead Dog Beach in Puerto Rico.  As for me, I was found by Finn, who like Bella, through extraordinary circumstances, has become a bridge to what comes next in life.

The story of Bella and Jean goes far beyond your typical heart-warming adoption account.  Joy Unleashed is about finding true belonging and purpose, about reaching people who were previously unreachable, about providing primal comfort, and about bringing joy just by entering a room.  It is about the kind of human-animal bond that breaks through loneliness, fear, and the types of losses that leave us feeling shaken to our core.

Perhaps the best part of Bella's story is the element of unlikeliness.  Just as Bella was an unlikely candidate for what she became (a highly successful, much-loved therapy dog), nearly every one of us will also face times during our journey of becoming when others deem us unlikely—perhaps unlikely to become something special, or unlikely to make a difference.  The things that made Bella an unlikely therapy dog, her rough beginnings, her issues with other dogs and certain kinds of touch, as well as a general fearfulness, aren't really all that different from the types of things that keep many individuals from experiencing acceptance or success.

Both Bella and Jean needed something that only the other could provide.  As Jean wrestled with the loss of her job, with being uprooted from her home, and with starting over at the age of 65, she found that she and Bella complemented one another, and that they each enabled what would have been impossible to accomplish alone.

This is a book for anyone who has ever found herself unmoored and in need of a new direction, a new destination, a new love, or a new place of belonging.  This is a story that just may inspire you to be found by the animal who is waiting to become, in concert with you, joy unleashed.

I was drawn to this book because my rescue dog, Finn, and I are in the process of becoming a registered therapy dog team with Pet Partners (the organization through which Jean Baur and Bella have served).  It has been affirming of our new mission to celebrate all that Bella and Jean have accomplished even as we are joining together to bring comfort and cheer to those in need of a little extra tender loving care.

One of my favorite parts of this read was when the author realized that the heart of therapy teamwork is really about showing up and being present in ways that dogs, by nature, know how to do best.  It was at that moment that Jean Baur reflected on how she needed to become more doglike.  Isn't that the truth, that in learning how to offer up what dogs so innately, and beautifully, communicate—that we are not alone and that we are wonderful just the way we are—we become more human.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rescue Me


How does a dog like Golden Girl end up in a shelter?
Several years ago, when I had just entered an exhilarating phase of my career, the pastor of my church, who was also a member of my advisory board at work, said something I’ve never forgotten: “You are a rescuer, Diana.”

It seems this man of the cloth saw something in me that I had not yet discovered for myself.  At the time, Pastor M. was speaking about how I had this need to save everyone who was struggling in life.  So much of my creative energy was invested in finding ways to help at risk youth, the illiterate, victims of any kind of violence, or anyone who was experiencing hopelessness.  To see someone suffer split me wide open to the core.

I said back then that I never wanted to become cynical or callous in the face of need, for I saw so many individuals burn out over the years and grow hardened.  I suspect caring deeply, in the face of overwhelming odds, can lead one to grow protective layers of defense.  Each of us, in painful situations, finds our own way of coping with that which we cannot change.

Why do I share this?  I suspect it is on my mind this morning as I reflect on the kind of rescue in which I am primarily engaged in this season of life: animal rescue.  It is heart-breaking work that often crushes those who give it their all.  At the same time, there are incredibly beautiful moments of fulfillment.

In attempting to save the lives of horribly abused and neglected animals, I meet the most amazing people.  Though some of them are scarred by years of seeing things that keep them awake every single night, every rescuer, though perhaps no longer whole in terms of peace of mind, reminds me of the goodness that is an antidote to some of the horrors present in the world today.

I just published a review of Dogtripping by David Rosenfelt.  David and his wife, Debbie, have saved the lives of over 4,000 dogs.  They have opened up their home to more than 300 dogs that didn’t have a chance of survival.  The animals they rescue are headed for the kill chamber mainly because they are old or have some type of medical need.

Thank heavens for those who choose to alleviate the suffering of others.  May we appreciate the sacrifices made in the name of compassion and may we be the comfort in someone’s day today.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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