Sunday, January 31, 2010


A Week of Winter

It has been a week of winter. The frigid air. The hot beet pulp. The horse blankets. The frozen manure. The wind that would not stop. The layers of clothes. The ice. And the worry. The constant worry.

The telephone calls escalate during these weeks of winter. Panic calls. Panic calls that have people on the other end who cannot wait. Their horses are down. Freezing. The sheriff is on the way. What can we do? Will we come and take them? Who can take them? What to do with these horses who were forgotten long ago but just now remembered by their human.

Some of the horses I came in contact with this week were helped and they have crossed. Some have been left to struggle, to my dismay. The owners still not willing to see the depleted bodies and the spirits long gone. Some have been blanketed and had hay put in front of them. Bridged over for now. Until the next week of winter returns. Until the next panic filled telephone call.

Weeks like this take its toll. On them, more than anything. But on us. To those of us in rescue, it is during this kind of a week that we realize that there is no end to the need. There will always - always - be more than we can resuce. It can overwhelm you and cause you to give up. Or dig in a bit deeper. But it takes its toll, that's for sure.

In all of this, however, there was good news. News that brought a smile to my face and a sense of relief to my chest. News that you, too, need to know. The kind of news that brings a tear of gratitude for those who are willing to brave the cold and go outside when all else are hunkering down and staying inside.

So, we all need a week of relief. We need to rest and regroup. We need to warm up. On the inside and the outside. We need to enjoy this week. Be safe during this coming week of reprieve. Pray for those who are still enduring. Barely. And be joyful for those who have crossed. And then remember why we do this thing called rescue. Remember by remembering these three little souls....

Hi Sandy,

Good news! . . . all the kittens were adopted over the weekend! And Liam and Lucy went home together! Yay!!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd

Sunday, January 24, 2010


A Tale of Three Kitties

We are a rescue. If you have ever sat in one of my presentations or taken a tour here with me, I can tell you stories of Magic for hours. You bring up a topic and I've got a story. On and on and on. I've got stories if you've got the time. I love to tell their stories.

But my one single message is this: We are a rescue. We rescue. That's what we do. Be it horses or humans, we rescue. And even though we have ample opportunity to do so, we decline the offers to rescue dogs and cats and llamas and goats and pigs. We specialize in and we are built for horses. And so we rescue horses.

Well, my Mother taught me there is always an exception to every rule. And this past month in the last few hours before the arctic air of winter blew in, one of our steady volunteers responded to a call to rescue some kittens. Yup, we had kittens in the old barn at THE FARM.

I did my best to wait it out and see if Mama was around. But soon I saw that they were not supported by the Mama and so I placed a call to Colleen. And true to her heart, Colleen responded. This woman will go the distance to save a life. And save a life she did.

But I'm not going to tell the story. I've asked Colleen to tell you about her rescue and she has. So read on. And yes, we rescue. We rescue horses and humans. And, oh yeah, just recently we rescued some kitties, too.

Bless you, Colleen! And thank you from those precious little lives you saved!


The email appeared in my inbox on Tuesday, December 1st. It was from Sandy, telling me about some kittens she could hear crying in the old barn and could I come and live-trap them? I’ve done a little rescue and fostering of kittens in the last couple years and Sandy knew this.

Earlier this spring at Refuge Farms, there had been four black and white kittens about three or four months old that appeared in the big barn for a day before scattering to the winds. Wild kitties. Feral kitties*. And later, an adult black and white cat had been seen just once or twice during the summer, walking down the driveway. But nothing since then.

But on this Tuesday in December, two black and white kittens were crying and running out of the barn to the sunshine, then scooting back in and hiding whenever Sandy approached them.

Temperatures had been okay for that time of year – 30’s or 40’s – but it was supposed to get single digit cold and windy in a few days. Kittens can survive if they have that eight pounds of mama’s fur to sustain them, but not alone. And mama hadn’t been seen. And these babies were hungry.

Upon arriving at THE FARM I saw them in the barn door opening. Then they went out into the pasture with the horses. Little one pound balls of fur juxtaposed against 1500 pounds of horseflesh! But ironically, both were just rescues in need. As we walked over, the kittens scampered back into the barn, crying all the way.

We set out canned cat food on a paper plate in front of the riding lawn mower parked inside the barn, and within 30 seconds the first one came out (Liam) and started eating. Barn gloves were on and he was quickly picked up. He did not fuss or resist at all. We put him in a carrier with food and the process started again.

The second kitty, Lucy, took a bit more time. She was scared and hesitant. When I picked her up, she resisted a little but we got her in the carrier, too. They both started eating, and then peered out at us, trembling in fright or cold; most likely a combination of both.

We set off to our good friends at Eau Claire County Humane Association (ECCHA) where one of the workers had offered to foster-care these two. Feral kittens are special needs babies. They need lots of love, petting, and socializing. Important to note – feral kittens are easily tamable up until about six weeks of age. Seven weeks is still do-able, but they need a LOT of care. And once they’re eight weeks or older, it’s very, very difficult . . . these babies were just five weeks old, so we were still in time!

The bitter cold temps hit by that weekend and we held the Applebee’s Breakfast in Menomonie. And then . . . Monday morning I received another email – there was another kitten! I started to reply I would try to leave work early, but in five seconds a flood of thoughts went through my head . . . it was six days later . . . this one was by itself . . . no idea when it ate last . . . it was now six weeks old and harder to tame . . . and then, my last thought . . . “I cannot sit at my computer for five hours while this kitten is outside freezing and hungry”. So I checked with my bosses and said I was taking a “long lunch” and headed once more to THE FARM.

This kitten (Lennie) talked to us – a very nasally, duck-like quacking meow! So adorable! He also took three of us just over an hour to catch. When he ran into Pam’s (gloved!) hands, he hissed and spit, so she got him into the carrier immediately. Lennie was reunited with his brother and sister and I was back to work by the afternoon.

And we were just in time – approximately 24 hours later the first snow storm of the season hit and dumped 14 inches of snow on us! There was no way Lennie would have survived after that.

So fast forward to now . . . Liam, Lucy, and Lennie have spent about eight weeks in foster care and are now beautiful, happy healthy three-month old kittens. Their foster mom, Tammy, told me a little about them:

When she first took them home, they were really petrified; hissing and spitting a lot! Much more so than when we rescued them. During their rescue they were hungry, cold and dazed, but once they were warm and fed, the wild reactions came out!

After several days they calmed down and after several weeks they were socialized quite a bit. Tammy has two other adult foster cats in her home, and they, along with Tammy’s children, all helped socialize the kittens. Lucy caught an upper respiratory infection and for two days had to be given fluids; all the while hoping it did not develop into pneumonia.

Liam – the first one we caught – is the spunkiest of all, and the most playful. He was the first one to become tame. He is not a dominant kitty, but rather, he watches out for his siblings … he is a caretaker.

Lucy – the second one rescued – is really quiet and shy. She hissed the most and even growled on occasion, but eventually came around to trust humans. She is now very playful and even purrs. She loves to be brushed, and in the beginning that was the only thing that would keep her in Tammy’s lap.

And Lennie – our last rescue. At first he was the smallest, skinniest one, but he quickly caught up to his siblings in size! And he quickly warmed up to humans once he was back with his siblings. He is a “water-kitty” – loves getting in the tub when the faucet is dripping and will get all wet while lapping at the drops.

All three like to sleep around your chest or head, or as Tammy will say, “And sometimes on top of your head!” and they will wake you up by licking your face!

If you have been thinking about adopting a kitten, these are easy-going, lovable darlings in need of a forever home. Tammy is hoping that Lucy might be adopted with one of her brothers, as she has such a quiet and shy personality; it would do her good to stay with one of them.

Rescue animals come in all shapes and sizes, and each time you rescue one, it makes you rest a little easier. Driving home after delivering these babies to safety, I slept well.

- Colleen B. of Eau Claire, WI

If you are interested in adopting any of these kittens, please contact the
Eau Claire County Humane Association at 715-839-4747. Please refer to the ID numbers below.

Liam #2179
Lucy #2180
Lennie #2209


* Feral is defined as “domesticated animals that have become wild … escaped, and living and breeding in the wild … a domestic animal that has taken up a wild existence.”

Feral cats are found everywhere across the U.S. - in large cites, small towns, in urban and rural areas everywhere. Where do all these cats come from? Many are kittens born to feral cats. Others were once-tame pets that lost their way, and in time because absorbed into the feral lifestyle. They breed, roam, fight and live a day-to-day existence just to survive.

The non-profit organization “Ally Cat Allies” is dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of cats such as these. They started a program called Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR for short. Simply stated, if there is a feral cat colony somewhere, and there is a caretaker willing to feed and monitor them, the cats are live-trapped and altered at a local veterinary clinic, often times with the help of low-cost spaying programs or in coordination with area shelters. A few days later they are returned to the colony, and the caretaker monitors and feeds them on a regular basis.

Years of research have proven this works. The colony does not grow, it stabilizes and often times gets smaller as the cats slowly grow old and pass, often living up to 10 years of age or more. City governments save money since animal control departments go on less nuisance calls, and shelters save money because they are not holding, then euthanizing unadoptable cats. And the cats live. It’s a win-win all the way around.

For more information on TNR, and saving stray or feral cats, please visit Ally Cat Allies at

Sunday, January 17, 2010


The New Horse, Elizabeth

Yesterday was a very special day here at THE FARM. Several of the volunteers came out and we enjoyed each other, the sunshine, the horses, and the human end of the manure forks. Somewhere in the afternoon we wandered out to the corral. A few pokes and looks and questions and we all agreed that Appaloosa Mare was most certainly carrying a set of tiny hooves in her tummy. The tummy that seems to grow bigger and hang a bit lower every day.

So when it was time to end the working and begin to enjoy brushing and grooming The Herd, these wonderful women pitched in and moved gates and once again became familiar with the human end of the manure forks. A special stall was made in the barn for Appaloosa Mare and the baby, should the need arise.

Horses were moved to varying pastures so that Appaloosa Mare and Gracie could live in the corral without the concern of PONY! herding, as he likes to do. Dude is happier than he thought he could possibly be. Now, it seems, he is the king in a herd of five mares! Yes, he has five women fighting over him! Fun to watch as the mares maneuver him and each other attempting to isolate the single man in their midst. Trying their best to have him all to themselves.

So much was accomplished yesterday. I am grateful for the hands and the backs and the smiles and the cooperation. My day was made much brighter by the presence of these women. Thank you to each of you.

The highlight of the day, however, came with the introduction of our new horse, Elizabeth. It was something I had wanted to do for a while now and yesterday was the day. Early in the afternoon, I asked the women to come into a stall where she stood. All of us placed all of our hands onto her. She was nervous to begin with. So many humans so close to her. So many strangers all around her. So many hands touching her. She was nervous and moving and fidgeting and trying to find a route of escape.

But partway through the reading, she calmed. In fact, she rested her withers and relaxed upon hearing her name. Elizabeth. She knew. And she understood. This mare understood that her name was Elizabeth and so she accepted her name and relaxed. She calmed at the sound of her name. Elizabeth.

Who is this mare? Her story is long and sometimes a bit sad, but I feel the best I can do to tell you about her is to simply present to you the reading from yesterday.

And so with a heart full of hope and healing, I present to you Elizabeth. With a heart full of commitment to support her and help her as best as we can. With a heart full of understanding, I present to you Elizabeth. A very special Minister, indeed. One who takes time to "grow on you". One who takes time to accept you. To trust you. And to believe you when you tell her you will never leave her. She has listened to The Three Promises and will accept them in time. With Elizabeth, it all takes time.

It is I whom am honored to care for her. Elizabeth. And now I introduce her to you . . . .

Your journey brought you here in 2004 – frightened, weary, alone, and uneasy. The very first one to support and befriend you was Ole’ Man Cole.

For these past 5 ½ years, Ole’ Man Cole has stood by your side and unconditionally loved you. He helped you with flies in the summertime and gave you his heat in the winter time. He may have wandered for a few hours to another mare, but he always returned to you – his chosen companion.

With the crossing of Ole’ Man Cole you are once again alone, Miss Bette. His constant closeness is no longer causing you movement and so your legs are beginning to stiffen. You seem a bit withdrawn and we are concerned that you are becoming frightened and weary and alone and uneasy again.

So, Miss Bette, today we leave the past behind us all. Ole’ Man Cole has crossed and we all miss him. Today we celebrate his presence with us but today we also set you free! Today, Miss Bette, you will become Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is a name that tells of character and polish and sophistication and respectful manners. Elizabeth is a name filled with promise and hope and all things good. Elizabeth is a name that speaks of beauty and confidence.

Be happy, Elizabeth! You have known the love of a devoted companion and have a grand future in front of you. We love you and are so very thrilled to have you among us. We treasure you and will protect you. We will surround you with others whom you may select to be your friends. We will support you as you age. And we will give you the time you need to grieve.

Blessings to you Elizabeth! And so right now – RIGHT NOW! – let your future begin!

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd and Elizabeth

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Tributes to The Old Man

It seems that the crossing of Ole' Man Cole has touched far more people than I ever realized. The many messages have arrived via email, telephone, cards, and bulletin board postings. To do them justice, I have decided to publish some of the emails and postings to share with you his power and his reach.

I, for one, was unaware that this quiet, always-in-the-background, reliable, and dependable horse had reached so many so deeply. His humor and challenges are greatly missed. To say he has left a hole in the barn is stating the obvious. I find that I counted on him. Counted on him to wait for me and greet me at the gates. To walk the fenceline to the barn with me. To talk to me and to "encourage" me to hurry with his meal. To push me - sometimes not so gently! - when he wanted out! To challenge me to be faster and better and more alert at times. He challenged me to be reliable in my work. And if I was late, he was very vocal about my tardiness! He was like a Father around here. Quietly in the background. Always watching. Ready to encourage me and to right me when I errored.

Others also saw in him the strength and grace that I thought were rather hidden. Others were touched deeply by this old, worn out horse. Their messages have brought me great comfort. And so I share them with you. May The Old Man creep into your heart this Sunday morning. May the spirit of Cole push at you a little this winter's morning. And nudge you a bit with his head. Nudge you to tell someone you love them . . . To spend a quiet moment in reflection . . . To spend some time in gratitude . . . Let the power of this Horse Minister work in you today.

I share these personal messages as a tribute to the horse we called Ole' Man Cole. But also to allow his power and magic to continue. . . .

"I am so sorry. =( He looked so wonderful the first time I saw him!"

"Oh Sandy! Just saw the BB (bulletin board) on Cole! Don't know what happened, but I just know yesterday must have been such an awful day for you, and for all the other horses in the barn! I'll be thinking of you,and I'm so sorry to hear the news!"

"Dearest Sandy, I am so sad about Cole. He was so special and had such a personality. I cannot imagine that there was or ever will be another such as him. He was so special in so many ways. I think that Andy missed him so much that he wanted him back, for Andy has seen that you have succeeded in doing what he wanted you to do with your life with the help of Ole' Man Cole. Now they both can rest peacefully and welcome each of both Herds as the time is right."

"Sandy, please accept Jim's and my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of Ole' Man Cole. He affected us very deeply. Our daughter-in-law ALWAYS asks about him and says he is her favorite. We just want you to know how sorry we are, but we can't wish him back because he isn't suffering any longer. Bless your heart and Ole' Man Cole's too!"

"You and Cole are the heart of all that is there. Created with love, labor, and endurance. Where would each of them be without the two of you? And Cole is with Andy and the part of the Herd that has crossed and waits for the rest as their time comes as well as ours."

"When we were at THE FARM today we walked over and spoke with Cole and told him how much he was missed."

"I hope the soup will help with the coldness inside. We are all so sad for us all! That wonderful old horse elicited such strong reactions from us! Bless his soul.
I think he will like to be in the middle of the yard where he can spot the Carrot Lady and her pal . . ."

"I am so glad I got to meet Cole. What a tremendous story, Sandy."

"I just read your blog and wanted to say I was sorry to hear about Ole' Man Cole. How wonderful it was for him to be with you his last days."

"Thank you, Sandy, for writing about Ole' Man Cole. It is beautiful - just like him. He was our topic of conversation when the kids came over last night. He was a force in many lives . . . "

"I'm so sorry about Cole. I so enjoyed him - it will be sad not to see him there - such a strong will with that guy - so gentle, loving, giving. Yes, I'm glad he's breathing fine now and running for his own self, but I'll miss seeing him. Not sure why he touched me so much, but he did. They all do in their different ways, some more than others. For me, he was one of the "mores"."

"He (Cole) surely knows that she loves him...he didn't leave right away because of the love bond and I think he wanted to make sure she was okay. The loves goes on and I'm sure he will visit her. And that is the main point - the love goes on, and on."

"I read about Ole' Man Cole and we all cried at our house! What a blessing he was! He is with God now! We all will miss him and we are so sorry!"

"I am so very sad to see the postings about Ole' Man Cole. (My daughter) is asleep but will be so so sad when I tell her the news. She had a thing for that horse. Remember when she chewed the apples for him . . .what a huge heart she has. He is in a happy place. A warm, sunny, loving place. Forever."

"All of our lives have been changed by knowing Cole. I use that name now because he is no longer OLD! He is young and vibrant, running and playing and Andy is probably riding with him this very minute. He was a testimony to acceptance and perseverance and made all of us chuckle a little with his continued interest in "his girlfriends"! Jump over a cloud for me, Cole!!!"

"So sorry to hear about Ole' Man Cole . . but, he is free now."

"Dear Ole' Man Cole. You are free. Again you can gallop and run to your heart's content. You can "chase" all the girls there with you or may "pick or choose". You are free, no more breathing problems, no more sore joints to slow you down. You can eat all that you desire and it tastes wonderful. All the treats you can eat - apples, carrots, alfalfa cubes, and anything else you desire and savor every bite. Dear Man, you are so loved and have brought joy, pleasure, and help to so many people that have come to you so that you could help them deal. Oh, Cole, how much we miss you, but know that you run with good health and all the "Children" that have gone before you and have been waiting for you to join them. It is heart-warming to know that all of you are there and one day even us humans will be there to play with all of you and enjoy your company and all that you still have to give to us. I love and miss you, Ole' Man Cole."

"Hi Sandy, The end is hard, but remember the journey. He ended it at a late age, very old, and in the best hands in the north; yours. Keep up the good work."
Doc Hoglund

"Please accept our sponsorship of the blanket containers for The Herd. We would like to donate them in memory of Ole' Man Cole and with thanks to you for your exceptional care of him. Our family was very taken with him. How do you explain that just one look at Cole and he would stay in your memory?"
Jim & Linda J. of Eau Claire, WI.

The memories of this old horse could fill a book. From the first sight of him to the very last. The years in between were generous with experiences and lessons from this, one of God's best creatures. Selfishly, I want to remember Cole as I saw him just this December 1st:

I took a good hard look at Ole' Man Cole this morning. His left rear ankle is still completely worn out. He has a new girlfriend now. Miss April. Stuck to her like glue. She seems fine with him, too. Go figure. His winter coat is full and long (due to his age) and his eyes are clear. Very little, if any, drainage from his nose. His appetite is good and his poop is a bit loose but its regular. He is fiesty and he jiggles a bit when I rub his ribs. He actually has a layer of fat on him going into winter. This medicine and this respirator have certainly worked their magic on Cole. I've never seen him - in all these years - look so good going into winter! Nice to see the old guy healthy and content. Worth all the work and worry.

The barn is a bit empty. The tears still come at inappropriate moments. The smiles come unexpectedly with a random memory. The blankets remain folded in a corner. The stories are told again and again. His grave is visible from every window. The snow and ice cover what will be a garden of heirloom flowers. The upright tree growing tall next to where Ole' Man Cole now lies is the Andy tree. Creating shade and protection for the tender plants that will adorn The Old Man. The two of them so close. To each other. To all of us.

Thanks, Andy. Thanks, Cole. Don't wander too far away.

Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Bless Your Hearts

I've been through enough New Year's Eves to come to the point of being able to look back. When I was a child, I struggled against sleep but, on a lucky year, was able to watch New York explode on our enormous black and white console television at that magical second. At that single second, I felt magical, as well.

As a young girl, I remember making lists of things I would accomplish in the coming year. Goals, I called them. Unreasonable but goals all the same. I would write and rewrite my lists until I filled the page. Then that page was taped to the mirror of my vanity so that each morning I was given the opportunity to see the list. Until sometime in the summer, the list was removed. I had not achieved my goals and no longer wanted to be reminded of my intentions.

Then as a young adult I entered the phase of celebration right along with the masses of New York. Midnight was a time of toasts and kisses and jubilation! No goals and no lists. Just one huge party of which I was a small part.

This went on for some years and then I became a business woman. A woman with projects and contracts and business expectations. A woman once again with lists although these lists were not goals. These lists were tasks that must be done. Not an option. Those "TO DO" lists without flexibility. New Year's Eve became an opportunity to get a few quiet hours in at my desk without telephones or interruptions. I would chuckle as I drove home . . . went to work in one year and left in the next. Now that was dedication!

During my years as an electronic point-of-sale consultant, New Year's Eve became just another night away from home. Away from my friends and my familiar surroundings. Living in a hotel room or a rented apartment with strange furniture and in strange neighborhoods. Not a scenario that encouraged me to go out and find a midnight celebration. So once again, I would concentrate on the work that awaited me at my client's office. The work I was in this strange town to complete.

After retirement, New Year's Eve became a quiet time here in Spring Valley. I am not a party girl anymore. Not one to think a year begins at one magical drop of a crystal ball. Now I believe that I am starting a new year with each sunrise. New Year's is once again a business event of which I begin the tabulation of numbers in order to portray our successes of the previous twelve months. The feedings on New Year's Eve are no different than on any other evening. There are hugs and praises and closeness between these creatures and myself. But not any more on New Year's Eve than on any other night.

I'm not self-absorbed enough to think that there is not significance to New Year's Eve. To many it is the start of new behaviour. Resolutions, we call them. Many quit smoking or begin new eating habits. Many begin new jobs or new phases of their lives. New Year's Eve is a new beginning. It is a significant point in the calendar year. A date to be recognized and acknowledged. And so before we begin another year of rescue and hard work, I have a few things I need to say on this New Year of 2010 . . . .

We saved lives in 2009. We rescued and we re-homed and, in horrid situations, we euthanized. Horses left behind. Horses dropped off without as much as a note. Horses hoarded. Horses loved and treasured but with owners unable to keep them. Horses wild and unhandled. Horses old and worn out. Horses used and over-used. We saved lives in 2009.

And saving those lives is due to some of the most dedicated people I have ever had the pleasure of working beside. To those listed below, I am eternally grateful. These are the people that have made 2009 a success:

* People willing to adopt and give of their barns and pastures and cares and love. People willing to accept and adopt an animal that comes with baggage. Scars from abuse or abandonment. Or starvation. People willing to take them on and love them as if they were the blue ribbon prize winner at the state fair. Many times these people adopt without viewing the horse - even without viewing a photograph. They adopt on faith. They adopt out of love. Bless their compassionate hearts.

* People willing to foster until adoptive homes are found. Willing to take them in when they are at their worst in behavior and physical condition. To give them cares and feed and shelter and to watch them. Watch them for signs that they will recover. Fostering means giving more than at any time because the horse is at its worst during foster. People who foster give at the worst but many times see the very best. Bless their patient hearts.

* Dr. Brain Kersten, DVM is one of those supports who without I'm not sure how or if we would be able to rescue. Dr. B listens and educates. He teaches me and never, ever tells me that this one is too far gone. At any hour on any day for any issue, Dr. B is there. Bless his kind heart.

* Our medical supporters at the University of Minnesota are a team we are so honored and lucky to have behind us. Their technical skills, their ability to perform, and their compassion make them some of the very best. In 2009, there were times when they spent more effort supporting me than the patient. All done in the name of healing. Bless their talented hearts.

* Volunteers who work at literally any task in order to open doors and support the Missions. People who will make presentations or spread the word of THE FARM. People who will set up tables or haul cases of water. People who will clean barns and hold gates. People who will give of their hearts to these creatures that find their way to Refuge Farms. People who will work for horses that they never even see. Horses that are rescued without ever seeing these barns. The volunteers are our backbone. Bless their big hearts.

* Our farriers are some of the very best around. Dave, our specialized farrier, has worked wonders with April and truly saved her life. And as a sided benefit, I am honored to watch as this big, burly man falls in love with this little horse. She has become "my girl" to Dave and she loves him dearly. What a pleasure to watch!

And our Isaac begins his eighteenth year with me in this new year. Eighteen years of trimming feet where the hooves are rotten. Trimming for hours at a time and treating each horse as if it were the first. Never once denying treatment to a horse, Isaac is as much a part of these Missions as any one of us! Bless these strong, talented hearts.

* Our donors who support our Missions financially allowing us to feed and care for the Sanctuary Herd. And allow us to reach out and rescue, re-home, and resolve issues for horses that will never be a part of the Sanctuary Herd. These donors make removal of cancerous tumors possible. These donors make blood tests and anemia treatments possible. These donors make reconstructive surgery possible. These donors make us possible. Bless their generous hearts.

* Those on the email listing who circulate our postings advertising horses who need homes. Many of these people I do not know nor would I recognize them if they happened to walk into the barns. But these people cross post our emails and so our emails find their way to California and Indiana and Illinois and Montana and Georgia. And in doing so, these email supporters help us to save lives. Bless their keying hearts.

There are many who support our efforts. To list and extend thanks to everyone seems almost impossible. But with everyone pulling together, we manage to do our work of rescue. When I think back over 2009 and remember the maggots and the puss and the flies and the cold and the infections and the wounds and the death and the pain I need to remind myself - and you - the story of the re-homing of The Old Coot. The re-homing of Rosie. The re-homing of funny little Mr. Gelding. To see just one horse move to a new, loving home is worth all of the work and pain.

I've told you many times before, but I have to tell you once again. I was born for this. I am living my life's purpose. And thanks to all of the volunteers, adopting homes, medical supports, donors, fostering homes, and Internet pals I am able to realize my purpose every once in a while. Whenever The Master Plan opens the doors and we are able to save a life, oh . . . . It is worth everything sustained throughout the year.

Thank you to all. Thank you for your faith in The Missions and your support of our efforts. Thank you from me. But more than anything, thank you from them. Those we have rescued. Those we have re-homed. And those we have helped to cross. Thank you for working every single day to save a life.

Bless your hearts.

Wishing all of us a year of peace and purpose,
Sandy and The Herd

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