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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