Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Easter Seals Visit ~ Video blog

Due to the cold and dreary weather, we brought the party inside ~ lots of tack got a thorough cleaning, as well as a few puppy baths. We had a great time visiting over lunch, as well.

You each bring so much to our place ~ THANK YOU!

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Woody's Wrap-Up:

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesdays with Maggie ~ rain

Rain.
Sometimes I think I should be living in Seattle. I am weird. I love the rain. But lately, my fondness for one of Mother Nature’s treasures has diminished. Rain at the farm = mud, mud, and more mud. It’s a mess.
One of the things I appreciate about Woody & Dee’s philosophy about the farm, is that they keep things immaculate. And believe me, this is no easy feat with so many animals. They work incredibly hard to give these beautiful creatures a clean and fresh home. I have often said that the chicken coop is cleaner than my own home! And for every visitor I bring to the farm, they say the same thing (that and how special our little farm is). I cannot begin to tell you the hours they spend making sure everything is neat and tidy. It is truly amazing, and to think there are only two of them doing all this work!!!
So when the mud is everywhere (and I do mean EVERYWHERE) we have to remind ourselves that rain is a good thing. It will bring us flowers, grass, and the dust will be washed off those hard to reach places.
The sun will shine again, that’s a guarantee. But until then, I’ll put on my wellies and slip slide around the farm trying to keep up with Dee & Woody. Maybe I’ll even jump in a few puddles. Make lemonade out of lemons right?
God Bless Dee & Woody for all their hard work and dedication. I am truly impressed everyday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Legacy ~ Deanna

As always, there are many duties that are swirling around in my mind, but at this moment I feel inspired to share something not so specifically related to our sanctuary. Then again, perhaps it really is.

During a recent visit with my paternal grandmother (who will be 91 on Sunday!), I was reminded of a story that I had heard as a child. One of those stories that begins to take on significance as I age and gain more worldly perspective.

As a child, I was told that my last name (Slavec) was Yugoslavian. This was true at the time, but as Yugoslavia fell apart, it became important to know what my grandfather's true ethnicity was. In all honesty and fairness, Grandpa Slavec (Albino, no middle name), was American, and that is the way he preferred to be known. He was born in Delagua, CO, on March 1, 1912. When he was eight years old, the family returned to "the old country" ~ Slovenia. Unfortunately, at this moment, I don't know anything more specific than that, although I have suspicions that they lived in the Karst region, near the coast, for reasons I will later explain.

Grandpa returned to America when he was 18. His experience of Slovenia was not pleasant. My father told me stories that I'll verify with Grandma before I share, but there were traumas. Grandpa's time there was shortly after the end of the first world war. Grandpa didn't teach us any Slovenian language and refused to go back to visit when other family members did. I remember my Father telling me that during a mid-70's visit, aunts saw the very bed upon which generations were born, in "The House of Jacob." To me, this was fascinating. Grandpa just wanted to forget.

Slovenia is beautiful country, although it is roughly just the size of New Jersey. From the capital, Ljubljana, all state borders are less than a two-hour drive. I have spent considerable time doing internet research and look forward to someday visiting. My desires to visit were also inspired by a young Serbian man named Bozidar Despinich, whom Woody and I met during a 7-day cruise and who taught me a bit about being a Slav.

One of the most amazing and little-known facts about Slovenia is that it is home to the Lipica Stud Farm, located in the Karst region, established in 1580 and the original home of the Lipizzan horse. The Italian version of Lipica is Lipizza, and for a time, Italy owned the area. These are magical horses, for many reasons. At the tender age of ten, my grandfather helped to protect this special horse from the threat of being eaten by starving refugees, by hiding them, and moving them about. Unfortunately, the breed's existence was threatened many times throughout history.

My grandfather participated in something significant - he helped to preserve something special. He held these horses above what others saw them for. Perhaps their disregard for the horses played a role in Grandpa's troubled memories. I'll never know. One thing I am sure of, however, is that my grandfather rescued Lipizzans.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesdays with Maggie ~ Light


Let there be light.
One of the first things I noticed during the winter months here at the farm is how dark it got. I live in suburbia so there are always streetlights, headlights, houselights to light my world. But when the days became shorter I found it increasingly depressing to continue to do evening chores in the dark. So at my small request (emphasis on “small”) to have electricity run to the two sheds to provide light, my dear friend John stepped right up. Now when I say small, that was all in my head. I thought it would be an easy project, a day or two at least. Boy, was I wrong! I won’t bore you with the details but it turned into a major project lasting a month. Not only that, it took the kindness of Dee & Woody’s neighbors to jump in and help to get this project completed. So when I got the phone call on my birthday from John, the best news was “we have light!” Hurray! I cannot thank John enough for his time, his skill, and his patience for helping me offer this little something special to my farm. I can’t begin to take credit for any of it since I had no idea how to do any of this. I just had a small request. God Bless John for his hard work. I know he understands how I feel about my little farm when he first came out and spent the day at the farm and said to me later, “now I understand why you like coming out here”. He gets it. I thank God every day for the kindness that others have shown me and especially our little farm. I do not take this for granted. Thank you John. For you, I am eternally grateful.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Introducing Jetta and Jilly

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A little shout out here from Deanna to Lauren and Tim Rossovich for the fine job they're doing with Chow Chow Rescue. These pups belonged to Tim's Mother who recently passed and small dogs simply don't work in the environment that the Rossovich's have established. It was a true pleasure to meet and spend time with such big-hearted people and to share stories of the differing aspects of the rescue paradigm. Rescues and Sanctuaries truly compliment one another and it is nice to work together with such fine folks.

On a lighter note, these two are fascinating - after Tim's professional career in the NFL, playing for Philadelphia and San Diego, both he and Lauren worked as professional stunt-people (and have the new body-parts to prove it!) Tim also acted in a slew of films, most notably Cheech & Chong's "Nice Dreams." During his NFL career, Tim was known for chewing glass and setting himself aflame ~ further proof that us rescuers tend to be just a bubble off plumb!

Hugs and kisses to you both, Tim & Lauren. We look forward to working together again.

Here's Darcy:

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEE!

Here's to you Dee! You are truly a wonderful person and friend. Without you, there would be no bliss. Have a wonderful, wonderful day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tuesdays with Maggie ~ LOVE


Love.
Helen Keller once wrote, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
Isn’t love a beautiful thing? As we are bombarded by signs of love this week I think it is a good reminder for all of us to recognize the love in our hearts and in our lives.
I experience love every time I am at the farm. Whether it’s the happy wiggle of a dog when you drive up, the nicker of one of the horses when you come to the fence, or the constant “I love you’s” that are spoken by Dee or Woody.
Their love is deep. Not only for each other but for the animals they have devoted their lives too. Such devotion is nothing short of true love. To be witness to such unselfish acts of kindness, I am truly grateful. I believe that being surrounded by such love has helped me become a better person. And as I turn the big 4-0 this week, I can only hope that second half of my life is filled with such love and kindness.
So when Dee & I make the rounds at night and I hear Dee telling every animal that she loves them, I don’t even think twice about it. It’s common place at our little farm. Everyone here is loved. And although the animals don’t understand our language, I know in my heart that they know what true love is.
I hope this week finds everyone with such love in their lives. Perhaps we should all take lessons from the farm, when you love someone, let them know it!
Love is a good thing.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Facebook

Hurray! A Chance For Bliss is now on Facebook. Just search: A Chance For Bliss and join our group today!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Potty, Water, Cookie ~ by Deanna

My first priorities. Drakula taught us that. The cute older Boston with no eyes would simply stand up and bark when he needed one of these essential needs met. Otherwise, he was absolutely low maintenance. He never "pottied in the house" because he rarely left his throne unless assisted. How I miss that boy. How I look forward to publishing a page in our site dedicated to those who came before. Each a magnificent teacher.

In the absence of an additional full-time person, I am back to the basics ~ potty, water, cookie, then cleaning, laundry, accounting... way down the list have gone the more creative expressions and even personal acknowledgements. We're working on systems and grants and volunteers and fundraisers and networking and so on and so on, but first things always first - the animals' well-being.

Thank you for understanding and bearing with the lulls in communication.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesdays with Maggie ~ A Good Day

I am fortunate.
I rarely have a bad day. I have boring days, so-so days, I-feel-fat-days, but lately, rarely a bad day. And if I do, I try to remember a really good day and remind myself of the good feelings that I got from that day. I had a perfect day recently at our funny little farm.
The temperature was perfect spring weather (its still winter right?). I took my boy for a leisurely trail ride. While we rode, I focused on the sound of the leaves, the buzzing of insects, the sun on my now very pasty winter-tanned skin. I appreciated the lack of car noise, radio noise, people noise, and other deterrences. And while I focused on all that, my trusty stead was focusing on the ever present newly grown grasses that had popped up since we last rode our favorite trail. He would pretend to sniff the trail when he would suddenly swing his head to one side and grab a mouthful of grass. I couldn’t fight it anymore. So we found a grassy patch of field, I dismounted, and let my friend grab as much grass as he could. While I watched my four-legged lawnmower, I had to laugh because he had what seemed like a million blades of grass hanging out of his mouth (perhaps he’s really a hamster?). After his snack, I got back on board and we rode home. He had been a good boy, listening to his queues and not putting up a fight when I made him go a little bit longer down a different trail. When we got home and I took him back to his pasture, he got a drink of water and slurped it loudly. Manners! He was then off to go roll in the dirt. All my hard work of grooming gone in an instant. It didn’t matter though, he cracks me up. I thought about how funny he can be and what a good buddy he has become to me. I guess that’s what makes a good day great. Spending a day with your buddy. And looking back, I am not sure who had a better time. Me or Zulu. No matter, we will have many more good days ahead.
I am very fortunate indeed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Chance Event ~ by Woody

If you look up the word "Happenstance" in the dictionary, you will see that it is defined as a chance event, an occurrence out of the blue, a freak event.

Just a short while ago, we buried our beloved Happenstance, known to most as Happy, and to our wonderful neighbor, Ron, as Yappy. He passed away this afternoon peacefully, on his own, in his home. He had begun to lose weight in last couple of months, but he was still himself, just looking trimmer. Until yesterday, he still had a great appetite and would warn the other dogs who got too close when he was eating that he needed his space. He told them with a friendly, but meaningful growl.

When I got home last night, Happy was literally in a daze and we suspect now that he had experienced some sort of stroke, since he was not himself at all. We quickly knew he was getting ready to transition and we made him comfortable in his bed, covered with a blanket, which he loved, affirmed and kissed him, and set him up so he could watch the normal routine of the day. In the early afternoon he left us, and we buried him this evening, close to the bunny area, since they made him laugh.

Happy was out first non-Boston rescue, and came to us after Chance died. When we had our animal communicator, Jane St. Croix, check in and ask our newest resident what he wanted to be called, she came back with "Happenstance." We were somewhat perplexed, but quickly reasoned we could call him Happy, and that would go well with Hope and Harmony. It was not until later that Dee checked the definition and saw that Happenstance was defined as 'a chance event.' Obviously, we were blown over since Happy took Chance’s place and the divinity and perfection was anything but a random occurrence. It was perfect and as it was supposed to be.

Happy was with us for almost exactly 7 years. Next to Harmony, who has been with us for more than 8 years, Happy was our longest tenured resident. He came to us in January 2002, very skinny, very afraid, very skittish, and wary of most everything. I remember having to literally pull him out of the dog kennel when he arrived. He left, however, a changed being. He transitioned as a regal, trusting, and completely contented puppy. He was one joyful boy and had come to know his place in his family and, indeed, the world. Like Spike last week, I know we did what we were supposed to do. We will miss him dearly, and while my heart aches, I know he had a great 7 years with us, and at 14, it was simply time to go.

This theme of change keeps coming at me, and I will confess to feeling challenged, indeed overwhelmed. We earnestly need as much financial support as possible and we are in the process of completing our 2008 financials, which will allow us to apply for grants, etc. I will also continue to request help from anyone and everyone who will listen, as I know in my heart of hearts that we are doing really important work in support of a previously forgotten community.

I will end with a sense of gratitude for having been blessed to have 7 wonderful years with the finest and most perfect Miniature Pinscher the world over.

God’s speed Min Pin Boy….I love you!