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









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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs, and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway - Book Review

Rescue Road Book Review
Heading northward the other day with a vanload of precious cargo, rescue dogs being transferred to prime locations where their adoption chances were vastly improved, I got to thinking about the individuals who do this on a grander scale throughout the year.  What would it be like to be the individual who has driven a million miles to save 30,000 dogs?  Who could sustain that kind of commitment for the long haul?

The who is Greg Mahle and Rescue Road is the inside story of what it takes, week in and week out, to give thousands of dogs a stay of execution.  Animals in high-kill shelters in the South, facilities that kill four out of five dogs due to overcrowding or lack of resources, would have no chance without the network of dedicated volunteers who make it their mission to move dogs away from a sure death via the last hope highway.

When the author, Peter Zheutlin, adopts a lab that had ridden its way to him on Mahle’s eighteen-wheeler, he becomes curious about the intricacies of the rescue operation.  We make the journey with Zheutlin as he rides along with Mahle to immerse himself in the grueling, and yet joyous, work of uniting homeless dogs with their new families.  Over the course of a week, we travel from Ohio to the Gulf coast.

Along the way, we meet the inspirational heroes without whom there would be no future for these abandoned animals.   This is book that celebrates happy endings without glossing over the realities of rescue work.  Anyone who loves dogs, or loves the people who make it their life’s work to save animals, will appreciate this book.

As one who is involved in the rescue mission, I seek out books that will inspire me to continually do more and be more.  Though you and I will most likely never drive one million miles, and though I transport smaller numbers of dogs, the message we can take to heart is this: There is something we each can do to make a difference in the lives of desperate beings.  How we do it is a very personal choice.  Whether we adopt, or volunteer, or donate, or educate, or transport, it all adds up.  The sum of our actions is significant.  I encourage you to read Rescue Road and then to help spread hope wherever it is needed most.






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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Book Review of Will's Red Coat by Tom Ryan

Will's Red Coat by Tom Ryan
What would happen today if we gave ourselves over, wholeheartedly, to a hurting soul?  What if we could let go of all expectations and simply concentrate on pure giving?  Tom Ryan, author of Will's Red Coat, lived the transformational answer to these questions when he responded to a Facebook post about a soul in desperate need.  Little did Ryan know at the time how that seemingly straightforward act of kindness would dramatically change him and forever alter the course of his life.

On the surface, this book would appear to be yet another memoir of a man and his dog.  Oh, but this is so much more than that.  There is a man, yes -- Ryan, the New York Times bestselling author of Following Atticus.  And there is a dog -- a deaf, mostly blind, senior dog that is raging against the dying light.  But this is not your typical rescue story of human saves animal, or animal saves his person.

This is a story of finding the life you have always wanted, and needed, by submitting to that which you would never have knowingly chosen.  Up front, Ryan thought he was providing a temporary last home for a dog that was expected to live only a very short time.  In essence, it was a hospice situation.  Ryan was offering Will a place, and space, to die with dignity.

Things are never this simple, though, are they?  This weak, angry dog wasn't ready to die without a fight, without experiencing the underlying beauty that is so easy to miss in life.  The heart of this book is how two souls, Tom and Will, became the beauty they were each seeking.

As an animal welfare volunteer who deals with abandoned, forgotten souls on a daily basis, I found myself deeply moved by the profound truths of this poignant story.  The truths you will discover when you read this book are these:
"It's never too late to trust again, to love or be loved again; and it's never too late to live again."  ~ Will's Wisdom
 Yes, this book will make you cry, but the tears will be joyous and healing.  They will be a celebration of the triumph of a life lived in full.  I found this book to be an incredibly beautiful tribute to what happens when you become who you were always meant to be.





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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.



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The Review This Contributors

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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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