Monday, June 14, 2010

Chip comes home-- By Rachel

There has been so much activity, so much growth, and so many positive new people coming into our lives over the past few weeks, that sometimes life begins to feel a bit surreal. One of the animals' biggest gifts however is that they demonstrate how to stay grounded and in the moment. Ultimately the animals are the beginning, middle, and end to all of this wonderful craziness, and there is big comfort in knowing that they are the rock in the middle of the hurricane.

The best thing that happened this weekend at horse expo, which was jam packed with networking and sharing our mission, was that we found Chip. He is a darling 14 year old Sheltie, who had been in a very nice foster home through Sheltie rescue for about 6 months, but showed little hope of being adopted due to his age. His wonderful foster mom described him as being a "pistol", and he has certainly lived up to his reputation since coming home last night. He is already bonding with Joy, our young deaf Boston Terrier, and seems to be making himself right at home. Congratulations Chip, on your new digs. We love you already, and look forward to sharing your story as it unfolds.....

Images provided by Ann Ranlett-- She and her friend Sandy graciously brought Chip home from the Horse Expo so he could ride in the air conditioning, and then waited with him until Woody was ready to introduce him into the rest of the pack.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last call for Expo...-- by Rachel

For those of you who have not made it down to the Cal Expo grounds for the annual Horse Expo, you have today from 10-5 to come and see all the great clinicians, demonstrations, and shopping..... Make some time today to come visit us at our booth! It has been a great weekend so far, we have had the chance to visit with old friends and make new, and we have been able to raise some awareness for our cause. We will see you there.... right?

Monday, June 7, 2010

On a Roll for June-- By Rachel

It has been a rollercoaster since USA Today hit. There have been so many new supporters, so many kind emails to return, so touching stories! If you have sent us an email, we thank you for your patience, as we are dedicated to returning each one personally. Hang in there as we filter through the hundreds of communications we have received over the last six days.

This promises to be a big month for other reasons as well..... On Friday June 11, Saturday June 12, and Sunday June 13, we will be hosting a booth at the Western States Horse Expo, at Cal Expo center, in the new dog pavilion. Last year 70,000 attended this fantastic annual event, so we have high hopes of meeting lots of new people and spreading the news of our work. If you have a chance, please come by our booth and say hello!

Meanwhile, back in real life, the animals keep us happy and busy. Homer, our superstar pig, had his first lesson to learn some tricks and to walk on a leash, so he can someday come with us for public appearances. We found a wonderful lady who only lives a short few minutes away who was willing to come out and teach us her extremely gentle and kind "pig whispering" methods. Homer, in true celebrity style did not make an appearance for the first 30 minutes we were looking for him to start this session, but eventually wandered out from the neighbor's barn to investigate. He seemed to really like Diane, who gave him treats, got him coming to his name, and got him to flop on his side for a belly pet. She was very impressed at Homer's good nature, despite his lack of training before maturity and his rough beginnings. We really hope that we can further add to Homer's (already pretty darned high) quality of life by giving him some additional stimulation. He is really "some pig"!

We are also getting a couple of new additions to the group--an elderly Boston Terrier, Grace, who is coming to us for hospice care, and an elderly Paso Fino gelding. I will wait to let Dee and Woody take some photos to give them a proper introduction, but there is a preview.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

For Our New USA Today Friends ~ by Deanna

We are sincerely grateful for your interest in our Sanctuary. We feel privileged to serve these beings as there is immense gratification in seeing a broken heart/spirit/body reborn.

Due to space constraints, the article failed to mention our partnership with the Animal Acupressure Training Academy, which has played a significant role in increasing the longevity and overall well-being of our residents. Providing workshops and certification at the sanctuary affords a real-world, clinical setting with animals that need healing hands and hearts. This unique partnership of the Academy and the Sanctuary offers an unparalled learning experience based in service to animals.

In addition to remarkable neighbors, we consider ourselves beyond fortunate to have an extremely talented and dedicated team, without such A Chance for Bliss simply would not be.

Rachel Chao has been with us since 2007 and brings a lifetime of equine husbandry combined with avid pursuit of the latest developments in the most natural and balanced modalities.

Lydia Patubo came to us in early 2009 with strong marketing background and natural public relations talent, combined with a resolute desire to serve the underserved animals.

Dr. Tom Wilson also joined us in early 2009, a Reiki Master with multiple certifications in holistic energy-healing modalities for humans and animals alike, complimented by a calm yet vital presence that serves to engage students in the teachings.

Judy Bugas came to us through a series of uncanny engagements and mutual acquaintances with an easily evident alignment of core philosophies coupled with a fundamental drive to engage in meaningful work.

There are many more dedicated friends, so your support means much to many. We built our Field of Dreams and stand in awe as superstars arrive to fill the field. This is a true team.

Days that strengthen my faith in the goodness of humanity... --By Rachel

There are little miracles all day every day that we miss when we are preoccupied with the minutia of our lives and other matters of ego. On very special occasions we are lucky to experience moments where struggle and strife seems like a drop in the bucket, and the interconnectedness of life is both beautiful and overwhelming.

Today is one of those days.

USA Today, after a month of preparation(including sending photographer Justin Kase Conder who took over 1200 photos over a period of seven hours) released a story about A Chance for Bliss on the front page of the life section today. The electronic version of the story can be viewed at:

It is not even noon, and the response has been overwhelming. Even in writing these few paragraphs I have been (happily!) interrupted by a dozen emails forwarded by Dee. They are from people who want to become sponsors, make a one time donation, or just express their gratitute for the amazing and selfless work that Dee and Woody do. I am becoming emotionally overwhelmed at the love and kindness that is pouring forth from all over the country in response to the article. I can only imagine the mental state Dee and Woody and the rest of the team are in right now.

Congratulations Dee and Woody. I can think of no one who deserves this recognition and support more than you do. In any small way I have been able to help serve your cause, I can guarantee you that the personal benefit to me has come back a thousand fold. Although you both tend to be humble to a fault, I hope you take a moment to breathe it in and take a bow for the extraordinary effect your vision and sweat equity has had on hundreds of lives, two and four legged. I met the Bartleys before the economic recession began, when they were comfortably self funding all of their rescue work, in addition to donating 25% of their before tax income to other charities (a fact that you will almost never hear them mention). I thought I knew they were extraordinary people then. After having witnessed their struggle through intesely stressful and meager times, when situations turned from bad to worse regularly, and there was not much hope to be found, I realized that I had only seen a fraction of what the Bartleys were capable of. When mere mortals would have rolled over and died, the Bartleys renewed and intensified their dedication to serve as many animals and people at the highest level possible. They have gladly sacrificed every wordly possession they have, not to mention untold hours and emotional reserves, in pursuit of their vision. Even in the darkest times their mantra has been one of abundance and faith that it really does seem darkest before the dawn. Being a passenger along for this ride has taught me so much about the power of intention, dedication, attitude and perserverance. I remain honored and humbled to be a part of Team Bliss, and can't wait to see what the future holds for our sanctuary family.

And to those of you in the community who have sent expressions of your love and support for the Bartleys and their amazing sanctuary, please know that your kind words and donations mean more to us than I can even begin to convey. I cannot express the pleasure I feel in being one among the many of you who are coming forward today in response to the USA Today article to express your belief in the sanctuary's mission: To promote the inherent Truth of the worth of all beings.

Overwhelmed by gratitude,


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Refreshed Chance at $50,000 ~ by Deanna

I must honestly admit that I was not at all excited about a third month of struggling with Pepsi. I use the word struggle because the system became clogged with comments as contenders became increasingly creative in their desire to fund a dream.

If you’ve followed this journey with us at all, you know we ended April at 79 and were then surprised to roll over to May. Personally, I was not eager to push our supporters to spend more of their time on this as it seemed an insurmountable challenge. If we had landed in the top 20, certainly, but near 80? Then sometime near the end of the first week of May, our position began to consistently improve and our optimism was sparked.

Our regular second Saturday Open House brought a visitor who claimed responsibility for the shift. She’d devised a plan and began a few days before, creating many accounts to vote, vote, vote. She asked for volunteers and I offered a list to call from, but that I could not devote time to her plan. Obviously, it was working and without any sort of restraint on Pepsi’s part, this sort of idea seemed inevitable and was beginning to spread quickly. She signed up as A CHANCE FOR BLISS which concerned our board. What controls did we have? Strategic alliances were formed ~ “We’ll vote for you if you’ll vote for us.” I’m good with that concept, but this, too, quickly appeared to explode to the point that Pepsi added “Keep It Civil” at the comment box. I moved from being excited to view the comments from supporters to fearful to look at our page as we eclipsed 3000 comments, most saying things like “XYZ sending 200 votes your way!” Who’s to say… there was no way to know anything. Pepsi gives us absolutely no insight at all.

On the 17th, I posted my gratitude on Facebook. I received a scathing e-mail from our new friend, accusing me of becoming complacent, claiming that she was responsible for 95% of the votes that were happening for us between her alliances and personal commitment. Apparently, because I had been unable to “scrounge up any volunteers” to help her, she began spending $200 daily on hired voters with four computers in action at all times, she was sleeping only 3-4 hours a night, and neglecting her family. She suggested that Woody and I reduce our sleep to help her. I will stop there and trust that you realize this was all self-imposed and I would certainly not encourage this behavior from anyone.

The voting process began to slow from the excess activity and I began Googling, expecting to find some talk about what was happening. I was surprised to find very little, just one article about a contestant crying foul over potential cheating, aside from complaints about submission difficulties. The thought of rolling into a third month with this sort of uncontrolled manipulation made me sick ~ it is still early in the year and I envisioned servers crashing, but mostly I thought about the honest, sincere and dedicated friends who would become frustrated by their inability to simply vote.

Today’s e-mail from Pepsi was (pun intended) refreshing:

“Your idea "Support the rescue of senior animals at A Chance for Bliss sanctuary." was not voted to receive a $50,000 grant. However, you finished among the Top 100 in your grant tier.

Since you came so close, we're giving your idea another chance by automatically entering it into the next Submission Period. To be fair to everyone, the vote counter has been set to zero. Voting for the next cycle is now open. Start spreading the news to your friends & family and tell them to vote. There's no time to lose, voting ends June 30th, 2010.

IMPORTANT RULE UPDATE: Please note that as of June 1, 2010 rules for the Pepsi Refresh Project have been updated to expressly prohibit proxy voting. To ensure a fair, accurate count of votes, the site is monitored by an outside company. Any idea that uses proxy voting, which includes but is not limited to creating multiple or dummy accounts and voting on behalf of other users, may be disqualified.”

So here we are and I have mixed feelings. On this first day of the third month, we’re in the mid-twenties. I completely understand if you never want to see the name Pepsi and A Chance for Bliss in the same sentence again and so you won’t. I’ll be voting but I am incredibly grateful that no one else need try to kill themselves doing so. Reading the last line above after our recent experience, I realize that we have no control and could easily be disqualified by the actions of another completely unknown to us.

I leave it to the Universe. Trust me when I say that $50,000 would mean a great deal to our work, but it isn’t worth pushing and scheming and upset. Our kids have good karma. We will either prevail on the honest intention of our support team or not. I refuse to pass judgment over ideas that succeeded while ours did not. I will personally cast votes for causes I feel inclined to, regardless of who pledged support to us. I know very little about the volunteer who formed many of our alliances, but I am saddened to think what might motivate such extreme behavior. I hope that any competing Cause feeling slighted by us might understand and I pray that they do not receive such “help.”

My Dad loved Pepsi, by the way.

I apologize that I will leave this blog without touching on other topics, as there has been a great deal happening here, as always. Others might not agree, but I always feel compelled to speak my truth with our friends. Many have spent a great deal of effort on this and the least I can do is respond from the heart.

Bug is barking… gotta run!

"Oh, look! A Bunnny!"
(i.e, so much for signing off, something just popped up)

I am happy to see that I'm not the only one who can't seem to comment in a timely manner; Rick Lamb just posted about Light Hands Horsemanship just minutes ago. And he's right ~ GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY!!!

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