Monday, January 18, 2010

What is Happening? ~ By Woody and Dee

The BIGGEST thing that has happened is Paul Castello reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro while holding the vision of our little sanctuary in his consciousness. We stand in awe of his fortitude and humanity. Paul and Vikki are bright lights and we are deeply moved by their presence in our lives.

We acknowledge and apologize that we are long overdue getting an update out. There are a myriad of reasons for the delay, but each is simply an excuse. Instead of blaming, we take full responsibility and would ask for your forgiveness while at the same time thanking you for your patience and continued support.

The Primary Financial Goal
In regards to the property status, we did, in fact, meet our goal of raising $65,000 in an effort to save the sanctuary. That sum represents the amount of past-due payments combined with penalties and it has been placed into a separate bank account while we work with the lender to modify and/or re-structure the current loan. All of the required documents were sent to the lender again on 12/30/2009, and yesterday a letter was received acknowledging the fact that the package is complete and is being reviewed, quoting a 30-45 day time line.

In conversations with the lender (HSBC), we have been informed that while the Notice of Default has expired (i.e. 90 days since it was recorded on the property), there has been no sale date established for the possible sale or auction of the property. We assume this to be the case since we have in fact submitted all of the necessary paperwork once more.

Our hope is that they would offer to re-work the loan, reducing the payment such that the monthly obligation becomes more affordable, thus supporting the sanctuary's longevity. The truth of the matter is that we do not know what they may or may not come back with. We have not disclosed to the lender that the sanctuary raised $65,000 because we do not want to give them all that money and have them do nothing, thus putting us back in the very same position. The fact that we have that money simply puts us in a much stronger position to be able to respond and perform to any sort of new loan terms, so we take it a day at a time and pray that they consider the entirety of the circumstance when they review our package and respond with something favorable and workable.

Is the Sanctuary "Safe?"
If they still do not work with us, what would we then do? The first option would be to contact some senior level person at the lender, and make a direct appeal to them (i.e. someone higher up the "chain of command" who has some authority). We would possibly follow that up with some additional publicity as a way of encouraging them to do the right thing, and with the prospect of the lender getting some much needed good press. If that failed, our next option would be to try and sell the property to some known person or entity, and ask that as a condition of the sale they agreed to a long term lease that would allow us to remain. If that, too, failed, the last option we have at this time would be to find another property to lease and thus re-locate the sanctuary. We are also looking at and for other ideas or options to have as many at our disposal as possible.

Obviously, our great desire is to remain at this location, and we want to for many reasons, not the least of which is the community and neighborhood support we have (i.e. use of other land free of charge and the world's best and kindest people living all around us). In addition, the layout of the home, the close proximity of freeway and major living areas, climate, etc... all make this an ideal location to care for animals at the end of their lives.

The Bottom Line
While we reached our primary financial goal, the fact remains that we need to continue to raise much needed funds to support day to day operations. On the one hand we now have the financial ability to house the residents for a substantial period of time, and even though we can't say yet exactly where that will be, it is a huge relief knowing we have the ability. On the other hand it costs more than $4,000 per month just to provide feed and basic care for the sanctuary residents, and therefore we need to shift efforts back to raising money to cover those expenses, as well as enlisting strong and able bodies to assist with the enormous physical workload.

We are taking it a day and moment at a time, focusing on caring for our flock, raising much needed funds to feed and care for each, and slowing down long enough to lavish love and attention on each and everyone of the residents.

Comings and Goings
Given what we do, regardless of money and other silly details that the residents have no care or concern for, real Life moves on and for us, that often means both tearful goodbyes and joyous hellos. Since our last update, we have had four beloved residents pass away; Hanauma, our 31 year old Rocky Mountain Horse, died in the first week of December; Walter, our 17 year old Italian Greyhound passed away two weeks later; Otis, our amazing blind Pug died this past Monday, followed immediately by Sunshine the very next day, Woody's birthday.

Sunshine had been with us four and a half years, Walter two years, Hanauma nine months, and Otis eight months. People often ask how we deal with the volume of loss and the answer is it is very, very hard. In fact, we would say that it is both the hardest thing we do, yet it is the most important thing we do... helping them pass away/transition with grace and dignity knowing they are both loved and adored.

Those goodbyes were sprinkled with hellos. Each passing provides an opening for a new resident, and the requests on behalf of animals in need have increased greatly with the recent media attention. While we can take some, we can't take them all, and saying no is very difficult. This is why our greatest vision is not to only survive, but GROW and EXPAND as it is clear that our work is needed and appreciated. There is a nearby lot for sale, but we'll address that later.

The wonderful beings who have been welcomed into the fold as a result of the aforementioned losses are: Atlas, our very first miniature horse, from Lake County where he was found wandering the roads and highways. He is small in size but HUGE in attitude. Kringle, named so since he was found lost and alone on Christmas, from Wonderdog Rescue in San Francisco in mid December along with his rescue-mate, Izzy. While Kringle is a very senior mixed breed who is simple and easy, Izzy is an 11-month old Boston Terrier ball-of-fire who was born with urinary disorder and without an anus. She is therefore a very active special needs pup who has us thinking of new ways each day to manage her condition, but also realizing daily that she is worth every bit of time and effort as she is nothing short of angelic.

Discharge Management Attempts

If you're so moved, please take a moment to leave a comment here for our dear and wonderful friend, Paul Castello, as he descends from the peak of the tallest point in Africa. His support of the sanctuary leaves us again in awe of the love and loyalty that comes the way of the sanctuary residents.

We are dancing as best we can amidst the rapid changes and flow of Life and promise keep everyone posted as things unfold. We end with one more heartfelt thank you for the continued love and support.

Blessings and love to all...


Meg said...

I hadn't realized that Hanauma had passed away! Poor Stevie. Has he found a new friend yet?

I hope Atlas is settling in well. He certainly does have big personality!

A Chance for Bliss said...

Stevie follows Justice around, though I'm not sure Justice is thrilled about it! :o)

Matthew said...

Hugs to you all and a special hug for the adorable Izzy and sweet little Bug.