Monday, January 26, 2009

Change, Change, Change... by Woody

Wow, what a week!

The longer I live, the more I realize that there are many things which are not in my control. This is especially true with the work that we do. Since we have committed to caring for this unique segment of the animal world, that is senior and special needs, we have set ourselves up to experience change on a very regular basis.

I, for one, tend to resist change, while Dee is much more able to roll with the punches, and go with it. Part of this may have been losing my father at the tender age of 7, and that fear of having things taken away is something I still much confront regularly, but I am quick to see the divinity of our sanctuary as a perfect classroom for me to learn the skill of embracing change, of welcoming change, of having faith in change. I would not have the great Dad I do had my father lived, and while I, of course, would never choose to lose my Father, the fact remains that when my Mom chose to remarry, I got my Dad, and for the past 35 years I have been so very proud to be one of his beloved children. I guess it worked out the way it was supposed to, but it all began with change.

This past week, change was upon us in two profound ways.

Change first knocked on our door when Spike, our beloved donkey, started to show the all too familiar signs of colic. He was up and down, up and down, and we were concerned. Dee checked on him regularly, and late in the day we made the decision to take him to the vet, knowing we did not have the funds budgeted, but committed to at least try to reverse what we going on.

We took him to Loomis Basin, and the staff immediately worked to get him comfortable and see what was going on. They discovered he did, in fact, have the classic symptoms of colic. The doctor cleared his colon, emptied his stomach and filled it, instead, with mineral oil and water, and hoped that an aggressive course of IV fluids through the night might be enough to get the blockage softened up and moving. We left late that evening, but got the call at 5 AM the next morning that he had worsened, and that it was time to help him along. Dee and I drove the short distance to the vet, and then walked our dear boy from the stalls to the gated area where we said goodbye, and with a simple shot, he was pain free, and on to the other side.

Spike was special in every way. Not just because he was our only donkey, but because he had personality. He was a talker, a lover with the ladies, so very playful with his best friends, Handsome and Star, and a perfect gentleman to the kids and adult human beings who just wanted to rub his ears, or scratch his back. It was a delight to see him go from broken hearted to happy go lucky. To see him run after knowing he was abandoned in a back yard with hooves so long he could barely stand. He had a great finish, 14 months of fabulous food, constant affirmation, friends to play with, and guardians who adored him. That is what we are all about… a great end to life. We may not have any control on what happens before they come here, but we do once they arrive, and we want their time here to be really, really great.
Spike Playing with Handsome

Fearlessly First for Food

After that, change knocked again when our Ranch Manager and dear friend, Guy, together with Dee and I, decided it was time for a change, and it was time for a new challenge in his life.

This is not an easy place to live and work. The days are long and it is a 7 days a week, 365 days a year job that can wear on the best of us. We have been blessed to have relationships with some amazing people, but we would not be where we are today without the selfless efforts of Guy. He was paramount in getting our non-profit determination, spearheading our fundraising efforts, staying in touch with a host of community and civic contacts, all this in between all the feeding, mucking, and cleaning he did. He made an extraordinary difference to us, the animals, and all those he has come into contact with, and we will miss him greatly, but wish him great success and good fortune in the days and weeks and months to come.

Guy and Tank

Guy Happily Towing Off the Old Lawn Tractor

Friends Forever

I am ready for a little more predictable, less dramatic week!!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Patience ~ Tuesday's with Maggie

Patience is not a virtue that I was born with. This is evident in the fact that, as a child, my parents wouldn’t tell me and my brother when we were going to Disneyland until we were actually pulling into the parking lot. Or, when they would tell me to go back to bed when I would wake them up at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning to open presents. My lack of patience was put to the test recently at the farm.
It was at the end of a rather busy and labor intensive weekend. I was pooped. And it seemed to me that all the animals decided to be pains-in-the-you-know-whats all at the same time. Ferdi was throwing his head at me, the horses weren’t listening to instructions, dogs were barking, geese were honking…..ARG! My first instinct was to flick Ferdi on the nose and then to chase the horses away so I could get my work done in peace. But just as soon as that thought entered my head, it was gone. Patience. I must have patience. Just because I am having a grouchy day doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Most especially, the animals. They don’t understand where I am at. They only know that dinner time is close at hand and they are anxious to get to it.
Being around the animals has taught me more about patience than I realized. Even when a horse bucks me off (3 times so far) I can’t be mad. I must have patience.
I am constantly reminding myself to be this way with humans as well. Although, this can be a rather daunting task. I need to remind myself that not everyone is having a good day, a good week, or even year (insert the “Friends” theme here) and that I need to be patient with people. I am trying. I am learning so many lessons from being around these animals. Patience is opening up your mind and taking in all of life’s lessons whether they be big or small.
Now, if I can only learn to be patient with my weight loss. Do you think I can lose 40 lbs by February?! Patience, Margaret…..patience.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Woody Who?

I am delighted to finally get into this blogging thing, and as those who have followed the CFB blog with any regularity know, the blogging responsibilities are now shared amongst the 4 board members (Dee, Margaret, Guy, and I), and since I am actually tardy on my first turn, this is what we long time bloggers like to call a MUB (Make Up Blog).

I actually have a lot to say, but will spread my thoughts and feelings out over several entries in the comings weeks, and for this MUB will simply talk about what the sanctuary means to me.

If you would have told me that in 2009 I would be part of a team that was running an animal sanctuary, for senior and special needs animals no less, I would have told you that you were not all there. Please understand that I have always appreciated animals, and growing up my family had a small Lhasa Apso, Dolly, whom I loved, and friends had dogs and cats, and therefore I have been around animals, but I never had what one would call a passion for animals, and so I would have never suspected that the true purpose of my life would take this form. I think the safe bet would have been that I would have followed in my brother John’s footsteps, go to West Point, and be a career Army officer. But instead, I am here, along with Dee, Guy, Margaret, and 67 of our closest friends (i.e. 17 horses, 16 dogs, 12 fowl--6 chickens, 5 geese and Dave the Duck, 10 farm animals--4 goats, 3 pigs, 2 steers, and Bea the sheep, 10 bunnies, and 2 amazing cats), doing work that literally makes my heart and soul sing, and I am left in a state of complete gratitude, while at the same time being reminded that life really is a divine and wonderful mystery.

Pretty cool stuff.

So needless to say, I think A Chance For Bliss is truly hallowed and holy ground. This is my church, and everyday I get to go to mass and celebrate life in all its dazzling variety. In the nine years since Deanna and I began caring for animals, I have been privileged to witness broken hearted beings be completely re-born. I have seen anxious creatures remember what its like to trust. I have seen forgotten animals, in the later stages of their lives, suddenly remember what its like to play and act like young rascals again. I have seen pure thanks in the eyes of so many, even in their last moments when we have held them as they moved on to another place and time.

I love this place. I love what we do, and having found my calling, I move confidently forward in partnership with my beloved wife, a wonderful family, great friends, and feel like the richest man in the world for there is nothing else I need.

Thanks for checking in…

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pay it forward.......

David ("Woody") has been on a mission to obtain donations from businesses near and far. Grants, gifts and donations of goods... Well, he happened upon a company called 'FreshPet'. I am not sure of the total details, but I was sent on a driving task to San Francisco to obtain the donation of 111 cases of pet snacks and food!!!

Linda Beenau of Wonder Dog Rescue of San Francisco

I had that food crammed into the car so tight in spots, I swear I heard a burp from being too full. What a blessing it is to have such folks donate to us, THANK YOU FreshPet!!!

Linda runs a dog rescue like I mentioned, Wonder Dog Rescue, and she has been such a giving person to the many critters that find their way to her to be placed into a new permanant home. As most rescues can tell you, funds are tight, but even in this challenged time, Linda still donates to OUR charity. Linda is making a dream come true for the cutest child back East (Matthew) by organizing the transfer of one of her pups (Harry) to the East coast! By law, A Chance for Bliss cannot donate to a non-charity, and Linda's 501c3 is still in the process. However, upon hearing about Harry and Matthew, Woody, Deanna and I got out our personal checkbooks and gathered $100.00 to donate for the journey of this soul. If you would like to see this love in action, please see Linda's news page. The video postings are absolutely precious. Linda, once again, you are an angel and it is such a wonderful feeling inside to know you....

Can you see the smiles in the below picture??? Sunshine, Harmony and Trix!!! We knew about the water fetish of Harmony and Sunshine, but the minute Deanna turned on the hose to rinse the back patio, Trix jumped in so fast, it was so adorable!!! I think I will check the doctor bill to make sure they actually did the surgery, she does NOT act like it...

Sunshine * Trix * Harmony

Just a side note, my little Pinky made it through the dog door today!!! She is the only one that simply refuses to have ANY part of it, but today made it happen. I squished her so much, I think her eyes buldged out of her head just a little bit more! tee hee....

I look forward to the weekend and the many more hours with our critters on a daily basis, thanks Deanna and Woody for this opportunity....

Until we meet again

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friendship ~ The ultimate bliss (Tuesday's with Maggie)

I’d like to believe friendship is about caring about someone unconditionally despite another’s quirks, habits, annoyances, or disabilities. I think horses subscribe to this theory as well. This observation came to me so clearly on a special day a few weeks ago.
Jake came to our farm, afraid of us, unsure of the other horses and relied on his buddy Buck to be by his side. After awhile, Buck and Jake were separated to different pastures. Let me back up and tell you that Jake has stringhalt (A nervous disorder in horses characterized by spasmodic movements in the hind legs that cause the feet to rise abnormally high). This is a disability that gives Jake a quirky walk (or as we like to call it “his dance”). Soon we found Jake, standing by himself in his new pasture not socializing with the other horses, or with us for that matter. We tried to assure him that we loved him and that we were there to help him but he still was distant. Until Dr. Bell, DC was kind enough to donate his chiropractic skills to help Jake. Dr. Bell would massage and adjust Jake’s spine. Soon Jake was receiving regular visits from Dr. Bell and I honestly believe it was those visits that made Jake realize that we really did care for him.
Days later Dee gave me amazing news. Jake had found a friend. Zulu and Jake had become fast friends. They hung out together in the pasture, comforted each other, and would call to each other if separated. Jake has now become part of his herd and is thriving. Now, he is one of the first ones to the gate to give a sweet hello nicker. My heart just melts. I love my Jake.
Coincidentally, while this transformation was taking place, I had learned about a wonderful group that also encourages friendship and acceptance. A Touch of Understanding ( gave a presentation at my work and it really opened my eyes to the wonderful work and ideals that they are promoting. ATOU’s mission statement is “to encourage acceptance and respect for all individuals and to minimize the discrimination and misunderstanding experienced by people with disabilities.”
How amazing it is to find that in our little herd, Zulu had accepted Jake despite his disability. Zulu doesn’t see Jake as a horse with a disability, just that he is a good friend. What wonderful lessons animals can teach us! I have so much more appreciation for ATOU and what they are doing because they are promoting what Zulu already knew. How to be a friend to someone who may be just a bit different or who may have a disability.
I encourage you to visit ATOU’s website, they are a fantastic group of people!! And I hope that you remember when you see someone standing alone in their pasture, that you find the kindness in your heart just to be a good friend. That may be all they need to join the herd.

Discouraging News ~ Posted by Deanna

As I spent the entire day outside yesterday, I I awoke this morning to find the following e-mail that Dr. Schmidt had sent yesterday afternoon:

Hi Deanna,

As I think I told you I posted Trixie’s tumor photo and histopathology results on VIN (Veterinary Information Network). I wanted a consultation as to prognosis and treatment for this type of tumor. Two boarded veterinary oncologists responded.

Unfortunately, the consensus is that this is a pretty bad type of tumor. It has a very high rate of metastasizing to other organs. It tends to be more aggressive than the more common skeletal form of osteosarcoma.

Chemotherapy can help slow the tumor down, but it is not curative. Chemotherapy would consist of 3-4 doses of a potent drug called Adriamycin three weeks apart. My best estimate would be that she could live another 3-5 months with chemotherapy.

Sorry to be so pessimistic and gloomy, but this does not look encouraging.


Jeff Schmidt, DVM
Arbor View Veterinary Clinic

My reply to our doctor and friend:

Dr. Schmidt,

Thank you so much for your research efforts - very discouraging, but understandable.

Due significantly to our financial situation, we will choose not to employ chemotherapy. Besides, that doesn't buy much time and the side effects are another concern. If we had it to do again, I'm not sure we would have put DeeDee through the chemo.

If nothing else, Trixie feels greatly better for at least the time being. As her surgical scars heal, she has become even more lively and animated than upon arrival. We will simply shower her with love (and Essiac) and take it one day at a time.

* heavy sigh *

Sincerely, we thank you enormously for everything you do on our behalf.

While I truly believe in the power of intention and have begun to Essiac regimine, I have to admit I cried. Trixie is so happy and energetic and ALIVE right now. But perhaps that is what it is all about. Quality not quantity.

I have to admit that my emotions seem to be out of whack sometimes. I haven't decided exactly why ~ all of the losses we've experienced, the sometimes gruesome details we deal with, the fact that I have been actively attempting to mature from the emotional young woman I once was (self-help is my main interest and I have listened to hundreds [literally] of audio books), or the fact that I am simply aging and approaching another, interesting phase in a woman's life ~ most likely a mix of those things. I don't cry at times that I think I really should and do cry when I know it won't help anything. And when I do cry, I cry for everything in recent history and it feels like a luxury to let it loose. It sometimes moves into anger. All of those "Why" questions...

WHY is this sweet, loving and grateful pup who has so many friends and people pulling for her experiencing such a situation while someone like Charles Manson continues to live on and on, costing us all year after year, like it or not. A boss once told me that the "Fair" only comes once a year, and that is in August. I know better than to even use the word. We've all seen the corrupt profit and the truly good struggle and suffer.

How can I take it gracefully? Sometimes I just can't. But I won't express my sadness, anger or frustration around the girl. She will receive only the best I have to offer. I wish I had a photo of her last night, recumbent on my lap, allowing (and enjoying) my fingers to softly stroke her tummy and gently trace the outlines of the incision. Loving and blessing the good work that has been done. She is grateful. I feel it.

As Guy so eloquently summarized, they take what they are dealt incredibly well.

I'm done crying. For now, all is very, very well. She is doing great RIGHT NOW. I joked with Woody last night that Trixie had a radical mastectomy and is a Breast Cancer Survivor (well, we're working on it, anyway).

A Wreath for Trixie

Playing with Uncle Guy Today

Friday, January 9, 2009

Amazed.... By Guy

Trix Contently Nurses and Kneads Her Bed

As a recent surgical patient for two separate cases, I know what pain is and how much one can take before we (well, I) pop a pill or down a shot of liquid pain killer. Every 4-6 hours as prescribed was not far off, but sometimes, trust me, I was counting the seconds. In the case of our dear Trix, being cut from top to bottom and hardly a whimper, how stoic can one get. When Trix got released from Arbor View Monday night, she was a tad groggy, but ready to go. She got home and Deanna and I were going over options to allow her some privacy and quiet space to relax with. We started with my bedroom and bed, but she stirred for a few hours, yet, got in a few 20 minute naps. She then moved into the office to be with her mother(Deanna) and before long, that little tyke was on the move, and has been ever since…..

It just amazes me sometimes to see the kids get hurt, sometimes rather rough. Some need stitches, some go onto a regime of antibiotics, maybe a pain killer or two, but all and all, they take what is thrown at them and run with it. Deanna said something the other day… People, we know that we can call in to work sick, cough cough….. Animals, well, they have no real agenda but a bit of food and some play time, then off to a nap. They are not expected to punch a clock, nor take advantage of a slight cold/cut. With the amount of animals on the Ranch, one is bound to need a little special attention in some form or another, our job, to assist and make that ‘special attention’ happen.

We would love to have ya’ll come out to the ranch, check things out, and help us administer that ‘special attention’ to the beloved animals that have entrusted us to be a part of their lives…..

Have an awesome weekend and hope to see you soon…..


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Greetings! ~ from Margaret

As you know from Dee's previous blog, I have been bestowed the honor of composing our Tuesday's blog (Tuesdays with Maggie? Has a nice ring doesn't it?) Below is one that I had been thinking of for awhile, it's a bit old timewise but still relevant. I look forward to sharing my insights and stories from our little farm. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read about our wonderful world.

Peace on Earth.
Peace be with you.
Peace out (?!)
I’ve heard these phrases before but what does peace really mean? Have you ever experienced it? I have indeed experienced peace and would like to share my experience with everyone.
It was last October. We had just gotten back to the farm from our charity ride in Cool, California. It had been a day of blissful chaos and upon our return there were still the daily chores to be done. As we frantically attempted to get it all done before the sun went out for the day, all I could think of was the shower I was going to have when I got home, how tired I was, how sunburned I had gotten, and how the last thing I wanted to do this day was pick up the pastures.
As Mary (Dee’s wonderful friend!) and I were cleaning up one of the pastures, and the sun was holding on to the bitter end giving us the golden glow of a Fall sun to work by, Mary says to me “Look! Don’t they look peaceful?”
And there it was. Peace.
During our haste to get the chores done we fed the horses in the pasture as we were cleaning. It had become suddenly very quite and when we looked over, there were our friends, our horses, heads down to the ground enjoying the fabulous dinner that they look forward to every day.
It was so quiet. You could feel the contentment in the air. Some of the horses (as they often do) were sharing their piles of food with their herd buddy and for a moment all was calm. It was at this moment that I noticed the beauty of the day. The low sun casting an orange glow on our farm, the familiar sound of happy munching when all our animals are fed, and the Canadian geese that have chosen that moment to fly over in their familiar V-formation as if by queue.
It was then that I was reminded why I have chosen to work at the farm: to provide God’s creatures with Peace. The days at the farm are filled with chores, chores, and more chores. It is a never ending battle. But this day I didn’t mind it. If it meant that I was helping to provide a wonderful environment for these animals, our friends, to have a wonderful forever home and to not live in fear, to not live hungry, to not live alone, then I knew I had found my calling. I had found peace in my heart.
I’ll never forget that day. It has changed me profoundly. I now take the time each day to observe and find peace. Whenever my life gets hectic I try to think back on that day and the feeling that it brought to me.
I have found peace in everything at the farm: cats snuggling together in the sunshine; geese floating in our pond; Sunny (the wonder dog!) barking at the hose; Handsome (the wonder pony!) nipping at his herd mates to get them to play; the bunnies running over, under, around their bales of hay; the low clucks of our chickens scratching in the yard; and my favorite, a nicker from one of our horses when they see me.
I want to especially thank Mary, for pointing out the obvious. And for that, I am eternally grateful. If you ever wondered what peace is like, please come visit us and witness it in all it’s glory for yourself.
And with that, I wish everyone peace in 2009.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Deanna ~ Welcome 2009!

A new year, new energy and new changes.

I have added my name to the title because (and I am so happy to announce!) our blog is expanding from a soloist to a quartet with guests sprinkled throughout. Woody, Guy and Margaret have each agreed to blog weekly, which will not only keep the information flowing, but from a variety of perspectives. Staff and clients of the Sacramento Easter Seals Help to Recovery program will also participate in the rotation and I assure you that their sharings will be "must reads" as there are many talented and fascinating people associated with the program. Other regular, dedicated volunteers will also have the oppotunity to share from their experiences at the ranch.

Now for a speedy trip through November's highs and lows...

November 1 ~ Goodbye to Woody the Poodelle
Clearly, Woody had one of the lowest quality of life experiences of any animal in our care and he is in a far better place. Woody was a part of our crew for 19 months, lost both eyes one at a time and never seemed to have a sense of balance. He had to be hand-fed as he just couldn't keep his radar on his bowl. He came to us after two years on an apartment sized patio... He wasn't in pain, but life was never the same after his Momma died. He may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.
A Hairless Woody with Pudgie (I'm a Clipper Clutz!)

Typical Woody Mayhem

Woody's Winter Do

November 8 ~ Additional Pasture Space!
Good friends and neighbors, Ann and Fred Smallwood, offered use of a fenced space just over one acre in size, which has become a retirement pasture. We're rotating the residents a bit and are so grateful for the offer. Fred was happy to have less area to mow and the previous residents (another neighbor's llamas) were picky eaters. Still, I think Fred was surprised to see what five horses can do to such an area during the Winter months - no mowing, for sure. The kids lucky enough to spend time at the Smallwoods' have a great view of horses being ridden at the Traylor Ranch Nature Reserve, which is great for their spirits. The Smallwoods' daughter, son-in-law and grandson currently reside in the guest house, which has been an added blessing.
Happy Horses

Spike and DJ Became Fast Friends

November 9 ~ One Dog and Two Horses Arrive
Cora, a black and tan Miniature Dachsund arrived as a "short-term boarder" ~ um, sure. Have you met my husband? It seems that the gentleman who adopted Cora through Doxie rescue could not keep her. He communicated this to the rescue, but dropped her off at Sacramento County Animal Control instead of returning her to rescue. We bailed her out. She was slated to stay until after Thanksgiving at which time transportation was available, but Cora showed Woody that she had other plans. She's not quite senior yet, but she had been bumped to several homes, which is always hard on kids. Still, my personal belief is that the spell she's cast over Woody is due in part to the fact that his eldest brother, John (a two-star General in our great ARMY), is a Dachsund man. They love each other dearly and that's really all that matters.
"I Love My New Dad"

That same day, two horses were delivered by the daughter of their owner. The owners, who are elderly, were in over their heads and had an empty fridge. Wilbe is a "twenty-something" sorrel QH with a badly swayed back and chronic laminitis who was a rescue case when he came to them. His sight is faulty, as well. His feet feel better with a strict diet and proper supplements and now he fancies himself a ladies' man. So cute.
So Named by the First Rescue for What He Someday "Will Be"

The second horse is a seven year old Tennuvian mare, and I emphasize MARE, that we have renamed Cuervo, Spanish for raven. Princess! Attitude to spare on her BEST days. She is jet black, gorgeous and a good ride. On the ground, she is nice when there is something in it for her, but can give you heels and squeals with a swat from her tail in a blink. She needs work, for sure. She came to her previous home pregnant and even more hormonal. We were told that they purchased formula for the foal and prepared the .38 but were talked out of it. It took eight people to separate the foal from the mare at weaning time. So far, she and I get along pretty darned well. Cuervo has amazing potential (famous last words).
"It's All About Me!"

November 11 ~ A Most Generous Donation
A kind business associate, Trygve Mikkelsen, visited the ranch in person to deliver eight assorted gates that were manufactured by his company, Western Square, in Stockton. These gates were considered seconds due to slight (and I mean SLIGHT) damage, dings and scratches. Going above and beyond, Trygve asked his welder to add a hinge system to a few of the gates so that we might use them to construct small a containment pen, which we have. To further illustrate just how thoughtful Trygve is, he included cans of touch-up paint. It was a pleasure to meet the man I'd heard so many nice things about, along with his dear pal, Monty, before they headed home to the Bay Area. The animals bring out the best in people - I can't believe how far Trygve went out of his way to deliver these gates and see our ranch.
What a Beautiful and Welcomed Site!

Woody Introduces Trygve to Manny While Zulu Looks On

Romeo Montague ~ "Monty"

November 17 ~ Mobile Grooming
Beloved volunteers Samm, Cerena and Stacey came armed with all the equipment to give Guy's pup, Pinky, a REAL groomer's clip and took care of everyone else's nails and ears while they were at it. Pinky was obviously proud of her new do and very happy to receive the kind of royal treatment that she KNOWS she deserves.
Thank You, Miss Samm

November 22 ~ Mobile Chiropractic!
At our first Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce mixer, Guy and I met the warm and friendly Dr. Garry Bell of Bell Chiropractic, who offered his services to the animals in our care. We were thrilled by the offer and told him about Jake, the Mustang afflicted with stringhalt. Jake was spooked by the sound of the activator, but made great progress in each of the three vistis we've had to date. His gait may not have changed significantly, but his overall demeanor and sociability have improved greatly. What a gift. Thank you, Dr. Bell!
Once More, No Photo - Visit Number Two with Margaret

November 23 ~ Trim, Trim, Trim
Although I don't have photos to prove it, our adored and trusted barefoot trimmer, Rachel Chao, was here with apprentice, Randi, and trimmed until her back could take no more. Both new special cases, Ranger and Wilbe, were trimmed with visible relief. Randi performed some bodywork on Wilbe who was appreciative of the attention. We have the utmost faith and trust in Rachel and the horses sense her integrity. Rachel is right up at the top of our list of blessings.

November 25 ~ Our HTR Friends Visit
We got to meet new staff members this visit! Prem came to take photos and was such a pleasure to spend time with. I am eagerly anticipating their participation in our blog. Woot! Woot!
Tom & Adia

Prem & Dusty

Marcellos & Zulu

Kim & Daisy

Heather & Bugs

Ferdi is a Rock Star!

Why Didn't We Do This Sooner?

November 27 ~ Thanksgiving
Once more, limited photos. The only shots I snapped that day were of our trip to visit the parcel that we hope to someday expand our sanctuary to. More about that later - it is truly the biggest wish of our wish list which I have yet to publish. Our talented cook, Guy, prepared the majority of our feast on his own and we shared our holiday with our newest Board Member, Margaret, as well as my dear Mom, Bev, and the fantastic Jane St. Croix, who gives so much of her talent to support our work. It was a real "Chance for Bliss" holiday and we were very present with our gratitude and abundant good.
* heavy sigh and smile *
Guy Loves Trains (good thing, huh?)

Amazing Views - Please Help to Envision Us Here!
We Took Tom & Jim to Visit the Parcel, Also

November 29 ~ Bartley Brothers Volunteer
Woody's older brothers, Jim and Tom, spent a day at the ranch helping with various chores. The three are very tight, but Jim and Tom have spent too many years doing physical jobs for time at the ranch to be a big draw to them. Still, they had a good time working along side their brother and a couple of special projects were completed (like protecting the neighbors' trees from gnawing ponies!) Once more, our photographer was off doing other things (the nerve!) and only this silly shot was snapped. I'm including an unrelated shot of the brothers for fun.
Jim and Tom Ride on the Poop Wagon!

Male Bartley Family Guide
(counter clockwise from bottom)
(now) MG John R. Bartley (eldest),
Dustin Bartley, next to and son of Tom Bartley (third born),
Lary Bucher (Best Man and best friend),
Michael Slavec (my only sibling),
Jim Bartley (second born),
(Step) Dad Richard Brintzenhofe (85),
All Surrounding the Love of My Life
(and the lives of so many critters)

We've had a big day today, so I'll save December's updates for my next turn at the keyboard. I've got puppies who need their Momma.